Go Like a Local

Since my first plane flight as a child, I have always had the travel bug and travelled a lot.  I moved to Europe as an 18 year old and spent 6 years working and travelling around, seeing as much as I possibly could.

Today, with my writing and photography, I continue to love finding new places and with a young family, I am mostly focused on exploring Australia.  Many trips are part of my work, but I’m also finding more and more, rather than been given a detailed itinerary and guided where to go and what to do, I am tending towards arranging my own trips, based on finding unexplored locations and places I am passionate about discovering.

Moonlight Crag @ O’Reillys

This means that although I like a certain standard of travel, I am always searching out good deals, including airlines.  I was so pleasantly surprised to experience Tiger Air.  Whilst marketing themselves as a budget, low cost airline, I felt like this did not impact on their great level of service and have since had no hesitation considering them when arranging my travel bookings.

Queen Mary Falls

So when Tiger Air Announced their, “Go Like a Local” campaign, I was more than keen to jump on board and get involved.  Aimed at locals like you and I sharing our local favourite locations, and not the obvious tourist spots, but our hidden gems, off the beaten track.  This competition not only gets us talking about and sharing our favourite places, but one lucky entrant will also win a $250 Tiger Air Voucher to book their next adventure.

Wavebreak Island

All you need to do to win is share a photo of your favourite place on Instagram and tag #GoLikeALocal @tigerairaustralia and @julesingall. The most creative entry will be selected for the $250 prize.  Too easy.

The Panorama @ Tallai

These are some of my favourite places on the Gold Coast, a little off the beaten track and never too busy.  What are yours?  Can’t wait to see what people share!

Entries close Friday 22 February 2019 (note Australian residents 18+ only please)

For more information go to www.tigerair.com.au/go-local

One of the many graffiti laneways – this one at Burleigh
The Broadwater
Lamington National Park
Natural Bridge


Sailing the Whitsundays – Disconnect to Reconnect

In today’s modern world, we are all getting busier.  We are time poor and with the invasion of social media in recent years, family time is rare, but more importantly -priceless.  The best way to really connect with each other is to disconnect yourselves from routine and what better way that escaping for a family holiday.  Unfortunately however, as the parent of teenagers, going away on holiday does not always mean disconnecting your children from their friends.  Social media has them glued to their phones and devices 24/7 right?

So when planning a quality family holiday, I had to consider something that would be amazing, an experience that would engage and enthuse everyone.   What better way to escape than a sailing adventure around the pristine waters of the Whitsundays discovering the idyllic tropical beaches, islands and reefs in the area.  Don’t own your own private yacht?  No problems, the team at Queensland Yacht Charters (QYC) are specialists in the Whitsundays region, plus they also have a fleet of luxury sailing boats to suit everyone’s needs.

Not only is a sailing holiday a great experience for those of us that don’t own our own 50 foot yacht, it allows the freedom to move around, have a unique adventure with the added bonus of limited phone and internet service so everyone really has to let go and unwind.  Even if only for a few days, completely switching off from reality will feel like you’ve had weeks away and you return refreshed and recharged.   The beauty of chartering a boat is that you are tapping into the years of local knowledge of experts to ensure every reasonable safety measure is followed and they can provide tips on hot spots for fishing, snorkelling, beaches and islands all away from the crowds.

QYC are one of the biggest and most popular Bare Boat Charter companies in the region.   They are a part of the World Wide Company – Dream Yacht Charters.  The world’s largest charter boat organisation.  They boast dream locations such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mediterranean, and of course, one of my absolute favourites, the Whitsundays.

QYC base is located at Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.  It’s a short 30 minute drive from Whitsundays airport in Proserpine and QYC can even arrange for transport to collect you on your arriving flight.  It’s best to plan to be in Airlie Beach the day prior to departure out on the water. This gives you time to familiarise yourself with the boat, do any shopping necessary and if possible, start your sailing induction.

For any boating holiday, what to take is fairly minimal.  You’re away from people, restaurants, towns and the need to dress up.  A small bag with swimmers, a few summer clothes and of course a camera are about all you need to take on board.  Even shoes aren’t required so the very process of packing for your trip is a simple and stress free exercise.

