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Carmen

Carmen Jenner is a travel, food, and lifestyle writer, wanna-be photographer and the founder of Fluffy Towel. She specialises in travel memoirs, destination pieces, hotel reviews, guidebook contributor, travel advice, restaurant reviews, family travel, and copywriting.

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Perth, Australia

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Wagin: An outback gem

filed06 Mar 2015 from

paddock art

Almost exactly halfway between Perth and Albany, the dusty outback town of Wagin toils away beneath a vast expanse of nothingness except for clouds swirling on a background of blue.

Wagin Little GemAs the outback scrub gives away to hills of faded gold, the Southern Wheatbelt region is dotted with cattle languidly grazing in paddocks while lorikeets and galas nibble on roadside picnics of seeds. The quintessential outback town of Wagin is at the crossroads of the Great Southern region; with Albany to the south, Bunbury to the West, Esperance to the south-east and Perth 225 kilometres to the north.

After turning off Albany Highway onto Arthur Road visitors are welcomed into town by an outdoor gallery of corrugated-iron creations crafted into brightly-painted comical depictions. The countryside is sparsely littered with old homesteads on vast fields of wheat and sheep stations. Originally occupied by the Aboriginal tribe called Noongars until it was settled in the early 1800s, and located near a series of ancient lakes, Wagin is one of the most heritage rich rural towns in WA. Pronounced as “way-gin” it’s named after the Noongar word meaning “where the emus watered.”

 

Click here for the full article published in Morning Calm, Korean Airlines inflight magazine, January 2015

 

Getting there:

236 km south of Perth and approximately 3 hours via Albany Hwy. Extreme temperatures reach high 30’s Dec-Mar and overnight minimums of 2 degrees Jun-Sept. The sun is harsh so always apply sunscreen and wear a hat. Carry extra water when travelling and beware of kangaroos on the roads especially at dawn and dusk. Wildflower season runs Aug-Nov. On the last Saturday of October Wagin Burnouts is a drag racing festival open to spectators and has free camping sites.

Where to stay:

The Wagin Motel provides clean and comfortable motel rooms with breakfast. Also in town Buckinghams Bed & Breakfast offers charming rooms with breakfast. Ellerslie Lady by the Lake Spa and Retreat has cottages and a day spa. Check Airbnb for other options like Wadelocking Manor Country Getaway.

What to eat:

Palace Hotel is the most popular and Molly Brown’s in Mitchell Hall serves quaint fare. The Woodanilling Tavern about 25 km south is a local favourite especially for its roast dinners and live entertainment.  The Highbury Tavern about 30 kms north-west is a typical outback pub with a steakhouse and beer garden.

wagin giant ram in sepia

Attractions:

Woolorama runs 6-7 March 2015 and includes sheep shearing, wool handling, sheep dog trials, dog high-jump, cattle judging as well as fashion parades, art exhibits, kids’ rides, a rodeo and live music.

The 10.5 kilometre Wait-Jen Walk Trail has the Noongar name for “emu’s foot print” and follows the ancient dreaming trails formed by the mythical Wagul. Signposted the trail meanders by four lakes, natural vegetation, kangaroos and nocturnal animals. The lakes evaporate in the dry season and the shimmering salt flats are best viewed and photographed at sunset.

31st December marks 50 years since the land speed record was broken at 429 miles per hour (690 km/h) by Donald Campbell on Dumbleyung Lake in his Bluebird K7 boat. Covering an area of 52 square kilometres it’s a natural habitat for waterbirds, water-sports and picnics.

Follow the plaques and take a self-guided walk especially to the Library which also houses a small art gallery including prolific Western Australian artist Robert Juniper’s Homeward Bound.

