I’m a journalist, travel writer, editor and copywriter based in Melbourne, Australia. I write pacy travel features, edit edifying websites and fashion flamboyant copy. My articles and photographs have appeared in publications worldwide, from inflight to interior design: I’ve visited every continent, and have lived in three. Want to work together? Drop me a line… 

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State of the nation: Jimmy Rees’s Australia

What saved you during Australia’s lockdowns? Was it cake? Boxes of wine or chocolates? Netflix, or perhaps it was Jimmy Rees.

The Melbourne-based comedian found himself unemployed at the beginning of the pandemic, and in his own words, just started mucking around with videos that he posted on social media – see media www.jimmyrees.com.au And he went viral.

In parodying states and territories’ stances on such issues as border closures, mask-wearing and the convoluted rules around daily exercise and social interaction (“yes, you can book a restaurant for 20 people. No, you can’t have 20 people over to your home for a dinner party”) he revealed much about Australia and Australians.

I’m a fan – I’ve been a fan since I watched him as a children’s TV presenter (yes, I may have potty-trained my daughter while watching him play Jimmy Giggle to a stuffed owl). So I leapt at the opportunity to interview him for this travel feature in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers’ Traveller section, where we asked him to cast his laser eye over the states and territories.

You can click here to read this cover story, where I play straight woman to Jimmy’s wild  wanderings, as he covers bogans, wild animals, closed rooftop bars and the Flannelette Curtain (it’s in Tassie, if you’re interested…)

Ah, the Gold Coast. The weather, the beaches, the cruisy lifestyle. Everyone’s got a sports car, and there’s lots of bling. It’s flashy and it’s full of cashed-up bogans. (Actually, I don’t think you really need to say there are bogans in Queensland. It’s like a silent “k”). But Queenslanders are like, ‘yeah, we know, and it’s fine. But we have the best weather, so where would you rather be?’ Well, perhaps not Brisbane. You fly into it and then realise it really doesn’t have a beach and you ask yourself ‘Why did I come to Brisbane? I should have just gone to the Goldie or the Sunshine Coast to be with all of the cashed-up bogans’.

Enjoy our wander through the Lucky Country!


Street art goes to new heights: The Adnate, Perth, Australia

Living in Melbourne, it’s hard not to love street art. We have such great galleries around the city, including Hosier Lane in the city centre, but stretching out to Fitzroy, Collingwood and neighbouring suburbs, where the local councils have encouraged a culture of street art, you can spy fabulous, big-scale murals across entire buildings.

One of the city’s best-known artists, Matt Adnate, has taken it one step further with his mega-murals down laneways and up high-rise buildings. So it’s great to see he’s become the newest face of the Art Series hotels, who dedicate each of its hotels to a singular artist.

The Adnate opened in Perth last week, and it’s a traffic-stopper, with a 25-storey mural on the hotel’s exterior, the largest mural in the southern hemisphere.

You can read more about it here, in my article for the Traveller section in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.


Loving the living in Melbourne, the world’s most livable city, again

Pelligrini’s bar & cafe, Melbourne

If you were wondering where in the world to live, it’s official – yet again: Melbourne has pulled off a hat-trick as the world’s most livable city, three years running.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s annual survey saw us bump Vancouver down to third place, and Vienna is in second. A note to those who haven’t yet visited: no matter how much we moan about winter, our winters don’t come with thigh-high snow.

We have a ridiculously good cafe scene, vibrant street art, leafy streets and a marked absence of tanks or chemical warfare going on, which no doubt helped us pip the 139 other cities in the competition, which finds poor Damascus, Syria, now at the bottom of the list.

So I take this blog to tell the current Victorian premier, Dr Denis Napthine, to stop carving the city up with his ridiculous, overpriced and under-researched road schemes. Just because you don’t like Collingwood, doesn’t mean you have to wipe it off the map with a freeway. One of the key considerations for the EIU is infrastructure (as well as stability, culture & environment, healthcare and education), and that means public transport.

Street art, Melbourne

If you were in doubt as to Melbourne’s livability, you could go for second-best and choose Adelaide, Sydney or Perth, who were also in the top 10. Aww, makes you proud to be an Australian, doesn’t it?

The top 10
Melbourne, Australia
Vienna, Austria (hello Andrew!)
Vancouver, Canada (um, cold, anyone?)
Toronto, Canada (yep, cold, too)
Calgary, Canada (possibly colder)
Adelaide, Australia  (also very good coffee, thanks to all the Italians)
Sydney, Australia (yeah, yeah, whatevs)
Helsinki, Finland (see cold comment, above)
Perth, Australia
Auckland, New Zealand

The bottom 10 (most of which are on my hitlist except Lagos, which just sounds scarey)
Tehran, Iran (lovely, lovely city)
Douala, Cameroon
Tripoli, Libya
Karachi, Pakistan
Algiers, Algeria
Harare, Zimbabwe
Lagos, Nigeria
Port Moresby, PNG
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Damascus, Syria


Do Peru with divas or Prague on a pittance: Travel deals & kids on the road, August 11 2013

African drumming for families at the Darebin
Music Feast, Sept 18-29, musicfeast.com.au

Forget play doh, get the kids to shake it with an African drumming session this school holidays. Otherwise, hit Perth with a budget, Peru with a bunch of divas or find a bargain in Prague’s historic old town in this week’s domestic and international travel deals.

GO NOW: WESTERN
AUSTRALIA, PERTH
Save on stays in a four-star self-contained
studio apartment at All Suites Perth, with midday
checkout and free wifi included on two-night stays Friday to Sunday until early
December. Normally $300, costs $256, two nights, quote “Studio Stay 2
Save 20%”. 1300 88 7979, wotif.com/hotelW4628.
GO SOONER: PERU
& ARGENTINA
Get a five-star stay and half-day city tour of Lima when
you book a 14-night tour of Peru & Argentina by August 30. The group will cover Macchu Pichu, fabulous Buenos Aires and Mendoza.
Departs 10 November, quote ‘SHPERU’, $7699, travellingdivas.com.au.
Staré Město: Prague’s evocative old town.

GO LATER: CZECH
REPUBLIC

Stay four nights, pay for three in a range of Prague
hotels from November 1 until December 28  including the four-star Hotel Leonardo, from $50 a night with breakfast. 1300 363
554, beyondtravel.com.au.
KIDS
Let your little musos get their groove on at the Darebin
Music Feast, in Melbourne’s inner-north in the upcoming school holidays,
18-29 September. Expect pop-up performances spaces, CD launches and shows by
young artists including Miss Eileen and Yorque, African drumming workshops and
family go-go dance classes. Free (some require bookings), musicfeast.com.au

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