QUEENSLAND’S ICONIC REEF NO BARRIER TO GREAT SEX THIS YEAR
We’ve all heard of sex on the beach, but what about sex on the reef? Queensland’s scuba diving fraternity is poised for the raunchiest sex show on the planet as the Great Barrier Reef prepares for its annual coral spawning season. A combination of warm sea temperatures, plus a late November full moon, has scientists predicting this year’s November 22-24 spawn (or should that be porn?) spectacular will be the best in years. Two Cairns-based dive operators – Tusa Dive and Quicksilver’s Silverswitft – have packed special night diving tours specifically around this event. And if you miss that, on the Southern Great Barrier Reef at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, coral spawning is expected to occur between December 20 and 25. http://www.queenslandholidays.com.au
SUNSHINE COAST SET TO SIZZLE THIS SUMMER
As The Global Goddess prepares to head to Noosa this weekend (it’s all work, I swear it is), it seems timely to give you a snapshot of what you can expect on the Sunshine Coast this summer. Among a menu of tropical treats, you’ll find the Woodford Folk Festival (December 27 to January 1) about which I regularly wax lyrical; and the Ginger Flower & Food Festival (January 17 to 19) – The Global Goddess and ginger have been long-time friends when it comes to rough travel. But you’re really not Australian until you’ve attended the Australia Day Dunny Races at Ettamogah Pub on January 26. While The Global Goddess lost a considerable amount of money last Australia Day at Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel backing a racing cockroach she called The Global Goddess (we’re lovers, not fighters), perhaps she should consider a dunny race next time? And if I met a bloke there, imagine the toilet humour stories we could tell at our wedding. http://www.visitsunshinecoast.com.au
GIRLS LIKE TO GET DIRTY
No, I’m not talking about some kind of crazy Russian porn flick, but the Dirty Girls 4×4 Weekend on Brisbane’s Moreton Island. Following its super successful sellout first weekend this year, Global Jamboree has announced this event will be held once a month in 2014. Billed as the ideal girls’ getaway, you can spend your days 4WDing around stunning Moreton Island on its long beach tracks and beautiful bush trails, exploring its expansive national park, before returning to your luxury tent and the recently-opened Glampsites. Each tent here is furnished with a queen-size bed and private ensuite and veranda. The Global Goddess might just have to grab some of her girl gang and head over. http://www.globaljamboree.com.au
NOW YOU CAN SCOOT TO HONG KONG
Some of the best headline writers in the airline game, Scoot, is encouraging passengers on this Low Cost Carrier of the Year to “don’t be dim, save sum loot” and enjoy its new service to Hong Kong. The service, launched last week, is Scoot’s 12th city in 7 countries. Twenty years ago, when The Global Goddess was a cadet journalist in the Murdoch empire, she was sent to Hong Kong for four months to gain some valuable experience. It changed her world, from the sunny Gold Coast to the bright lights and big city of this vibrant Asian destination. You too can Scoot to Hong Kong with fares from Singapore – Scoot’s hub – starting at SGD$119, one-way, including taxes. There’s some great deals on flights out of Australia to Singapore to connect you with Scoot’s other destinations in the region. http://www.flyscoot.com
SUPPORT SASSY SURVIVORS
Those sassiest of sheilas, Gold Coast-based Sassy Survivors which supports young women with breast cancer, have published an awesome calendar for 2014. This colourful calendar, designed to show there can be a positive side to breast cancer, did so well in its first year it expected to sell 100 calendars and ended up selling 1200. The 2014 Sassy Survivors calendar is aimed at reminding people there is life after breast cancer. All money raised from calendar sales, which is just $15 plus postage, goes towards continuing to assist young women battling this disease. And, as the cover below shows, it’s fun, it’s flirty, it’s fabulous, just like this terrific organisation. And what a great Christmas present it will make! http://sassysurvivors.org/sassy-survivors-2014-calendar/
AUSTRALIA Day. Race 12. 4.45pm. And The Global Goddess is off and racing. Problem is, I can’t figure out which one she is, among the other critters on the field. I’m at my first cockroach races at Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel and have paid $10 to name and race a cockroach. But The Global Goddess doesn’t stand a chance against the tough boys like “Campbell’s a cock head” and “Keep your cock in your pants” and I never see her again. Just like the time I paid $60 for a lizard at the Eulo Lizard Races in the Outback. Oh, the frilly ran alright, straight out of the ring and into the Aussie desert, and like my $60, never to be seen again.
Australians love a wager and we’ll bet on anything. Some say it’s our ragged spirit, borne from living in the harshest country on earth. As I write this, a tornado rages around me. Last week it was the sickening stench of drought. I’ve spent this morning deciding in which room I might need to shelter later, and whether I need to do my hair and make-up in case a handsome emergency volunteer arrives to save me in the midst of the fury. And who said you can’t find someone while hiding under your bed?
But it’s exactly this rough and tumble of the land that I love. Whenever I’ve lived overseas, it’s the early-morning and late afternoon cackle of the kookaburra I miss the most. The punctuation mark on my day. Others hate the nagging crows. I adore them. They’re brusque and ballsy. I love how the summer rain tap dances on the hot tin roof of my timber cottage. The imperfect knots in the wood of my bare floor boards. I ache for the smell of the ocean when I’m stuck in a foreign city. Salt air you could eat sprinkled on a bucket of hot chips. Coconut sunscreen you could drink. Sticky mango fingers. Real waves that dump you, thrash you around and pick you up again. Just like this harsh land.
In her latest book Honestly, Notes on Life, novelist and columnist Nikki Gemmell writes of returning to Australia after living in England. “Life is about wringing the most happiness we can out of our time on Earth, and for me that means old mates and family and land and beauty – a spiky, prickly, ravishing Australian beauty, not that soft, benign, European one. Under a replenishing sun.” Her words make my soul do a somersault. Lost and lonely sometimes in foreign lands, I wonder if I’m the only weirdo who feels sentimental and soppy for the Southern Cross.
Knowing all this, who wouldn’t want to live here? And so this Australia Day long weekend I turn my thoughts, yet again, to boat people. I’m stunned when Australians who claim to love this country turn their backs on asylum seekers. Like they’ve forgotten how their own families arrived in the Great Southern Land. For me, it was five generations ago, via a perilous three-month boat journey from Europe. My adventurous Great, Great Grandfather Christian and his brave wife Amelia boarded the Susannah Godfrey in search of a new land and a better life for their family. I am direct descendent of a boat person. Who am I to deny any other family the same privilege of living in Australia?
And yet, somehow Aussies do. It’s what I call the ugly Australian. Devoid of compassion, insight and education. There’s a nasty rumour doing the rounds of Ipswich that the Sudanese refugee population receives $30,000 upon arrival in Australia. The ugly Australian is outraged. Frankly, if I had my way, they’d receive $100,000 to start a new life, away from the ravages of war, rape and the kind of hunger we will never imagine. Yet the ugly Australian resents these beautiful shiny black people who have suffered so much, they’ve relinquished their homeland.
So, enough. The time has come to accept we are global citizens and all the responsibilities that come with that privilege. Or before too long, Australia will not be our home of mirth by sea, but the laughing stock of the world.