Writer, editor, author

I produce words for newspapers, magazines and clients.

After 30 years working in Adelaide, Sydney and London (with three years spent as Deputy Travel Editor of The Sunday Times) I’ve been pigeonholed as a travel writer. But for my money – and even for your money – it doesn't matter what I'm writing about because a good sentence is a good sentence. The trick is getting a reader to the end of it.


Recently published work...

Glen McMahon -- The Many Lives of a Self-made Man This year-and-a-half project was commissioned by the McMahon family (the name behind 'McMahon Services', one of SA's largest companies). Glen was in his mid-80s when we met for our weekly interviews and he was reliably lucid, funny and frank. His story takes us into the worlds of 1950s SANFL footy, trucking, waste disposal and demolition -- worlds which are as gritty as they sound. Best of all, his is a very South Australian story. Design was done by the wildly talented Mark Thomas who rendered the 1,000 copies very lovely indeed.

It remains only for me to persuade the family to share Glen's story with the rest of Australia...  

The Greatest Air Race (Broadcast 7.30pm Dec 8, 2019 on SBS) I co-produced and wrote this one-hour documentary which tells the story of how four Australians became the first men to fly across the planet. Documentary-making proved to be like one of those Japanese game shows where people are asked to endure trials and humiliations. But with co-producers Lainie Anderson and Susan Harrington, as well as presenter Andy Thomas, (yes, that Andy Thomas), we kept at it and this world-first feature was cleared for take-off. All I can say is, thank God for SBS.

DVDs and USBs are available here.


Digger, Third Edition (click for more details) A clueless Pom tries to learn the business of gold prospecting in an outback town of 13. Afforded advice and profanity in almost equal measure, he gets to grips with the elusive metal while unearthing precious tales of prospectors past and present. 

Kindle version also available!





London's New Hip East End (SMH/Age Traveller) Blimey! A rather flash piece wiv lots of references to Cocker-nees, Krays and canals. Innit.  





How Safari Transformed My Teens (SMH, Sept 2022) And trust me, they needed transforming...







Sequoia Lodge, Adelaide Hills (Gourmet Traveller, Oct 2021) Very much a story for our times, this review speaks to a handsome new lodge that dared to launch during Covid.   




More reviews -- this time for SMH's 52 Weekends Away magazine special. Local getaways (were there any other kind?) offered by the fair state of SA featured in the 2020 edition and the 2021 edition (coming in November).  












Thornybush Lodge, Kruger (SMH/Age Feb 2020) A safari story that introduces Australian readers to the wonderful business of 'Funny Galore'  






Langa Township Tour (SMH/Age, Nov 2019) This tour of a Cape Town township helped put South Africa in a proper perspective. Y'been to a shebeen?




Zeitz MOCAA (SMH/Age January). Financed by the guy who started shoe company Puma, the Museum of Contemporary African Art is one of the world's coolest art galleries. Carved out of a derelict grain silo, no less... 








Coral Expeditions Cruise, Singapore to Darwin (SMH/Age Oct 2019) This 21-day adventure cruise was as intense as it was exotic.  





Krakatoa (SMH/Age 2019). Not east of Java. No longer a volcano. And not even called Krakatoa. 







The Bend (SMH/Age July 2019) Tailem Bend's new motorsport park is world class. It also offers one of themost unusal and affordable 4-star hotel rooms anywhere.





Colour Your World (SMH, July 2019) India's Holi Festival. A colour piece. 





Outback station stays, South Australia (SMH/Age January 2019) Station stays have been around for decades, but never quite get the press they deserve. Hopefully this goes some way to addressing that.




Blinged Out In Bali (SMH, January 2019) The Mulia Resort is big and expensive. But is it any good?





In the Beginning (SA Weekend October 2019) The ediacaran fossil beds of Nilpena are seeking World Heritage Status. And quite right, too. 





Gone Fishing (Gourmet Traveller, Sept 2018) One of my favourite places made even better by barramundi...






The Laneways (American Way, July 2018) This was the lead story for American Airlines magazine, meaning Adelaide's small bar precinct was potentially viewed by some 16 million people for the month of July alone. (Go to page 79 on the reader.)




