Plan Your Visit To Australia

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Are you ready? If you are like most Americans then Australia is on your “bucket list”. You’ve been dreaming about this destination and now is the time to make it a reality. Australia is the sixth largest nation in the world with land mass similar to our own US.

With Australia being so big and with such a broad range of options and climates we would like to share some useful travel information to plan your amazing Australian holiday.

WEATHER

The range of climates in Australia is so diverse, that you can go almost anytime of year and do almost anything you choose.

Australia does experience four seasons in most of the country with wet and dry and the tropical north. Unlike the United States, Australia does not experience extreme season variations. Their summer is December to February and Winter is June to August. You will find the Tropical North will have wet season November to March and Dry season April to October.

PASSPORTS AND VISAS

To visit Australia you will need a passport that is valid for at least six months past your travel dates.

That is if you are traveling in January your passport cannot expire before June of that year. You will also need an e-visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) which is good for up to three months for holiday travelers. For more information on visas and ETAs visit www.immi.gov.au or consult your travel specialist. Here at Boomerang Escapes we will take care of obtaining your ETA for you.

CURRENCY

Australia’s currency is the Australian dollar.

Exchanging can be done at financial institutions, international airports, some hotels, and of course you can use the ATMs when in country. Credit cards are widely accepted, so the need for a large some of exchange is not necessary.

GETTING AROUND

Create your own path. Pick your must-see spots and use any one or a variety of transportation modes that Australia has to offer.

Australia has an extensive domestic airlines system and it is usually the fastest mode from point A to point B when traversing from city to city or state to state. For a more leisurely pace, between some cities we recommend experiencing train travel. Within cities consider public transport, walking, or car hire. With the right planning getting around Australia’s landscapes is a breeze.

WORK WITH A TRAVEL EXPERT

The choices for experiences to choose from is vast. Your Aussie Specialist, like myself, have experienced them or planned them before. We receive ongoing extensive training from Tourism Australia. We have travelled throughout Australia to supply you first hand knowledge of your Australian adventure and we are connected to a large network of Australians and Australian suppliers. We know what the weather will be like, what to pack, and how to meet the locals.

For more information on Australia and to work with one of Boomerang Escapes Aussie Specialist travel agents, please visit boomerangescapes.com.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPlan Your Visit To Australia
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Passport for Your Palate-Barramundi

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A must try fish when visiting Australia is Barramundi. It is a hearty whitefish akin to Seabass. Barramundi is found in Australia’s northern tropical waters and Southeast Asia. There are also some fish farms and wild fisheries that supply the growing global market consumption. In Australia, you might also find this delicacy listed as ‘Passion Fish’ after a Aboriginal folklore in which the fish is supposed to have special aphrodisiac qualities.

Of course while best to dine on this tasty fish while visiting Down Under, you can find this fish in local US Markets at such places as Whole Foods and Costco. Like bass the Barramundi can be cooked in a variety of ways making it a great choice for the diner table and easy for most cooks to master. Barramundi can be fried, grilled, barbecued, baked, char-grilled or steamed. It is excellent served with a dressing of a lemon sauce, mustard, sauce or even something with Asian flare.

I think one of the easiest and simplest things to do is to bake it in foil with added seasonings or flavors. This is similar to the traditional Aboriginal method where they would wrap in the leaves of a wild ginger plant and bake in the hot ashes of the fire. Most vegetables work well as a side or just placing the filet on top of a bed of salad greens for serving.

Baked Barramundi

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
Take out foil and lay onto a baking sheet. Place filet on foil.
Drizzle fish with olive oil and season. Get creative here and experiment with the flavors you like. I like to keep it simple with just some lemon juice and garlic and maybe a little thyme.

Wrap the foil around your filet. This step locks in the moisture for the fish
Place wrapped filet on baking sheet in over for approximately 20 minutes.
Remove filet and carefully unwrap. Plate with some steamed or sautéed greens. Baby red potatoes also make a nice addition. Again, it’s really up to you here.

Enjoy!


