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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Whale swim in NSW south coast: with 3AW radio Melbourne

Can you imagine the sound of a pod of racing humpbacks? We’re in the thick of whale season, and Australia’s south and east coasts are pinging with cetaceous shenanigans. Last week, I even took a whale swim with ethical sealife tour operator Wobegone in Jervis Bay, on the NSW south coast.

Note that there are currently no whale swims in our state – still a relatively new experience in Australia – which is why I crossed the border, and donned the wetsuit in Jervis Bay.

I had a chat with Melbourne radio station 3AW today about swimming with whales, and the best place to see whales here in Victoria.

However, Victoria has currently spectacular whale watching – I did a ringaround before the interview, and my head is filled with stories of people looking out their windows at whales, seeing them on their morning walk, spotting them on the ferry… the big ones are definitely in town!

You can spot them right across Victoria’s south coast – from Portland to Warrnambool, on the ferry from the Bellarine to the Mornington Peninsula, on The Prom and then they turn north, to head up Australia’s east coast. It really is magical!

The whales’ annual migration from Antarctica to its breeding and calving grounds off the Australia coastline is now on, and we’ll see our biggest visitors around for the next six months.

My whale swim trip was hosted by boutique hotel Bannisters by the Sea in Mollymook, which is owned by British chef Rick Stein and features an exceptional, sustainable seafood restaurant. And to get there, keeping the sustainability focus, I drove to Mollymook in a Polestar electronic car.

LINKS

Woebegone Freedive https://www.woebegone.com.au/

Bannisters by the Sea https://www.bannisters.com.au/mollymook/

Polestar https://www.polestar.com/au/


The World Awaits: Bali and memorable wildlife encounters

On this week’s episode of my travel podcast The World Awaits, we discover how to have the best wildlife encounter (best for you, best for the wildlife), and is Bali really all it’s cracked up to be? Also, sip your way around the world at these leading wine destinations and find out how you can while away your time (for free!) at the airport. What an episode!

My co-host Kirstie catches up with award-winning wildlife photographer and journalist Rachelle Mackintosh to chat about the powerful impact of seeing wildlife in their domain. She shares hair-raising tiger encounters, talks of her obsession with sighting whales, and explains how you can ensure you’re doing the right thing by the wildlife experience you book, ⁠https://faunographic.com/⁠

I chatted with Bali-based author and travel writer Penny Watson, who moved to the Island of the Gods in the midst of the pandemic. Penny talks about how not to be an absolute loser when you visit Bali, and how to spread the love. We’re talking Kintamani, the waterfalls of Munduk, Amed on the east coast and Lovina in the north – basically anywhere beyond Ubud, Kuta and Canggu – for access to local businesses, ceremonies, and a connection to the Balinese people. She’s also just released her new book, Wilderness, which you can order here⁠ pennywatson.com.au/books⁠

Also, here’s the link to Alex the Flemish Giant bunny at San Francisco’s airport,  take a listen to Belle’s chat with ABC radio Melbourne, talking about how to while away the time in airports around the world,

And a big shout out to our producer ⁠Alaisdair Leith⁠ for his zen-like patience, and to you for listening! Don’t be afraid to subscribe to The World Awaits via your favourite podcast wrangler or at ⁠theworldawaits.au⁠

https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theworldawaits/episodes/Episode-12–Bali-and-memorable-wildlife-encounters-e28n42p


Tonga: pitch perfect

Tongan Beach Resort  PHOTO: Belle Jackson

“We Tongans party today, and there’s nothing on the table tomorrow,” a
Tongan woman tells me as we queue at Tongatapu’s airport. It’s 2am, I
haven’t even set foot in the country and already I’ve been warned that
Tongans are hardened socialites.

Looking around, I realise it’s true. You’re nobody if you’re not
kissing a staff member. Customs officers, passport controllers, baggage
handlers – they’re all wrapped in warm, loving embraces from the
passengers from our plane, all serenade by a tuneful, live ukulele band.
I guess there’s a reason why Captain Cook called them the Friendly
Islands.

My recent story in Air Niugini’s inflight magazine, Paradise,
finds the song of Tonga, from ukulele bands at the airport to the
ancient, deep and almost mournful whalesong that reverberates through
the water and into my bones.

It’s not a country high on the tourism radar, and I can’t work out
why. Surely the great Aussie tropical getaway is the new one-two – first
stop Fiji, second stop Tonga (the whale-loving archipelago of Vava’u is
now connected by direct flights to the Fijian capital, Nadi).


Tonga: pitch perfect

Tonga Belinda Jackson.JPG

Tongan Beach Resort  PHOTO:Belle Jackson

“We Tongans party today, and there’s nothing on the table tomorrow,” a Tongan woman tells me as we queue at Tongatapu’s airport. It’s 2am, I haven’t even set foot in the country and already I’ve been warned that Tongans are hardened socialites.

Looking around, I realise it’s true. You’re nobody if you’re not kissing a staff member. Customs officers, passport controllers, baggage handlers – they’re all wrapped in warm, loving embraces from the passengers from our plane, all serenade by a tuneful, live ukulele band. I guess there’s a reason why Captain Cook called them the Friendly Islands.

My recent story in Air Niugini’s inflight magazine, Paradise, finds the song of Tonga, from ukulele bands at the airport to the ancient, deep and almost mournful whalesong that reverberates through the water and into my bones.

It’s not a country high on the tourism radar, and I can’t work out why. Surely the great Aussie tropical getaway is the new one-two – first stop Fiji, second stop Tonga (the whale-loving archipelago of Vava’u is now connected by direct flights to the Fijian capital, Nadi).

 

 


Global Salsa

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