When you travel beyond the Fraser Coast, you’ll discover a whole world of adventure. From the Great Barrier Reef to rainforests and everything in between, there’s something for everyone. Check out our website now to find more!

Croquet clubs make for great travel destinations

Have you ever played croquet? No?! Well, it’s definitely time to add it to your bucket list!

While visiting the Queensland city of Bundaberg, members of the Bundaberg Croquet Club introduced me to the classic game and I have to say, it was a lot of fun.

The club members were friendly and happy to show me (pictured right below) basic moves of the game that date back hundreds of years.

Bundaberg Croquet Club president Jennifer Lee said not only was croquet a lot of fun, but it was also the perfect addition to any holiday, whether in Bundaberg or anywhere else.

“Whether playing on your own or with friends, croquet is a great way to enjoy leisurely days outdoors,” Jennifer said.

“It’s a fun and challenging game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.”

Newbies, including (right) Peter Woodland and Jocelyn Watts, try out the traditional game of croquet.

 

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A brief history of Croquet

Croquet has been around for centuries, having become popular in Europe in the 1800s.

Its roots can be found in Ireland. The name “crookey” comes from crook + oy ( hooked stick).

A Dutch folktale mentions how players would use an indoor clay court with football-sized wooden balls and one metal ring to play Beugelen or Maillette–two different games that emerged in Europe as well.

Introduced to England by John Jaques, the game of croquet became an instant hit with middle-class attendees at The Great Exhibition of 1851.

Croquet played an important role in the lives of Victorian aristocracy, with many wealthy individuals building courts within their expansive estates.

Over time, different variations of the game developed for different audiences.

For example, there are now games specifically designed for children and seniors.

Today, the game remains a popular game enjoyed by all ages, and it is still associated with elegance and refinement.

The Bundaberg Croquet Club at 29 Quay Street, Bundaberg West, is as busy today as it was when founded in 1900.

croquet - postcard scene

A card depicting a game of croquet on the beach, by Lucien Tanquerey, 1910-1919, Wikimedia Commons.

How to play

Croquet is typically played on a lawn or other open space, and involves hitting balls with mallets through hoops.

The game is relatively easy to learn, but it takes practice to master.

The basic rules are as follows:

  • Each player starts with two balls, and the first player to get both balls through all the hoops wins the game.
  • There are many different ways to score points, and players can also knock other players’ balls out of bounds.

Court etiquette

Croquet is an engaging sport that requires skill, strategy, and tact.

Whether you’re an experienced player or a newcomer just learning the rules, it is important to be mindful of the proper etiquette when playing a game.

Some basic tips for maintaining good etiquette on the court include following the correct order of shots, staying alert during your opponent’s turns, and knowing how to give and receive compliments.

With these simple guidelines in mind, you can ensure that every game is enjoyable, both for yourself and everyone else on the court.

The benefits of playing croquet

Croquet is a recreational activity that offers a wealth of benefits.

First, the game requires players to exercise both their bodies and their minds.

Whether you are playing singles or doubles, Croquet requires you to balance, coordinate your movement, and think strategically in order to succeed.

No matter your age, skill level or fitness level, you can enjoy the sport at your own pace while exercising your body.

Additionally, Croquet is a sociable activity that encourages good sportsmanship and interaction between players.

How to get involved

If you’re looking to get started with this exciting game, there are several ways to get involved.

One option is to find a club in your area and sign up for lessons or training sessions.

Another way to learn about the game is by watching instructional videos online.

You could also use resources like books, magazines, and other Croquet-related materials to gain a deeper understanding of the game.

Pack a Croquet set for your next trip

When planning your next trip, consider packing a Croquet set along with your other supplies.

Croquet is a great game to play while travelling throughout Australia.

It’s a great way to meet new people and can be easily set up and played in a variety of locations, wherever there is open space in parks or open areas.

To set up the game, simply place the hoops in a square formation, with each hoop placed about seven yards apart.

The first player then hits the ball through all the hoops, in order, before returning to the start point and hitting the ball through the hoops again.

You can find croquet sets at Amazon Australia or most local sports stores, so it is easy to get started.

Just be sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated on those hot days.

croquet - modern equipment

Modern croquet equipment. Photo by Winnywinn, 2008, Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Visit Bundaberg Croquet Club

And, if you’re passing through Bundaberg, be sure to visit the Bundaberg Croquet Club and meet the friendly members who are keen to introduce new people to the game.

Visitors can play a casual game for just $10.

President Jennifer Lee said local members were always happy to help beginners, so you’ll be up and playing in no time.

There is also a clubhouse, which makes for a perfect place to relax after playing. It’s also available to hire for events.

Croquet is also the perfect way to enjoy the Australian sunshine and take in the beautiful scenery near the Bundaberg Croquet Club, right next to the picturesque Burnett River.

Who knows, you might just get hooked on this historic game and make some wonderful new friends.

To find out more about the club visit https://www.croquetqld.org/clubs/wide-bay-burnett/bundaberg-croquet-club, phone (07) 4152 8472, or email bundaberg@croquetqld.org

croquet - card depicting children

A card depicting children playing Croquet. Photographer unknown. Source: University of British Columbia Library. Wikimedia Commons.


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Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

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Add some Western Australia culture to your bucket list

Western Australia is a vast and beautiful part of the world, with plenty to offer travellers looking for new cultural experiences.

From bustling city life to countryside exploration and everything in between, Western Australia has something for everyone.

Here are nine new cultural experiences you can enjoy in Western Australia.

1. Perth’s Van Gough exhibition

One of the most visited multi-sensory experiences in the world is coming to Perth this autumn from May 27 to July 3, 2022.

Van Gogh Alive is an immersive, multi-sensory art experience that turns the life and works of the post-impressionist artist into a larger-than-life experience using large-scale projections, an ambient soundscape, dazzling lights and fragrance.

The exhibition will take place at the Supreme Court Gardens in Perth’s CBD in a specially designed and constructed 25,000-square-foot immersive gallery, which will display over 3,000 images beamed across walls, floors and ceilings.

Tickets for this limited edition season are available to purchase through https://vangoghalive.com.au/perth/

 

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2. Street mural that will take your breath away

An incredible new street mural is brightening up the wall of Perth’s iconic all-inclusive venue, The Court Hotel.

Located in the cultural hub of Northbridge, opposite the new Western Australia Museum Boola Bardip, the colourful artwork represents the diversity of Perth’s LGBTQIA+ community.

Created by world-renowned Fremantle-based artist Jackson Harvey, the thematic direction of the artwork was created after a series of workshops and consultations with the local LGBTQIA+ community.

Colour features strongly in the design, as well as a two-storey-sized unicorn, as the colours of each specific community flag are depicted in a stunning scene of flora and fauna.

The mural design also aims to speak to the local history of the all-inclusive venue and the community, by incorporating the building’s existing Pride Flag into the mural. https://www.thecourt.com.au/

3. The Beaufort opens in Mount Lawley

The Beaufort is a new multi-level, state-of-the-art hospitality venue that has opened its doors on the vibrant Beaufort Street strip in the city-fringing suburb of Mount Lawley.

Taking over a former 1950s warehouse space, the $10 million venue is the second hospitality project from the award-winning team behind The Old Synagogue in Fremantle. Set over three levels, The Beaufort offers patrons multiple venues to explore.

The ground floor features an outdoor beer and wine garden, which leads upstairs to the second level, the heart of the building and the main bar and dance floor area which surrounds the central tiered jungle.

Further upstairs is a large rooftop terrace space known as the Candy Bar, and hidden within the depths of the building is a concealed speakeasy called Cypher – which plays live music each night and has one of the largest spirit collections in Perth.

The venue is also home to Lotus—a modern south-east Asian restaurant serving a unique sharing style menu that is also set over three levels.
https://www.thebeaufort.com.au/

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4. Hi-Fi Listening Bar opens in Northbridge, Western Australia

Perth has recently welcomed the opening of its first hi-fi record listening bar—Astral Weeks.

Located down an alleyway in Northbridge’s Chinatown Precinct, the former herbalist’s shop has been transformed into a 60-seat vinyl-based listening bar.

The hand-built Line Magnetic hi-fi system sits mounted behind the bar, with the venue’s interiors designed to enhance the acoustics experience—with insulated ceilings, carpeted floors and acoustics panels on the walls.

The drinks menu includes a selection of lo-fi wines, craft beers, spirits and sake served by bartenders who are all either musicians or DJs, and who have also curated the bar’s vast vinyl record collection.
https://astral-weeks.com.au/

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5. Mandurah brewery and distillery makes waves

The coastal city of Mandurah, located just an hour south of Perth’s CBD, has recently welcomed the opening of its first microbrewery and distillery, with both venues taking advantage of the city’s idyllic waterside setting.

Boundary Island Brewery is on the water’s edge at the Mandurah Quay Resort and overlooks the stunning Peel Estuary and its namesake, Boundary Island.

The venue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a range of specialty pizzas prepared in a state-of-the-art pizza oven.

Mandurah Cruises has also launched a new tour to connect its iconic dolphin experience straight to the brewery.

Little Stiller is on the Mandurah Terrace, overlooking the Mandurah Estuary, and produces four specially crafted gins and two vodkas, distilled onsite using locally sourced botanicals.