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Barramundi
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The Beautiful Western MacDonnell Ranges

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The MacDonnell Ranges stretch east-west across Central Australia. They are a rugged spine of low mountains known to the Aboriginal of the arOchre Pitsea as ‘yeperenye’, or caterpillar. The ranges are easy accessible from Alice Springs with locations being as close as 18 km from town. The ranges offer amazing outback scenery, significant landmarks, and a day or days of outdoor adventure for the active traveler.

During a stay at Alice Springs or within the Ranges which do have basic and bush camping available at a number of places you can explore many spectacular spots. Some spots can be quite busy during peak season, but still worth a go.


Places To Explore

Simpsons Gap

Simpsons Gap is surrounded by towering cliffs and is one of the best known destinations in the ranges featuring a number of walking tracks. Walk through the jagged cleft to the permanent waterhole, keeping an eye out for the elusive black-footed wallabies hiding among the rocks. Early morning or late afternoon are the best for a chance to spot them as well as birds and other small wildlife.

Standley Chasm

A bit further on is one of the busiest and best know gorges. A short walk along the stony watercourse leads to the striking chasm. The way is rich with plant and bird life and for about one hour during the middle of the day the sun casts a shaft of light, illuminating the golden red walls.

Ellery Creek Big Hole

A permanent waterhole nestled in the midst of the ranges is a significant geological site. The waterhole is formed by runoff from the ranges. The waters meet up against a white sandy beach surround by gum trees and dramatic red rock walls. The water is cool anytime of year, but it is a popular swimming spot during the heat of the summer months. And the ‘Dolomite Walk” provides opportunity to view some of the amazing rock formations.

Ormiston Gorge-Ormiston Gorge

Lying west of Alice Springs, the rugged flanks of the gorge walls were carved out by the Finke River. Often dry, the Finke River is the oldest watercourse in the world. There are a number of walks to select from and enjoy the changing colors of the walls as the sunlight shifts. Be on the lookout for wallabies and ample bird life.

Glen Helen Gorge

Here you will find an old homestead, now a pub with a verandah that looks out onto a towering cliff of crumpled sandstone. The area includes views of the much-painted Mount Sonder which is one of the highest points in Central Australia. Glen Helen Gorge has a permanent waterhole, which is home to many species of animals including a variety of water birds and fish. Accommodations are very basic here, but it makes a good base from which to we explore the West MacDonnell Ranges.

Remember when walking to carry plenty of drinking water. Dress in sensible walking shoes and clothes. Be sure to wear hat, sunblock, and insect repellent. Walkers taking extended walks are advised to check in with local rangers. Best to visit during the spring and fall to avoid the extremes of summer and winter. Spring is also the best time for wildflowers and bird photography.

Consider extending your journey with a visit to Uluru and Kings Canyon. Both also wonderful for incredible rock formations and walking expeditions.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslThe Beautiful Western MacDonnell Ranges
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The Many Faces of Uluru

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Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, lies in the heart of Australia. The heart of Australia lies in the Northern Territory, or the Outback, or the Red Center.  The rock is a large sandstone rock formation sacred to the Aboriginal people, specifically the Pitjantjatjara people. It lies within Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, a protected area. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site for natural and cultural landscape.  There is archaeological evidence of the sacredness of this rock dating back some 30,000 years with the Aboriginals.

Besides the massive size and rich history of this rock, what is probably one of the most alluring features is the rock changes in appearance throughout the day and over the course of the year.  The sandstone contains reflective minerals that react differently to the varying positions of the sun, thus causing the surface to radiate different colors.  It also is fascinatingly different in appearance when the rains appear.  Probably the best times of year to visit this dessert environment and view Uluru along with other rock formations would be from April to October.

There are a variety of different activities giving you opportunity to view the rock and it’s changing colors.  A 2-night or more stay in the region gives the traveler a chance to view the rock in a variety of ways.  From early sunrise viewing points, to walks around the base (climbing of the rock is not allowed), to special sunset dinners.  Within these there are many opportunities to experience the culture, amazing food, and/ or celebrate a special occasion.  Some other fun ways to see the rock are by helicopter, Segway, biking, motorcycle, and even on camel back.

