Queensland


Last November I was fortunate enough to dive the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns during the natural wonder’s marvellous annual coral spawning.

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While at Moore Reef pontoon I spoke to marine biologists engaged in the first attempt at a new, highly innovative reef rescue technique.

Called larval restoration, it gives hope that some corals will soon be better able to resist mass bleaching. And it relies on the amazing outburst of new life provided by the synchronous mass spawning event.

READER’S DIGEST (June 2020) has my eight-page feature about this exciting new development in the ongoing struggle to save our coral reefs from the worst effects of climate change.

The issue is out now. Look for the charismatic little white dog on the cover!

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On the Road Magazine online has published my travel piece (‘A Real-Life Jurassic Park’) on wondrous Wallaroo Outback Retreat on Wallaroo Station. This Carnarvon Ranges (Queensland) cattle station is twice the size of Sydney and features a flourishing bush ecosystem, cycad ‘dinosaur plants’ aplenty and a truly astonishing array of Aboriginal rock art, including many evocative hand stencils. Boobook Ecotours are the folk to contact for tours and stays.

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IMG_1133Happy New Year! The current issue of Diabetic Living magazine features my profile of Greg Donovan for its regular ‘Diabetes Hero’ feature.

Founder of the annual Big Red Bash music festival and Big Red Run desert race, Greg has used these outback events to raise $1.1 million for Type 1 diabetes research over the last five years.

Talking with Greg at the 2018 Bash was a real honour. And the festival’s far-flung setting – 35km beyond Birdsville beneath Big Red, the Simpson Desert’s largest dune – is beyond spectacular.

It’s claimed as the most remote music festival in the world, and I can vouch for it as the ideal location for an earful of decibels from the Hoodoo Gurus, John Farnham et cetera.

 

A few weeks ago I was on Wallaroo station in outback Queensland, a bush wonderworld of sandstone escarpments, lush cycad gorges and traditional Aboriginal hand-stencil rock art. The Travel & Indulgence supplement of today (and yesterday’s) Weekend Australian newspaper has the story, titled Hands On In The Carnarvon Range. Many thanks to Justin and Pauline of Wallaroo Outback Retreat for their hospitality and Craig of Roma’s Boobook Tours for sharing his ecological expertise.

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Here’s more Birdsville coming at ya – the new READER’S DIGEST (September 2018) has my feature story on the way-outback Queensland town.

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Running eight pages, it covers all things Birdsville – the famous Races and associated carnival, including Fred Brophy’s Boxing Tent; the iconic Birdsville Hotel; the broad lonely expanses of the Birdsville Track to Marree in South Australia; and the Big Red Bash music festival on the edge of the Simpson Desert nearby.

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The new issue of AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER (Aug-Sep-Oct 2018) is out and about. This one’s a Bucket List special of must-do Oz experiences, and has my yarn on the Birdsville Races and Track, way out in the deepest pocket of Queensland’s wild southwest.

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The current Australian Geographic (July-August 2018) has my story on RangerBot, the new generation of starfish-killing robot which may one day be on regular patrol in Queensland waters. IMG_9366

Developed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientists, the ocean-going robot uses artificial intelligence to hunt down and take out Crown of Thorns starfish (COTS) which, in plague proportions, are a leading cause of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef.

IMG_9367I spoke to roboticist Dr Matthew Dunbabin of QUT about RangerBot’s capabilities and potential – and also how it has improved on the earlier model, COTSbot.

IMG_8612The new AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER (May/June/July issue, out now) has my story on all that’s exciting and absorbing in the Ipswich and Scenic Rim area of south-east Queensland, from spectacular scenery to fabulous food to one of the nation’s most happeningly huge country music festivals – CMC Rocks.

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I rather like the cosmological theory of a world turtle holding the planet on its back. And I’ve no doubt the Mon Repos universe rests on a turtle’s shell.

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The latest issue of Australian Traveller magazine (Feb-Mar-Apr 18: Outback Special) carries my tale about Mon Repos Turtle Centre. A beach near Bundaberg (Queensland), Mon Repos is one of the South Pacific’s most important rookeries for endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The turtle research and conservation programs emanating from there are second to none. Read all about it!

 

You won’t have to dig too far to unearth the current issue of YOURS magazine – flip to pages 56-58 for my travel yarn on digging dinosaurs, riding an old-time stagecoach, cruising a turtle-filled river, checking out the golden years of aviation and generally digging outback hospitality in western Queensland.

IMG_8245The story focuses on the vicinity of Winton and Longreach, immortalised by bush poet Banjo Paterson as “the vision splendid of the sunset plains extended”.IMG_8243

These days Winton is the ‘Dinosaur Capital of Australia’, while Longreach is home to many heritage outback attractions, such as the Qantas Founders Museum.IMG_6052

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