Finding cool photos on Pinterest of places we’ve been and places to go in OZ is one of my favourite time-wasting blog research things to do. So I was thrilled to bits when I was invited by Anne to join her group board Awesome Australia!
I was even more thrilled to discover that Anne had a cool Aussie travel website – Pretraveller– with her travels in parts of Australia I’m still waiting to see!
After Anne interviewed me for PreTraveller (read that thrill-a-minute article HERE), I was struck by a rare moment of insight. With her travels in RED Australia and abroad, Anne would be the perfect RED Alert guest! Luckily for me (and you!) she agreed!
RED:Anne, thank you for being a REDAlert victim guest! What’s your favourite colour?
ANNE: My favourite colour is green. ANY kind of green!
RED: Well, other than this cool GREEN pic taken at my home in spring that I’m throwing in for nothing, you won’t be seeing any more in this interview!! So back to RED! Where’s the best REDspot in Australia?
ANNE: I would have to vote for the Perry Sandhills!
RED: That part of New South Wales just over the Murray from Mildura is one of my favourites too!! It’s also my Scenic Public Toilet #22! ANNE: But there are many REDplaces I have not yet visited in Australia.
RED: Same here. But I don’t know what I’ll do when I’ve seen them all. How about overseas??
ANNE: The ochre pits in the town of Rousillon in Provence, France.
RED: How provincial of me! I thought Australia was the only place with Ochre Pits (aside to readers: see my blog header for the OZ version)!
ANNE: As well as some amazing REDearth features there’s a great selection of yellow and white rocks as well. We also saw some great REDon our hotel in Vernazzain Italy’s Cinque Terre.
RED: It’s always nice when tourism providers play up the REDtheme!! Where is your favourite Australian place?
ANNE: That’s a difficult one. I love so many places and there is such great diversity and variety within Australia. So I will vote for any time I go into the bush! I am always amazed how uplifted I feel when I’m out with nature and always wonder why I don’t do it more often.
RED: Yes, communing with suburbia doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?! What Aussie place surprised you the most?
ANNE: Before we arrived I had a picture in my head that the dugouts that people live in would be accessed through a hole in the ground. So I was very surprised to see that the dugouts are actually carved into the sides of each of the four major hills! It made sense once I saw the terrain with my own eyes and thought about it but I felt very silly about the wrong vision in my head!
RED: I guess that’s what visitors to OZ feel like when they realise we don’t really have Drop Bears … How do you choose your holiday destinations?
ANNE: I don’t believe in the ‘bucket list’ concept, as that can set me up for disappointment by creating a list of places I HAVE to visit to feel satisfied. Instead I have a vague mental list of places I might be interested in visiting, often fuelled by television shows and travel articles. Interestingly my list is also fuelled by research I conduct to write many of my Pretraveller blog articles!
RED: And reading MY blog, of course, haha …
ANNE: Actually deciding on a holiday destination is then up to our budget. It’s our policy not to borrow money for travel or cannibalise other savings. I then put together rough costings for a variety of options then review and discuss them with my husband. He and the children also provide input. Some options quickly demonstrate that a particular trip will be more expensive than we are prepared to pay. For example I recently costed a four week trip to Europe in the December/January time-frame and came up with $A30,000 for five of us! We did not feel comfortable spending that much on a single trip and would prefer regular, cheaper trips than to do nothing for 3-4 years while saving up for that single big trip!
RED: Pilchard and I could live on the road in Australia for a year for that – our last big road trip cost about $67 per day for travel and accommodation (ie fuel and campsites). And that was one of our more expensive trips! It does help to have your own camper, caravan or even tent!!
ANNE: Now we’re saving for a bigger family trip in 2015 to go somewhere like the Darwin or Alice Springs areas, New Zealand North Island, Vietnam or Japan.. It is amazing how expensive it gets to take five of us on a trip with flights! For 2014 we intend to do a smaller road trip in east coast Australia or a week near the beach somewhere, and maybe some more camping. RED: Well, check out my blog or MY Pinterest boards for inspiration!! Where would you go on the east coast?
ANNE: Probably back to Brisbane to visit our family. I expect we will go in the Easter school holidays and do a bit more sightseeing along the way and while we are there. We have family who live near the beach so we will take advantage of the proximity!