A very special display with extended viewing until December 2020 that you can go to via a camel ride is The Field of Lights.  Created by internationally celebrated artist Bruce Monro, it is by far ihis largest work to date with over 50,000 spindle lights.  Just one more reason to book your Outback experience before the lights go out.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslThe Many Faces of Uluru
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Answers to Your Questions About Kangaroos

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When you think of kangaroos, you most likely think Australia. It is no surprise as the kangaroo is an iconic symbol of Australia. This oddly proportioned animal with large powerful hind legs and feet for jumping paired with it’s small head and arms as well as a long tail for balance, can be found as a symbol on Australia’s coat of arms, currency, their major airline, and the Royal Airforce to name several of the places this creature pops up in Australian culture.  One of my favorites is the Christmas story of Santa and his six white boomers.  Boomers is another name for male kangaroos.  They can also be called bucks, jacks or old men. Whereas females can be referred to as does, flyers, or jills.  The infant kangaroo is referred to as a joey.

Kangaroos are fun and fascinating animals and can be spotted in the wild, found randomly within neighborhoods, on golf courses or on streets. You can also visit them in sanctuaries, zoos, and wildlife parks.  One of the fun things to do while visiting Australia is being able to feed them by hand. There are many opportunities to have a kangaroo encounter throughout Australia.  Several of my favorites have been Featherdale Wildlife Park, Cleland Wildlife Park, Kangaroo Island, and Kosciuszko National Park.


How many types of kangaroo are there?

There are four species of kangaroo. The red kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, the western grey kangaroo and the wallaroo.  Also related to kangaroos, but smaller are the wallabies.

How high can a kangaroo hop?

Kangaroo have been known to leap in the air up to 25 feet.

What do you call a group of kangaroo?

A group of kangaroo is referred to as a mob, troop, or court.

How large can a kangaroo get?

Red kangaroos are the largest of the species. They can be up to 6 feet tall and way nearly 200 pounds

Are kangaroo aggressive?

Kangaroo males act like any other male animal in the wild and will be aggressive when protecting their mob or territory.  They would only show aggression towards humans when threatened.  It is advisable not to approach to closely in the wild and save the close up encounters for the parks and  zoos.

How many females will a male kangaroo have?

Up to 20 females can belong to a single male’s mob.

Do kangaroo migrate?

Kangaroo will stay put for the most part as long as there is plenty of food. However, they will travel if they are in need of more food source.  They mostly graze on grass and vegetation.

How long does a joey stay in a mother’s pouch?

A joey will usually stay inside the pouch for up to 9 months.

Do they really eat kangaroo?

Yes, wild kangaroo are shot for meat, their hides, and to protect grazing land.  It is quite delicacy and a nice low fat protein alternative.  I eat it on almost every trip and it is not nearly as gamey as our venison can be.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslAnswers to Your Questions About Kangaroos
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New South Wales-A Top 10 of Things to See

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New South Wales is one of Australia’s states located on the east coast. It was founded as a penal colony in 1788 and now boasts the largest population of Australians.  The capital of New South Wales is the infamous Sydney well known world wide and serves as the major entry point for travelers.  Therefore, New South Wales makes for a perfect state to begin your Australian explorations.

Here is a top 10 list of some of our must see and do items for exploring this state.

  1. Sydney Opera House-What trip would be complete to Sydney without seeing this iconic architectural building.  Designed to look like sails the Opera House is a focal point of this harbor city. One can see it via a walk around the exterior, tour inside, or even a show.
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge- Another iconic landmark in the heart of the Sydney is the bridge. A climb of this structure is a must and we highly recommend doing it or sunset or sunrise for some of the most fantastic city views you will ever have.
  3. Bondi Beach-The birthplace of the surf life saver is a great spot to visit and easily accessible on your own via Sydney’s great public transport. Get adventurous and take your own surfing lessons while visiting.
  4. Hunter Valley-Australia’s premier wine district within a 2 hour reach from Sydney.  Perfect for wine tours as a day trip or consider staying in the valley for a more immersive experience. Go beyond the wine too visiting boutique breweries.
  5. Blue Mountains-Is a mountain range west of the Sydney. It is ideal for a  day trip or overnight stay.  Visit waterfalls,  take in hiking, learn about aboriginal stories such as the “3 Sisters” and more is this beautiful fragrant destination.
  6. Kiama Blowhole-Travel down the southeast coast from Sydney to visit this famous blowhole and feel the spray of salt water.  Also, discover the ‘little blowhole”  while smaller than Kiama a bit more reliable for is spray.
  7. Wollongong-Another southeast coastal city less than 3 hours drive from Sydney. Great for beach walks and lookouts.  Also, New South Wales 3rd largest city.
  8. Lord Howe Island– has amazing sand amongst its 11 beaches, great for snorkeling, and spotting rare birds. Only a short 2 hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane.
  9. Ned’s Beach- One of the 11 beaches located on Lord Howe Island where you can wade in shallow waters and hand-feed the King fish.
  10. The Snowy Mountains-Informally known as the “Snowies” is Australia’s highest mountain range with Mt. Kosciuszko it’s largest mountain. Home to the oldest ski club in the world. Makes a great visit in winter or warm months for recreational outdoor activities.