There is the option to have the food catered for you, or if you want to go all out, have a hostess and chef on board to take care of food and all your other needs.  However, part of the luxury of a self-charter holiday is going completely off grid, away from technology, television and any sort of civilisation.  It’s best to keep things simple and go back to basics with food. There are supermarkets a short distance from the marina as well as an amazing butcher (MBW on the Barbie Butchers), seafood supplier (Fishi’s) and bottle shops, chemists etc.  It’s important to remember when setting sail on a charter boat holiday, nothing can be done quickly.  The nearest location to get any sort of supplies, access to medical etc is usually hours away so plan well and you shouldn’t have any dramas. Even take a small medical kit with extra plasters, disinfectant, anti-nausea etc.

Once you’re stocked up, the next order of business before you can set sail is familiarise yourself with how the actual boat works, including a full briefing from the Charter Company.  The Whitsundays is the only place in the world where you can hire a charter boat with no boat licence at all.  You can pretty much have zero boating knowledge, and set sail on one of the most magical holidays you will ever experience.

Despite the yachts being 30, 40, 50 feet long, they are surprisingly easy to manoeuvre.  QYC spend about half a day giving you a complete overview, how to work pretty much everything and what to do in most situations.  Finally, as you set sail, a member of their friendly crew will come with you for the first hour or so to ensure you have understood all the instructions and are comfortable out on the water.  Even though it sounds unimaginable to be handed the keys to one of these majestic boats without a licence, there is no way the charter company will let you leave until they are confident that you are fully in control and capable.

Part of the briefing is mapping out a course for the time that you are out on the water, taking into consideration their extensive knowledge of local conditions, winds and protected coves to moor.  Charters are for 3 up to 10 days duration, take your pick.  Of course conditions can change quickly but even though there is no phone service, onboard is a VHF radio linking you back to reality with regular updates from the local Marine Authority as well as the charter companies to keep you well informed.  You also need to check in morning and evening with your location and plans, which also gives you the opportunity to go through any queries or issues with the base.  It honestly couldn’t be simpler.

There are 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, the majority of which are completely uninhabited.  The choice is endless.  You’ve set sail, found your deserted island and you’re moored up feeling like you’ve been transported into lifestyles of the rich and famous.  This is truly living.  Many of the islands have great walking trails with magnificent views that stretch across the whole island landscape.  There’s something really bonding about being on a boat with only the company of your family or friends.  Teenagers who are usually glued to the television or in their rooms are suddenly free from the pressures that consume them and have time to really enjoy the whole experience.   We spent time playing board games, swimming, exploring the reefs and corals and even included stand up paddle boards on our boat for some extra fun.

Five nights on a charter, feeling like Christopher Columbus discovering the unknown, honestly equates to five weeks on a regular holiday.  The simple pleasure of disconnecting from the world makes time stand still.  Days spent lazing in the water and on beaches, often with not another person to be seen.  It’s easy to wind down and simply focus on your family and friends around you, or just get lost in another world in a good book.  Chartering a boat is an indulgence that many never consider as a holiday option, however the benefit of not requiring a boat licence with QYC makes it all so easy.  Once you have enjoyed the experience, you will be sure to return.  You can’t put a price on the value of reconnecting with family and spending treasured time together, it’s one holiday I will not only remember forever, but return again next year for more.




Gold Coast’s Most Instagramable Locations

It’s the new trend. We are all travelling more and with this, comes sharing our adventures on Social Media.  Often, a great “Instagramable” location can determine our destination choice.  In fact, many people travel to a location purely with the aim of getting that perfect “Instagram shot”.

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Straight to the Heart of the Outback

One of the most distinctive and beautiful things about Australia is its contrasting landscapes. From the pristine beaches, to the lush rainforest and barren outback. With more and more people traveling and many tourist destinations becoming overcrowded, the trend is changing to travelers looking for more unique experiences.  Particularly with social media, everyone wants that rare selfie, something that’s going to go viral, not the same old shots that have been done to death.

