Canberra’s wonderland of whimsy

by Tim Dawe

The Pod Playground at National Arboretum Canberra

Canberra. Love it or loathe it, Australia’s bush capital is different. Even critics agree it’s a good place for young families. My last visit was my first to the Arboretum, arriving with two children – two under two.

Continue reading “Canberra’s wonderland of whimsy”

Surprising Walpole

by Tim Dawe  

Nornalup Inlet, Walpole

I’ve never stayed at Walpole on WA’s south coast. I have always driven through it to somewhere else – fast. The line of uninspiring functional shops and cafés set back off the busy South Coast highway and framed by car parks does not make for a picturesque country town. A coastal settlement of 450, it lacks the broad open vista of an inlet lapping at its doorstep, like Denmark, its next door neighbour. Continue reading “Surprising Walpole”

Butler’s Backyard

by Tim Dawe

Grey to gold: the sun rises over Lake Claremont

We are sometimes exhorted to travel to our own backyard; to get off the well-trodden path and examine our own environs anew, or with more time and interest. Our usual travel instinct is to venture somewhere else when there are things nearby, under our noses, that are, well, quite interesting. Many of us explore other people’s cities, towns and landscapes more than our own. Continue reading “Butler’s Backyard”

Bibbulmun: and the ghost of Cobber

by Tim Dawe

Sunrise over cloudy Helena Valley

Two men in a boot; forget Jerome K Jerome’s tale of three toffs on the Thames who finish a day’s row on the river with a three-course dinner, a few ales and a down-filled bed. This is about two blokes in late middle age scrambling up and down the Bibbulmun Track – perhaps for the last time.

My partner in boots, Roger the dodger, and I are on a two and a half day hike through pristine bush in the Mundaring water catchment area. This is a test of resolve: of nostalgia and optimism over age and creaking knees. Continue reading “Bibbulmun: and the ghost of Cobber”


by Tim Dawe


There’s an allure about Zanzibar. Is it the Afro-Islamic history and fusion of African, Western and Arabic culture; the wealth and power of exotic trade; the food and taarab music; “spice island” mystique, or is it just the sound of its syllabic name? I’ve waited decades to arrive here, yet it’s actually an 18-minute flight from Tanzania’s biggest city Dar es Salaam; “ladies and gentlemen please fasten your seatbelts for take-off” … a boxed juice … “we are about to land in Zanzibar”. Continue reading “Zanzibar”

St Jude’s

by Tim Dawe

The School of St Jude in northern Tanzania fights poverty through education. You won’t find it highlighted in glossy travel brochures. However, for the many travellers who want to visit and assist charitable organisations in developing countries, it’s a memorable destination and a worthwhile experience. While not the journey, it can be a fulfilling detour – with travel benefits. Continue reading “St Jude’s”