We’ve only brushed the top of the highlights for a visit to New South Wales and encourage you to make an immersive experience to this popular state with both visitors and a natives.

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslNew South Wales-A Top 10 of Things to See
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3 Ways to Have a Koala Experience

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Koala (koh-ah-luh).  The koala is probably one of the most loved and iconic animals of Australia.  With their leather button looking noses, small round eyes, and what appears to be soft fluffy bodies of fur,  they have captured the hearts of millions. In fact, they are my very favorite animal.

Often mistaken for a bear, they have no relation what so ever to bears and belong to the marsupial family.  Marsupials are distinguished by the fact the baby is carried and suckled in a pouch. Most marsupials are found and reside in Australia and New Guinea, but here in the states we do have the opossums.

The koala can be found in a variety of states and regions in Australia, but mainly in the forest areas where their source of food the eucalyptus tree grows.  There are over 700 species of eucalyptus, but our picky eater the koala only likes about 10 and depending on which region they live in depends on which of those they like.  The koalas not only smell like this eucalyptus when you encounter them, but the blended oils from eating it act as insect repellent for them.

I know for me the thing I wanted most when I went to Australia was to have a koala “cuddle”, but much to my disappointment that did not happen on my first encounter.  It is good to know that there are only limited areas where “cuddling” a koala is still allowed by law as excessive handling can be quite stressful for these very inactive animals who sleep nearly the whole day.  So how can you get up close and personal with koalas in Australia?


Spotting Koalas in the Wild
One way to see the koalas is right out in their own backyard.  You go out on trek to see if you can “spot” the koala just as it sounds. Koalas sleep high up in the gum trees and with the color of their fur can be hard to spot unless you have a good eye.  There are several operators that do this. One great place is to do this on Kangaroo Island.  It’s a full day of spotting broken up with tea at a billybong  and lunch cooked in the bush. Besides koalas you will also encounter a variety of Australia’s other native animals.  A second option, that I recommend is in Victoria, in the You Yangs outside of Melbourne.  There is a company that has been following a whole system and family of koalas for years. Go out in find them in person while learning all the fun facts such as how each koala has a unique nose pattern.

Koala Pat
The koala pat aka selfie opportunity is found in around most of the city areas and zoos, like Wildlife Sydney,  in the states that don’t allow cuddling.  There are specific times allotted each day to “meet” the koala or even “breakfast with the koalas”. The koalas will be placed on a branch in a viewing area. You will be allowed to go up, maybe place a hand gently on their bum or just get side by side for a nice photo op  or selfie.  Another great option is to include this with a day trip out to the Blue Mountains stopping in the morning enroute to see them for breakfast.

Koala Cuddle
The koala cuddle like the pat is found in zoos or sanctuary areas in the two states that still allow the “cuddle” which are Queensland and South Australia.  Like the pat there are specific designated times when the cuddles are allowed. It is a very short time each day because as mentioned earlier the touching can cause stress to the animals and each koala is limited to the amount of times it can be held. For the “cuddle” the handler will tell you how to hold your hands and stand and place the koala on you supported by your interlocked hands.  You will then have the opportunity to have a photo taken for a fee.  You will be surprised to find out the koala is not as soft as he appears and his fur is more akin to a sheep’s wool.

