This Australia Day weekend I’m toying with taking my family on tour to places where banjo music can be heard in the distance; if you get my drift.
Out there, beyond the well-worn tourist trails, are some great sights, amazing people and, above all, extremely cheap accommodation.
Like the thirty dollar room I rented in a pub out west that smelled like a dead horse, the share bathroom promised death by tinea, and even now I’m still hoping it was red wine stains all over the rug, bedspread and pillows.
Or the fleapit in country NSW that was located directly behind the kitchen dumpster, so I clearly heard the cook tell the manager how he’d cleverly got rid of all the dodgy prawns. I stared at the remains of my seafood curry and wondered if I should find a hospital while I could still use my limbs.
But first place goes to a bargain basement bungalow I’d booked in Far North Queensland next to a croc infested swamp. There was no TV, so I spent the evening watching a cane toad the size of a Chihuahua trying to squeeze under my door.
Around midnight, I was awoken by something heavy plopping onto my bed, and once I stopped screaming and flicked on the light, my sleep-blurred eyes made out a possum. The little tyke appeared to say, ‘Easy mate, I know where the kitchen bin is.’
“Enjoy your stay?” grunted the unshaven proprietor through a fog of cigarette smoke next morning. Glaring through red-rimmed eyes, I mumbled, “Mate, it was unforgettable.”
He seemed genuinely pleased, “You know, I don’t hear that very often!”
And now I reckon it’s time my family enjoyed an authentic, but low-cost, Australian touring experience, and I guarantee they’ll have memories that will last a lifetime.