War poster

War poster

Permanent Impressions: Independent Publisher Book Awards Winner

filed01 May 2014 from

I’m very proud to report Permanent Impressions: A salute to contemporary heroines won Bronze in the Best Regional Non-fiction category for the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPYs. It was an absolute honour to work on such an amazing project with the incredibly talented artist Jana Vosedil and dynamic Carina Hoang of Carina Hoang Communications, who incidentally won Silver for her Boat People book in 2012. Permanent Impressions pays homage to 50 of Western Australia’s …

Finding Perth

filed29 Oct 2013 from

I’ve landed a great gig writing for Findery where I get to “find” cool stuff in my hometown Perth, Western Australia.I’ve seen dead animals at the Natural History Museum in Guildford, got my girls out with a Breastique Art workshop, braved a storm in a campervan in Denmark, discovered some great coffee at Love Thy Neighbour, unearthed why honeymooners once flocked to Ngilgi cave in Yallingup and even did some of my research in the horizontal position at Hidden Valley …

Truffle Time

filed29 Jul 2013 from

On the 28th July in 2003 the first ever (well, the first documented one) truffle was found in Western Australia’s Manjimup. Ten years on, the Wine and Truffle Co. is so successful they now export to the US, Germany and France.

I went on a truffle hunt last week and I can still smell that earthy aroma. And as you can see below hunting for truffles is a very simple process…once you’ve selected the right plot of land, inoculated the …

The Mexican Suitcase

filed19 Jun 2013 from

zocalo fish eye

How fortuitous for a suitcase containing thousands of lost negatives from the Spanish Civil War to be found by a film-maker. In fact, the story of the journey of the suitcase is interesting on its own, but not nearly as fascinating as its contents.

As war survivors share their horrific tales, The Mexican Suitcase incorporates many of the retrieved photos into the documentary with disturbing images of ravaged corpses, boy soldiers with rifles, women performing hard labour and sad-eyed children.…

The Artist and the Model

filed19 Jun 2013 from

spanishff

Set in the Pyrenees in occupied France during 1943, The Artist and the Model depicts a time where men dressed elegantly, creative types didn’t rely on technology to produce art and models had bodies that embraced their womanliness, body hair and all. So when model Merce, (Aida Folch) reveals the wisps of her armpit, it’s almost as shocking as the complete nudity she displays for much of the movie.

After escaping from a concentration camp Merce is picked up off …

Rooftop Comedy

filed19 Jun 2013 from

conservatory_cropped

As patrons perched on top of the Conservatory Rooftop Bar bathed in red light while giggling about the ridiculousness of life, it was easy to forget about the crisp night air. With a New York meets Miami vibe, the light changed to blue and then green to match the palms and turf flooring.

MC Dan Willis swifty carried the show and was surprisingly gentle on the “white collar crowd” considering he was no doubt more liberal with his previous performance …

Apache CLIP Award

filed19 Jun 2013 from

Svetlalana Baily_CLIP 2012 Winner

If photos of pretty landscapes are your thing then you won’t mind that the Apache CLIP Award is over. On the other hand, if you’re swayed by the grittiness of reality you’ll be watching this space, particularly the exhibition space of the Perth Centre for Photography (PCP) for its next exciting instalment.

CLIP stands for Contemporary Landscapes in Photography and the criteria of the competition was to create original and stimulating pieces to challenge traditional landscapes. The Apache CLIP Award …

Craft Beer Festival 2012

filed24 Feb 2012 from

Thirst quenching honey-hued bitterness satiates WA’s south west.

I must confess I’m not a beer lover. There I said it. I may be a failure at the Australian tradition of a downing a coldie, but after a tasting at Eagle Bay Brewery, I didn’t mind it. In fact, I even finished my sample of the German style Kolsch. Drank as a lager and likened to the crowd pleasing Little Creatures Pilsner, my Kolsch (note how I’ve already become a …

Buskers of Fremantle: The Freo All-Stars

filed28 Dec 2010 from

THE BLUE STAR OF FREMANTLE

Fedora tipped over blue

Seductive plucking of tune

Street-side superstar

Freo presents Ivan Zar

Travel Photography Workshop 068b_edited-2

In amongst the throng of bohemians languishing along Fremantle’s capuccino strip, I’m immediately drawn to the man sporting a suit and fedora in mid-night blue. Oozing 1960’s glamour evocative of the Cuban time warp, I learn his name is Ivan Zar. A master of blues, the haromonica, and his unique metallic slide guitar, his style is gutsy yet unassuming. Influenced by …