The boutique venue offers a Little Stiller tasting plate experience, as well as a range of classic cocktails with a fun twist.

A selection of bao buns is on the menu for those feeling hungry, as well as sharing style offerings.

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6. Exclusive wine experience at Margaret River, Western Australia

Gralyn Estate in the renowned Margaret River region of Western Australia has recently reopened its original underground cellar door to offer a new intimate and premium wine tasting experience.

Gralyn Estate was the first winery in the region to open a cellar door in 1978, and the original cellar door had been closed to the public for many years since a new modern cellar door was built upstairs.

Wine lovers now have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and be treated to the rare opportunity to taste museum wines dating back to 1980 in a small group setting.

During the 90-minute experience guests will taste a selection of cornerstone varietals, namely chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, or premium fortified wines, including the Artizan Rare Muscat which was just recently received the prestigious accolade of ‘Wine of the Year’ at the 2022 London Wine Competition.

The tasting’s hero wine will then be sealed and recorked for guests to take home. https://gralyn.com.au/


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7. Beerfarm brews up its next special edition native series

Beerfarm brewery in the Margaret River region of Western Australia has released a special edition Native Series of brews, a Quandong and Samphire Gose.

The Beerfarm brewers worked alongside Fervor, a regional pop-up dining experience that sources local produce presented in unique locations, and Badgebup Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) to source the ingredients for the eighth edition of the Native Series.

BAC is a small community in Western Australia’s Great Southern region in Goreng Country.

The country that surrounds Badgebup is plentiful with Quandong trees and fresh Samphire from the saline wetlands, which were used to produce the special edition sour brew.

Native Series #8 Quandong & Samphire Gose is available to purchase from the brewery, as well as select bottle shops.
https://www.beerfarm.com.au/

8. Corvo opens in Claremont

Taking over the former Billie H in the Claremont Quarter precinct in Western Australia, Corvo is a European-inspired bar and kitchen.

The owner and sommelier have spent time with Marco Pierre White, and the chef has spent time in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe.

The space is designed for wining and dining, with a seasonal European-style menu featuring fine local produce, and a wine list of almost 300 selections, as well as cocktails, beers and bar snacks.
https://corvobar.com.au/

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9. European-inspired bar and restaurant you’ll love

A popular venue in Perth’s city-fringing suburb of Subiaco has recently reopened with a new bar and restaurant offering.

Dilly Dally has undergone a major refurbishment, with Bar Loiter opening at the back of the venue.

The new Italian-inspired bar and restaurant offer seated dining, a long wine table, plus an alfresco space—which was created by removing parts of the roof during the renovation.

Bar Loiter offers a menu of house-made Italian share plates, alongside a drinks selection of cocktails, wine and craft beer on tap.
https://www.dillydally.com.au/bar-loiter/


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So if you’re looking for a cultural experience that’s a little different from the norm, Western Australia is definitely worth checking out.

With so many new Western Australian attractions on offer, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.

And who knows—maybe you’ll even become a regular visitor!

Western Australia - vineyard

Vineyards in Western Australia are worth checking out!

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Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

Unearth the Gems of Lightning Ridge

Opals aren’t the only gems of Lightning Ridge — discover natural desert wonders and eccentric monuments, and unearth underground art galleries and a moonscape of mines in this New South Wales outback town.

Go beneath the surface

The best way to see the outback is by getting your hands a little dirty.

Travel underground to discover the buried history of this opal-mining town, touring working mines and digging for your own precious stones.

Opal mining began in Lightning Ridge in the late 1800s and its century-old mines are still the source of many of Australia’s iridescent black opals.

Head underground and explore an original working opal mine at The Lost Treasure Opal Mine Adventure.

Marvel at the layers of opal clay and sandstone roof — hand dug by one person — and imagine what it would be like toiling here day in, day out.

Feel the anticipation of a surprise discovery as you have a go at fossicking through their spoil heaps for a gem of your own.

Run by passionate residents, Outback Opal Tours offers several guided experiences, from town trips to visits to working mines.

The popular Full Day Tour provides a ‘wild west’ experience at the rough-and-ready Grawin, Glengarry and Sheepyard opal fields, as well as visits to three authentic bush pubs.

 

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Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

 

Lightning Ridge - dusk

Soak it all in at Lightning Ridge

Relax in the therapeutic waters of Lightning Ridge’s artesian bore baths, naturally heated to a constant temperature of 41.5°C.

These two-million-year-old natural springs are part of the Great Artesian Basin, one of the largest and deepest freshwater basins in the world; natural pressure sends bubbles of mineral-rich thermal waters up into many pools across NSW’s outback.

Free and always open (except between 10 am and midday on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for cleaning), the circular spa is a wondrous place to take in the shimmering night sky as you soak up the health-giving waters and chat with locals and visitors alike.

Hit the road

Lightning Ridge’s expansive roads lead to sights that will stay with you long after you leave.

The self-drive Car Door Tour is like a treasure map – outback style ― simply follow the coloured car doors that pepper the dirt roads along one of the four separate routes.

Meet the characters behind the Opal Tree and the Beer Can House on the Green Car Door Tour. Or visit miners’ cottages, abandoned mine shafts, a graveyard of rusty treasures and Stanley the Emu on the Yellow Car Door Tour.

You can also commune with 2,500 varieties of cactus at Bevan’s Cactus Gardens and take a walk-in mine tour on the Blue Car Door Tour.

Connect with the minds of the region’s creatives at the Bottle House & Mining Museum, Ridge’s Castle and Amigo’s Castle on the Red Car Door Tour.

Lightning Ridge - houe of bottles

Bottle House & Mining Museum


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See art like never before

The Chambers of the Black Hand is a subterranean gallery 11 metres below the earth’s surface in a 100-year-old former opal mine.

Over the past 19 years, former Royal Marine and deep-sea diver Ron Canlin has etched countless artistic carvings into the walls of these opal caves.

From native animals to Lord of the Rings characters to dinosaurs and more, this unique experience is like Mount Rushmore of the outback.

More inspiration awaits at the John Murray Art Gallery, where the former Sydney artist showcases his realist paintings that capture outback NSW with vibrant colour and quirky scenes.

Share a yarn with the locals

Find a pub at Lightning Ridge, pull up a stool and find out what life is really like out west.

Tour around the working Grawin opal fields, then head over to Grawin’s ‘Club in the Scrub’ for a drink – it’s been a hub for the community since 1976.

Wander around the cactus garden, play a round of golf at its unique desert course and there’s even a pet-friendly rest stop with a hot shower if you’re camping in the region.

Another top spot for lunch is the Glengarry Hilton for lunch; not quite like its hotel chain namesake, this tin-shed bush pub offers cold brews and a classic outback feed.

Nobby’s Bar is a classic outback drinking hole and a quintessential taste of country life in Lightning Ridge – enter in the meat raffle while you’re there.

The Lightning Ridge Opal Festival, a four-day celebration of the opal industry, is held each July and is another way to connect with the culture of the area.

The event has been running since 1971 when local miner Derek Foster and his wife Hazel created a program of activities to mark the town’s character.

Highlights include an opal and gem expo, with more than 150 outdoor stalls selling gemstones and jewellery, and the colourful black-tie Opal Queen Ball.

#destinationnsw #lightningridge #artesian bore baths

 

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Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

Explore NSW’s best-kept secrets

When was the last time you really connected with New South Wales (NSW)?

Sure, you may have taken a trip to inner Sydney or one of the other popular tourist destinations, but did you get out of the inner city and explore what else the beautiful state has to offer?

This year, take some time to refresh your connection to NSW by exploring some of its incredible history and culture.

From Surry Hills to Wagga Wagga, there’s something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for an amazing adventure!

1. Dine like a local in Surry Hills

From a captivating underworld history to on-trend tipples in chic spaces, the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills in NSW is full of bold contrasts.

One way to connect to this precinct’s pulse is to share food and stories at a progressive dinner with Sydney local, Maree Sheehan.

Her Sydney Connection walking tour for six takes you to excellent eateries that surprise you with sensational dishes that will make you feel right at home.

Soak up the thriving Surry Hills scene, strolling from place to place along the tree-lined streets, listening to Maree’s enthralling tales of gangsters, wine and food.

On any given night, you might sip a Rye Me A River cocktail at Tilly May’s, taste fluffy souffle at LoLuk Bistro or savour Korean charcoal chicken at Soul Dining.

 

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2. Learn about Indigenous botanicals

Step back in time to a memorable Indigenous experience at Firescreek Botanical Winery in NSW.

The Aboriginal Bush Tucker and Wine Making Experience takes you on a cultural and botanical journey, guided by a local Darkinjung Elder and Firescreek’s winemaker.

Encircled by peaceful gardens, feel every sense come alive as you listen to the didgeridoo being played.

Gather around to sample NSW’s native botanicals from an authentic Coolamon bowl and learn how seasonal ingredients are transformed into Firescreek’s award-winning wines.

Taste rare vintages of Australian botanical-infused wines you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

NSW - Australian Aboriginal men playing Aboriginal music on didgeridoo

Australian Aboriginal men play Aboriginal music on didgeridoo and wooden instruments.

3. Cycle along Sapphire’s secret trails

Feel at one with the landscape as you pedal along sandy coastal trails through sun-dappled forests on a cycling tour of the Sapphire Coast.

