Gnomesville: The Little Gnome Town in the West Australian Bush

Did you know there is a village of gnomes living in the West Australian bush? They have little gnome schools, gnome buses, gnome community groups and tiny little gnome houses. If someone told me the population of Gnomesville was over 5,000, I’d say, ‘yeah, that sounds about right!’

Upon first entering Gnomesville you may feel your inner child squeal with glee. You might come across an Elvis gnome, Gnomi Campbell, a bikini-clad gnome sunbathing or a downright rude gnome bending over with his pants down showing his freckle! But the further you walk into Gnomesville, the more gnomes you see, or rather the more eyes you feel staring back at you. I just couldn’t ignore the slightly creepy feeling the more I explored.

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Further down into the cool canopy of trees you might spot the tranquil creek running through the little gnome town but looking further ahead you start to question, where does Gnomesville end? There are just so. many. gnomes! Continue reading

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Western Australia’s Pink Lakes

Western Australia has a number of pink lakes, caused by a combination of high salinity and salt-loving algae that create the bright, bubblegum hue.

Hutt Lagoon

On a recent road trip north of Perth in Western Australia, I stopped in at Hutt Lagoon, near Port Gregory, home to one of the most impressive and largest pink lakes around. Although 6 hours north of Perth, it’s one of the easier pink lakes to get to in WA, but more on the others later.

Hutt Lagoon spans 14 km (8.7 mi) along the coast and around 2.3 km (1.4 mi) wide with a large dune system separating it from the Indian Ocean.

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West Australian Wildflower Road Trip

One of the greatest wildflower displays in the world happens each year in Western Australia, as a wave of northerly blooms descend from June onwards, heading south as the weather warms into spring and early summer.

There are around 12,500 species of flora here, 60% which are unique to Western Australia, scattered over landscapes of red dirt, rocky outcrops, tall timber forests or sandy coastal dunes.

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Whether you have one day or several weeks, there are plenty of diverse wildflower routes to explore. If you’re visiting Perth and don’t have much time, from August to October you can visit the expansive Kings Park that overlooks the city and is packed with over 300 floral species (peaking in September), or head to the Perth Hills to get your wildflower fix on various bushwalking trails and in national parks, where the native orchids are a specialty.

Myself and fellow travel blogger The Barefoot Backpacker, who was visiting from England, started out with a day trip north but this slowly increased into nights as we found more exciting places to visit until I came up with what I think is a pretty good 4 night/5 day itinerary heading into the heart of WA’s wildflower country but also mixing in some interesting non-floral sites to see.

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Helensburgh Glow Worm Tunnel

 

I always thought I’d have to go to New Zealand to see glow worms at the famous Waitomo Cave,  but it turns out that we have them here in Australia!
There are a number of places where you can see them on the east coast but the most convenient would have to be the glow worms at the Helensburgh Tunnels, just 60km south of Sydney.

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Getting My Freak On at Port Arthur

I’m someone that sits on the fence when it comes to the spirit world, I don’t disbelieve it, but until I see irrefutable proof, there will always be a little part of my brain that will say ‘weeeell, maybe’.
The rest of my brain, however, wholeheartedly believes and the little, disbelieving corner of grey goop lets it because it’s nice to think our departed loved ones are still around and that we can communicate with them.

It was that optimistic part of my brain that jumped at the chance to join a Paranormal Investigation Tour at the very haunted Port Arthur World Heritage site on Tasmania’s south-east coast.

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Port Arthur has two distinct histories. An old one and a modern one, both terrible in their own ways. For those that are unaware, in 1996, a psychopath gunned down 35 people and wounded another 23. It was an event that shocked the nation to its core and spurred Australia’s strict gun control laws.
I had no interest in disturbing these souls. I paid my respects at the beautifully sombre memorial while walking around the site during the day but was glad to see the paranormal tour is conducted far away from the massacre area.

The nocturnal residents I wished to meet were from the convict era.

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From 1833-1877 Port Arthur was a prison for Tasmania’s convicts who had become secondary offenders during their lengthy Transportation holiday.
While physical punishments were handed out, it was the psychological punishments that made Port Arthur unique. Most notably, those in need of extra punishment were hooded and made to stay silent in light-sealed, tiny cells, sometimes for months at a time. An act administrators thought would give the prisoner time to reflect. Instead, it often had the unintended outcome of inducing mental illness through lack of sight and sound.

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Give Me All the Meat Fruit – Dinner and Theatre with Heston

“Hi, do you know where we can find Dinner?”
“You might have to be more specific, what kind of meal were you after?”
“No, it’s called Dinner. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, that’s the name of the restaurant.”

It’s an awkward but simplistically accurate name, although being a Heston restaurant you would assume a name like ‘The Curious & Bewildering Dinner Experience’, would be more apt.

Its dimly lit interior, hidden away in the echelons of Melbourne’s Crown Casino, deceives the eyes but the space has been well designed to ensure the tables themselves are well lit. It’s dark but warm, minimalist yet sleek and stylish.

The first thing to pique my interest is the rows of stripped pineapples strung up like kebab slabs in front of a wall grill. Ah Tipsy Cake – I’ve pre-read the menu online.

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