Any or all of the experiences can be incorporated throughout your Australian itinerary. The spotting in the wild would be a full-day tour that I would recommend booking in advance.  The pat and cuddle can be done more on the fly, but it is nice to have the advanced tickets to the zoo or exhibit you will be visiting and make sure to know ahead of time what time the koalas are available.  Nothing in my opinion quite beats the up close and personal experiences you can have in Australia with these very unique and beautiful creatures.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa Rossmeissl3 Ways to Have a Koala Experience
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Passport for Your Palate-Australian Meat Pie

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What is an Australian meat pie?  Well, it is one of the foods you must absolutely try when you are visiting.  It is pure comfort in the palm of your hand. It is a must have when I am Down Under.  The pies are often referred to as Australia’s national dish.
Australian meat pies are hand-held sized meat pies containing dice or minced meat. Sometimes they will also have gravy, mushrooms, onions, cheese or other vegetables in them. They are often served with tomato sauce. (Australia’s version of ketchup) My understanding from my Aussie friends is that mince meat is the way to go, but I often opt for the beef and mushroom myself.
For me, my visits to Australia were not the first time I encountered a meat pie.  My father’s family is from New England, Vermont to be exact and my great grandmother, Nanny Dot, and her sisters used to make a minced meat pie. Most often around holidays such as thanksgiving.  Her pies where made in a regular pie dish vs the smaller hand-sized pies I eat in Australia.  I have to say as a young girl I wasn’t very fond of the minced meat flavor. Probably why I still opt for the beef and mushroom. To me the  Australia meat pies are a cousin to our pot pies. Which I do make on occasion from a full-size pie to individual ramakins.
Meat pies actually go way back in history over to Europe during the middle ages.  Making savory pies was a way, or only way, back then to preserve meats.  Today, though in Australia, you can find these handy little delectable take away pies at sporting events, holiday celebrations, and most local bakeries. My most recent visit to South Australia, one of the travel agents in our group found a place to deliver.  We’d been in country 7 days without a bite and couldn’t head to the airport for our flight home without one. The store brought them to our hotel for a quick dine and dash before piling in our vans for the trip home.
Today I share two recipes with you. One from the recipe book of my relatives for making minced meat and a traditional meat recipe for today’s Australian pies.

Mince Meat Recipe from Myrtle Taylor Pillsbury’s Book

2 pounds meat
2 1/2 pounds sweet apples
4 pounds sugar
1/2 pound suet
1/2 pound butter
2 quarts cider
3 teaspoonfuls of cloves
6 teaspoonfuls all spice
6 teaspoonfuls of cinnamon
1 teaspoonful pepper
4 nutmegs
1 glass of brandy
3 glasses wine
Salt and one cracker

Raisins stewed and chopped, use if desired citron and lemons.
The above is made in a regular pie dish for 6-8 servings.
Unfortunately, the book has no directions on how to prepare the pie. This is typical of the recipes I find from my ancestors. I always get to experiment in making it come out the way I remember.


Australian Meat Pie
I’ve adapted my recipe based on above and other recipes that I have seen for the meat pies.  Once you have a basic recipe you can pretty much add and modify to your content as I mentioned pies come from a range or meat only, to meat with chees, to meat with mushrooms, and on.

For the Crust:
Here is my standard go to pie crust recipe that I use for a standard 9-inch pie. To make individual pies you would roll out and cut into large circle and cut out your circles for your individual crusts. Another option is to buy prepared dough or puff pastry.
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or 2/3 cup lard  ( I use Crisco)
2 cups all -purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until mix becomes size of small peas. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until flour is moist and pastry almost cleans sides of bowl.
Roll into a ball.  Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut your rounds for your individual pie pans.  Place one circle in bottom of each pie tin.  Once pie is filled top with second circle. See instructions below.