Surprising Quebec (SMH/Age, July 2018) The 10 'cross-heads' weren't mine. Grammar pedants at the ready...










The Final Farewell (SA Weekend magazine, April 2018) In the APY Lands I had the opportunity to witness the last traditional cave burial. A story that brings together a baby's remains taken from traditional lands, a community in grief and British atomic testing.   

Go Fish (QANTAS Spirit magazine, Feb 2018) Swimming with giant cuttlefish off Whyalla.





Cornish Pastiche (Gourmet Traveller, March 2018) Early version attached has a different title to what finally went to print. Though perhaps it should have been titled with the Cornish farewell, 'Take care, m'lovely', which is surely one of the nicest farewells on the planet.







Top of The Lake (Gourmet Traveller, Feb 2018) It's been a long time since I was in Queenstown. During the interim, they've very kindly invented a mini-submarine shaped like a shark. 





Stay an Extra Day campaign 

Though strictly belonging on the copywriting page, I'm very happy to report 'Stay an Extra Day' took out a Gold and Silver award at the 2017 SA Tourism Awards.

I've been working with Peterborough Tourism on the campaign for more than four years. It scored the gongs for succesfully repositioning an almost forgotten town as a must-do experience for grey nomads. (Between 2014 and end-2017, visitation to Peterborough increased by 30% -- an outcome that has real effects on real people.)   

The campaign was driven by Tourism Marketing Manager Pat Kent, a bloke with limitless ideas, an awful lot of faith and almost no budget. At left is me, Peterborough Council CEO Peter McGuinness and Pat. It's fair to say we're flushed with success -- and perhaps a little Shiraz.

Goolwa (Qantas Spirit inflight magazine, Jan 2018) Part of the 'My Town' series. Lovely people, lovely town.





Six of the Best Walks in South Australia (SMH/Age Jan 2018) Not that I walked them all at once...





I attended the 2017 Destination Canada media event, where host city Halifax killed us with kindness and buried us in lobster. I was very pleased to collect an Award of Excellence for my story Heart of the PrairieJudge Chris Adamkowski said "I found myself repeating pieces of this article to colleagues of mine for many days after reading it.” Which was jolly nice of him. 


Kommune: The search for a mysterious surf break (SMH/Age, May 2017) A luxury surf resort in Bali that hasn't forgotten its roots. 








How I Found My Sea Legs (SMH/Age, Feb 2017) Big-ship cruising. Travel? Not really. Fun? Surprisingly, yes... 






Understated Yorke Peninsula (Gourmet Traveller, Jan 2017) Another labour of love. Yorkes is just one of those unsung places that give more than you ever expect. 










Another Silver and Bronze at North American Travel Journalists awards

Altered States (Conde Nast Traveller UK, Dec 2015) won Silver at the 2016 NATJA Awards. I also colected a Bronze (Family Travel category) for my story on Jack in Matsumoto (Age/SMH, Aug 2016). 




The strange tale of Aurora (SMH/Age, Dec 2016) This beautifully manicured town in New York State has a curious back-story that stirs passions. As they say, 'only in America'.






Touring with Robert de Niro (SMH/Age, October 2016) I had so many angles on the Catskills I didn't know where to start. Then New York State tourism unveiled their special guest...



The Realm of the Great Bear Cat (National Geographic Traveller, UK, November 2016) Qing Chen Mountain -- home to pandas, Taoism and one of the most violent monuments I've ever encountered.



Jack with ex-professional wrestler Sagami-San, who explains the niceties of shabu shabu (hot pot) at his sumo restaurant ...

Travels with Jack (Age/SMH, Aug 2016)
I took my then 11-year-old to Matsumoto, Japan to see if I could get him to sit still long enough to learn something. The premise was is 'Are private school fees better spent on travel?'. It was among my most favourite trips in the past five years. 


Atlantis, The Palm (Traveller, SMH/Age, April 2016) So expensive, so indulgent, and so, SO awful. The online version went with a soft-soap headline; I think the printed version was truer to the tone of the piece.







My essay on traveling in the footsteps of heroes Writes of Way (SMH/Age) picked up the Bronze in the main print category at the North American travel Journalists Awards. Once, again, in good company (Wall Street Journal took out gold). 