RED: It’s great to get someone else’s perspective on a trip you’ve done or are planning to do – what will readers get from your website that they won’t get elsewhere??
ANNE: My aim is to help inspire people to visit particular destinations but also to provide a good summary of information with current links to provider websites to help plan their trip. This means that I have a lot of links in my articles so I run an ongoing broken link checker on my blog. It’s interesting just how often I have to update my links. If I find a problem I contact the website owner – recently the Uluru tourism website was upgraded and in the process of updating my links I found some broken links on their website. They were very thankful I let them know and have now fixed the problem!
RED: I’ve never used a broken link checker – even though a broken link is a big turn-off for me! You may be on to something there, girlfriend! But you don’t just provide information, do you? Your Pinterest group board ‘Awesome Australia’ actually shows people via photos what to expect downunder. What’s the story behind it?
ANNE: As an Australian I love my country so I set up the Awesome Australia board on Pinterest. After pinning to it by myself I read an article about how to increase Pinterest followers which included setting up a group board and inviting others to pin to it. I used my Awesome Australia board as an experiment to try out these tips and I am happy to say that it was excellent advice! The board now has 7266 pins, 2200 followers and 126 people who can pin to it. I still regularly invite others to pin to the board so if anyone is interested, just follow the board, leave me a comment and I will invite you.
RED: Our readers may be happy – or perhaps ambivalent – to know there are a number of RED Nomad OZ photos on your board as well!! We’re spoiled for choice with RED down here, but what are your top 5 RED Outback ‘must see’ places?
Perry Sandhills (via Wentworth, NSW)
Simpson’s Gap (via Alice Springs, NT)
Chamber’s Pillar (via Alice Springs, NT)
RED: How weird that Central Australia features so heavily!! Apart from all the RED, what’s the best thing about road-tripping in Australia? ANNE: There’s a surprising variety of things to see and experience. For example, when I researched our outback New South Wales trip I found how much there was to do in and around Cobar, White Cliffs, Broken Hill and Mildura.
RED: An ‘organic’ trip schedule means we usually have the luxury of being able to spend extra time if we find a place with more than we bargained for. I’m sure you’ve read my TOP 7 Aussie Road TripHazards – what’s the worst thing for you?
ANNE: Many routes are long, tedious and boring! On our return journey we went via the Hay Plains which I found very uninspiring.
RED: For starters, there isn’t much RED!!
ANNE: Maybe it was in comparison to the amazing things we had seen on the other route butof course we could also have reached trip fatigue by that point…
RED: Yes, there comes a time when you just want to get home … although I don’t have to contend with a car full of kids!! What inspired you to travel?
ANNE: I have loved travel since I was very young. As a child we always travelled to visit our relatives so we regularly had the opportunity to play tourist.
RED: I can just hear the cries of ‘are we there yet?’!!
ANNE: My love of travel really crystallised when my father found a job in Kenya for three years. I lived with them in Kenya for the first year, and then returned to boarding school in Australia for the following two years. We returned to Kenya for each major school holiday and my parents made a real effort to get us out and about. We camped in tents in Masaii Mara game reserve, visited Mombasa with its fascinating Portugese history and Nairobi, and also headed north to an area called Lake Baringo where we saw flamingos and other wildlife.
RED: With RED all VERY different to Australian RED, no doubt!
ANNE: Along the way we had to fly for three days each way from Brisbane to Nairobi via London as unaccompanied minors which was interesting. My love of flying led me to become an aeronautical engineer which is a profession I still enjoy today!
RED: I don’t know if that would be a good or bad thing when the plane starts shuddering uncontrollably … What’s the best thing about travelling with children?
ANNE: Seeing their world expand when they see and experience new things and just get out of their normal routine. RED: That must be fascinating to watch! But what’s the downside?
ANNE: Trying to keep them entertained during long transportation (vehicle or aircraft etc). And how much more it costs to take a family anywhere which really reduces the amount that we can travel further afield if we want to stay within our travel budget.
RED: I just don’t know how lucky I am to be childless!! Or maybe I do … Do you have any final REDwords of wisdom for our readers?
ANNE: In Australia you can find REDanywhere you go. In nature but also within Australian towns and cities. You just have to look for it!