Australian Geographic Adventures

by Deb on July 21, 2011

Sturt Desert Pea

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang, I’m getting paid actual money for it. My very first one, for some strange reason the fairly pointed ‘science’ theme of this blog is difficult for advertisers to work with. I was intrigued and a little sceptical when I was first approached about how well I’d be able to do it, meeting requirements and pleasing the people paying as well as not upsetting my reader(s) by doing something so grossly commercial and possibly off-topic (gasp!).

And then I found out I’m supposed to talk about memories of driving with my father. Are you kidding me?

My hero and the reason I got into science in the first place? I can talk about him. And driving holidays were sort of our ‘thing’ growing up, so yeah, check!

And the magazine I have to talk about is Australian Geographic, so once again, are you kidding me? The one we bought Dad a subscription to when we were teenagers to help in planning the aforementioned driving holidays? The one I advertise in that box up on the right? Yep, I can talk about that. I can even wax lyrical about the gorgeous photos of rainforests, thorny devils and coral reefs and the fascinating stories. Those stories and holidays are one of the reasons I now live out here in the middle of Australia’s greatest tourist attractions, aka the middle of nowhere.

Dale Gorge

Dale Gorge at Karijini National Park

We used to take the 2 weeks of the June school holidays to explore Western Australia, every year we visited a different region. When we were little it was just around the south-west, but as we got older we headed further up the coast to the Pilbara and Kimberley. We camped at Karijini when Wittenoom was still a town and found asbestos in the rocks. We bought pearls in a corrugated tin shed in Broome before the Cable Beach Club existed. We did the Gibb River Road when it didn’t have showers and toilets and bent the axle of the trailer. (And we almost took a wrong turn onto the Mitchell Plateau, which is the sort of mistake that gets you found 3 weeks later by the search and rescue plane.)

It’s a couple of thousand kilometres of countryside from Perth up to the north-west, so we got very good at entertaining ourselves in the car. None of these DVD players or games consoles! In between Joni Mitchell tapes and rousing games of Eye Spy there was lots of talking and family togetherness. I remember leaping out of the car to get an amazing shot of Sturt Desert Peas or trying to spot topknot pigeons and wedge-tailed eagles.



Dad explained how hard caprock with softer rock underneath had eroded to form the flat-topped Pilbara hills. He told us about incredibly old fossil stromatolites and took us to see the ancient iron ore formations being mined.

Pilbara iron ore mine

Pilbara iron ore mine, photo credited to Baras

He helped me find my first fossils in the Devonian reef at Windjana Gorge. And at night we turned off the gas lamp and leaned back while he identified Betelgeuse and Spica and we spotted Venus and watched satellites ghost across the sky.

I haven’t done these things with my kids. Yet. I find it a trifle embarrassing that we live in the Great Tourist Triangle (Uluru, Arnhemland, Kakadu) and all they’ve seen is the Devil’s Marbles. Perhaps I need to get me a subscription to the Australian Geographic Magazine and remind myself of all the amazing things my parents introduced me to. To start planning now what memories I want to gift to my children. My excuse is that they’ve been too young for camping, but every time I turn around they’re getting older. Funny that.

Devil's Marbles

The Devil's Marbles

How about you? Do you take your kids on holidays? I know not everyone sees travel as an extended science lesson, or even realises that’s a good thing, but a new place gives you a new perspective and new things to see. And if, like me, you’ve been a bit hesitant to take the plunge with little kids, a bit of travel porn in the form of travel magazines might encourage you.

But wait! There’s more!

And as a bonus for reading my completely contrived and off-topic post (that I’m getting paid for), there’s also a competition you can enter.

Still need to get a Father’s day gift? (Father’s Day? Is that coming up? Oh dear.) Surprise Dad with one of Magshop’s online magazine subscriptions before 4th October and you could win a Volkswagen Golf Wagon 118TSI Comfortline valued at over $40,000!

So how did I do?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Aus Geographic (@ausgeo) July 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Great blog! RT @ScienceMum More Science@home: Australian Geographic Adventures


Penny Whitehouse July 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm

You did great! I hope one day I get to do a post review for Australian Geographic because seriously, it’s not a hard sell when you think the product rocks!


Deb July 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Exactly. I’m happy not being offered things I have to say no to, if they can occasionally come up with something like this that fits so well.


Annie July 25, 2011 at 6:39 am

Great memories Deb!
We travel with our kids as much as we can, have done ever since they were babies, and there are always so many enriching experiences in all areas of learning, wherever we go. They love it and are always asking to go on more holidays. Haven’t really camped yet, that’s something to work up to but we go exploring at least twice a year.


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