Having come through sub-tropical rainforests, learned to drive on the other side of the road, squished squeaky sand between our toes at beach towns, slept in the chilly high-altitude tablelands, fossicked for treasure in opal mining towns, driven through the great outback, and hiked through yet more national parks, before seeing the ocean again along […]
World Nomads Ambassador Trip
Somewhere around 2009, a new thing was born. It was called the "Best Job in the World", and it was a job that was marketed (and competed for) around the world. The gig was for a blogger to live on a paradise island all expenses paid off the cost of Australia and do paradise-like things while also receiving a cushy salary, all in exchange for blogging about the experience.
This wasn't that.
The World Nomads Ambassador Trip came before the Best Job in the World was ever unveiled, and if I were to connect dots, I'd say it was a precursor - a test run, if you will - to the Best Job program.
It involved receiving a gaudy campervan decorated with a flurry of sponsor logos (including Traveller's Autobarn, World Nomads Travel Insurance, Lonely Planet, Nokia, and others), to take wherever I wanted for 6 weeks. In exchange for the campervan and some extra accoutrements like a phone and an LP guidebook, I was to write a certain number of posts for publication on both my site as well as their website. (Thus, you'll see that some of the articles below link to the "full version" on another site).
The World Nomads Ambassador Trip existed as a program for about a year (every 6 weeks another unsuspecting blogger taking to the wheel) before being shut down. Although it was great in concept, it was far from refined, and the writing requirements far outweighed the in-kind compensation.
But, this was back in the day when blogging wasn't something people monetized, so the World Nomads Ambassador Trip can be forgiven for their transgressions. I hope, similarly, you'll forgive me for my own transgressions in this series, as I was still carving out my own writing style.....which when I look back at these posts - was pretty horrific.
As the road south from the climbing and trekking Mecca of Grampians National Park spilled out onto the ocean a few hours later, we knew our World Nomads Ambassador adventure was coming to an end. But it wasn’t a sad moment, because we plan to go out with a bang! Australia’s Great Ocean road meanders […]
Being from Canada, we feel right at home in Oz. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Everywhere we turn, we see more and more similarities between Australia and Canada, and are amazed that two countries so far apart geographically can share so many commonalities. One such common bond, and one neither country […]
Here’s what we’ve learned about Australian caravan parks while on the epic World Nomads Ambassador trip, spending six weeks in a campervan.
A long blare of a not-too-distant horn echoed throughout Broken Hill around 6:30pm, while we were preparing dinner. Read on to see what this was.
For once, this isn’t a story about Kelly needing medical assistance (as he did in Thailand and Hawaii)! No, instead, this is about an incredible tour we did of the Royal Flying Doctors Base in Broken Hill. Australia is big. Really big. And although Broken Hill is known as the “accessible outback”, most of the outback […]
When people told us about the colours of the outback – the stark contrast between the red of the dirt with the blue of the sky, and the silvery green of the eucalypt trees that dot the landscape – we were somewhat blasé about it. We knew it would be beautiful, but really. And when […]
“When I close my eyes, I see opals,” said Kelly, shaking his head. It seems he has a touch of opal fever. Lightning Ridge and the surrounding areas are famous for its abundance of opals, and in particular the black opal, which can basically only be found here. For decades, people have visited, and […]
“Outback theatre with a twist,” says the flyer for Black Queen, with a picture of an oil lamp and a woman with a mysterious look. I didn’t really anticipate that this mining town would exactly have a bustling theatre community, but there it is. And being an actor/singer/dancer, of course my interests are piqued. We […]
When we rolled into Lightning Ridge, after a series of unfortunate and displeasing coincidences, we were ready to roll right back out the following day. I was crushed. Ever since reading about it in the Lonely Planet, I wanted to go, and was prepared to travel out of our way to get there. Lonely Planet […]
Upon first blush in Lightning Ridge, you may find an opal-mining town with very little to keep you here for more than a day or so. It reeks of an environment trying a touch too hard to be attractive to tourists. The one and only road to leading into and out of town is lined […]
“I’m sure I’ll eventually get tired of seeing all these kangaroos, but for now I just can’t get enough of them,” I said, as I apologetically snapped off a few more pictures at one of my many kangaroo photo sessions. It seems that we’ve happened upon a mecca for wildlife here in Warrumbungle National Park.In […]
Uralla – a very small town in the New England Tablelands (read: high altitude lands) was a painful shot to our tropical arms. If we thought we were cold in Springbrook, we didn’t know what cold meant. We knew we were in trouble when we started seeing our breath before the sun was even down. […]
Ballina and Beyond: Byron Bay is lovely. It is a surf town full of surf shops, surf food places, surf cafes, and more surf-y stuff. Everything is horribly over-priced, but that’s what you get in a touristy town with tons of character. It was the small towns and people we met outside of Byron Bay […]
-Originally published in 2008, updated for accuracy of links- “I hope you don’t mind having a corpse in the back of the van,” Wendy said in her ever-cheerful demeanor. She was loading the body of a pademelon (a small kangaroo from the looks of it) wrapped in her raincoat onto the back seat. It had […]
Caravans (meaning trailers in Australian) and caravan parks are everywhere in Oz. Trailer Parks. Tornado Bait. Trailer Trash. Drunks on welfare raising families of six kids born from three different fathers (or mothers). Lots of stained white tank tops with beer bellies poking out and LOTS of scratching. There are any number of negative connotations […]
I’m always on the prowl for little differences and idiosyncrasies that add character to a place. And Australia is home to many such charming qualities. I remember reading a book that described Australia as being “almost home” (the author was American). They speak the same language, but with a smaller inset of vocabulary that is unique […]
(This post was originally published in 2008. It has been updated for accuracy of links) “Be careful of the crocs,” Sergio says as we steer our kayaks up a small creek deep in the mangroves. “Really? There are crocs here? Cool!” I say, feeling only a little nervous with scenes from Crocodile Dundee flashing through […]
Here’s how Lonely Planet primed us for the town of Nimbin: Landing in Nimbin can be like entering a social experiment, particularly at noon, when Byron day-trippers arrive en masse and find themselves hectored by dreadlocked, tie-dyed pot dealers on the main street. This is the stereotype, of course (not all pot dealers wear tie-dye), […]
While walking through a dense sub-tropical rainforest in Springbrook National Park: Nora: I wonder how many snakes are in this park. Kelly: Don’t be silly. It’s winter. They’re all hiding. Hibernating probably. Nora: Hibernating? Do snakes hibernate? Kelly: Not sure. But if they don’t hibernate, they certainly hide in holes somewhere. Nora: You know, Australia […]
“We have to what? Drive a what? Where? And how?” was along the lines of what I said as the reality sank in of having the World Nomads van in our possession for the next six weeks and driving on the other side of the road. I had spent the last few months in Asia […]
Our first week in Australia has been an amazing one, due in no small part to the kindness of others we have received. Cairns Through our Hospitality Club membership, we met Anne and family. Anne and her husband Kerry (who was sadly out of town while we were visiting) have four grown-and-growing-up kids, and a […]