‘Go Bush’ with Cathy Freeman & Deb Mailman

February 21, 2006

‘Go Bush’ with Cathy Freeman & Deb Mailman

Moving through the contrasting regions of the Australian landscape: coasts, tropics, deserts, mountains and plains, from the tip of Cape York to the edge of the Great Australian Bight, Going Bush reveals the stories behind the landscapes, the local bush food, traditional art, contemporary culture, a mob of larrikin characters and folk heroes, and above all the fun to be had ?going bush?.

We spoke to the girls about their favourite parts of their experience.

What was the experience of camping like?
Cath: Simple, quiet, serene. There?s nothing like enjoying a glass or red or a hot chocolate or whatever and sitting around in silence and hearing the crackling of the fire, the smell of the wood. Every now and then you?d hear birds or rustling in the bush, quiet conversation ? it was magical.
Deb: It really was. When you?re camping all the time you get into a different rhythm of life. Getting up when the sun rises, going to bed when it sets. Simple pleasures become so significant. They become your world.

With such amazing stuff in our own backyard, why are many Australians more inclined to travel overseas?
Cath: Some people think it?s more glamorous to go overseas. Others only get a sense of ?somewhere else? by going to a different country. They don?t realise that you can go from Melbourne to the Kimberley and be in a whole different universe. I think Aussies will get a greater appreciation of their country when they see what?s out there.

How do mainstream Australians make the most of their experiences out bush?
Cath: You absolutely have to be open to everything. Try what is new and unusual. In relation to indigenous culture, you?ve got to be open and gracious, and see the symbolism in it. See the acceptance of their land, their culture and their hospitality. Whoever you are, wherever you?re from, if you?re going bush you have to go with that attitude.

Things to pack
Cath: Bathing gloves: They help you have a ?bush bath? without using much water. You wet the gloves and put soap on them and you can wash yourself like that, and only use water to rinse yourself. It?s been a really useful trick!
Deb: Walking shoes: You can?t be in the bush without a good pair of boots. My favourites are a pair of Blundstones or the cowboy boots I bought in Halls Creek. Apart from being practical you also look pretty cool!
Hat: I also love my cowboy hat I bought in Halls Creek. I wear it all the time even on the weekend in Melbourne. It?s dented and covered in red dust, it?s a great look!

Cath: Swags (canvas bed roll with mattress): I think the swag is an excellent invention. I?m happy in my swag because it?s functional, it keeps me warm and dry, it?s tough and it?s durable. I sound like I?m selling them!

Bush food
Cath: Bush damper: My favourite bush food was the cycad nut we ate in Marparu. They grind and soak the nuts for five days and mush them together into a flour, it?s the most amazing bread I have ever eaten.
Deb: Fish: Catching the food yourself and throwing it on the hot stones.

Deb: Tyres: I still don?t know how to change them. My tip is, if you don?t know how to do it, make sure you travel with someone who does!

Cath & Deb?s Bush Travel Tips
edited extract from Going Bush: Adventures Across Indigenous Australia
Monique Choy et al

If you’d like to win a copy of Going Bush, click here

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