The Sapphire Coast Guiding Co. E-Bike tour winds through Mimosa Rocks National Park and finishes at Tathra Beach.

Spot kangaroos in the dunes, stop at lofty lookouts to admire vast ocean panoramas and rest overlooking the mouth of the Bega River while enjoying morning tea.

Along the two-kilometre journey, your local guide will share stories about the ancient landscape, wildlife, and history of this pristine paradise.

 

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4. Have a spiritual awakening on the South Coast

Connect to knowledge passed down from generation to generation on an immersive Indigenous tour of Yuin country on the NSW South Coast.

The Yuin Retreat by Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness is an unforgettable two-night adventure, which you can share with other travellers or book as a private group for 6-8 people.

Your lead guide is Dwayne ‘Naja’ Bannon-Harrison, who has gleaned deep insights from nine generations before him.

The retreat involves journeys across Yuin country following Songlines.

Learning from the profound knowledge of Bannon-Harrison, you will feel enriched, with a deeper knowledge of the place, a fresh perspective on Indigenous history and a stronger awareness of your individual self and your spiritual connection to the land.

Each night, relax and reflect in a glamping tent or private cabin in either Narooma, Mystery Bay, Tilba or Bermagui – you’ll receive exact accommodation locations when you book.

5. Fly high with our NSW outback heroes

Feel your heart swell with pride as you hear the stories of our incredible NSW outback heroes from the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Dubbo.

A high-tech new visitor experience there immerses you in the moment as doctors, nurses and pilots deliver urgent medical care across the vast 7.69 million square kilometre area of the NSW outback.

Don’t miss the short film depicting real patients telling how the service saved their lives.

Children will also love the retired aircraft to explore and trying to communicate through the pedal-powered radio.

6. Walk in the footsteps of the Wiradjuri people of NSW

Tune into the spirit of the land as you embark on an Aboriginal Walkabout Tour in Wagga Wagga, NSW, with Wiradjuri man, Mark Saddler.

Run by Bundyi Cultural Knowledge Tours, learn about one of the oldest living cultures in the world as you follow in the footsteps of Saddler along the ancient Marrambidya Bila (Murrumbidgee River) and practice some Wiradjuri words.

Journey to several Wiradjuri places of cultural significance, spot wildlife and hear Saddler’s teachings about bush food, scar trees, tool making and artefacts along the way.

 

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So what are you waiting for?

NSW is full of beautiful places to explore, interesting people to meet, and new experiences waiting to be had.

If you’re feeling disconnected from your work or life, a trip to NSW may be the perfect way to refresh your connection and jumpstart your creativity.

 

***

Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

 

When two worlds combine: a revolution of wine and art

Could there be a more fruitful pairing than wine and art?

With ‘paint and sip’ studios popping up all over the country, Australian wine and art enthusiasts can’t get enough of this captivating combo.

From the Mornington Peninsula to Margaret River, many of the premium wineries that make up the Ultimate Winery Experiences collective take guests beyond the cellar door for in-depth journeys of the wine and art kind.

Read on for four of the best.

Contemplating Wine and Art at Montalto

Mornington Peninsula, VIC

wine and art_sculpture

Montalto Sculpture Trail

Montalto, together with the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, has launched a series of lunchtime wine and art events called Contemplating Art.

Share a moment out of the ordinary as you take a journey with extraordinary artists and their works, in a relaxed environment overlooking the renowned Montalto Sculpture Trail.

Each event showcases an accomplished artist in conversation, exploring the artist’s background, inspiration, techniques and works over a long lunch in The Restaurant at Montalto.

For the first event in the series, Montalto welcomes artist Patricia Piccinini with Danny Lacy, Gallery Director of MPRG, on Thursday 12 May 2022.

Danny was the Guest Judge of the Montalto Sculpture Prize 2021, and along with Creative Director Neil Williams will take guests on a guided walk of the Montalto Sculpture Trail before lunch.

Patricia Piccinini is a Melbourne-based artist, who is best known for her mutant life-like creatures rendered in silicone and hair.

From the start of her career, her work has combined the cute and the grotesque, pitting our impulse to nurture against revulsion, encouraging us to see the beauty of all created forms, however monstrous, deformed or artificial.

Click here to find out more.

Wine & Surrealism

d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale, SA

Sip on impeccable McLaren Vale vino and explore a surrealist exhibition featuring 25 authentic Salvador Dali bronze sculptures and graphic artworks, at the famous d’Arenberg Cube.

Also on display are paintings by Australia’s own surrealist Charles Billich, whose artworks hang in the Vatican, The White House and the United Nations.

A lifelong passion for Surrealism, Charles Billich’s artworks provide the perfect juxtaposition for the magnificent Salvador Dali sculptures.

A contemporary art gallery called the Alternate Realities Museum can be found on the ground floor of the d’Arenberg Cube, where you can embark on a self-guided wine and art tour through tactile displays, such as a wine aroma room, a virtual fermenter, and a 360° video room.

Wine and art buffs dining in d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant receive free admission to the Dali Exhibition, while pre-booked wine masterclass guests gain access to the Dali exhibition for $10.

 

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Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)

Moorilla at MONA, Tasmania

Moorilla winery shares its site with the innovative Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), home to Australia’s largest private art collection.

Kick off your Moorilla Experience by sailing from Hobart to Mona on their super-flash, high-speed ferry.

Take your time on a self-guided exploration of the subterranean galleries and then head to your one-course lunch of seasonal local produce, matched with a glass of wine from Moorilla’s Muse or Praxis Series.

Fed and watered, you’ll then delve into Moorilla’s backstory with your expert host and get acquainted with the finer points of old and new artisanal winemaking techniques.

You’ll be treated to a tasting of ten different Moorilla/Domaine A wines—elegant, fragrant and often experimental.

Wine and Art at Leeuwin

Margaret River, Western Australia

Family-owned Leeuwin Estate in beautiful Margaret River celebrates fine wine, food and its long association with wine and art.

wine and art - art gallery

Leeuwin Art Gallery

Take a guided stroll through the Leeuwin Art Gallery to view the unique collection of more than 100 contemporary Australian Artworks that have featured on the winery’s iconic ‘Art Series’ labels, while also learning about the famous Leeuwin Concert Series, featuring alfresco performances from the world’s leading musicians and entertainers.

Many notable names from the art fraternity can be found in the Leeuwin Art Gallery.

Sir Sidney Nolan, when approached at the beginning of the series, advised he was not a graphic artist and did not paint for wine labels.

He was also a red wine buff and was sent two unlabelled bottles of the 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon – one of Leeuwin’s best vintages.

He responded that for this wine he would happily provide a painting. This resulted in his Dolphin Rock appearing on the label.

Leeuwin Immersion Experience provides insight into the history of the Margaret River region, the winemaking philosophy and the commitment to the arts of this family-owned Estate.

 

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Discover more at www.ultimatewineryexperiences.com.au

 

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Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

 

 

New multi-cultural cuisine, cycling tours and more

We’re always on the lookout for good cuisine and new experiences when travelling.

Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall spot or a Michelin-starred restaurant, we love tasting local cuisine as we explore Australia.

In April 2022 we were excited to hear that across NSW there’s a new sense of connection as city chefs step inside country kitchens and multi-cultural cuisine flourishes on the Central Coast.

And, from restored pubs to cycling tours and high tea on the coast, there are a lot of new things happening in the state.

We spoke to Destination NSW and this is what they had to say!

Cuisine

Savour flavour on the Central Coast

A swag of feel-good new eateries has launched on the Central Coast.

On The Entrance waterfront, Tango tempts locals and travellers alike with vibrant South American cuisine.

At Ettalong, Chica Chica serves Latin American cuisine and innovative cocktails, while Innerglow Kiosk specialises in restorative small-batch cold-pressed juices.

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT ETTALONG? VISIT BOOKING.COM

Disclosure: As a Booking.com affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

 

City chef ventures to Byron Bay

The Eltham Hotel in the lush Byron Bay hinterland welcomes sought-after Melbourne chef Tim Goegan into the kitchen, supporting culinary star Andrew McConnell.

The team works closely with local farmers to enrich their cuisine with beach-to-plate produce such as saltbush and seaweed butter.

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT BYRON BAY? VISIT BOOKING.COM

 

Villas in the vineyard

New luxury villas grace the beautiful Leogate Estate at the foot of the Brokenback Ranges in the Hunter Valley.

The inviting villas have decks with dramatic views of the Brokenback Vineyard and elegant interiors with a luxurious king-size bed, separate lounge and kitchenette.

NEED ACCOMMODATION IN THE HUNTER VALLEY? VISIT BOOKING.COM

 

Urban hot spot

In Newcastle’s trendy suburb of Wickham, popular coffee house, Dark Horse Wickham is collaborating with local fashion label House of Lita.

Inside the bold black-and-white space, there are dreamy clothing designs, classic cuisine and of course, Dark Horse Blend coffee.

NEED ACCOMMODATION IN NEWCASTLE? VISIT BOOKING.COM

Fine dine at the brewery

Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. in Port Stephens is launching a fine-dining experience, Restaurant William, with executive chef Kumar KC, formerly of Sydney’s Spice Temple.

The menu will evolve weekly with a fusion of international flavours such as Chinese and Korean, with a modern Australian bent.

 

High tea in Port Stephens

Also, at Murray’s Craft Brewing Co., visitors can book a sophisticated high tea.

