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 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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Chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, and yet…

…chances of anyone going to Mars in the next few decades are increasing. The US and China are making Mars-ward gestures of late, and the Mars Society is up to all kinds of exciting simulated missions in extreme Earth environments.

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In April’s Reader’s Digest (out now) I talk to Dr Jonathan Clarke of the Mars Society (that’s NOT him on the left!), an international outfit with an interplanetary goal – furthering the know-how that might lead to human exploration of the Red Planet. Red all about it!

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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