For the Filling:
1 ½ to 2lbs cubed meat minced or lean ground beef
1 onion finely chopped (optional)
2 clove garlic minced
½ stick butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup red wine
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
½ -1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons flour (mix with some water or broth before adding)
¾ cup beef broth
½ tsp thyme
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste

Instructions for pie:
-Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft.  Add beef, breaking into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 8 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant.
-Add broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, nutmeg, allspice, tomato paste and thyme and bring to a boil.  Add flour mixed in liquid and slowly stir in to thicken. Add more thickening if needed, but mixture will thicken up more when chilled.   Lower heat to medium-low to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning to suit.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool in refrigerator.
-Meanwhile prepare crusts.
-Once filling is cooled. Make sure rack is in center of oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack and pre-heat to 425F
-Fill your pie shells, don’t overfill. Use water or egg wash to brush the edges. Pinch and crimp the pastry together. Brush top. Place small slit in middle with point of knife.
-Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for 10 minutes before serving.
-Serve with tomato sauce (ketchup)



Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Australian Meat Pie
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Swim with Whale Sharks in Western Australia

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Just when I think my experiences can’t get any more amazing, Australia tops herself.! On my most recent visit back to Australia, I had the fantastic opportunity of making it to Western Australia.  Given Australia is roughly the size of the United States, Western Australia often gets short changed by American travelers as it is an extra approximate 5 hour flight time to reach. However, I am here to tell you, it is so worth the extra time to visit Western Australia and my day with the Whale Sharks is one of the reasons.
Your swimming whale shark experience actually takes place in Exmouth, Ningaloo Reef. Ningaloo Reef is a World Heritage listed site along the north west coast of Western Australia lying on the East Indian Ocean, about one and half hour flight north of Perth.  It is the world’s largest fringing reef and offers a plethora of water and coastal activities for the active adventure traveler to experience.

One of the coolest experiences for you to take part in is a swim with the whale sharks.  Spend the day out in the ocean, in snorkel gear, popping on and off of your boat into the water to swim along these beautiful magnificent creatures.  Between your spotter and your group guide, you will be sure to have an up close and personal encounter you won’t soon forget.


To give you an idea of how your day with the whale sharks will go, let me share my day with Exmouth Diving Centre with you. I highly recommend using this the company with their expert trained staff.  You will even find a marine biologist among them to end your day with all the fascinating facts about the incredible sea creature you just swam with.

First, you will be picked up from your Exmouth hotel accommodations bright and early in the morning and then taken to where the boat is moored.  They will then bring a small boat over to take you on board.  Swimming with the whale sharks is limited to ten persons in the water at the time, so our boat had two groups of ten on board.   Once on board you will head out to the open waters.  While making your way out, you will be fitted with your wet suit, flippers and snorkel gear, followed by a briefing as to how the day will work including the safety precautions and rules of swimming with the whale sharks.

The first stop you make is actually a test swim.  It’s run just like there might be a whale for the group to see.  It all begins with Group One Ready. When you hear that call you slide onto your bottom to the back of the boat and wait for the Go! Go! Go! When you hear the cry, you then quickly get your rear in the water and start swimming.  The test run is to ensure several things, including how to enter the water, is your gear fitting, and can you do it.  I won’t lie, the activity is a bit more strenuous then you realize with getting in and out of the back of the boat. I was happy I had been preparing with daily workouts to increase my strength and endurance. But, no worries on keeping yourself afloat as the wet suits act as floatation devices and you can request one of those pool noodles as well.

Once the testing is over you get back on board and wait for them to announce a whale shark siting. They use a spotter plane above that finds the whales and then gives the captain the location. Once a whale is sighted the boat is off as fast as it can to the spot. Once there the drill and swim commences with “Group 1 Ready!”, “Spotter in!”, “Group 1 Go! Go! Go!”  Let me tell you the thrill and excitement have the adrenaline pumping!  I do have a bit of a fear of deep waters, but once in the water and seeing this incredible creature face to face, literally, my fears subsided and all that remained was pure joy for the opportunity.

Once group one has had their swim, they drop back and tread water until the boat circles round to pick them up, while group two repeats the process.  The dive companies goal is to get everyone at least three good swims.  We were very lucky the day we went out in June to swim with five whale sharks.  In addition to the whale sharks we also swam with a manta ray, saw whales breaching, dolphins mating and a rare siting of a dugong with her calf swimming along side our boat. We had the “big five” as they say similar to if you are safari in Africa.

The best time of year to see the whale sharks in Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef is March to July. Despite that being fall and winter there,  you will find the temperatures in the north west of this region to be quite nice. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s meaning you will get plenty of sun exposure and quite possibly return with a tan.