Seated inside the whimsical Agnes High Tea Pavillion, guests devour delicate morsels by a talented Singaporean pastry chef, with accompanying drinks packages including sparkling wine, Champagne or cocktails.

 

Matt Moran’s new country pub

Celebrity chef Matt Moran has bought the historic Rockley Pub, south of Bathurst — the small village of Rockley is close to Moran’s heart as he has deep family connections to the region.

Moran has recently opened the front bar, with hearty counter meals and craft beer, and harbours big plans for the rest of the venue.

NEED ACCOMMODATION AT BATHURST? VISIT BOOKING.COM

 

New digs in Narooma

Merivale has been acquiring South Coast venues in the coastal hamlet of Narooma.

One of the town’s oldest buildings, Lynch’s Hotel, is the latest to be purchased by the hospitality group, adding to their collection, which includes Quarterdeck, The Whale Inn, and The Inlet.

 

Experiences

Roll into the Central Coast

A new roller-skating venue has opened in Erina.

Housed in an airy space with mirrored walls, disco balls, and a retail outlet selling skating accessories, Rollerfit Erina offers a fantastic kids’ skating class with coaching and games, plus adult roller-dance classes.

Cycle through Country NSW

An inspiring cycling route now weaves through the beautiful Central West.

The Orange Villages Bike Trail is a 360km six-day trail around Mount Canobolas with eateries, vineyards, museums and accommodations dotted along the way. F

or a guided experience, book an e-bike tour with Central West Tours to learn local secrets about history, food, art and wine.

Toast of the town

One of Sydney’s favourite bakeries is set to start kneading dough on the NSW Central Coast, with Sonoma Bakery opening a new location in Terrigal later this month.

Sonoma’s co-founder Andrew Connole is originally from the Central Coast, so it’s a homecoming for him.

 

***

Looking for inspiration for your next adventure?

Is the daily rat race leaving you feeling exhausted?

Jocelyn Magazine acts as a source of inspiration to help you tantalise your taste buds and indulge your curiosity while also discovering history and culture—all that Australia offers.

So, if it’s time for a new adventure, check out some of our travel destination posts here today!

 

 

Titanic Memorial Cruise 2012 Remembered

The RMS Titanic is a ship that will be forever remembered for its sinking on April 14/15, 1912.

One hundred and ten years have passed since the tragedy when more than 1500 lives were lost.

Ten years ago in 2012, I had the privilege of being one of 235 Australians who visited the site as part of the Titanic Memorial Cruise for the 100th anniversary.

Travelling with me were my now late husband Don Watts and good friends Debbie and Damian Foale.

The journey was unlike anything we had ever experienced. It’s hard to explain the emotions we all felt throughout, especially during the memorial service in the early hours of April 15, 2012.

Imagining the horror of pushing through crowds toward the lifeboats on that cold and dark night, and then actually seeing wreaths float out into the sea with Amazing Grace playing in the background, were hauntingly beautiful experiences.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Titanic Memorial Cruise in April 2022, I’ve republished my original blog here (with some minor edits) and created photo galleries to share with you.

Disclosure:
As a Booking.com and Amazon Australia Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through links in this post.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_four people

Damian and Debbie Foale (left) join me and Don for a dress rehearsal 0f the formal night on the Titanic Memorial Cruise in April 2012.

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Australians onboard the  MV Balmoral for the Titanic Memorial Cruise.

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Titanic Memorial Cruise dress rehearsal

Oceania > Australia > Queensland > Maryborough
April 4, 2012

In just over 12 hours, Don and I will be jetting our way to England and the Titanic Memorial Cruise along with good friends Debbie and Damian Foale.

On Sunday, we’ll board the Balmoral, one of the Fred Olsen Cruise Line and sail to Cobh, Ireland, where we will spend a day exploring the area.

Then we set sail again to trace the path of the ill-fated Titanic, except that we won’t hit an iceberg and sink (we hope)!

Instead, exactly 100 years to the day, we will honour those who died with a memorial service over the site.

From there it’s on to Halifax, Canada, to visit the graves of those whose bodies were retrieved from the freezing water, and then to New York.

We’ll spend a couple of days in New York before winging our way back home to Australia.

I’m really looking forward to sharing my photos and stories from our journey onboard the Titanic Memorial Cruise with you.

 

Titanic Memorial Cruise_group of four people

Waiting to step onto the Balmoral, the ship of the Titanic Memorial Cruise.

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Touchdown

Europe > United Kingdom > England > Greater London > Heathrow Airport
April 8, 2012

This is the first chance I’ve had to log in since leaving Maryborough en route to the Titanic Memorial Cruise, so I’m playing catch-up.

“Flight attendants, take your seats now! Passengers, secure your seatbelts.”
The flight captain’s urgent instructions soon scattered the attendants and were followed with the mass clicking of seat belts, a few moments of turbulence, and then… silence.

That minor drama as we flew through a thunderstorm out of Singapore was the only hiccup during our 30+ hours of travel from Maryborough to Southhampton, England.

Mind you, the tight security, including police walking around the Abu Dhabi Airport carrying semi-automatic weapons, was there for a reason considering their neighbours’ history. Although a tad daunting, it did make us feel secure.

The Arabian flight service, Etihad, on which we travelled from Brisbane, was also run with military precision, and excellent service.

We figured that being more economical than other airlines would equate to less service, but the contrary was true.

I’d certainly recommend Etihad Airlines – their service was top-notch, particularly the food, which was the best I’ve experienced on any airline anywhere.

For example, The brekkie menu just before landing at Heathrow Airport included fresh fruit, yoghurt, warm bakery and preserve; Mixed pepper frittata with lamb sausage, paprika potatoes and grilled tomato; Soujuk omelette with harissa potatoes, foul and humus tahina; or French toast with caramelised banana slices.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_Abu Dhabi Airport

Jocelyn and Don pose for a photo at Abu Dhabi Airport.

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Southampton

Europe > United Kingdom > England > Greater London
April 8, 2012

After close to 30 hours in the air (in three stints from Brisbane to Singapore, to Aubi Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to London, the 1.5 hours to Southampton by taxi was a welcome change.

Initially, we were going to take a train but the taxi worked out cheaper (for four people) and the driver delivered us directly to the door of The Southampton Holiday Inn, close to where we’ll board the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship, Balmoral, on Easter Sunday.

The English people seem friendly – the taxi driver was very helpful and the staff at the holiday inn equally so.

Normal check-in time is after lunch, but we were allowed in at 10 am, and over lunch, we were given a run-down local football team rivalry.

And the Inn’s beds are definitely comfortable; an afternoon “nap” turned into a 12-hour deep sleep.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_woman in jacket

Jocelyn in Southampton, England.

Sightseeing

Today we discovered some fascinating historical sites that bear the scars of two world wars and boast famous residents and visitors including the Pilgrim Fathers, William the Conqueror, Jane Austen, King Henry VIII and even Shakespeare who it is claimed visited the Dolphin Hotel and performed in the courtyard.

Just across the road from our Inn are medieval walls and vaults. These are not replicas or movie sets; they are the real deal.

A short walk away is St Michael’s Church, the oldest building still in use in the city. The original Norman church was built in 1070.

Facing the church is Tudor House and Garden, which encompasses over 800 years of history on one site.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_boats and flags

Aussies wave as the Balmoral cruise ship leaves Southampton, as the Titanic did 100 years before.

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Go Ireland!

Europe > Ireland > County Cork > Cobh
April 10, 2012

A pint of Guinness at Kelly’s Bar in the Irish town of Cobh – life doesn’t get much better than this!

Docking at Cobh at 4 pm today felt like we’d somehow been catapulted to celebrity status, which is in stark contrast to yesterday when little more than a handful of people, including media crews, farewelled the Titanic Memorial Cruise from Southampton.

An estimated 30,000 people and a brass band had waited more than six hours at the shipping terminal and terraced streets behind to greet the Titanic Memorial Cruise.

The disappointment of having the first of our shore tours – Blarney Castle & Cork City – cancelled due to late arrivals at Southampton and strong headwinds en route to Ireland was soon forgotten as we disembarked and met the people of Cobh.

What an amazing turn-out! The disaster’s 100th anniversary is a big deal here – the Titanic Memorial Cruise is just one event planned in a year-long program to commemorate the event.

Interestingly, guest speaker Michael Martin noted in his talk Cobh – Titanic’s Final Port of Call earlier in the day, that not one “Irish” person had died in the disaster. It happened before Independence therefore all those from Ireland were classed as British citizens.

Michael also explained the origin of the town’s name. It means nothing other than Cove and is the second-largest natural cove in the world, behind Sydney Cove (now named Sydney Harbour).

Michael said Cobh was originally named Cove but was changed to Queenstown, as it was known at the time of the Titanic disaster.

However, when Ireland declared independence, the name reverted to its original name but with a different spelling.

Because there’s no “v” in the Irish language, the v was replaced with the closest sounding letters “bh”. Cobh is pronounced “Cove”.

Yesterday’s other guest speaker Susie Millar focused on her ancestors’ stories in her talk.

Great-grandfather Tommy Millar was left with two young boys (Tommy junior being five years of age) when his wife died.

He called on an aunt to look after the boys when he boarded the Titanic as an engineer. He gave the boys a penny each and said they weren’t to spend them until the family was together again.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Tommy (Snr.) drowned in the disaster.

