Bush Telegraph - Part 1

As we close the chapter on 2020 and holiday around Australia this year, there couldn’t be a better time to discover something new about our incredibly unique landscape.

Over the past 3 years I’ve been very fortunate to work and collaborate with some of Australia’s leading artists, chefs, tourism operators, creators, makers, designers and risk-takers, all of whom pour their soul into giving us memorable Australian products and experiences that enrich our lives.

So, with bags packed, a pile of books, backgammon and a big straw hat, before we all head off to our secluded summer watering holes, I asked each of these wonderful kindred spirits to share their favourite bush-walks and scent memories with me.

Finally, some fresh tunes from The Raconteur to keep you cool all summer.




Baillie Lodges

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One of Australia’s best day walks, Mt Gower is almost 900m above sea level. It’s a decent 5-6 hours return – the views are just spectacular and if you add cloud it can be totally eerie! Jurassic Park is the closest analogy – forests studded with the endemic Kentia Palm and as you reach the summit its literally another world of gnarly moss covered trees. A cold beer never tastes so good on return.

Whenever I’ve stayed at the Asian Aman resorts it feels like coming home to be greeted by the heady scent of the tuberose. Often I’ve caught myself sticking my head in the flowers! - James Baillie



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The Muogamarra nature reserve, which is open only 6 weekends of the year in the spring when it comes alive in the most incredible display of Australian wildflowers. This pristine site is also home to unique fauna and aboriginal engravings and is so well-preserved that it feels like stepping back in time.

My favourite food scent is the unmistakable aroma of freshly baked bread which never fails to turn my head and draw me closer. I’m lucky that my wife bakes a loaf most mornings and it’s the most rousing aroma to wake up to. - Lenox Hastie


Jac+ Jack

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The goldfields trail, central Victoria it runs from one old gold mining town to another.  From Bendigo to Castlemaine, winter and spring are the best, the starkness of foliage being bare and the random scattering blanketing of quartz in all dimensions and other churned up rocks to the complete contrast of a hive of activity in spring, it starts with a carpet of blooms, all native wild flowers and scrub bushes that are electric in fluro yellow and beacon orange. It's beautiful but its also rugged and contrasting across the seasons.  Its not a classic picturesque bush walk, as its not breathtaking, but it feels like my trail, I feel like I own it and I barely see anyone on it and never in the depth of winter on a Monday morning..I have roamed it many many times on foot and on bike.

Honeysuckle mixed with daphne layered with a waft of freshly cut grass and the smell of asphalt melting in the spring sun.  It's the smell of my childhood and now as an adult in the spring mornings the smell in certain parts of my hometown just overtakes me and takes me right back to that childhood moment.  I love it, it is so unique and remarkably unchanged. When I first reencountered it, I nearly fell off my bike, the trigger was so strong.  It was like a wall of scent. - Jac Hunt


Madeleine Blanchfield Architects

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The Elvina Track in the Ku Ring Gai national park is very special to me, particularly for it’s sense of arrival at the top of the waterfall. Sitting by the pool between the river and the descending rocks I recall the detail of banksias and the little little ripples in the water as the sun hit them. The changing smells and sounds as you get higher up the escarpment. Shared walks with friends feel like great adventures; the laughter, discovery and sense of awe at what nature is capable of really ground me and make me grateful for having access to such beautiful places.

The smell of a pending thunderstorm is so powerful, the air takes on weight and the earth opens up in anticipation. The scent is of soil and water and life. Everything is poised in the moment of anticipation - animals, plants, people. I love the feeling that something so uncontrollable and immeasurable is about to happen. There is absolute certainty that it is coming but no proof. My scent memory is paired with the feeling of big drops hitting my face as a child as I lay on the ground in a village in Fiji. - Madeleine Blanchfield



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In the Kimberley region of Northwest Australia, lies a bushwalk that can only be reached by sea or air. There are no roads in, and it is so far removed from any township that you seem to forget that civilization even exists at all. Named after the Indigenous rafts that were discovered there, Raft Point is still in the hands of its traditional owners.

Worrorra elders accompany us when we visit their country, flying in by helicopter from their community to meet us. An immersive cultural experience, it begins with a smoking ceremony on the beach. This ritual of walking through smoke from burning leaves is intended to expel negative spirits from our bodies before we journey into their country – leaving a feeling of positive energy.

The walk is a steep and rocky ascent up a natural, rugged water course. The blazing sun brings relentless heat, but we can turn around at any point in the hike to see the ocean down below. Pushing through this wild frontier land, abundant with iconic boab trees, our hosts tell stories of lore and culture that have been passed down for thousands of years.

The destination ahead is the Ngumbree art gallery hidden high up in the escarpment. This gallery is abundant with ochre paintings covering the rock overhangs and ancient walls. The paintings depict Wandjina figures that are symbols of fertility and rain. Wandjina have been continuously painted on rock surfaces along the Kimberley coast for the past 5 thousand years and are not found anywhere else in Australia.

These natural art galleries are sacred places and to see them in the wilderness is a spiritual experience that truly awakens your wonder.

High up in the mountains, far away from the pollutants of industry, Greek Orthodox monks bottle oil from organic olives and resins they hand-collected from the surrounds of their monastery. These monastic oils are created for spiritual, ritual and healing purposes.

I have a deep friendship with someone who comes from the same Greek village as my family. We sat beside each other, one afternoon, and grieved the loss of his mother.

He opened a small bottle of Mount Athos olive oil that had been infused with Myrrh and Frankincense. Myrrh is said to symbolise the tenderness of the heart and is emotionally grounding and calming. He rubbed it into my forehead, like a blessing, and then into my inner wrists. The aroma was mystical and exotic, like the kind you expect to waft through an Arabian bazaar; smoky, woody, earthy, sweet, and citrusy.

My Paspaley sandalwood bracelet absorbed the aroma and took on the scent of a friendship. - Christine Salter


Quay | Bennelong

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This is actually close to home - I love the walks off West Head up in Pittwater that go down to the coves and beaches like West Head Beach and Resolute Bay, that whole area I think is really stunning. The sandstone caves, the typography and the proximity to Pittwater are magical. The bays and beaches are incredibly peaceful, so often, especially during the week there is not a soul to be seen, you have them all to yourself, it’s a real reward after an hour and a half’s walk.

Isn’t it incredible how scent takes you back to a particular place and time, like it was yesterday? My earliest scent memory is the smell of ripe mangoes in my Nana’s bag when she came to visit. The scent was so distinctive, she knew how much I adored those mangoes and even if she said she didn’t bring any, I always knew they were in there! I must have been about four years of age. Back then, mangoes were only in season for such a short period of time; the height of summer in January; that each and every time, there was such an anticipation of eating them knowing what a special treat they were. - Peter Gilmore


Stay tuned for part two of the Bush Telegraph