Oprah’s wild west

filed09 Dec 2010 from

Final-2---Copy

Okay, so Oprah’s not gay or coming to Perth…but she did change her plans on a whim to visit Uluru care of singer and friend Paul Simon. Oprah and her entourage’s itineraries are shrouded in secrecy so you never know the world’s most isolated of cities, Perth may still feature in the limelight. So far Oprah hss hammed it up on Hamilton Island and has cuddled a koala, but here’s a few of Fluffy Towel’s weekend suggestions if she does …

Great Gourmet Weekends In Australia

filed25 Nov 2010 from

Okay, here’s a bit of shameless self-promotion. Great Gourmet Weekends in Australia has just been released by Explore Australia and its jammed packed with delicious options around the country. I was lucky enough to “research” and write the Western Australian content. Each state has in-depth coverage and is available in stores across the country and there’s giveaways too. Available to purchase online at Great Gourmet Weekends in Australia

Andy & Michelle 4

Here’s a little tease for your tastebuds,

Meet the Osbornes of Darlington

The hills are alive: getting back to nature

filed18 Nov 2010 from

“Beep, beep, beep,” drones the forklift. It reverses up and down the salvage yard next door, just a few metres from our lounge room. A grunting semi-trailer pulls up with a delivery of wood to be unloaded throughout the entire afternoon. Soon, the rubbish truck will arrive to empty the enormous bins with its noisy hydraulic lifts. A plane thunders above and if I run outside I can wave to the passengers. A train “toots”. On the other side of …

Broome Vroom

filed11 Nov 2010 from

Broome Vroom was a finalist in The Purple Passport travel writing competition. If you liked my story please vote http://diary.thepurplepassport.com/global/other-global-cities/cast-your-vote

“My name is Roger and I’ll be your guide today. Welcome to the Mango Tango Tour,” drawls our driver as he caresses his white Harley-Davidson trike, our mode of transport. We climb aboard the curvaceous blonde and hit the highway to sip wine at a mango plantation.

This is our second trip to Broome and I can see why so …

What Race?

filed01 Nov 2010 from

 

I had lasted 11 hours in my silly shoes, but there was no way I could wear them for the twenty-minute hike back to the car. As my sandals dangled from my hands, the cool tarmac had taken a velvety texture beneath my bleeding feet.

The brisk air itched my sunburnt shoulders and ached every muscle as my hangover kicked in. However, I was healthier than many of the other punters we passed along the way. Some were in vomiting …

Holy Cow! Five Reasons to Not Bustle Past Cowaramup

filed28 Oct 2010 from

Holy Cow!

If you’re moo-ving around the Margaret River region three hours south of Perth, you may notice some life-size cow sculptures left-over from the CowParade Margaret River, an international event held in over 50 cities. The competition saw local artists hussling up the bovine creatures in all kinds of attire and positions. It seems only appropriate to start your cow hunt in the charming dairy town of Cowaramup, situated on the Bussell Highway and just 10 minutes north of …

Breasts Out West

filed30 Aug 2010 from

Art imitates art

Jiggly giggles abound on this crisp winter’s day and with only the sun to kiss our skin, we smear body paint over our torsos. This is not the scene for some titillating fantasy, although the guy “working” on his roof next door may dream otherwise. We’ve gathered here today to celebrate the female form and to raise awareness for breast cancer by creating art with our breasts.

Breastique Art is the brain child of Shiona Herbert, “I …

Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia

filed24 Aug 2010 from

The Top 50 Restaurant Guide Western Australia 2011 is due for release in November 2010. This guide is STILL the first and best independent restaurant guide for WA, and I’m proud to say I was a key contributor and restaurant reviewer to the guide.  To thank our valued supporters, the 2010 edition is available for free download at the Gourmet Godfather

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