Over the years I’ve enjoyed much travel as a writer, illustrator, designer & trainer. After 6 yrs as Magazine Production Manager I've returned to my first love - writing & illustrating; plus a little Tafe teaching. Find me via www.kiss-my-arts.com
Published March 8th 2017
What if you won a prize to spend a year in the outback?
Wilderness Couple's Story
In 1986 famous adventurer Dick Smith in conjunction with Australian Geographic sent out a call to all "would be" explorers in search of a couple on the lookout for a remote experience in the far reaches of Australia's Kimberley region.
Not for a week, or even a month, this adventure required a year's commitment; a commitment to flies, bushfire threats, flies, water shortages, intense heat and flies.
One woman spotted the magazine advertisement. She thought it might be just the thing to heal the rift in her sister Susan's marriage. Although 500 couples had applied, Susan and Mike Cusack were chosen. So despite their relationship troubles, the Cusacks came together for a year of isolation in the wilderness.
The adventure began in a 1955 Series 1 Landrover which according to Mike was a Badge of Honour decision.
From Melbourne the jumping off point of Derby is a mere 6,600 kilometres away. So with 4WD, boat, a 25hp Evinrude outboard, solar panels and a Stihl chainsaw the couple left Melbourne in June 1987 to head for the mission ruins of Kunmunya in time for the driest year in three decades.
In Derby the couple were assisted to the embarkation point by Dick Smith himself, complete with helicopter, and other team members from Australian Geographic. Next travelling by boat with an overnight stop along the way, and finally overland the Cusacks successfully made it to the ruins of the Presbyterian mission Kunmunya, 4 kilometres from the coast and there, amid searing heat but complete with tent and food supplies, they were abandoned to their fate.
Mike and Susan Cusack on the adventure of a lifetime in 1987
Thus began Mike Cusack's wonderful presentation at Aurora Expeditions information night which I attended last night.
Mike now leads expedition cruises along the Kimberly coast and has the opportunity to share the region with modern travellers who have a much easier time of it.
For one thing, the billions of flies have been drastically reduced in number by the culling of feral donkeys. While the temperature still reaches an average of 45°C for three months of the year, water and other cool beverages can be enjoyed without the stomach troubling effects of dead wallabies in the water source, and it is safe to presume the wheat based products created on the ship are devoid of weevils.
Rather than tell you how the story ends, why not join Mike on one of his voyages on the ship Coral Expeditions.
Aurora are currently running a Special Event Offer until 31 March 2017 for Kimberley Coast cruises departing in 2018. To find out more email Aurora at email@example.com or go to the website auroraexpeditions.com.au
Mike Cusack discusses ancient rock art on a Kimberley expedition
For people of Melbourne - another free talk by Mike Cusack is coming up.
When: Thursday, 16 March 2017
Time: 6:15pm - 7:30pm
Where: Telstra Conference Centre, Room 1, 1/242 Exhibition St, Melbourne