australia

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Melbourne, Australia: Alt.shopping tips for those who don't shop, but buy

Melbourne, Australia: Alt.shopping tips for those who don't shop, but buy

People like me -- men mostly, I suspect -- don’t like shopping. We certainly buy things, but what some people call shopping seems to entail hours of looking with little to show for it. That’s browsing and that isn’t me. I go to shops and buy things. Sometimes very stupid things. Which explains why I have a beautiful...

Sunshine Coast, Australia: Land, sea and me

Sunshine Coast, Australia: Land, sea and me

There are things you do on holiday you’d never contemplate at home: like careering around a race track with your backside just centimetres above the tarmac. I’m throwing my go-kart into S-bends, accelerating out of corners, feeling the simultaneous rush of fear and laughter as I hit the hairpin too fast . . . I don’t...

SAMSON AND DELILAH, a film by WARWICK THORNTON (Madman DVD)

SAMSON AND DELILAH, a film by WARWICK THORNTON (Madman DVD)

Two years ago I was in and around Alice Springs, a town that trades on the idea it is close to Uluru. It isn't. The town has a fascinating, if brief, white-fellah history, the landscape in that part of the desert is spectacular, and as an outsider it was hard to get a grip on Aboriginal life in the area. The rumours were bad enough, the...

Sydney, Australia: The Coastal Track

Sydney, Australia: The Coastal Track

To tell the truth, I lied. When The Coastal Track people sent information about their three-day hike through Sydney’s Royal National Park there was a section asking about my fitness. I exaggerated enormously and said I exercised “once a week“. And on the first day when I queried Colin, our guide, about the route he...

Sydney, Australia: Up, up and away

Sydney, Australia: Up, up and away

The American poet William Carlos Williams had an astute and true observation about travel: “I have discovered that most of the beauties of travel are due to the strange hours we keep to see them.” There was certainly some bleary-eyed beauty at Parramatta Park west of Sydney as night wheeled towards a red dawn to the sound of...

Gold Coast, Australia: The singer not the song

Gold Coast, Australia: The singer not the song

The night we scattered my mother's ashes on the Broadwater at Surfers Paradise where she had lived, Silvio sang to us. I recognised him as soon as we entered Fratelli's restaurant, he had sung to me in another place in Surfers a few years back. The story then as I remember it was that it had been one of his sons' restaurants and Silvio, a...

Sydney, Australia: I'll be back. Or not.

Sydney, Australia: I'll be back. Or not.

My recollection is this, that after having interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger for some ludicrous and subsequently unsuccessful movie I went back to my room overlooking Sydney Harbour and read the booklet about my expensive hotel's many merits. Among them was a cigar bar and -- having talked cigars with Arnie -- I decided this might be a nice...

Perth, Western Australia: Journey to the end of the world

Perth, Western Australia: Journey to the end of the world

For many years I thought Perth was in Western Australia. Then I went there. My recollection is this: up at around 5am to get a taxi to the airport to wait two hours before departure, three hours to Melbourne or Sydney or wherever it was to wait another two hours before the five hour flight to Perth. It seemed to take a couple of days to get...

Sydney, Australia: High, wild and gone

Sydney, Australia: High, wild and gone

Frank was never going to make old bones. He was an Aussie wide-boy and after a wild, suburban youth and service in Vietnam he'd returned to Sydney and become a stuntman. He was stocky, but larger than any room he occupied. His speaking voice terrified children and his raucous laugh set off car alarms, but he was gentle with his young...

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