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The Port of Fremantle {Photo Junket}

By on Sep 18, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

  The former convict port of Fremantle, or ‘Freo’ as the locals like to call it, is Perth’s cooler more chilled out cousin. For this weeks Photo Junket I wanted to take you to a favourite haunt of mine and located only 20kms south of Perth, Fremantle can feel like a world away from the city of Perth. A relaxed, creative, eclectic and eco-conscious atmosphere will greet you as you cross the Swan River. Famous for its ‘Cappuccino Strip’ of cafes and gourmet restaurants, there is plenty to see with various markets, galleries, heritage listed buildings, bars and pubs to keep you entertained. My personal favorite is sipping a coffee at the Fremantle Arts Centre before heading over to indulge in fresh fish and chips at the Fishing Boat Harbor. Fremantle makes for an excellent day trip or for a week long holiday when visiting Western Australia.            ...

Perth Sneaker Swapmeet 25th September

By on Sep 5, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

Perth’s premiere Sneaker Swapmeet is on once again on the 25th of September and is again proudly presented by 1Up Micro Cinema and Store Twenty3. We checked out the inaugural event earlier in the year and weren’t disappointed with the enthusiasm and quality of items on offer from Perth’s own sneaker elite. Here’s what the lads have to say: Buy, sell or trade retro and custom kicks in a relaxed environment. Meet fellow sneakerfreakers and share your passion. From Jordan’s to SB Dunks, Vans to Reebok Pumps, grab a bargain or offload parts of your collection to people who will appreciate it. The Perth Sneaker Swapmeet forms part of the Outskirts Festival occurring on and around William Street on Sunday September 25th. If you’re interested in the event or want to register for the swapmeet, click here....

In Search of Monk Bread at New Norcia Monastery

By on Aug 25, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

Bread! One of man’s simple dietary staples. However, sadly not for me as recently I’ve been forced to admit to myself that I am in fact, allergic to bread. So when Peter suggested that we should try the legendary monk bread baked at the Spanish influenced monastery of New Norcia, I thought it might be worth ignoring my allergy to drive the two hours north from Perth to satisfy my insatiable bread cravings. Not that the Monks claim their bread has any miracle cures, but I was desperate  and bread deprived enough to convince myself that maybe monk bread was different… crazy things women do for a slice of bread hey? Steeped in history, New Norcia is the only remaining monastery town in Australia. The site was originally developed in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks to introduce their catholic religion to the locals, including many of the Aboriginal community. The site is a collection of about sixty five well preserved buildings exhibiting beautiful Spanish architecture that had been built by the monks and craftsmen over the past 160 years. The buildings include countless chapels, segregated schools, a hotel, flour mill, apiary, art gallery as well as the impressive monastery itself. My search for monk bread would begin with a step back in time as the only way to visit the monastery is by a walking tour (run daily at 11am and 1.30pm) which guides visitors through the various buildings remaining on the site, many of which have been fully restored to their former glory. Wandering through the brick archways and past the mural painted walls instantly took me back to visiting the monastery of Montserrat in Spain. The gardens serenaded by church bells chiming are dotted with large olive trees and rustic vineyards which are used to produce port and wine. I still hadn’t come across the Bakery though, of which our tour guide informed us still uses stone ovens that are over one hundred years old. This elusive miracle bread just kept getting better and better! We had had the opportunity to see intricately crafted chapels and priceless paintings all before concluding at the museum and gift shop two hours later. The tour of town provided a glimpse of life devoted to god and houses one of the biggest collections of religious art in the Southern Hemisphere, with some pieces sent to the monks as gifts from the Vatican. But at the end of the tour I looked at Peter feeling cheated with one eyebrow raised looked pleadingly at him. Where was the bread? He responded “oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the bakery doesn’t open to public!” The look I then gave him silenced him as he looked into the eyes of a crazed woman deprived of bread and full of false hopes. So giving into defeat, I decided we should visit the last building remaining, the gift store. And then after casting my eyes over one too many monk figurines, Australiana souvenirs and religious paraphernalia, I saw it. It was a miracle! There it was, a stack of golden baked loaves surrounded by an aura that must have been sent from the man himself.  They were what I had come to all this way to find, crusty loaves of goodness! I snatched up a big loaf of fresh white bread infused with rosemary, semi dried tomato and olives. Purchasing the bread, Peter and I finished off our perfect day with a picnic sharing a cheeky splash of vintage port, gourmet chutney and of course my monk bread under the lingering shade of an ancient gum tree before heading home to Perth. New Norcia is a relaxing and idyllic town to stop in on. Whether it’s a planned visit from Perth, or you’re just passing by on the Great Northern Highway, it’s well worth the effort to stop and experience the tranquil pace of life and to learn about some of Western Australia’s remarkable history. By the way if you’re in Perth and want to get your hands on some monk bread, check out their local store in Mount Hawthorn. Oh, and as yummy as that special monk bread is, I was still allergic to it – oh well back to...

