I had a real treat this week when my past client, Jean Lakey, replied to my weekly e-zine to ask if I had any time during the week to meet up with her brother and his wife from Western Australia. Here was her email:
“My brother is here from Perth Australia for 4 weeks. He enjoyed reading your email post this morning.
He said to tell you he is a tru- blu dinky di Aussie
Bushy. He is sitting at my table in Eads, Tn.
He says they spell “bushy” with a y . 😊😃
He would love to drop by and meet the lady who is promoting his wonderful Australia.
I told him you had helped us several years ago when we made our trip to Perth.”
Given my passion for this country and her people, I jumped on the opportunity to spend some time speaking with true Aussies. I immediately responded with a lunch invite. Jean’s email response was:
“Thank you so much for the lunch invitation.
Ken would love it, as would we. I must warn you,
his nickname is “Bushy” and he is a bit of a rounder.
He loves His Western Australia and is a volunteer at the
Round House in Perth. He is a history buff and loves
Sharing Australian facts and history so meeting someone
who is promoting his Country would be a treat.”
Of course, I told her the treat was all mine and we sent a date for lunch.
You see, Jean and her husband Bryan were my first Australia booking in 2011. That same year, shortly after booking their trip to visit their relatives, I was invited to my first FAM (familiarization trip) to Australia to complete my Australia Specialist Certification. It was a booking and a trip that soon changed the path of my life.
Thrilled to have the opportunity to get down and dirty with Australians, we met at O’Charley’s for a leisurely lunch. Ken, a.k.a. “Bushy”, was a wealth of information and a true historian. He and his wife, Madeline, shared all the great spots that you, my clients, should see in Western Australia. What most Americans don’t realize is the size of Australia. Western Australia is the largest state at nearly 3 times the size of Texas. Depending on how long you can escape will determine what you can choose to fit into your itinerary.
Bushy grew up around the aboriginals and currently volunteers and teaches at the Round House. The Round House is outside of Perth in Freemantle and is listed as a World Heritage Site. It is the oldest building in Western Australia and was first a prison in 1829. It didn’t actually house any convicts until 1850. In 1900, a dropping time ball and signal were erected. It was used each day at 1p to signal the correct time to navigators on ships entering Fremantle Harbour. While the procedure was discontinued in 1937, the Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides now re-enact the ceremony, and a member of the public may be invited to be the Honorary Gunnery Officer to fire the sound signal. The chance to fire is free, but a nominal donation is nice. It is the only place in the world remaining where you can have the opportunity to fire the sound signal. The person receives a free certificate as well. Upon her visit in 2011, Jean said this was an absolute highlight of her trip.
Lunch continued, and I must say I could have spent the whole afternoon listening to Ken, “Bushy”, and Madeline. It got a bit fun when “Bushy” decided he was going to test a bit of my Australian slang. I told him if he slowed down I might make out a bit, but if he spoke at full speed I wouldn’t be able to get enough of the context to decipher. Once he slowed down, I was somewhat fair. The Aussies like to do a lot of rhyming things and often shorten words. Truly, learning their slang is like learning another language. Just like here in the states, the different regions have different ways of saying and pronouncing things. Apparently, I speak more Eastern Australian, but no surprise since most of my friends and colleagues are from Sydney. Here is one he said in reference to our day at lunch:
“Bloody wind would blow a brown dog off a rusty chain”, meaning the wind had picked up quite a bit since we had entered the restaurant.
My favorite from Madeline was the Fremantle Doctor, aka “the sea breeze”. I think we could all use treatment from this doctor.
I compiled a list of must do’s from our conversation. To learn more about them or how to include Western Australia in your vacation plans contact us!
Western Australia Top “To Do” Items from an Aussie Perspective:
In Perth, Kings Park and the beaches (some the of the best beaches Australia has to deliver)
Go North to see the Lancelin Sand Dunes
A 2 hour run outside of Perth is the Pinnacles
Rottnest Island– take a ferry over and see the famous Quokkas
Freemantle War Memorial
4-5 hours visit the Natural Bridge
Go North to Broome to see the Stairway to the Stars
For wineries, stop by Margaret River or Swan River
See championship surging at Margaret River
Visit wildlife at Kahuna Wildlife Park
Visit the Living Rocks
Go to the Lighthouse where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet
I’ve certainly got Western Australia on my radar and with an open invitation to visit my new friends, I can’t wait to make it a reality.