downunder day!

Australia Day is around the corner. On January 26th Aussies celebrate their nationality, our beautiful big country and the many things we take pride in and hold dear.

 Meat pies and backyard barbies, pavlovas and vegemite toast.

Kangaroos and koalas, wattle blooms, the Great Barrier Reef and the quiet majesty of Ayres Rock.

great-barrier-reef We remember our brave diggers and “two-up”, and joke about “sheilas”, “fair dinkum” and “Crikey, mate!

 Aussies also boast incredible talent…Errol Flynn, Chips Rafferty, Peter Allen, The Bee Gees…Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman (plug: go see “Australia“!), Kylie Minogue, Crocodile Dundee, Donald Bradman, Evonne Goologong Cawley, Miles Franklin, Thomas Keneally, Tim Winton. Colleen McCullough…

ash-and-me-at-lone-pine2We’ve come a long way since Henry Lawson waxed lyrical about “the bush”. In the twenty-first century, Downunder writers are rocking the romance publishing world. I’m proud to be a part of the wave.

I have an Australia beach towel, sun cap and other fun Aussie stuff to give away, including a latest release. Just share with us what you love about Australia, where you’d like to visit or maybe who you’d like to meet (yeah, as if we don’t already know, lol).



40 Responses to “downunder day!”

  1. 1 Ellen
    January 11, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I would love to visit Australia but a lot of things would have to line up if I were to ever be able to do so. As far as where I would like to visit: first and formost I would like to see Ayers Rock. For many years when I was teaching ninth grade world geography the chapter on Australia had a full page picture of Ayers Rock and it intrigued me. I would also love to see the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens and those are just a few of the places I’d like to see. I would actually like to spend a whole year touring Australia and meeting the people and seeing the sites.
    Oh well one can always dream.

  2. 2 azteclady
    January 11, 2009 at 3:12 am

    My fascination with the land down under is not a recent fad: more than twenty years ago, when I was a newlywed (to the now ex, heh) there was discussion on the possibility to move to Australia.

    Lots of things changed quickly and we ended up moving to Puerto Rico, but to this day I dream of having the means to fly down and spend a few weeks (or, heck, if money were no object, I’d probably want to stay months!) there.

    Obviously, exploring Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane… just drive around through small towns and soak in the daily life. Hopefully, I would get to meet a bunch of you gals (though I would certainly would not turn down an opportunity to meet Mr oh-so-sexy Jackmann :innocent:

  3. 3 diane
    January 11, 2009 at 3:35 am

    If I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Australia it would be a dream come true. I have always been enthralled with this unique country. Many locales would be involved with this trip. What an exciting adventure. I would love to see the beauty of the beaches since Australian beaches are amazing and gorgeous. The Blue mountains are another sight to behold which I would love to experience. Melbourne and the diversity of this city. Something different would be Cairns, and the Great Barrier reef, Western Australia. Limitless sights which I would appreciate.

  4. 4 limecello
    January 11, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I’m starting out with the hokey/shallow. Tim Tams. I learned about them last year and I LOVE them. Rumor had it they were in the US in a national chain. I found articles that said so. Lies.

    Otherwise – the flora and fauna. History. The Opera House! Indigenous peoples… Finding Nemo! What’s not to love? 😀 The couple/professors I’m house/dog sitting for are currently from Australia, visiting home… and there’s vegemite in the cupboard but… I haven’t tried it :X

    I would LOVE to visit Down Under some day. It’s moving on up my list to possibly edge out Italy 🙂

  5. January 11, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Wow, Robbie, is it that time already??

    Ahhh, limecello, does this mean we should give away packets of TimTams? 😆

    Hmmm, azteclady, what a choice! Puerto Rico or Australia? You know we’re having our first Aussie Romance Readers Conference in February? Are you busy? 😀

    Okay, I love the fact that I get to see so many unique birds in our backyard – magpies, lorrikeets, sulphur crested cockatoos, carellas, pink galahs. They are so funny and gorgeous! I love the freedom and way of life here – you truly can do anything and be anyone. I live in a very populated part of NSW but right at the foot of a great wilderness, so I have the best of both worlds. I’m planning to visit Ayers Rock soon as part of research, and I’m hanging out to finally see the Barrier Reef (yeah, I’ve only been in the country 38 years…!) 😯

    Did you know that Australia is second only to Madagascar with it’s own unique fauna? And we have 18 of the world’s 22 most venomous snakes? Yikes!

