RED Alert #13 – WA Explorer REDiscovers RED!

Sunset at Conto Point, WA*

Sunset at Conto Point, WA*

Size DOES matter – at least for monster state Western Australia! But to make the most of all the amazing attractions and fantastic things to do you need a guide. That’s why I read blogs about the West like WA Explorer – The Outdoor Guide to Western Australia by water-sports-mad world traveller Nina Burakowski – and why I was stoked when she agreed to be interviewed for RED Alert.

RED:  Welcome and thank you for being my latest – and luckiest at #13 – RED Alert victim guest, Nina! What’s your favourite colour?

NINA: Any shade of blue –

RED: Are you sure about that?

NINA: – but looking through all the photos, I may change my mind and make it red!

RED: Haha, THAT was the right answer! Love that RED crab on Cocos Island – and it’s SO on my Aussie must-do travel list. What’s to see and do there?

Cocos Island Crab

Cocos Island Crab*

NINA: I went to the Cocos for a kite-surfing holiday. Thanks to the perfect trade winds, warm ocean and picturesque setting it’s one of the best places in the world for kiting. But if that’s not your thing, it’s pretty awesome for almost anything that combines a deserted island with watersports. Think diving, snorkelling, stand up paddling, surfing or just lazing on the beach. There’s also a great local community on the Cocos that make almost anything fun. There’s always some activity or event going on where the whole island turns up. You can even play a round of golf on the airport runway every Thursday arvo.

RED: Why on Thursday?

NINA: That’s the only day with no flights scheduled on the island!

RED: Hahaha, that’s fantastic – but I’m not sure I want to be on the first flight in on Friday! Where’s the most interesting loo you’ve ever visited?

Gnaraloo Toilet, Western Australia

Gnaraloo Toilet, Western Australia*

NINA: It mightn’t be the most interesting, but the loo with a best view (and possibly the most pretentious) is at the Felix Bar inside the The Peninsula in Hong Kong. It has floor to ceiling windows and very grandiose views over one of my fave cities.

RED: Wow! I’ll keep that in mind for when Aussie Loos With Views goes international! What about down here in OZ?

NINA: In contrast I do like the dunny at Gnaraloo (above) but I haven’t been brave enough to open the door!

RED: HHHMMMmmm… that sounds ominous!! How does RED sand affect camping at Gnaraloo?

NINA: It means that everything you take with you ends up RED – and stays RED. So definitely don’t bring the white linen!

RED: Haha, that’s a camping tip to live by!! What are all these Gnomes? Did you join their tour?

NINA: No, we did our own tour. We ended up at Gnomesville after doing a rather large-ish detour on our way further south. I thought it would be a fun stop for my three year old, but the grandparents and I had just as much fun wandering through this little magical world amongst the Jarrah forest.

Gnomeville

Gnomeville *

RED: Why do most gnomes wear RED?

NINA: I did a bit of research and apparently the Gnomes have RED hats because this was what the Mediterranean fishermen wore at night when they didn’t want to be seen – otherwise they wore white hats.

RED:  How weird!

NINA:  What exactly this has to do with Gnomes, I’m not sure, but I reckon the Gnomes of Gnomesville are more the extroverted types and are quite happy to be seen and be the centre of attention.

RED: Well, they certainly are now that they’ve made it onto my blog! What’s your favourite thing to do at Kalbarri?

Kalbarri Cliffs, Western Australia

Kalbarri Cliffs, Western Australia*

NINA: I love watching the surfers at Jake’s Point. When the conditions are good this one of the most spectacular surf breaks along the WA coast and spectators can get close-up views from the adjacent cliffs. There’s a few local surfers that are absolute world class and watching them cut up this powerful wave is truly extraordinary. Apart from that I love having dinner at Finlay’s BBQ, hiking in the national park, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are out and watching the whales migrate south from the spectacular red cliffs. In general, it’s a great town with plenty of things to do for everyone.