Tommy (Jnr.) grew up to become a writer and playwright, and his granddaughter, Susie, was now on the Titanic Memorial Cruise specifically to complete the journey her great-grandfather wasn’t able to finish. Susie, also an author, still has the pennies and has written a book titled The Two Pennies.

In another interesting story, a woman we met onboard said her great-grandfather had two tickets for the Titanic’s maiden voyage but didn’t use them. The family has doesn’t know why.

The woman’s mother still has the two original tickets. Organisers of this commemorative trip asked the woman to bring them with her but considering their value, she didn’t.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_four people

Damian, Debbie, Jocelyn and Don at Kelly’s Bar, Cobh, Ireland.

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How we’re travelling weather-wise

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > Irish Sea
April 10, 2012

Don, being one of the few passengers brave enough to venture onto the ship’s deck, was filmed yesterday by the onboard BBC crew as he struggled to walk against the freezing, gale-force winds in a scene reminiscent of Scott of the Antarctic.

The weather here now is said to be colder than it was 100 years ago but there are fewer icebergs in these waters.

There are two schools of thought on the reason. One says it’s due to the impact of global warming, but the other says temperatures were warmer years ago and as a result, icebergs were breaking away from the Arctic and moving south. Because conditions are colder now, the ice hasn’t broken away.

While it would be fantastic to see an iceberg on this trip, at this point my goal is to just get through the trip without barfing. A chronic sea-sickness sufferer, I’ve made it through Day 1 at sea – just!

So to touch terra-firma again at Cobh was welcome in more ways than one.

But … this morning we’ve ALL been issued with barf bags! There must be some rough weather ahead, so a trip to the medical centre for an injection may be first on my agenda today. We won’t see land again for another week.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_ship

Titanic facts of the day

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > Irish Sea
April 10, 2012

  • Of the 123 passengers who embarked from Cobh (Queenstown) only 44 survived.
  • The Titanic was travelling at 22.5 knots when it hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912.
  • The Balmoral’s top speed is 20 knots. We’re currently travelling at 12 knots due to the heavy seas.

Because of the Balmoral’s slower speed, the Titanic Memorial Cruise left Southampton on April 8, two days before the original Titanic set out on its maiden voyage on April 12, 100 years before.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_ship

Famous Titanic ship floating among icebergs on the water.

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Titanic route map.

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Rescue on the high seas

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 11, 2012

My goal to get through this Titanic Memorial Cruise without barfing came to an end yesterday while attending a lecture The Irish Aboard Titanic by Senan Molony in the Neptune Lounge.

Apologies to Senan – the lecture was interesting, but with the Balmoral battling rough seas and the lounge being close to the “pointy end” where movements of the ship, and the contents of my stomach, were more pronounced meant my goal was short-lived. Thank God for barf bags.

Strangely, I’ve felt better since then and I think I’m actually finding my sea legs… but I won’t gloat too soon! It could just be that the sea is calmer today.

Unfortunately, BBC newsman suffered symptoms of a heart attack yesterday and our ship had to back-track for 1.5hrs to reach a point where a rescue helicopter from London could reach us.

There is a doctor and other medical staff onboard but the severity of the man’s condition meant he needed to be hospitalised.

Back on course

We lost half a day’s travel time, but this morning (Wednesday) we’re back on course again albeit behind schedule.

We’re now travelling at 17 knots, up from 12 knots, to make it to the wreck site in time for the memorial service to coincide with the anniversary of the sinking on Saturday.

There is a benefit to our cabins being centrally located on Deck 4, which is just above the staff quarters.

We’re closer to water level and less affected by the strong sways experienced on upper decks and at either end of the ship. I’m watching today’s lectures on TV in the cabin instead.

Today’s speakers are Philip Littlejohn on The story of Alexander Littlejohn, Titanic Steward, and Commodore Ron Warwick on Researching Officers of Titanic & Carpathia on the Internet.

Philip Littlejohn’s grandfather Alexander Littlejohn survived but he was so shocked by the event that his hair turned completely white within eight months.

He was riddled with guilt about surviving while so many women and children died.

However, he had been allowed on to a lifeboat located on the port side when no more women and children answered the call to board.

The starboard side’s first officer interpreted the captain’s instruction as “women and children first.”

Titanic Memorial Cruise_four people

Don, Jocelyn, Debbie and Damian at sea on the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship, the MV Balmoral.

PHOTO GALLERY

All is well

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 13, 2012

The wild weather at the start of the Titanic Memorial Cruise that caused about half the 1300 passengers to be seasick has settled.

The sea has calmed and it’s been two days since I’ve needed medication, so in Captain Robert Bamberg’s words: “All is well.”

We’re now about 500 nautical miles from the wreck site and need to maintain a speed of at least 14 knots to reach the spot by Saturday night.

We’re currently moving at 16 knots so should get there with a few hours to spare.

We’ve been turning our clocks back one hour each day but on Saturday (tomorrow), we turn the clocks back another one hour and 27 minutes. The odd number of minutes is because our time needs to equal that of exactly 100 years ago when the memorial service is held.

At the service, which will be at the same time as the sinking, a wreath will be laid on behalf of all Australians.

There were five Australians on the Titanic; three survived.

Two hundred and thirty-five Aussies are on this Titanic Memorial Cruise, which is the third-largest nationality represented. Six are from Maryborough.

Britain has the most number of passengers with 479, followed by America with 269.

We won’t know until tomorrow morning where the service will be held.

Where 1300 passengers plus crew will fit is unknown, although I’m assuming we’ll line the decks surrounding the ship.

But if the weather is bad, we may be forced into the lounges. If so, a number of lounges will need to be used with the Vicar’s words being transmitted over the captain’s intercom system that can be heard throughout the ship.

Tonight is the Titanic Memorial Cruise Formal Dinner when we’ll be served the chef’s interpretation of the Titanic’s dinner 100 years on.

There’s also an opportunity for one large group photo of everyone in costume, plus we get to meet Captain Bamberg.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 13, 2012

Titanic Memorial Cruise_Woman

The most interesting talk for me of the past two days onboard the Titanic Memorial Cruise was The Unsinkable Molly Brown, by Janet Kalstrom, who presented in the first person. It was standing room only in the lounge where she spoke.

The estranged wife of Mr J.J. Brown, Margaret Brown, was travelling alone from France to New York to visit her sick grandchild whom she had never seen when the disaster happened.

Known as Maggie to close friends (the name Molly was created by Hollywood), she was in bed reading a book when the Titanic struck the iceberg.

She ventured into the hallway when she thought it was odd the ship’s engines had stopped, however it wasn’t until she returned to her cabin and saw a “bug-eyed” man looking through her window telling her to put on her lifejacket and get outside.

Two men lifted her into her lifeboat where she disagreed with instructions given by the lifeboat’s captain and admitted to thinking at one stage everyone would be better served if he were to “swim”.

On the Capathia, Maggie was elected president of the committee formed to look after the survivors’ welfare. She was dubbed “unsinkable” by an author who wrote a book about the disaster in the 1930s.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_floor show

The Unsinkable Molly Brown entertains a crowd on the Balmoral as part of the Titanic Memorial Cruise.

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Captain’s impeccable timing

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

Our captain’s timing was impeccable yesterday with the first words of his daily noon cruise report.

A few seconds either way and Captain Robert Bamberg would not have attracted the applause of passengers in the Neptune Lounge who were listening to authors Jack Eaton and Charles Haas present their talk, A Titanic Mythallany.

Jack was saying the lack of a public address system was the one factor above all others, including the shortage of lifeboats, that had contributed to the loss of at least 400+ lives in the Titanic disaster when …. “Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking,” could be heard throughout the Balmoral.

More than 400 people died for no other reason than the lack of communication on board the Titanic. While the available lifeboats could seat about 1600 people, 400+ seats were empty.

Jack said public address systems were not introduced to cruise ships until some years after the disaster. The only means the Titanic crew had to alert passengers of the impending tragedy was to knock on doors.

Captain Smith had only a loud hailer, which wasn’t sufficient enough to be heard on a ship the length of three American football fields and over the voices of people making their way to the lifeboats.

In less than 24 hours, on Sunday, April 15, 2012, we’ll be listening to the onboard Vicar conduct a memorial service for all those lost in that disaster 100 years ago. We expect his voice will be heard on the ship’s public address system.

Meeting the Titanic Memorial Cruise captain

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

Unlike Captain Lars, who had a beard and could pass for Billy Joel’s brother, on our Hawaiian cruise in 2006, Robert Bamberg doesn’t fit the traditional profile of a sea captain—he’s tall, slim and blond, of Swedish origin (I think). Before last night’s dinner, we were invited to meet the captain in the Neptune Lounge.

Timing was everything

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

Fifteen seconds on either side of the call “Hard to Starboard” would have made the world of difference to the fate of the Titanic and its passengers and crew.

During yesterday’s talk, A Titanic Mythallany, authors Jack Eaton and Charles Haas said research had shown that if the instruction to turn the wheel “Hard to Starboard” had been made 15 seconds earlier, the Titanic would have moved far enough from the iceberg to avoid extensive damage.

Fifteen seconds later and the ship would have hit the iceberg head-on. The front end would have been crushed but water would not have filled over two compartments and the Titanic would not have sunk.