  6. 6 Jane
    January 11, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I would love to visit Sydney and see the beautiful harbor and opera house. I want to visit Darwin, too. Our friend is from there and she said there’s no speed limit in Darwin. I love the fun attitude of the Australians and their lovely accents. I would love to meet Eric Bana and Hugh Jackman on Bondi Beach(hopefully they’ll be shirtless.)

  7. January 11, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Oh yes, there is so much about Australia to love. I’m only glad that with the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference I have a darn good reason to fly there once a year, although I’d like to spend longer and see more one of these days. I’ve had a few holidays on the Gold Coast but I think it would be awesome to travel to Western Australia as well and visit Broome, or South Australia and see the sights that Adelaide offers.

  8. 8 Minna
    January 11, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Didn’t know Errol Flynn was Australian. You always learn something new. And what about Yahoo Serious? He was so great in Young Einstein. I’ve wanted to get a soundtrack of that movie for ages.
    I’d love to visit Uluru (isn’t that what Ayers Rock is supposed to be called these days?), Sydney, Melbourne and so many other places. And I’d love to see my pen friend, too.

  9. January 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    South Australia is amazing, Yvonne! I lived there for a few years when I was a kid, right in the heart of the wine country – Barossa Valley. An absolutely brilliant country town to be brought up in, IMO, with rolling hills, trees to climb and heaps of places to ride your bike.

  10. January 11, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Paula, I know! Isn’t it amazing that it’s almost that time again. I saw hot cross buns out in the super market the other day and we haven’t even got the kids back to school yet!

    I’m amazed at all these gorgeous posts. It was so difficult chosing just a few Aussie icons to include here. But we really do have a sensational country in Australia.

    Ellen, yes, the Opera House is quite extraordinary. (I love Sydney!) And I’m an ex Briz-Vegas girl, Azteclady. Sweet town. And Melbourne is *heaps* of fun. (Great shoe stores too!) Diane, I’m with you on the beaches. I live in a beach town/city and I’m constantly touched by the magnificent views of sand and surf I enjoy every day. Paula, I knew Australia must be up there on original fawna and flora, but second in the world! And remind me to be more aware of our snake population in future The Barrier Reef is just magical!

    Jane, Darwin is supposed to be a wonderful place to live. Very social and laid back, just my speed. Yvonne, I’m with you wanting to visit Adelaide and WA. I’ve been to New Zealand…now *that’s* one beautiful country! Minna, yes Errol Flynn is an Aussie legend! Bit of a lad. A fav band of mine from the 80s called “Aussie Crawl” put out a song about him. Great dancing music! And, yes, Ayres (Ayers?) Rock is called Uluru nowadays. Didn’t know if folk from overseas would recognise it by that name.

    And I meant to put in Tim Tams!!! Soooooo good. =)

  11. 11 Sandra
    January 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I have very special memories of a wonderful vacation my husband I had in Port Douglas a few years ago including a visit to the Great Barrier Reef – so amazing. Other than that I’ve only been to Sydney but just love it. Love all the tourist icons, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, seeing koalas and kangaroos (I’ll pass on all those snakes though thanks).

    And Tim Tams! Thank goodness we get those in New Zealand. Whenever I send a Care Package to my sister in the US I always include Tim Tams.

  12. January 11, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I love the cultural landscape, the beautiful scenery, the ‘no worries’ attitude (well there’s a point to that), and the humour. I’m proud to call Australia home. Peter Allen’s song springs to mind 🙂

    I’m hoping to go to the annual conference this year and visit lovely Brisbane (only been there very briefly in the past). Really lovely city.

