Emma Page is my charming, delightful and lovely friend from Sydney. We are both obsessed with travel and spend many hours a week planning our next adventures. Unfortunately, both of us have recently had our travels cut short by broken vertebrae during our travels. We are now on the mend and ready for frivolity and fun abroad!
Learn Why Emma Loves her country AUSTRALIA so much and her tips on what’s hot in the land Down Under.
Name: Emma Page
Country of Residence: Australia
Country of Origin: Australia
Why do you love Travel? To escape familiar settings and embrace discovery and adventure. There’s no better way to experience the world than to actually get out there and see it. You can read a one thousand page itinerary on Paris, gaze at photos of the Dalmatian Coast or watch a movie about La Dolce Vita in Rome but none of it compares with being physically present in a cultural landscape where you can taste, touch, smell and feel what it’s all about. I compel everyone to travel at least once in their life…no doubt you’ll want to go again!
Favourite place in your home country and why? There is no city I love more than Sydney. A born and bred Sydney girl, I think this stunning Harbour metropolis offers the best of everything. It combines spectacular natural beauty – craggy headlands overlooking a sparkling blue ocean and pristine national parks – with the best of cosmopolitan Australia. You’ll find the best international foods – from Japanese sushi to Persian fairy floss to Mediterranean degustations – at your fingertips. There is also a gamut of watering holes, an eclectic mix of museums and galleries, high-end and bargain shopping haunts and lots of free and cheap entertainment options. Sydney is Australia’s largest global city with a booming population but manages to retain a relaxed, chilled vibe amidst the Manhatten-esque pace of life.
Best place for tourists to visit in your country? I’d definitely recommend taking a trip into Alice Springs – the dry, dusty heartland of Australia – and spending time in Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock). Watching the rock at sunset as it changes from dull terracotta to blood orange to muted mauve is breathtaking. It’s easy to appreciate the spiritual significance this place has to Aboriginal people.
Also on the list is Kata Tjuta or The Olgas (a short drive from Uluru) and the breathtaking Kings Canyon.
Stay in Alice Springs town (Crowne Plaza recommended) to experience a unique and exciting melting pot of different cultures in the very centre of Australia. Browse the Friday night markets along Todd Street Mall, have a flutter at the Casino, nurse a python at the Reptile Centre and tour Desert Park (it’s about $20). The walk takes you on well beaten paths through the reserve where you’ll inspect waterholes with thriving bird life, see nocturnal exhibitions, cross river beds, explore sand country and get up close and personal with red kangaroos.
What other country would you life in if you had to leave your country? Either France or Croatia.
Everything in France is beautiful. From the opulent shop facades and finely-wrapped chocolates in Paris to the sublime Alps, romantic wine valleys and shimmering azure waters lapping the Nice coastline – France has an exquisite landscape for everyone.
My mum hails from Privlaka, a small fishing village on the northern Dalmatian coast in Croatia – about a half hour drive from Zadar and three hours from Zagreb. I have visited this village twice and I cannot wait to go back. The people are lovable characters who usher you inside their homes for homemade delicacies such as stuffed capsicums or prosciutto with Pag cheese. In summertime you can watch local lads display their incredible footsal skills, swim in sapphire blue Adriatic waters, drink Karlovacka beer at rustic bars and sing traditional pjesme (songs) to a classical guitar on the beach under moonlight. A highlight would definitely be celebrating Privlaka Noc – a summer festival with Croatian rock legends, klapa bands, food stalls, fireworks over the moonlit sea and hundreds of eager-eyed faces. Spend a summer in Dalmatia and you’ll return home with tears in your eyes because nothing can ever quite compare to that magic.
Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country? I remember visiting World Heritage Listed Fraser Island (located along the southern coast of Queensland) and being astonished that the entire island was made of pure white, fine grain sand. In fact, it is the world’s largest sand island. I travelled around Fraser in a four-wheel drive to behold spectacularly coloured sand cliffs and trekked through natural rainforests where centuries old trees had grown not from soil but sand. The island houses 100 freshwater lakes, the colour of aquamarine, which are difficult to float in without any salt content keep you buoyant. We spotted dingoes, goannas, lorikeets and an abundance of other native species roaming freely on the island. Fraser is a rare gem that ranks among Australia’s most prized natural landscapes such as The Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.
Favourite activity when around your city? If it’s hot I’ll make a beeline to the water. Yachting around Sydney Harbour is spectacular, as is finding the perfect sunny spot in the Botanic Gardens, flopping out on a picnic blanket and watching the passer bys/harbour life. Fish and chips at Watsons Bay, breakfast at Bondi, coffee at Balmoral and swimming at Cronulla are also favourites.
Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed? I know parts of Australia well but there are still many places I’d love to explore such as Tasmania, Cairns, Darwin, the Great Ocean Road and Adelaide. Many tourists often know more about our own backyard than Aussies do!
Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country? Always swim between the flags at surf beaches. Australian waters are notoriously rough and for inexperienced swimmers, strong rips, large waves and sudden potholes in the sand can be treacherous (if not lethal!). Also, if bushwalking wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots if possible – we have many poisonous snakes and spiders here! Research is your best tool – read up before you go.
Must see movie featuring your country and Why? Baz Luhrmann’s epic romance ‘Australia’. It captures our beautiful but dangerous desert-country and voices important perspectives in Australian history, including the larrikin drover, the aristocratic English colonialist and the mixed race Aboriginal boy. The film is set against the backdrop of the bombing of Darwin during WWII.
The best book to read before visiting your country? May Gibbs’ ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ (a splendidly illustrated children’s classic), Bill Bryson’s ‘In a Sunburned Country’ (Audio CD) or anything by Tim Winton or Bryce Courtney – two bestselling Aussie authors.
The must eat dish or delicacy of your country? We have lots of international eats here but do try a pie or sausage roll from Harry’s Café de Wheels in Woolloomooloo. Opera Bar serves the best Sydney Rock Oysters – washed down with a glass of white wine, you can’t beat it!
The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier?
– Cheers/ no worries mate (to thank someone for their help)
– Where is the nearest bus stop/ train station?
– How much does it cost?
Best time of year to visit? Spring/ summer
The 4 words that best describe your country: Vibrant, colourful, welcoming, diverse.