But it seems fate would have it the Titanic was on a collision course with an iceberg no matter what.

The ship’s maiden voyage was initially set for March 20, 1912, but three times construction was delayed due to repair work that needed to be done on the sister ship Olympic. And the presence of icebergs in this part of the Atlantic Ocean in April was rare.

Jack and Charles also busted myths on the extent of damage caused by the iceberg (it wasn’t a 30-metre gash in the hull but a series of small incisions), and in what condition the car, made famous in the James Cameron’s movie Titanic, was being transported.

“If Rose and Jack had really had a love tryst in the backseat of that car, they would have been seeing a doctor soon after to have splinters removed,” Jack said.

At that time, cars were not transported whole. They were disassembled and packed into wooden crates.

Jack and Charles’s books, Titanic – Triumph and Tragedy, and Titanic – Destination Disaster, are available from Amazon.com.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_books

Authors Jack Eaton and Charles Haas sign their books.

PHOTO GALLERY

Titanic Memorial Cruise formal dinner

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

My selections from last night’s Titanic Dinner Menu, which was our chef’s interpretation of the Titanic’s dinner:

  • First Course: Salmon with Mousseline Sauce. Lightly poached salmon, with classic Hollandaise sauce and whipped cream.
  • Second Course: Cream of Barley. Barley simmered with vegetable stock and a dollop of whisky cream.
  • Third Course: Asparagus Salad. Blanched green and white asparagus, drizzled with champagne saffron vinaigrette.
  • Fourth Course: Punch Romaine. A real palate cleanser. A punch with crushed ice, fresh orange and lemon juice, white wine and drizzled with Bacardi rum.
  • Fifth Course: Filet Mignon Lili. Grilled to your liking, on sliced fried potatoes, served with roasted cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and Madeira sauce.
  • Sixth Course: Waldorff Pudding. Sautéed apple, raisins and ginger, baked with custard and sprinkled with caramelized walnuts.
  • Seventh Course: Selection of Cheese.
Titanic Memorial Cruise_asparagus salad

Asparagus Salad.

 

Titanic Memorial Cruise_Filet Mignon Lili

Filet Mignon Lili.

PHOTO GALLERY

It’s a small world after all

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

When Debbie, Damian, Don and I left Maryborough for this Titanic Memorial Cruise, we thought the city of 26,000 people was well represented having four residents among Australia’s 235 passengers.

We were wrong; there are six. Nisha Van Wyk and her daughter Mikaila are also here.

Nisha had seen our photo on the Fraser Coast Chronicle before leaving and once the cruise was underway, she contacted us via the reception.

Nisha is a teacher at Riverside Christain College and Mikaila attends Maryborough West School.

Our new friends from Canberra, Ian and Jenny, have told us Australia’s capital city also has six citizens onboard, but since Canberra has a much larger population than Maryborough—we’ve claimed a higher percentage of representation.

We’ve also met fellow Aussies from Perth and Ipswich on the Titanic Memorial Cruise 2012.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_group of six people

Damian and Debbie Foale, Nisha and Mikaila Van Wyk, Jocelyn and Don Watts.

PHOTO GALLERY

Ice cubes for Bradley

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 14, 2012

Here’s a photo for our 3-year-old grandson Bradley in Charleville, Queensland.

His mum was having trouble describing to him what an iceberg was; the only thing she had to relate it to was an ice cube.

So for Bradly, this is the closest we’ve seen to an iceberg so far on this Titanic Memorial Cruise.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_ice cubes

A glass of ice cubes.

PHOTO GALLERY

In memory of all those who sailed on the Titanic

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 15, 2012

It’s difficult to imagine what was going through the minds of people on board the Titanic on that fateful night on April 14/15 exactly  100 years ago.

Sitting in my cabin at 11.40 pm tonight as Captain Robert Bamberg gave his address and announced the start of two minutes silence I visualised myself hearing the ship hit an iceberg and then experiencing the chaos that followed.

I soon felt the horror of putting on my lifejacket, making my way through the corridor and pushing my way through crowds of people toward the lifeboats.

Yesterday the electricity failed for a just few seconds while I was in one of the ship’s lifts. That was long enough as I imagined being stuck in the lift while the ship was sinking. There’d be no way out.

It took a conscious effort to snap myself back to the present and focus on the purpose of the silence.

Passengers onboard the Balmoral tonight were divided into two groups for the first half of the memorial service starting at 1 am. One group met in a restaurant; the other is a lounge. As Debbie, Damian, Don and I made our way to the lounge,

I again started imagining myself slipping below the surface of the freezing waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and was thankful we were instead going to a memorial service.

There are 1305 passengers on board this ship, which is 198 less than the number of people who died in the Titanic disaster (1503).

As we slowly filed our way out of the lounge, I imagined myself in the same slow and tedious line, not peacefully walking towards the aft decks for the second half of the service, but desperately trying to get through the crowds to claim a seat in a lifeboat.

I wasn’t alone. Two men behind me were discussing what it would feel like to drown.

One said it would be “dreadful” to breathe in water; the other said it would only take one breath of water to drown but said the sensation would be euphoric. We all “breathed” fluid in our mothers’ wombs, after all, he said.

I preferred not to think about it and tuned them out to focus instead on the fruit tea being provided in commemorative mugs by staff as we filed through the doors.

As one of the last passengers to reach the aft decks, it was difficult to find even just a few centimetres of space through which I could take some photos.

Eventually, on the highest deck, a generous woman from Minnesota moved aside for a few moments to allow me some space. Her husband was also imagining how the passengers of the Titanic were feeling.

“Just think,” he said. “They would have been out here like this, the water about 20 degrees colder and once the Titanic’s lights went out it would have been pitch black (being a moonless night).”

The warm fruit tea I was still sipping from the mug was even more welcome, and I again thought how lucky I was to be on the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship, the Balmoral, rugged up in a warm jacket, scarf and gloves, and not experiencing the tragedy of 100 years ago.

I’m not a descendant or relative of the Titanic’s victims or survivors, just someone from the other side of the world who’s been touched by the stories of heroism, survival and tragedy… and ever so grateful that maritime laws have changed dramatically that travel by sea is now much safer.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_commemorative service

A scene from the top deck during the second half of the Titanic Memorial Cruise’s service.

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Steerage class ‘tea’

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 15, 2012

Last night our Titanic Memorial Cruise chefs treated us to a sample of the steerage class tea menu. I had Ragout of Beef with Potatoes and Pickles – a hearty beef stew with carrots and thickened with potatoes and vegetables, which was most enjoyable, evoking memories of the home-cooked meals I had as a child.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_Ragout of Beef

Titanic’s steerage class typical dinner: Ragout of Beef.

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­­Titanic tributes

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 15, 2012

Titanic Memorial Cruise_Floral tribute

Tributes are on display in the Titanic Memorial Cruise library.

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We’re on the move again

Oceans and Seas > Atlantic > North Atlantic > Gulf Stream
April 15, 2012

Our next stop on the Titanic Memorial Cruise is tomorrow night (Monday) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

We spend a full day there on Tuesday and then do the final leg of the Titanic Memorial Cruise journey to New York.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_cemetery

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Halifax

North America > Canada > Nova Scotia > Halifax
April 18, 2012

After Cobh, Ireland, my next favourite place in the world now is Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Deb described Canada as being: “Just like the USA without the steroids”.

The Canadian people are friendly; the place is relaxed, it’s easy to get around and feels safe.

Halifax is an industrial city and not what you’d call picturesque, that is except for the port itself where our ship, Balmoral, docked from Monday 6 pm to Tuesday 6 pm.

Keen to stand on firm ground again asap, Debbie & Damian, Ian & Jenny (from Canberra), Don & I couldn’t wait to disembark as soon as we docked.

We took a brisk walk along the boardwalk to a steakhouse, where we sat down and tucked into huge, fresh, steaks.

While on the subject of “fresh”, I’ll add here that with Halifax being a seaside port I (wrongly) thought maybe the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship would take the opportunity to stock up on fresh seafood so at last night’s dinner I asked how fresh the prawns were.

I hadn’t been game try them since the first day at sea in case they’d gone off. A waiter had laughed: “There’s nothing fresh on this ship!” Well, it was worth the question.

While in port we made the most of any fresh food we could find.

The Two Dees (Deb & Damian) and Ian & Jenny ordered lobsters straight from the tank for lunch at the Tug’s Pub for lunch at only $20 each, about half what they cost in Australia.

The day in Halifax was awesome.

We started out on foot via the same boardwalk as the night before and, being a shutterbug, I had to keep stopping every few paces to capture the incredible foggy waterside scenes.

We eventually made it into town and took a taxi to the graveyard where bodies recovered from the Titanic disaster were buried.

Initially, we and the Two Dees tried to book a day-long tour, but soon found it was fully booked so we did our own personal tour.

However, the constant stream of people from the many busloads of tourists going through the graveyard made it difficult to read the inscriptions and fully appreciate the moment.

We were able to read a few inscriptions though.

One grave in particular stood out for me: A 32-year-old Australian engineer who had boarded the Titanic bound for Canada where he was to meet with friends to go travelling.

His body was the 209th of 303 to be retrieved from the water; a book titled “209” has been written on his story.