  13. 13 azteclady
    January 12, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Paula, I’m not too busy in February, no… I’m just a bit too broke 😦

    But thank you kindly for the invite–one of these days I’ll strike it big and take you up on it. Then, prepare to keep your chocolate safe! 😉

    Robyn, I’m with you on the snakes. Mind, I don’t have a horror or extreme fear of them, but it doesn’t pay to ignore the fact that they are dangerous critters–even those who are beautiful to look at.

  14. January 12, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Paula, you mentioned climbing trees as a kid? Yesterday we were having a belated New Year’s drink with neighbours and one of them mentioned their son in law was called to their grandson’s school to discuss a disciplinary matter. The ‘matter?’ The boy had been climbing a tree! Honestly, if they keep wrapping kids up in cotton wool the way they are now how will anyone get to enjoy anything in their life or learn risk assessment.

    And hear hear! on the TimTams in NZ too, Sandra. While I rarely indulge my favourite has to be the Caramel ones.

  15. 15 Deidre
    January 13, 2009 at 4:40 am

    I have always wanted to visit Australia, ever since I was in about the 5th grade. The things that pop into my head are the Sydney Opera House and the Australian Zoo. I’d probably just follow people around too just to hear them talk. LOL


  16. 16 April aka meapey
    January 13, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Robyn, what a great question! I’d want to meet all my favorite writers (you’re TOTALLY included on that list, girlfriend) and go everywhere that’s been mentioned. I’d love to see the Aussie’s Australia. Not just the touristy places, but places that mean a lot to the ‘natives’. And I believe I remember from a few years back seeing something on the travel channel about there being a hotel on (under?) the Great Barrier Reef. That would be awesome to see!

    TimTams ROCK!!!! I also love Freddo Frogs (the caramel ones I like best), but never cared for the Cherry Ripe or Turkish Delight (I used to work for a company based out of Australia, and the owners would bring back all sorts of treats when they’d come back from a visit.) Also, the Cadbury’s there is TOTALLY different than what we have here, and I don’t like ours at all (it’s made by another company, I thought Hershey, but can’t find it online so it may have changed recently, but regardless, isn’t nearly as good). I can get Cadbury from the UK in a couple of places locally, though, which is good, but not as good as the Australian version. While we were dating, my now hubby would order Australian chocolates and have them sent to me at work.

    There was an Aussie you left off your list. Rick Springfield! I think I told you I got to see him in concert for the 1st time last year, and he was AWESOME!!!! He started my Australian fascination when I was around 9 and watching him on General Hospital.


  17. 17 Pat Cochran
    January 13, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I would want to visit the Australia of the early Mills & Boon / early Harlequin days.
    The Australia that made me place this country at the top of my vacation list, where
    it still remains. The Australia of the Outback Stations with its strong women and
    stalwart men. The Australia known for “the bush”, Alice Springs, Uluru, the Great
    Barrier Reef, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, and all the other towns/cities which have
    endeared themselves to me over the years. PS Tim Tams are also great favorites of
    mine since I won an Anna Campbell prize last year!

    Pat Cochran

  18. 18 Rachel Bailey
    January 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Great topic, Robbie!

    I live in Australia but there are so many places I still want to visit here. Like Robbie, I’m an ex-Brisbanite, still living in Queensland, and I’ve visited most of the usual haunts.

    But I really want to go to Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. And I’m quite desperate to go to Tasmania. Dh and I had a trip planned there several years ago but it was delayed after a car accident and we’ve never made it down.

    One of my favourite parts of Australia is Byron Bay. It’s the most easterly point in Australia and when we were kids, we went there for every school holiday and long weekend.

  19. 19 limecello
    January 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    lol – Paula, you should give away Tim Tams only if they’re coming to me 😉
    I shall sink into deep depression if I see yet another person not me getting tim tams. 😛 (Kidding)

    But. Honestly I’ll cavort, sing and dance … pretty much do all sorts of ridiculous things for tim tams. I’ve actually started asking my friends in various places throughout the US to look for Tim Tams in their Target stores.

