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Showing posts from April, 2009

Across the Nullarbor Plain – A Modern Australian Pilgrimage

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Commissioned for Tourism Australia

Long after the original wanderings of Australia’s indigenous inhabitants, Europeans began to rediscover the vast Australian landscape. These monumental overland treks are now part of white man’s folklore as much for their audacity and bravery as their sheer foolhardiness.

In 1861, Burke and Wills staggered north into oblivion while Ludwig Leichhardt vanished in the middle of the country in 1848. However, one Englishman stands out as an accomplished explorer with an enviable, if unusual record of achievement. In 1840, soon after the formation of the colony of South Australia, Edward John Eyre gathered a large party and set out from Adelaide to cross the continent to Western Australia.

Unlike Burke and Wills, Eyre recognised the value of Aboriginal guides and many would argue his success was a direct result of their ancient bush skills. Just he and one trusted guide, Wylie, eventually completed the journey after four and a half arduous months. None too im…

Cool New Auckland

By Roderick Eime

Tamaki-Makau-Rau - ‘the maiden with a hundred lovers’ – may not sound like the most flattering of descriptions, but the Maori have a definite fondness for the region that provides a bounty of seafood in a setting of lush, rolling hills and a temperate climate.

Auckland was named in 1840 by the first Governor, Capt William Hobson after his commanding officer, Lord Auckland. It is the world’s largest Polynesian city with around 63 per cent of residents from European descent. 11 per cent are Maori, 13 per cent Pacific Islander and the growing Asian population is around 12 per cent.

The bustling city may have lost its mantle of political capital to Wellington in 1865, but maintains its rightful place as the economic hub of the country. As such, the crème of cosmopolitan life and all its trappings can be found in this friendly and dynamic metropolis.

Activities:

Adrenalin junkies love the Skyjump. Almost 200 metres up the Auckland Sky Tower, thrillseekers are attached to a cabl…

The Ultimate Australian Souvenir?

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Finding your own take-home treasure in the real Australian outback.

Pearler

Strolling along Dampier Terrace in Broome, you know you’re in the expensive part of town. Lined up along the street adjacent Roebuck Bay are all the big names in Australian pearling; Linneys, Kailis and Paspaley.

Sprinkled amongst the big ticket families are galleries, stores and retailers all catering to the fascination with Pinctada Maxima the Australian South Sea Pearl. Renown for their size and lustre, the Aussie pearl grows happily in the tidal-fed, nutrient-rich waters, producing some of the finest pearls anywhere in the world.

When buccaneer and explorer, William Dampier first sailed along the coast in Cygnet in 1688, he collected botanical specimens and a few shells from the beautiful but otherwise desolate landscape. He returned aboard Robuck in 1699, but still failed to recognize the rich lode that hid tantalizingly below the waves.

It wasn’t until the latter part of the 19th Century that pearl shells wer…

A Gem in the Rough

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Originally published in Emirates Portfolio: [See PDF]


The harsh Queensland gemfields attract their fair share of dreamers and drop-outs. Some find their El Dorado, but most luck out. Not Peter Brown.

Some success stories read like a fairy tale. When Peter Brown arrived penniless in the hot, dry and dusty Queensland outback town of Rubyvale in late ‘70s, his decrepit VW combi spluttering and smoking, one could be forgiven for thinking this was some lost hippy bum blowing in from nowhere.

But despite this clumsy beginning, Peter fell entranced with the allure of this tiny village three hours west of Rockhampton, right on the Tropic of Capricorn. Like the neighboring hamlets of Sapphire, Anakie and Emerald, the wealth was hidden in the dirt. Unlike the legendary El Dorado, Rubyvale’s streets were not paved with gold but littered with gems.

The young Peter Brown was transfixed by the tales he heard from the old miners at the bar of the local inn.

"The yarn that really got me going wa…