The Strange and Alluring Pinnacles Desert {Photo Junket}

By on Aug 10, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

Like eerie fingers erupting up from a desert wasteland, the ghostly Pinnacles situated in the Nambung National Park near Cervantes is said by those indigenous to the area to be inhabited by evil spirits. For this week’s photo junket I thought I’d take you on a journey into this harsh environment and to a place that is avoided by some Indigenous Australian’s and sadly, a place that your children’s children may never have the chance to see due to the constant wind erosion of the site. Niki and I visited here on our way to Desperation Beach as part of an experimental tourism project we were working on and were mesmerized by the sight of hundreds of limestone mounds that scattered across the plain which eventually rendezvous with the Indian Ocean. The Pinnacles are about a one and a half hours drive north of Perth along the new Indian Ocean Drive and is an easy day trip. The cost is about $10 per car and after 4.30pm it’s by honour box, which is well worth visiting at this time if you want to photograph some of the most extraordinary sunsets. Just watch out for the creeping shadows as they reach out for your soul…        ...

Visiting Monkey Mia and Feeding the Dolphins

By on Jul 24, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

  ‘Peter, do exactly what I say! Look at me and do not panic. I want you to stand up and walk towards me nice and steadily. Whatever you do, don’t panic, there is a snake just behind your heel’.  With that I quietly got up from my seat at the bar at Monkey Mia Resort in Northern Western Australia and walked towards my wife all whilst trying not to wet my pants. It was a glorious afternoon in Monkey Mia, the crystal blue waters of the world heritage listed Shark Bay were lapping the bay and the local bar was dotted with travellers from all over the world downing a nice cold one.    I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word snake I run as fast I can, screaming like a 4 year old girl who didn’t get an ice cream from the Mr. Whippy van. So it boggles me that when the world snake was shouted out in the bar, instead of the crowd erupting into panic, everyone got their cameras out and tried to take a photo with it. You’ve got to love European and Japanese tourists. I also loved the great Aussie character, who pops up every bar, skulls a XXXX and then shouts out “that one’s a really deadly one” before doing a Steve Irwin and shooing it off back towards the camp site (Not sure if you can actually shoo a snake).   Niki and I were in Monkey Mia stopping over for two days on the way to Carnarvon for a spot of fishing with my grandfather. Monkey Mia is arguably Western Australia’s most visited tourist destination and this is due to the iconic dolphins that come in to feed at the beach.  Some decades ago when Monkey Mia was just a hideaway for locals and long before mass tourism came along, families would feed the local pod of dolphins as they camped in the area.  The dolphins realising the benefits of the food free for all,  hung around and before long things started to get a little carried away. Today Monkey Mia is regulated by the Department of Conservation and Environment and there are strict laws in place to protect the dolphins. Feeding is still allowed however only a hand full of people will be chosen by volunteers each morning and there is not guarantee dolphins will come in. Incidentally, they only feed the female dolphins as the males can get too aggressive. Niki was lucky enough to be selected and she was cooing with the best of them.   So here are a few tips to be selected to feed the dolphins. First of all, forget about it in the first session at 7.45am. This is when all the tour groups are there and you will be fighting the crowds. Come back for the second feeding a little later in the morning. Some mornings there is also a  third feeding. Don’t stand next to children; you have no chance ending that match made in heaven. Niki was chosen as she stood right at the end of the line and some of the dolphins often timidly sit  to the side of the main cluster of people. Also people aren’t aloud to feed the dolphins twice. So try to remember who fed in the first session and stand next to them in the second session. Finally, work out who the feeding volunteers are as they are usually staying on site (backpackers) and buy them a drink.   Monkey Mia isn’t just about the dolphins, there also plenty of activities such as snorkelling, swimming and hiking as well as the chance to get involved in some local indigenous tourism.  There was plenty of native animals for the wildlife lovers with emus, kangaroos, dolphins, dugongs and various reptiles witnessed. Monkey Mia is about a ten hour drive north of Perth or a quick flight if you’re stuck for time. It’s one of my favourite ecotourism destinations in Western Australia and you’ll understand why when you make the drive through Shark Bay. Oh by the way, please don’t chase the dolphins like some of the gaffers we saw in spite of yells and protests from everyone around, they are more likely to swim up to you if you’re quiet and...

EVENT-Store Twenty3’s Birthday Party

By on Jul 18, 2011 in Western Australia | 0 comments

  Store Twenty3 is turning 2 years old and they are celebrating by having a sweet as birthday party on the 20th of August at Wolfe Lane Bar (near king st, Perth). Grab Your Tickets...