  20. January 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    YOu guys crack me up – men obsess about money, status, cars and war and we’re just fixated on Cadbury and Tim Tams 😆

    Rachel – Tasmania is gooorgeous! my folks made it a point to travel around Australia every school holidays so we’ve visited every state except the Northern Territory. For simply awesome scenery in Tas, the mining town of Queenstown is a highlight.

    Deidre – hope you weren’t planning on a same-day visit to the Opera House and Aussie Zoo 🙂 Need to strap your wings on!

    April – ooh, forgot about Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl is still a fave of mine. Oh, and let’s not forget Heath Ledger, Poppy Montgomery, Simon Baker (yum) and Alex O’Laughlin (double yum!!)

  21. 21 April aka meapey
    January 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    *GASP* How did I forget Mr. Alex O’Laughlin?!?!?! I LOVED Moonlight, and was so upset when I found out they canceled it. (In case there are those who didn’t know what it was, it was a show on CBS where he played a vampire PI. The shirtless scenes were AWESOME!!!!)

    And Heath REALLY was amazing in THE DARK NIGHT. I’m not a huge Batman fan, but everyone kept saying, “You’ve got to see it for Heath’s performance if nothing else.” They were so right!

    K. Happy Tuesday, all!

  22. January 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Sandra, Port Douglas is soooo gorgeous! And lush. And steamy! I met Jack Nicklaus there many years ago. He’d just eaten 20 oysters for lunch. That’s a lot of oysters! lol

    Elini! I do hope you make it to Brizzie for the conference. This year’s cocktail party theme is Arabian Nights. I’ll have to dig out my finger cymbals 8)

    Acteclady, I stroked a snake once at Taronga Zoo. I can say I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again!

    Yvonne, isn’t sad?! When we were young we used to jump on our bikes and just ride and ride! As kids, we practically lived outside. I love Wii Fit, where you can play tennis and such in your livingroom. It’s also spooky. Jetsons stuff.

    April! Hey!! It’d be great for you to visit Downunder. Tim Tams. Check. Freddo Frogs. Check. But have you tried Caramelo Koalas?? Mucho delicious 🙂 And Rick Springfield :Robbie smacks herself!: Yes, maam, we grow ’em good down here 🙂

  23. 23 Karen H in NC
    January 14, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Many, many years ago when I was in school, two of my favorite subjects were Geography and History. As an adult, I actually enjoy reading maps. I have always had a fascination for Australia, probably stemming from my World Geography classes in school and the historical books I now read. It has always been my dream to visit Australia…maybe someday.

    I enjoy books set in Australia as well as movies. I haven’t seen the new film ‘Australia’ yet, but not long ago I watched ‘The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant’. If you haven’t seen that film, it would be worth your time to do so. Set in 1788 and based on a true story, it depict the trials of the convicted criminals transported from England to Australia and shows incredible views of the Aussie countryside. Another good film is ‘Oyster Farmer’. I recommend both since they both star one of my favorite new stars, Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin.

    ATTENTION: Lovers of Moonlight: the DVD will be released on 1/20/09. I have had my copy pre-ordered from Amazon since last October. Can’t wait…next week I’ll be watching Alex/Mick….sigh…..

    Now, if I could only get some Tim Tams. I have had the Carmelo Koalas…YUMMO. I won a contest sponsored by one fine Aussie author (can’t remember who right now) a while back and she included some of those Koalas in the gift pack.

  24. 24 RobynL
    January 14, 2009 at 6:48 am

    I have always had a yearning to visit Australia and since I won some Tim Tams last year I have an even stronger yearning, honestly.
    As to the climate, my friend’s daughter lived there for a few months and it sounds wonderful and intriquing. Everything would be a change for me as I live in the prairies in Canada.
    …have 18 of the world’s 22 most venomous snakes — now this could change my mind very fast because I have a terrible fear of them. I tend to scream upon seeing them. Oh my, I could try though.

  25. 25 Maureen
    January 14, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Happy Australia Day! There are many places in Australia I would love to visit but my number one choice would be Tasmania.

  26. 26 April aka meapey
    January 14, 2009 at 8:39 am


    Oooooh! I’ve not had the Caramelo Koalas! Sound likey they are a must try, though. Pretty much if it’s chocolate, I’m willing to give it a try.