There has always been a fascination with the outback, think Uluru, Ayres Rock etc. however with Australia being so large and most people are time poor, the thought of traveling thousands of miles by car to get to a destination just doesn’t make it attractive.  That’s where local tour operator Sea Air Aviation on the Gold Coast are taking Outback Travel to the next level.  Offering outback tours in the comfort of a 14-seater Cessna Caravan airplane, over a period of 3 days, 2 nights, passengers cover over 3,800 km.  You get to experience some of the most remote parts of outback Australia with the advantage of travelling in speed as well as the comfort of a small plane.  In a few days, see places in vast contrast to the beaches and city landscapes most of us are used to.

Taking off from Gold Coast airport, the beauty of air travel is that you get incredible aerial perspectives of every location.  The pilots have travelled these routes many times and are knowledgeable and entertaining. Rather than slipping on my headphones and getting lost in my music playlists, my journey is filled with snippets of stories and legends.

First stop on the adventure is Charleville.  A mere 840 km from the Gold Coast and home to one of the outback’s Royal Flying Doctor Service bases.  We have the opportunity to meet staff who work for this amazing facility and explore the museum for more history and information.  It’s well worth the fuel stop!

After a short break, we return to the sky to watch the changing landscape as we enter Channel Country.  This part of Outback Australia is named for its intertwining river system that snakes all the way from the top of Queensland to the drainage basin of Lake Eyre and South Australia.  These areas are dry most of the time, so from the air, you get a spectacular view of the river beds weaving their way through dunes and desert, stopping and starting depending on rainfall levels.  The patterns that they make are both artistically inspiring and spectacular.


Birdsville is one of the most well-known towns in Channel Country, set alongside the Diamantina River it is home to a massive bird population.  Even though Birdsville is pretty well known, surprisingly it is just a tiny little town with a population of just 75 people.  Home to a local baker and a roadhouse, but more importantly, the Birdsville pub.  You start to get the sense that the lifeblood of these remote towns revolves around the local pubs.

Landing on the small airstrip, the airport is unmanned and deserted giving you an appreciation of the remoteness of where you actually are.  There’s not a horde of tourists or a town ruined by overpopulation.  This is the real outback.   You get the feel of life in a small remote town where probably the biggest decision of the day as a tourist is whether to order the famous Camel Curry or Kangaroo pie from the bakery, served by local Alex who also doubles as bus driver and tour operator for outback 4WD Tours.

Just 35km from downtown Birdsville – right next to the towns edge, is the sand dune known as Big Red.  The Simpson Desert is made up of hundreds of parallel dunes, best visible from the air, with Big Red marking the edge of the Desert.  Possibly due to its proximity to Birdsville, also because it is the tallest, standing 40 meters in height, its popular with 4WD enthusiasts for a fun challenge as well as local tour operators and visitors alike.  With 360 degree views of pure desert, watching the sun go down over the deep red of dunes against the rich blue sky and seeing the changing colors is something that is truly breathtaking.  It’s such a popular spot for a sunset beer or a wine to really make the most of the experience.

From Birdsville, the tour travels south over the Simpson Desert getting the chance to witness the parallel dunes, which converge into river mazes as the journey continues.  Where there is water, the colors of rich green contrast to the reds and browns of the desert.  Crossing over to the South Australian boarder, Lake Eyre is the third largest salt lake in the world.  Currently mostly dry, the crystal patterns and brilliant whites of the salt make for more spectacular photography and viewing opportunities.

Just west of Lake Eyre the tour lands in the unique town of William Creek. Another miniscule town in the great wide outback, William Creek boasts a population of just 15.  This whole town is owned and run by the fondly dubbed “Mayor of William Creek” Trevor Wright.  Full of character, Trevor is keen to share his town with visitors and talks passionately about the local area and his love of the outback.  Over a beer and a Kangaroo wrap at his pub, Trevor shares stories and a laugh.

Although this town is just one small main street, its full of quirky collections that make it worth the stop.  The main bar in the pub is filled with business cards, caps, notes and memorabilia from travelers who have passed through, a memorial park is across the road with unusual and diverse items such as a rocket from a nearby space launch from times past.  But quite possibly the funniest thing to see in William Creek is the local fire truck. Has to be seen to be believed. Hand painted, it only drives after a tow start so god forbit if there were to ever be an actual fire that needs putting out, but it goes to the character and sense of humor of Trevor and the whole town.