His gravestone was much bigger than most others with his family paying the extra above what was provided by the shipping company that built the Titanic, White Starline.

The last body, 303, wasn’t retrieved until May 1912, a month after the disaster.

The engineer was one of only two Australians we’ve heard about since being on this trip. There were five – three died, and two survived.

One of the survivors was a nurse who had been living in England and not long before the trip, met a doctor. The two were to travel together but he, at the last minute, wasn’t able to sail. Had been on the ship, he, being a male, most likely would have died. She survived and the two met again later and married.

Titanic Memorial Cruise passengers also visited the Halifax museum where Titanic artifacts are kept, such as a deck chair that was retrieved from the ocean and restored.

After lunch at the Tug’s Pub in Halifax, the Three Dees (Deb, Damian & Don), headed back to the ship while Ian, Jenny and I found a taxi driver who’d take us over the city’s two bridges, show us some of Canada’s unique houses, and the memorial site for the 1916 disaster when two ships collided.

One ship was carrying ammunition and the collision caused a massive blast that flattened the surrounding area for 2.6 km and killed more than 3000 people.

That disaster, therefore, was bigger than the Titanic, but it isn’t as well known.

The best part of the day was being able to stretch our legs after being at sea for a week.

There is a gym on board. I got onto one of the treadmills about Day 3 and as Captain Bamberg would say “all was well”  — it was a magnificent view from the gym’s treadmill on one of the top decks overlooking the ship’s bow — until I looked down and, being prone to seasickness, the damn thing nearly threw me off!

It was like a bad case of vertigo so I hit the emergency stop button and haven’t been back since.

Pilates sessions onboard the Titanic Memorial Cruise happen daily at 3 pm. At least lying on the floor would mean I wouldn’t fall off anything, but we’re talking 3 pm here– that’s after lunch and siesta time, so forget it!

After our day of sightseeing and hiking around Halifax, we were all back on deck by 5.30 pm, in time for the Balmoral to set sail at 6 pm.

Today, Wednesday 18th is the Titanic Memorial Cruise’s last full day at sea. We should arrive in New York tomorrow at about 8 am, and leave the ship for our two booked tours– four hours each, one by day and the other by night.

We then have one more night onboard the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship Balmoral, and on Friday our luggage will be transferred directly to the airport while we do some more sightseeing before boarding the plane for home.

Titanic Memorial Cruise_bridge in New York

Brooklyn Bridge, New York.

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Finally home… in body, but the spirit is still catching up!

Oceania > Australia > Queensland > Maryborough

April 26, 2012

Wow, what a ride! After a bus terminal fiasco in New York that led to us spending six extra hours at the JFK Etihad air terminal instead sharing a farewell drink with Deb & Damian at Times Square, plus 30 hours in the air (broken by just a two-hour stint in Abu Dhabi), and then hitting the ground running (with photography bookings) before we’d even arrived back in Maryborough, it’s only now I can now update my blog of the Titanic Memorial Cruise 2012. Enjoy reading!

 

*First published as WhatsWattsDoin Blog at https://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/WhatsWattsDoin/

COURIER MAIL: Titanic tragedy remembered

Fancy Hunting for Boulder Opal? Start at Winton

If you’ve ever fancied yourself striking it lucky on an Australian opal field but felt it was daunting, the annual Winton Opal Festival is your chance to get the lowdown on all things Boulder Opal.

In July 2021, the Winton Opal Festival and Trade Show had everything for anyone interested in opal, Australia’s National Gemstone, and future years promise the same.

The Queensland Boulder Opal Association organised a line-up of 10 speakers to talk about opal mining, mine compliance, cutting, designing, valuing opal, jewellery, and more.

Stephen Tasic from Winton Opal Gems said visitors had the opportunity to liaise directly with miners, buyers and jewellers and even meet a genuine Outback Opal Hunter.

The Winton Opal Festival and Trade Show, which is open to the public, is the first event on the annual circuit for Australia’s eastern states, with shows in opal-producing areas such as Winton, Yowa and Lightning Ridge.

This year, QBOA will hold a second Opal Festival in September, coinciding with Winton’s famous biannual Outback Festival.

The festival usually attracts hundreds of people, so it is wise to book your accommodation well in advance.

For more details visit https://www.qboa.com.au/opalfestival/

 

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Stephen Tasic holds Boulder Opal at Winton Opal Gems.

Winton Opal Gems, Stephen Tasic

Stephen Tasic’s Opal Journey

Second-generation opal miner and part-time jewellery designer Stephen Tasic said his family came to opal mining in the mid-1980s.

“I came out here to Winton as a kid on school holidays from the Atherton Tablelands,” he said.

“My father was mining and buying opal off other miners. My family then sold the opal at the Kuranda markets through the 80s and 90s to visiting Australians, Americans, Japanese and other internationals.

“I found my first opal about three feet deep when I was about 16 years old. I think that memory pretty well hooked me, I got the fever, but it lay dormant for a few years!”

Stephen’s shop carries all kinds of opals including Queensland’s Boulder Opal, White Crystal Opal from Coober Pedy and Andamooka in South Australia, as well as Black Opal from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales.

“I even have some Mexican and some Ethiopian Opal. I like all opal no matter where it is from.”

Stephen said his ongoing opal journey takes him from Winton in the winter months to wholesaling with opal and jewellery shops around Australia in the summer months.

“Eight years ago, this journey led me to the biggest gem show in the world in Tucson, Arizona, selling and showcasing Australian opals to American designers. I’ve done many trips to the US in the past eight years.

“It has been an exciting journey. There is so much to learn and there is a new challenge every day. It’s a constant learning curve from exploration to mining, cutting, wholesaling, designing and retailing.

“This isn’t like working a normal job, for me anyway. There are so many aspects to the opal industry that many people rarely realise.”

Boulder Opal Fossicking Tips

Stephen Tasic’s top tip on how to fossick for opal is: “Eat your carrots so you have good eyes!”

“You can go to Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre or to the bush park at Opalton and pay for a permit to fossick at the designated fossicking area in Opalton. Then take a spray bottle and go for your life,” he said.

“When you pick up the stone and have a look, it pays to spray them with water in order to see the colour hidden in the boulder.

“We have a fossicking pit in front of our shop so we can show people what to look for.”

Stephen said some of the “gemiest” opal was often inside the rock.

“It’s a fine gem line, like the one I found when I was 16 years old.

“That was the finest, smallest line and I didn’t think much of it, but once cut, you could see it was a top gem. I wish I had it now. It would definitely have appreciated in price.”

Opalton to Jundah Run

Some of the best Queensland opals come from the run between Opalton and Jundah, which is more than 200km long by 60km wide.

“This run is prolific for producing some of the best quality opals,” Stephen said.

“The trinity of Australian opals is the Boulder, Black and Crystal opals, and we get all of it out here on the Queensland fields.

“Over the years, Crystal Opal coming out of Opalton, 120km out of Winton, has been prolific in volume and quality.

“But out here we mainly get the beautifully patterned Boulder Opal, which can often be brighter, more durable and better value than other opals.

“It’s mostly open-cut mining out here. I’m not a fan of underground mining, but over 800 old-timers during the Opal Rush before World War I were digging underground at Opalton for the spectacular Crystal Opal.

“Outside of the hand-mining area, we use excavators, bulldozers and drills to search for the opal.

“There’s so much potential here. There’s so much still under the ground. The only issue is there’s so much dirt with it, that it comes down to the economics of it.

“You need to be a jack of all trades, an operator, a bush mechanic, and above all, very patient.

“But if the old-timers did it, why can’t we? We just have to spend the time out in the bush.”

 

PHOTO GALLERY: WINTON

 

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Getting into the Opal Industry

Anyone interested in a career in the opal industry could start with doing apprenticeships in mining, as a machine operator, or in cutting opal, Stephen said.

“Opal mining is largely small-scale mining and not all of us are doing it for the money.

“It’s more about small family businesses or partnerships than it is about full-scale industrial mining.

“It’s a passion, and about uncovering Australia’s National Gemstone and presenting it in the best light we can to the world.

“Ninety-five per cent of the world’s sedimentary opal comes from Australia. We’re pretty lucky with that.

“If this resource was in any other country, 100 per cent of our opal fields would be claimed, or pegged, and being worked.”

Valuing Boulder Opal

Stephen Tasic said the value of Boulder Opal was largely in the eye of the beholder.

“It often depends on what you’re attracted to, but a general guide, the brighter or darker the opal, the more colours it has, the bigger the stone, or the cleaner the face, the more valuable it is.

“Then, there is the trump card, which is its pattern. The rarity of the pattern can change an opal from $100 a carat to $1000 a carat.

“The rarer the pattern, the more desirable and valuable the opal is.”

Boulder Opals as investments

Stephen said buying Bounder Opal was a wonderful investment, not only for its appreciation value but also for sentimental value.

“We have what we call fun stones at the lower end of the market. Then there are picture stones, the commercial grade, and then the high grade.

“Then there’s the super-high investment grade, which rarely gets showcased in Australia.

“Super-high investment-grade opal is available in Winton, Lightning Ridge and Coober Pedy with certain dealers and shopkeepers. You just need to ask for it.

“It helps that you have done your research first and have a budget in mind when talking with an opal dealer or shopkeeper, but when you find that special piece, sometimes the budget goes out the window! ”

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Boulder Opal Jewellery

Boulder Opal Necklace

Boulder Opal, Winton Opal Gems, Necklace.