    RobynL, I don’t ‘do’ snakes, either. The only good snake is a dead one. I’m not overly thrilled with bugs, either. LOL!

  27. 27 limecello
    January 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Paula – 😛 it’s not fun to talk about the other things like money, status, cars and war :P. Too depressing too- failing businesses, no new businesses, etc. Blech.

    I’d rather dish about confectioneries and fun drinks any day.

  28. January 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Karen H in NC, that sounds like the kind of gift prize Trish Morey would have included. She always brought me Caramello Koalas when she came to NZ.

  29. January 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Deidre, we like about 20 minutes drive from Australia Zoo. When my husband was young it was called The Beerwah Reptile Farm!

    Pat, hear, hear on the fabulous outback authors, our Bron included 🙂 I really want to visit the Red Centre. Don’t know how I’d go climbing the rock =/

    Rachel, I’ve never stayed at Byron Bay! But from what I’ve heard it’s the ideal place for holiday… Holiday…gee that sounds good 🙂

    Limecello, a packet of double chocolate Tim Tams will be going in the goodie bag!

    April, my dh said just last night “We *must* see Dark Knight.” Doesn’t Heath’s beautiful little girl look like him.

  30. 30 Ellen
    January 15, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Target here where I live had Tim Tams in the store the last time I was there so I bought two boxes…the regular and the caramel….and they were really good.
    Poisonous snakes are a reality here in Texas also but not as many varieties as Australia. I have had run ins with rattlers and coral snakes. So I can do without them also.

  31. 31 Avi J
    January 15, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Jumping in a bit late here, but I have been busy for a while. Oh the Actors for sure, and the scenery. Also the Kangaroos they are so cute. I have this Mixed breed Shepherd dog home and he always reminds me of a Kangroo, His ears are pointy and when he sees me with food he is always hopping on his back legs to beg for my food.

  32. 32 Jane
    January 15, 2009 at 7:51 am

    I’ve never seen Caramello Koalas, but they sound delicious.

  33. 33 April aka meapey
    January 15, 2009 at 7:56 am


    Yes you MUST see it! And yes, his daughter DOES look a lot like him!

    Gotta run to get ready for work!


  34. 34 limecello
    January 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Robyn, WHEE! Apparently all my talking about Tim Tams every where has garnered the attention of Pepperidge Farms marketing reps O_o HEEE

  35. 35 Pat Cochran
    January 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Robyn, As regards the “big red rock,” I wouldn’t have to climb it! Just seeing it would be plenty for me!
    And maybe touching it!

    Pat Cochran

  36. 36 April aka meapey
    January 16, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I don’t know…. I didn’t really think I cared about getting to the top of Table Mountain in S. Africa, but when I did, it was AMAZING! Of course, there was a tram ride you could take to the top (took around 5 minutes. The tram rotated 360 degrees so you could see Cape Town as you went up. Gorgeous!). They said the hike up would take around 4 hours (yeah, right. More like 4 days for me)…. Was SOOOOO glad for the tram!

    Ayres Rock is totally on my must see list!

  37. January 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Apologies for being absent these last couples of days. Everyone say together, “Only one more week of school holidays – YAYAYAY!!”

    Thanks everyone for your fabulous posts. I have my Aussie pack together…Beach towel, hand towel, sun cap, Vegemite, Tim Tams (of course!) Cadbury Macadamia Nut chocolate, Caramello Bears, um what else…sports ball, some fake tatoos for the kids (they’re not getting the chocolate, right? lol), as well as a couple of books! 🙂

    And the lucky winner is…..


    Diana, email me at robyn-grady @ hotmail.com (no space, of course) and we’ll organise the drop!

  38. 38 azteclady
    January 18, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Congrats, Dianne!

    Thank you, Robyn!

  39. 39 limecello
    January 18, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Wow – congrats, Diane!

  40. 40 April aka meapey
    January 18, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Congratulations, Diane! That sounds like an amazing prize pack! Of course, Robyn ALWAYS sends some cool stuff.

    Congrats again!

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