Our next stop is Innamincka and it’s the smallest of the towns on the trip with a population of 12.  It lies on the banks of Cooper Creek, but what brings most tourists here is the historical significance.  Innamincka is the closet town to the burial sight and famous “Dig Tree” which ultimately marked the demise of outback explorers Bourke and Wills.  With limited phone service and no city luxuries, following the trails of historic explorers like Bourke & Wills, this town is another example of the isolation the explorers must have felt.

The tour saves the best for last, a day at the Charlotte Plains working sheep and cattle station.  Set on 70,000 acres, this station has been in owner Robyn’s family for over 90 years.  After landing on the Station’s private airstrip, she personally takes you on a tour of the old sheering shed, which looks like it’s barely still standing after well over a century, followed by the historic hut and station house, untouched and frozen in time as they were many years ago. Lunch is on the balcony of the homestead in true county style with quite possibly the best pumpkin soup you will ever eat, made by Robyn herself with her secret family recipe.


Perhaps the best, or at least easily the most fun part of the station tour is a visit to the Artesian bore which on first appearance is just a water pump from the ground feeding water into the river to feed the animals.  Robyn has cleverly placed some old bathtubs next to the bore and guests can fill them up with continually flowing hot water and bath in the middle of the desert in a hot springs bath.

Originally home to over 100,000 sheep and many more staff, this station illustrates the current well publicised plight of our outback farmers.  Many of the animals are dying from lack of food and farmers and struggling to keep their farms prosperous.

As we taxi down the dirt runway to start the final journey home, I’m left with a sense of sadness.  Three days in the outback suddenly doesn’t seem long enough. I embarked on this journey thinking it would be a once in a lifetime experience, bucket list ticked, never to return. Yet once you’ve seen and experienced Outback Australia, it’s like an addiction and your soul will always want more.

With many options of Outback travel available this is obviously one of the more luxurious option, traveling in ease and style.  Breeze into remote locations landing on dirt airfields with ragged looking exhausted 4WD travelers watching in awe as you depart a luxury air conditioned Cessna Caravan. It feels like lifestyles of the rich and famous but at a total cost of less than $3,000 for a fully inclusive tour, it allows the opportunity to experience outback Australia in a short space of time.  Visiting some of the most remote parts of Queensland and South Australia, only accessible by dirt roads with many of the airstrips just clearings of graded dirt runways at unnamed airfields.  Return home with shoes full of red outback sand, memories of lifetime experience and a new found love and appreciation of this beautiful land and it’s people.

Seair Aviation’s Outback Adventure departs from and returns to Gold Coast (Coolangatta) and Brisbane (Archerfield) airports.  The cost is $2,985 per person, including all accommodation, tours, entry fees, breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks.  Single travelers are welcome with no single supplement.  For full details go the www.seairpacific.com.au or telephone 07 5599 4509 (Queensland, Australia)

Published in the Gold Coast Bulletin Eye Magazine Lift Out

Saturday 25 August 2018

Best of the Gold Coast

Such an honour to be not only featured in the Gold Coast Bulletin with my work as a local photographer, but to have the front cover of the Gold Coast Eye Magazine.  It’s been a journey trying to re-invent myself as not just a WAG anymore and the support of the local and online community have been both overwhelming and greatly appreciated.  Thank you!


Underwater Heaven at Lady Elliot Island

Easily one of the best places in Queensland to visit for incredible, up close underwater wildlife experiences is Lady Elliot Island. Not only is this a beautiful natural environment, but the opportunity to swim so close to turtles, manta rays and so many other marine life are just mind blowing.

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Sunshine Coast Getaway

Lets face it, at any one time, we are all dreaming of a holiday. I get back from one trip and I’m already planning and getting excited about the next one. So when Sunshine Coast Tourism invited me on a road trip up to the Glasshouse Mountains and beaches, of course I jumped at the chance.

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Choice Hotels Next Top Instagrammer

As the wife of a retired race driver (Russell Ingall), I’ve led a really busy life, travelling and meeting the demands of a professional athlete’s schedule and children as well. So when my husband retired from full time driving a couple of years ago, suddenly I had all this time on my hands. It was the perfect excuse for me to rekindle my love of photography and continue travelling, trying to break into the extremely popular and very tough, Destination Marketing industry.

Continue reading “Choice Hotels Next Top Instagrammer”