Having your opals made into jewellery is a popular way to showcase your stones.

“Our award-winning jeweller has worked with Opals for over 30 years,” Stephen said.

“He’s very experienced. There’s a real art to it.”

Stephen also designs some jewellery and enters annual design competitions.

“Every piece of opal has a story that can lend itself to its own special one-of-a-kind design.

“If someone has a special piece of opal jewellery they would like advice about including how to look after it or have it valued, they’re welcome to bring it to our shop while they’re visiting Winton.”

 

 

 

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Top 5 ways to unwind with a reef tour

If you’re looking for a top spot to relax, far away from city crowds and office desks, the Hinchinbrook Channel near Cardwell is one of the best in Queensland.

Port of Call skipper Annette Swaine lives and breathes a boatie’s life, taking reef tours through the channel and helping people with their boating and fishing supplies.

“I’ve found my happy place,” she beamed.

I met Annette, affectionately known as ‘Swainie’, while recently visiting one of my sons, Steve, and his family in North Queensland where they now live and work, in paradise.  And I thought I was lucky just to visit!

When Steve suggested taking a reef tour through the Hinchinbrook Channel with Swainie, he didn’t have to twist my arm. The tour is listed on TripAdvisor as one of the best in the region. I quickly agreed.

Swainie was a terrific host, sharing lots of information throughout the four-hour trip onboard Osprey, Port of Call’s Sailfish Cat.

Below are the top 5 things I learned about the area that day.

 

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1. Crab fossils wash ashore at Ramsay Bay

Reef tour - woman holding fossilised crabs

Taking us ashore at Ramsay Bay, Swainie showed us crab fossils that had washed onto the beach. The species was unknown. Could they be rare Fiddler Crabs?

The Discover Port Hinchinbrook website reads:

“Fossilised crabs, including a species of Fiddler Crab (6000 years old) are found in the creeks of the Island and on the shore of Ramsay Bay.

“There are only two other places (Southern California and the Panama Canal) in the world where fossilised Fiddler Crabs have been found.”

Alas, Dr Marissa McNamara, Queensland Museum Collection Manager Crustacea, said this fossil was not a Fiddler Crab.

“It is a crab, but unfortunately the species cannot be determined from the photograph,” Dr McNamara said.

“This crab specimen is termed a subfossil. It is probably 5000 to 8000 years old, and as such represents one of the same species that we see living in the area today.

“Subfossils are often casts of crabs that have been in their burrows and gotten smothered with a heavy load of siltation from a flood.

“Generally soft-muddy bottom inshore or mangrove species are found, like mud crabs or sentinel crabs.

“Fiddler Crabs are not typically represented.

“Often fossils like this are deposited during times when the sea level was somewhat higher, and that is why they can get washed out of river banks or mangroves during cyclones or any change to the path of creek channels.

“They often turn up around the mouth of the Brisbane River, and Magnetic is another hot spot, but they can be found in many places, including Hinchinbrook Island.”

2. Hinchinbrook Channel is a nature photographer’s paradise

reef tour - sea creature

Sea creatures can be found on the beach of Ramsay Bay.

Heavy fog blanketed Cardwell as we set off about 8 am but soon we were beyond the fog and cruising across the tranquil waterway towards Hinchinbrook Island.

A few nautical miles out, eagle-eyed Swainie spotted a saltwater crocodile in an area they liked to frequent. She said crocs were regularly sighted there.

Saltwater crocodiles can be found from the tip of Cape York to as far south as Gladstone, and sometimes even further.

Queensland Department of Environment and Science records show crocodile sightings were reported at Burrum Heads and Toogoom as recently as April 2020.

Swainie said Hinchinbrook Channel was a major feeding ground for dugongs.

“Dolphins, green turtles and a wide variety of fish and crustaceans also live in the waterway,” she said.

Fishing wasn’t on our agenda but I was able to photograph garfish as they skimmed across the water’s surface. It was a photo opportunity too good to miss.

The area also supports a rich diversity of birdlife, including Torresian Imperial Pigeons, Torres Strait Pigeons (Ducula spilorrhoa) or nutmeg pigeons.

While ashore at Ramsay Bay, we were on the lookout for the vulnerable beach thick-knees (Burhinus neglectus), but we weren’t that lucky.

On Hinchinbrook Island, the tropical habitat also provides refuge for many endangered species including the giant tree frog.

3. You can get closer to nature on the Thorsborne Trail

reef tour - Hinchinbrook Channel

The Thorsborne Trail winds its way along the eastern edge of Hinchinbrook Island.

A few days earlier, Swainie had dropped off some backpackers at Ramsay Bay as they set off to hike the Thorsborne Trail (commonly known as the East Coast Trail).

The Discover Port Hinchinbrook website lists the Thorsborne Trail as one of the world’s best backpacking adventures.

“This 32km trail winds its way along the eastern edge of the magnificent island in the shadow of the rugged Mt Bowen,” it reads.

“It snakes its way through a tropical wilderness, along spectacular ocean beaches and crosses numerous crystal clear mountain streams.

“Campsites are on beautiful beaches, beside freshwater streams or near magnificent mountain stream waterfalls.”

As part of our reef tour, Swainie picked up the backpackers from George Point on the island’s southern end and ferried them back to Cardwell, all with cameras holding hundreds of photos of their adventure.

4. Charter a boat and go fishing   

reef tour - Port of Call

Fishing is a popular pastime at Cardwell and Hinchinbrook Island in North Queensland.

 Throwing a line in the water might have provided us with a dinner of fish that night, except this was an impromptu trip.

With some forward planning, things might have been different.

Swainie said North Queensland was internationally renowned as one of Australia’s tourism destinations.

“The Hinchinbrook Channel with its tranquil waters is an angler’s paradise,” she said.

“On the reef, you can fish for coral trout, mackerel, giant trevally or nannygai. Barramundi and mangrove jack can be found in the estuaries and rivers.”

 

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5. Research history

Rugged mountains on Hinchinbrook Island

A warplane that crashed in the rugged mountains of Hinchinbrook Island in 1941 remains scattered at the site.

 If you’re into researching history, there’s no shortage of topics with which to while away the hours in the Hinchinbrook Island and Cardwell areas.

After picking up the backpackers from George Point, we headed back to Cardwell. On the way, Swainie pointed to where the wreckage of a World War II plane still lies.

A Queensland Government website that’s dedicated to World War II history reports (in part) that on 18 December 1941, a USAAF Liberator bomber known as ‘Texas Terror’ lifted off from Garbutt airbase, Townsville, for Iron Range on the Cape York Peninsula but soon disappeared.

Searches were made but no trace of the plane was found until two Aborigines searching the gullies on Hinchinbrook Island for alluvial tin reported finding some burned US currency in the creeks at the base of Mount Straloch.

In early 1944, searchers found the wreckage on the southern flank of Mount Straloch. The aircraft had struck the face of the mountain some 150 to 180 metres below the summit, killing all 12 people on board.

The wreckage remains scattered over the area.

For more information on the wreckage, visit https://wanderstories.space/mt-straloch/ 

A return trip is on our bucket list

Our impromptu reef tour with Port of Call skipper Swainie gave us a preview of what we could see and do, in and around the Hinchinbrook Channel. A return trip is definitely on our bucket list.

Port of Call Boating and Fishing is located at Port Hinchinbrook, Cardwell. For more information visit https://portofcallshop.com.au/about-us/%20

Details on Hinchinbrook Island can be found at www.porthinchinbrook.com.au and https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/hinchinbrook

 

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Why hold world-class white water rafting championships at Tully?

Watching all the adrenalin pumping action on the first day of the 2018 Pre-World White Water Rafting Championship on 11 May was certainly a highlight of my five-week house-sitting stint in Tully.

Before visiting Tully, I knew the town of 2390 people and located 140 kilometres south of Cairns in North Queensland was reputed to be the wettest town in Australia.

It has an average annual rainfall of more than 4000 millimetres. The highest ever annual rainfall in a populated area of Australia, 7900 millimetres, was recorded in Tully in 1950.

The Golden Gumboot monument stands as a testament to these records.

At 7.9 metres tall, the boot represents the town’s record 1950 rainfall. An inside spiral staircase takes you to the top for a view of the town. Tully also holds an annual Golden Gumboot Festival.

 

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Australia’s best white water rafting river?

What I didn’t know was the nearby Tully River is arguably the best rafting river in Australia.

It’s no wonder Tully was chosen to host this year’s national rafting championship in May, which was a build-up event to the International Rafting Federation’s (IRF) 2019 World Rafting Championship (WRC).

On 11 May I was lucky enough to find a terrific spectator viewing spot to watch the first day of action when some of the world’s best rafters competed in the sprint and head-to-head disciplines.

In just a few hours I learnt a lot about the sport and watched in awe as rafters navigated their way through the Tully River’s rapids, fringed by world heritage tropical rainforest.

However, you don’t have to be the best in the world to experience the thrill of white water rafting on the Tully River throughout the year.

Thrill-seekers of all levels, even beginners, can book half or full-day tours through www.wildsideadventures.com.au or www.ragingthunder.com.au.

Below are some photos from the first day of the 2018 Pre-World White Water Rafting Championship at Tully.

white water rafting

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