Eight places that changed the world (Escape, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Adelaide Advertiser et al, Feb 2015). REALLY enjoyed writing this. 





Altered States Commissions like this doesn't come along very often. It ticked all the boxes: the trip entailed a punishing, madly stimulating 4500km solitary drive across Australia in high summer [tick]; British fashion photographer Alistair Taylor-Young flew ahead of me on his own adventure, ripping pieces of soul from from the poor old outback and taking them back to London [tick]; and editor Steve King put plenty on the line and demanded my lines give plenty back [tick, tick]. Do yourself a favour and view the finished thing on the biggest screen you have. It's beautiful. (Conde Nast Traveller, UK, December 2015)  

Mandapa Review of the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud for the inestimable globetrotters' bible, American Travel+Leisure. (December 2015)







What lies beneath On an extraordinary treasure trail in Outback Queensland (National Geographic Traveller, UK, November 2015)



Scents and sensibilities It pays to follow your nose when you travel;(SMH/Age, November 2015)  





Weird Australian Place Names Or as I had it, 'Mount Buggery Or Bust'. (Escape section The Australian, Telegraph, Herald Son et al, Sept 2015)




How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist Enough said. (Escape section -- Telegraph, Herald Son, Courier Mail et al, Sept 2015)





The Oodnadatta Track and the world's largest artworks The mysterious Marree Man terraglyph [left] has been hailed as the largest piece of art on the planet. I believe there's an even larger one right next door... (SMH/The Age, July 2015)







Adelaide, it's Time to Rise and Shine The new Mayfair Hotel is just one more reason to love Adelaide. (Traveller, SMH/The Age, April 2015)





The 13th Rinpoche of Stakna 'I stick to a simple rule of travel: if you’re going to judge foreign cultures, do everyone a favour and stay home. But there are times when, however respectful I try to be, I can’t help thinking “This is just … wrong”.' (Escape - Telegraph, Courier Mail etc)


Writes of Way An essay on travelling in the footsteps of heroes. (SMH/Age January 2015)









A Case of Animal Attraction Chobe Game Lodge, Botswana: not only a fine game lodge but the setting for the second marriage of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor; when I began researching the story I came to learn the lodge was life-changing for the couple in more ways than one. (SMH/Age Sept 2014)








Man vs Wild A three-hander on Vail skiing, set off by the work of talented snapper, Andrew Rowat. (Gourmet Traveller, August 2014)








SA Media Award Very pleased to receive the award for Best Freelance Contribution in the 2014 awards, making it #3 in this particular series of etched glass trophies. The award was for three submissions,incuding the 'Whirlwind' private jet tour and 'Aussiewood' stories below. 






Heart of the Prairie  Winnipeg is one of the world's great cities. I was surprised how much I liked the place -- and my piece, in turn, surprised the good folk of Winnipeg. After some spirited sharing in Canada, the page was Recommended 7,600 times on Facebook. (SMH/Age Traveller, Jan 11, 2014) 





Reef Encounters Island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef. (Gourmet Traveller, January 2014)









Whirlwind of Rich Rewards This private jet tour took in 12 countries in 17 days for $30,000. My fellow passengers were as fascinating as any of the destinations. (SMH/Age Traveller, Nov 14, 2013) 





Lava Affair New Zealand's volcanoes are magnificent. I went as close to an erupting volcano as I ever want to go for this story. And that's after taking a chopper into a gently erupting cone poking from the Pacific Ocean... (National Geographic Traveller UK, Sept 2013)  





Welcome to Aussiewood (Strange but true, an Australian owns the image rights to the Hollywood sign... SMH/Age main section, June 23, 2013)


Family chaos motorhome story earns Silver and Bronze at North American Travel Journalists awards...

King of the Road (SMH/Age Sept 1, 2012) won twice at the 2013 NATJA Awards. Paradoxically, the Bronze is the bigger coup, awarded for Destination Travel in publications with 250,000+ circulation, so it shares the podium with pieces from The Washington Post and the LA Times. The Silver Award was for Special Focus Travel, Family.


King of the Road (Motorhome holiday in the US, SMH/Age Sept 1, 2012)








one the great assets of this cruise,