Friday, June 8, 2012

Australia: tick?

Yesterday I went to a vineyard not so far from home for a function to launch a TV travel series about Australia presented by Judy Bailey, aka 'Mother of the nation'. She's a long-time newsreader shamefully discarded by TV1 when they thought her time had got a bit too long (no such qualms about her male co-reader, natch) who is hoping to have found a new niche on the box. She's too nice for me to carp about how celebrity-travellers like her are taking over magazine travel pages leaving nonentity freelancers like me scrabbling to find takers for our stories (oh, sorry, that was indeed a carp) - and from the edited-highlights video we were shown, she's a natural for the job.

As I watched, though, happily working my way through the tasting plates of crocodile kebabs, kangaroo carpaccio, stinging nettle cheese, tuna and macadamia, tiger prawns, oyster shots in myrtle tea, bush tomato lamingtons and other tasty exotica, I couldn't help but notice that I've, er, been there, done that, met him, kayaked down that river, stood on that peak, swum with those sealions. Judy, like so many Kiwis, had until now just done the usual Melbourne/Sydney/Gold Coast crescent, so she was blown away by the colours and ancient rocks and open spaces and turquoise sea and fabulous food of the rest of the country/continent, and her enthusiasm is exactly what Tourism Australia was wanting, and what they hope will inspire a rush of tourists across the Ditch.

But I've been doing exactly that for the last nine years, and in my dozen or so trips to Australia during that time, I reckon I've pretty much knocked the bastard off. Damn! I've sure had plenty of fun there, and been astonished and awed and amused, and done some amazing things. I'd really hate to think I've done it all.

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