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A Photography Road Trip with Dan Paris

Good afternoon Ladies and Gents.

I recently received a comment on this very blog from a chap called Oscar who sounded like he was going through some pretty tough, emotional times. He was rather sad that the blog was ending, as it was the highlight of his week (his actual words!).

Well, FEAR NOT OSCAR! I may be back home in the UK but the blog lives on!

Just before I departed I headed down to Esperance on the Southern Coast of Western Australia and made two short films (the first of which was aired on the blog last week “What’s Up Doc?”).

In the second film I’m taken on a pretty regular day out down in Esperance….4WDing at Lucky Bay (Australia’s whitest beach), a master-class in photography, and scaling Frenchman’s Peak in beautiful Cape Le Grand National Park, before an Abalone collecting session followed by a beach BBQ, all with local photographer and very nice chap, Dan Paris.

The colours in this film are incredible. Some of the shots of Lucky Bay look as if Dan and I are in front of a blue screen on a film set and the background’s been digitally produced.

But I assure you Taste Master fans, there’s been no tampering or special effects on this blog!

The blues really ARE that blue, and the sand really IS that white.

(…and Dan Paris really IS that fella off Neighbours who went out with Libby Kennedy)

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The Golden Quest Discovery Trail

Ladies and Gentlemen I’m currently blogging from the car. I’m in Australia’s Golden Outback on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail with my guide Outback Jac, and every time I try and write a post at night he drags me into an Aussie Outback pub (…drags? Hmmmm, probably the wrong word).

The Golden Quest Discovery Trail is a 965km self-drive round-trip adventure, exploring the historical towns that were once booming 100 years ago when the Gold Rush hit. Nowadays the towns are more of an education of How We Used To Live.

I like a bit of history stuff so found it really interesting.

After waking up in the 31st President of the United States old bed at Hoover House, it was time to hit the road.

We passed through the living ghost town of Kookynie, population 2,320 hardy souls 110 years ago, compared to today’s 12.

The Grand Hotel Kookynie pub’s still open though.

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(as per Loyd Grossman) Who’d Live in a House Like This?

I’ll give you three guesses where I stayed last night.

Actually you’ll never get it so I’ll tell you.

Herbert Hoover’s bedroom (don’t worry, he wasn’t in).

It’s just another quirky little fact about the Goldfields area. The 31st president of the United States has quite the connection to these parts.

It goes something like this…..

He moved here in his early twenties as Head of Mining (in the late 1890s) and started to build a house right next to the mining pit where he’d live. He met a barmaid in town and they got on “quite well!” (they were probably, as you say, “pashing” quite a lot).

He then moved to China and back to the States for a bit, where he bought and shipped over a MASSIVE mirror for his sweetheart as a sign of affection. He then came back to Kalgoorlie and lived in his now completed house for a short period of time before moving back to the States and meeting his future wife, who basically bankrolled his Presidential campaign.

The house he built is now a museum by day and accommodation by night.

And I stayed in the pre-presidential suite!

Well who would’ve thunked it eh?!

Tips and Tricks

Getting to Kalgoorlie and Leonora and Gwalia Historic Site

  • Virgin Australia operate daily flights to Kalgoorlie
  • Leonora and Gwalia are three hours’ drive north of Kalgoorlie

Where I stayed

  • Hoover House, Leonora

My Insider tips

  • If you are on the lookout for the elaborately carved Herbert Hover mirror you will find it at the Kalgoorlie Palace Hotel.  Herbert spent a lot of time at the Palace Hotel and gave them the mirror as a parting gift. Have a read of the poem which hangs next to the famous mirror, written by Herbert for his favourite barmaid.