Monday, April 13, 2015

Three Of The Most Chilled Road Trip Destinations On The East Coast Of Australia

Australia - land of many roads. 913,000 Kms of roads to be precise, also boasting the longest national highway in the world. The thing is, in a country this big, we can't avoid driving big distances to get where we want to go, in fact we've made it one of our favourite pastimes. The great aussie road trip - the ultimate playlist, passing the big banana, the big prawn, the big guitar, all the other big things, stopping at a servo to grab some local avos, stopping for a swim in the ocean, sunnies on, windows down, the more K's the better. Am I making you want to grab your keys and head into the sunset?

My husband has a saying handed down from generations of farming men (that I cannot believe I am repeating here) - "a hundred miles of bad road" referring to a bloke in a not-so-great relationship with a not-so-great woman. Nice analogy, huh? Truth be told though, you don't have to drive on bad road these days to get away.

Here are three of my top picks from the East Coast of our sunburnt land, not only for the drive, but also for the amazing destination, the journeys end. Actually, all three of these are places where you are not that far off the beaten track but somehow feel that you have stepped back in time, to somewhere magical where you could easily be lost from the rest of the world. All have plenty of open water and not an awful lot of anything else. They are places to swim and feast and sleep, to turn off you phone and rejuvenate.

1770 / Agnes Waters, QLD 

Yes, there is a town here called 1770, or Seventeen Seventy if you prefer, named so due to Captain James Cook's landing at this point in this year - an imaginative crew they must have been, good with words. 1.5hrs North of Bundaburg and 1.5h south of Gladstone, set onto a gorgeous little peninsular of land on the coast of Queensland it is the closest access point to the southern Great Barrier Reef and the northern most surf beach on the east coast. Stunning azure waters, amazing fresh seafood and beautiful aussie bushland with gums on the sands edge. Visit "The Tree" at 1770 for an icy cold pale ale and a view to die for, Kahunas at Agnes Waters for the most amazing scallop pizzas and hire a tinny from the Marina Cafe to explore the inlets of 1770 in style.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

This place is bizarre in that it is so close to the city of Brisbane, and yet when you drive off the car ferry onto "Straddie" you get a taste of what the land was like before the city existed. Don't get me wrong, you drive off onto tarred road which winds through three little "towns" on the protected western side of the Island, no 4WD required unless you want to head down the amazing stretches of sand on the eastern side. There is a very comforatble pub at Point Lookout with killer views, your choice of coffee shops and some great accommodation and even better camping sites, but there is a magical feeling about the bushland here and the beyond beautiful little coves and beaches. If you are lucky you might even spot a Dugong in the waters between Straddie and the mainland.

Wooli, NSW

Located in the beautiful Yuraygir National Park, on the Clarence Coast, Wooli is CHILLED. This place is a beach holiday destination that feels like stepping back 50 years in time. Another peninsular of land (I see a recurring pattern here) you can get an old beach shack either looking at the ocean or the creek for next to nothing. There is pretty much nothing to do here, and that is the point. Throw in a line, read a book, walk on the beach, that about sums it up. Phone reception is poor, bring your coffee machine if you like an espresso in the morning, lets your kids ride their bikes in the street. Love it.

This post was inspired by Land Rover.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where there's a will, there's a law suit...

I remember going to Thailand a few years ago and noticing the hanging electrical lines, the huge cracks and trip hazards in the streets and the family of five piled onto one small motorbike, and instead of feeling worried for the safety of myself or others, or shocked at the differences to my own country, I absolutely loved the fact that it seemed a little more care free or a little less of a nanny state than where I am from (I am fully aware that of course the differences in economies, population and a myriad of other things contribute and that I often wear rose coloured glasses), I found it refreshing.

It has always gotten my goat a little that we have to cross every t and dot every i here, erring on the side of over-caution in our kids playgrounds, our signing of so many pieces of paper to say "I will not sue, I will not sue". I think of those people who try to open a law suit for every little slip in a shopping centre or sidewalk mishap as lowly opportunists and something that I myself would never do, that it shows poor character. However every now and again you can get thrust into a situation where you may be forced to assess your own judgements or to leave your own comfort zones.

When I was 19 I worked in a beautiful little garden nursery and met the man whom I would end up marrying. It was a dream job way before any romance was to blossom (haha, very pun-ny) and I always worked extremely hard. My husband-to-be (and nursery manager) was working 6 days a week, and when we started seeing each other he spoke to the owner about dropping down to 5 days a week as we wanted to spend more time together out of work. She wasn't at all happy with the idea, told him as much and then told him to fire me as I was a distraction at work and sales were down on the days we worked together. It was a brash and silly move, as he had access to all of the past years records which in fact showed the highest takings on the days we worked together, and when he protested she fired us both. We made the decision to take her to court for unfair dismissal. For my young husband it was to ensure he received the compensation he deserved for having run a successful business for her for 7 years, but for me it was to ensure she wouldn't try and do the same to future employees. It went to a tribunal where the judge took one look and awarded us both a small sum whilst she received a pretty harsh talking to (she had also been under paying staff) and left with a much lighter purse, and so it was a good outcome, but I found the whole process stressful, uncomfortable and a situation I wanted to be over as quickly as possible.

Speaking to somebody the other day, they told me of a friend who had joined a gym in her 60's in order to be proactive and prevent health issues associated with "ageing" as we so commonly advise people to do. The poor woman wasn't shown by the staff how to use any of the equipment properly and ended up quite badly injured after her first visit, with consequential mobility issues that ended up costing her a fair bit in rehabilitation therapies. On the advice of friends, she was seeking legal advice to see whether she could recuperate her losses from the gym, seeing as it should have been in their duty of care to educate her in order to avoid injury.

Now, on the other side, I am setting up a health business where I will be taking out insurance to make sure anyone under my care is covered in case of anything going awry.  I have been taught to always assess every situation to make sure my patients are not at risk and to always, always put safety first. The responsibility, naturally, remains a little scary. What if someone sees an opportunity to take advantage and try to get one up on me or my insurance company? I guess it is always part of the risk and will certainly keep me honest, which is a good thing.

This whole idea of law suits and responsibilities is certainly not as black and white as I once thought it was, nor do I think I would like it be quite as "relaxed" here as in other countries. The insurance companies have their place, the law firms have theirs and we trust in the courts to make the final decisions as to what is right and what is wrong.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation or feel the same conflict of conscience around the matter? A little food for thought :)

Emma xxx

This post has been written in collaboration with Firths - The Compensation Lawyers
Get in touch with them for a free assessment of you individual situation.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Curious Ruby

Its been a while since I've featured an artist here. I've come across another home grown darling who's delightful doodles using black sakura micron ink on textured white paper are often offset by a gentle splash of water colour, rendering them whimsical, psychedelic and feminine all at once.  You will not find her works featured as the hero piece centred above a lounge or bed, but their small size and attention to detail shine in a vignette of objects or art and draw the observer in for closer inspection. I'm saving one of her pieces for my lounge room makeover that will be evened in a few weeks so keep an eye out here for when she pops up again. For now though, check out her work at or her Etsy shop here.