Australia has just claimed 17 very cold, very small, very remote islands. Penguins appear not to notice.
Like many Australians, Iâ€™ve given my passport an absolute thrashing. As soon as I hit my late teens I began to feel trapped in Australia. Fenced in. Limited. I needed freedom. And so I went out and got it.
For Aussie journalist and travel writer Ian Neubauer, there was always going to be more to this Kokoda horror storyâ€¦
Itâ€™s a remote part of the country that retains that feeling of being completely undiscovered. This is our journey from Coral Bay to Cape Range on Australia’s wild north-west coast.
Recent press hasn’t done the Kokoda Track any favours, but there’s always another side to the story…
For 30,000 years the Yamatji people called it Ningaloo, which means â€˜deepwaterâ€™ or â€˜high land jutting out into the seaâ€™. Pretty appropriate for Australiaâ€™s biggest fringing reef. Ningaloo sits way out on the western edge of Western Australia, just near the coastal town of Exmouth (aka the Gateway to Ningaloo).
A lot of places are spruiked as â€˜remoteâ€™ or â€˜un-mappedâ€™, and itâ€™s easy to get a little cynical. Yeah, yeah, we think, thereâ€™s probably a McDonalds on every corner and a herd of selfie snapping tourists beating a well-worn path to the gift shop.
No one quite knows why, but thereâ€™s a twist in the Australian psyche that has made countless Aussies dedicate their lives to the construction of Big Things. These arenâ€™t big important things like skyscrapers, or big beautiful things like bridges or sculptures, theyâ€™re just everyday objects magnified to about 200 times their actual size.