Nov 30, 2015

Australia Weeks Guest Post: Heart of my Heart Thoughts of Australia by Maggie Bolitho! + Giveaway

Kennett River Victoria

Heart of my heart, thoughts of Australia

Last year at this time my husband and I were planning a trip back to Australia. We allowed five months. Two months allowed us to catch up with friends and family. Three months let us explore the parts of the country we’d never seen.

Ceduna SA

Our route took us from east to west, south to north, and then across the Outback to Sydney for the flight home. Because we were travelling in autumn-winter in the Southern Hemisphere, we needed warm layers for the high country (the Snowy Mountains). Rainproof jackets for Melbourne and Adelaide. By the time we drove out of Perth, headed for the top end, we were down to shorts and sandals. Once in the red centre, broad brimmed hats and lightweight clothing were essential.

Before we’d even landed, I reverted to the Australian idiom: high country, top end, red centre. The words were as natural to me as if I’d known them my entire life, not just the twenty years I lived Down Under. When we stepped out of the Sydney International Airport, into that blinding Australian sunshine, my bones shifted. I was home.

Dargo High Plains Victoria

We navigated the new labyrinth of city roads, and headed to the Northern Beaches without taking a single wrong turn. Within days, more of the local words seeped into my vocabulary again: toasties, sunnies, cozzies, tradies, grommets, spruikers, utes. The five months passed in the blink of an eye. As I look at our photos, I realise how inadequate words are to describe Australia. It has postcard beauty: stunning beaches and coastlines, lush tropical forests, and flora and fauna stranger than fiction. Urbanites can enjoy the vibrant cities that reverberate with culture, fashion and fine dining. Ocean lovers can sail, swim, and surf the fabulous seas. 

Head of Bight SA

Broome sunset WA

Cape Schanck Lighthouse Victoria

Beneath all this is a wilful lavish land, a phrase coined by Dorothea Mackellar in her poem My Country. During our first week back, a major storm hit Sydney. We were in a small RV in the Blue Mountains and had to bail to a motel for three nights. The ensuing floods killed four people and left whole communities cut off without power and water for days. In every state, we drove through vast areas burnt to the ground by bushfires. Outback highways were littered with hundreds of corpses of kangaroos and cattle.

Tunnel Creek WA

Prison Tree - a boab- outside Derby WA

Freshwater crocodiles at Windjana Gorge WA

Admirals Arch Kangaroo Island SA

We returned our RV in Sydney, twenty-five thousand kilometres later. Then we made a last round of good-byes to dear friends and old haunts. Now that I’m back home on my small island in the Pacific Northwest, I relive the trip every day. The rich experience is mine for a lifetime. If you’ve been there, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, I hope you will get there some day.

About Maggie Bolitho

A free range child, I grew up on an island in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. I spent my formative years flying under the radar, building alternative universes, and longing to be somewhere far, far away.

Shortly after my 17th birthday I set out to see the world, or at least large parts of Canada. I lived in four of Canada’s major cities before eventually moving to Australia where I married the love of my life.

While living Down Under, I explored the Outback and started writing fiction. Some of my adult short stories have been included in different anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. My poetry has been published in Quills Canadian Poetry magazine. 

In 2007 my husband and I returned to Canada. We settled in a leafy suburb on the island where I grew up. We divide our time between Victoria and Salt Spring Island where we enjoy forest hikes and walks along rocky beaches. We no longer wish to be anywhere else, except when memories of Australia's golden shores and beautiful bushland rise in our hearts.

November 2015 my adult novel, Outback Promise, will be released by HarperCollins Australia.

In 2014 my debut novel, Lockdown, was released by Great Plains Teen Fiction.

Amazon USA Amazon UK Amazon Au


One very lucky reader of my blog will receive a kindle copy of the beautiful Outback Promse by Maggie Bolitho. If the winner is from the UK or Canada an Amazon gift card will be sent instead. Good luck!

I will contact the winner via e-mail. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international, you can find the official rules here.


  1. Thank you for hosting me, Suze. It was a joy to look at those photos again. Australia is a magnificent country and makes me wish that I could live in two places at once.

    1. I can totally imagine that, it's so beautiful. Thank you for sharing these photos with me and my readers. I loved reading about your trip, it was definitely an impressive one!

    2. Australia is one of the places I want to explore.

  2. I am lucky to say that I have been able to make several beautiful trips in my life. I have been to Indonesia two times now and would love to go back. We also went to Thailand and Borneo and both are definitely worth to visit again.

  3. I loved the review very much. This alone brought tears to my eyes. Being a mother myself I can't imagine what it must feel like to loose a child. I am very curious about this book. Thank you for reviewing Suze!

  4. The trip sounds amazing and the photos are great! I had a lot of fun reading the post.

  5. yes, Hawaii
    for the setting

  6. Ilove books set outside the USa.

  7. I always love reading books about the outback adventures. This cover is amazing.

  8. The best and most amazing trip so far for me has been the road trip to the Baltic states. I loved it so much I wish we'd make the same trip again. Good food, good talk, new finds, and romance!

  9. I don't know if I have a favorite trip. I love travelling so every trip is amazing in its own way.

  10. I like travelling and I´ve been lucky to visit amazing places like Rome and Venice, beautiful! I would love to visit Australia and therefore to would like to read this book. Thanks!

  11. I love the sound of your travels. I wish we did go to Australia as we planned for our honeymoon. To visit now means a very different experience as now disabled. My parents have been and rave about it. I would love to read the book.

  12. When I was a kid, my father was military and we traveled all over Europe. I would love to go to several countries but don't know if I will get to.

  13. Years ago when my father had long service leave we tented our way around Australia for months. Loads of fun & no school.

  14. i like travel dont go so much :( but i love the first one we make to portugal it was so diferent go out of a island and see a big world with so many big things :)

  15. I think the magic of books is that they can take us anywhere we want to go.
    The good thing is if it's a bad book, it's easy to set it down. If you've travelled a long way and are having a terrible time, it's a little harder to fix that situation.

  16. I love all these pictures!!!

    Anyone who's entering - this is such a good book, I read it recently :)

  17. hi all,

    This weekend I dug deep into the computer and found photos of my first big trip around the outback. Here is an idea of the landscape that Ros & Grady explore together:

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