For more information on booking your swimming with the whale sharks and other coastal experiences in the region, please contact me at 1-844-386-3600 or click here to schedule a planning session.

Photos are from my experience and courtesy of Exmouth Diving Centre.
#amazingaussieadventure #justanotherdayinwa #boomerangescapes

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslSwim with Whale Sharks in Western Australia
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Follow my #AmazingAussieAdventure to WA and SA

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I’m off again. Memorial day, I take off on my fourth Amazing Aussie Adventure with Travel2. You will be able to follow my adventures on my social media accounts. (@BoomerangEscapes @AustraliaTravelExpert) You can also search the following hashtags: #amazingaussieadventure, #myhappyplace, #Australia, #BoomerangEscapes, #AustraliaTravelExpert, and #returntoyourhappyplace. Similar to past trips, about 40 top agents from across the U.S. have been chosen to head Down Under to meet suppliers and experience the wonders the country has to offer. I am headed to Western Australia and South Australia this year.

My adventure begins on Monday, May 28th, as I make my way from Newark to LA to catch my overnight flight on Air New Zealand.  We will arrive in Perth on Wednesday, May 30th and be off and running. Wednesday begins day one, yikes!

Day 1-No time to lose as we begin exploring Perth the afternoon we arrive. Once we have luggage in hand we will board our afternoon city driving tour.  We will go through Perth City and past some key locations, including Elizabeth Quay, the Bell Tower, Yagan Square, Kings Park and Perth Mint. After seeing the highlights we will arrive at our hotel the Crown Towers to freshen up before a dinner with some of Perth’s hoteliers.

Day 2-We will rise early for a trip to Rottnest Island.  I’m truly so excited for this and the opportunity to see the quokka up close.  This is the only placed you will find these guys in the wild. Our morning will also include biking, swimming and snorkeling. In the afternoon, we head to Fremantle for some free time to explore. Fremantle is renowned for its seafood and cosmopolitan live.  The day concludes with a 3 course hosted dinner in the award winning Chairman’s Villa.

Day 3-June 1st. With breakfast in a box in hand we head to the airport departing Perth for Exmouth. Once luggage dropped in Exmouth at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort we head out with Ningaloo Safari Tours  for touring activities in Cape Range National Park.  We will be visiting Vlaming Head Lighthouse, Yardie Creek, Turquoise Bay and Sal Salis. We will have a picnic lunch at the creek and at the bay get in some swim and snorkel time.  Arriving back at our hotel late in the afternoon we enjoy dinner at and an evening at leisure.

Day 4-Another early day. And another amazing experience. Today we meet Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo and head out on the waters for an incredible opportunity to swim with the whale sharks.  The ride will include morning tea, refreshments and lunch. After our exciting day on the water the evening concludes with site inspection of Exmouth Escape Resort and dinner at Whalers Restaurant.

Day 5-This morning we will be joining Exmouth Adventure Co for a private kayaking tour. I’ll have the opportunity for a morning snorkel. After lunch we are headed to the airport to make our way to Adelaide.  Once in Adelaide we will have some time to explore and dine on our own.

Day 6-Training Day. Today we have one on one appointments with 40 preferred suppliers. After a day of education and relationship building we celebrate the evening with an Evening Gala Dinner at Adelaide Botanical Gardens. Networking ensues until we decide to retire for the evening.

Day 7-Time to explore Adelaide with a contemporary wine tour in Adelaide Hills/McLaren Vale: The Cube, Wirra Wirra, The Lane, and perhaps Mt Lofty Vineyards or Red Poles.  After a full day of tastings the night concludes with a closing event at the Playford Hotel Adelaide hosted by Tourism Tasmania (next on my list)

Day 8-There will be many sad faces as our adventure will come to an end, and it will be time to catch our flight back to the U.S. I will look forward to making another trip to my happy place, but until next time Australia.

*We will be trying a new app on this trip that is supposed to help with jet lag. I will be writing up a blog on my return to let you know how well it worked.

**Any or all activities that I participate in on my travels can be worked into your own itinerary. Call for a complimentary planning session to begin customizing your own #amazingaussieadventure.**

 


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslFollow my #AmazingAussieAdventure to WA and SA
read more