RED: Kalbarri was one of the highlights of a trip down the WA coast, but then we headed inland to Kalgoorlie. What do you think the Kal Super Pit should become when mining stops in a few years time?

Mine Site, Western Australia

Mine Site, Western Australia*

NINA: The photo isn’t the Super Pit, it’s from one of the mine sites that I visited for work.

RED: Oops! Note to self: all big mine sites DO look alike!

NINA: However, I do think the Super Pit should always be some kind of tourist attraction for Kalgoorlie. Mining is the backbone of West Australia’s economy and so much of our current and past history is about resources. I think it would be a good thing for some of this to be more accessible to the public.

RED: Yes, a massive hole in the ground several kilometres long would be kind of hard to rehabilitate so why not turn it into a celebration instead! What makes an Aussie sunset so special?

NINA: The sunset has to be one of the best things about WA. I really can’t imagine the sun setting over anything other than the Indian Ocean.

Sunset at Wedge Island, WA

Sunset at Wedge Island, WA*

RED: Oh, it does all right over the Great Southern Ocean as well! Where’s the REDDEST place you’ve ever been?

NINA: Figuratively speaking, RED Square in Moscow. Literally, though, anywhere north of Perth, when the whole earth turns from a sandy limestone colour to a deep rusty RED.

RED: That SO works for me! What are your TOP 5 WA travel picks?

NINA: For me WA is not so much about places to visit, rather it’s about experiences:

  1. Watch the sunset – the best things in life are free – like the sunset. Pick a beautiful spot anywhere along the coastline, have a BBQ, grab a beer and a few friends and you’ve got yourself a perfect evening.
  2. See the Wildflowers – WA has one of the most spectacular wildflower seasons in the world. I didn’t give much credit to it until the last few years when I started going hiking in some of the wildflower hotspots in the state. The contrast between the rather barren landscape and the diverse colours of the flowers is incredible.
  3. Swim with a whale or a dolphin – swimming with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Exmouth is a unique experience. It’s one of the few places in the world that lets you swim with these gentle giants and for me it really put the whole world back into perspective by appreciating nature and it’s magnificent creatures. Dolphins are regulars almost anywhere along the coast. You can swim with them at Rockingham just south of Perth.
  4. Outback Camping – the remoteness and wilderness of WA is best appreciated on a camping trip somewhere remote. I haven’t ventured further north than the Pilbara but would love to camp at Cape Leveque or anywhere else in the Kimberley. I loved Entrecasteaux National Park and Gnaraloo and can’t wait to head further north.
  5. Stargazing – best done while camping. I always say that the stars above our heads are one of our best natural assets. There’s aren’t many places where you can get away from light pollution so easily and see the Milky Way so clearly.

RED: Sounds like we’ve got a LOT in common! What will readers get from WA Explorer that they won’t get from anywhere else?

Gnaraloo Campsite, Western Australia

Gnaraloo Campsite, Western Australia*

NINA: WA Explorer is the outdoor guide to Western Australia. You won’t find out about where to get the best coffee or food, but will find plenty of cool things to do that embrace nature, camping and other outdoor adventures.

RED: Well, that’s what keeps ME coming back! Apart from mine, what blogs do you like reading?

NINA: I’m totally hooked on reading blogs. It’s one of my favourite past times and I always find new ones to read. For travel in WA I love Wild Western Australia. For other destinations I go to Inside the Travel Lab, World of Wanderlust, Time Travel Turtle and the Travel Tart for a less serious view.

RED: Cool List – one of my weird travel pix once made it onto the Travel Tart!  Thanks for the tips! It’s been a real pleasure to share your RED photos and words of wisdom with the world on RED Alert, Nina.

See more of what Nina’s talking about over on WA Explorer – the Outdoor Guide to Western Australia for more fantastic Western Australia travel inspiration.

And if you’ve got a blog or website and some RED travel photos to share, YOU could be my next  RED Alert guest! Get in touch!!

NEW: RedzAustralia NOW on Facebook HERE!

*ALL Phots courtesy of Nina Burakowski and WA Explorer

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