Rachel Barnett

Books, Writing, Drawing and Life on a Remote Island.

Category: Fun

The 400-Metre-Holiday

You know I live on an island, right? Groote Eylandt. Did you know that this island is in one of the most remote areas in Australia? Did you know that it is a phenomenally stunning place full of tropical, white sandy beaches, year-round warm weather, amazing culture and Australian native wildlife?

So where do you go when you live in such a place and you’re in need of a luxurious break… but you only have the weekend? How about 400 metres down the road?

Yes! My family and I just had a mini-break for the weekend, about 400 metres down the road from our house at the Groote Eylandt Lodge. And I tell you, I’d recommend a 400-metre-holiday to anyone.

Groote Eylandt Sunset - Rachel Barnett

Groote Eylandt Sunset

At first it felt a little strange. Hubby and I drove down the road with our bags, making jokes about the long drive. We got out and checked in to our hotel, less than a kilometre from our own front door.

I mean, the canapes on arrival were set up beautifully on the outdoor deck, and we were surrounded by people who we knew (such a tiny town!) who had come down for Friday drinks. Yes, jokes were cracked at our romantic dinner for two (I think that was mostly my husband), but it was lovely sitting there, on the deck, watching sugar gliders in the trees as we ate our seafood canapes and drank our complimentary bubbly.

It didn’t take long to feel like we were much further away from home than we really were.

Groote Eylandt Logde. Rachel Barnett

The Lodge

It also felt a little strange heading back to our bungalow instead of walking the short distance home after dinner, but then the huge spa made me forget all about my own spa-less bathroom up the road. And the thought of uninterrupted sleep for a whole night (don’t forget, I’m the mother of small children) was just the trick to make me relax into our 400-metre-holiday in no time at all. Soon we were sitting on the deck in front of our room, watching the bandicoots fossicking and the tawny frog mouth that landed less than a metre from us on the rail keenly looking for its own dinner, remarking how lucky we were.

Sunsets by the pool. Rachel Barnett

Sunsets by the pool

The next day, getting up without a 5am-alarm-child in my ear and ambling through the resort to the restaurant-with-a-view for our full cooked breakfast was wonderful too. And then I got to write… on the deck, overlooking the sea… for two whole hours!

Yes, it was to be short lived… the kids were joining us that day. Come on, there was no way they would let us have both nights to ourselves… they need holidays too! (In truth, I was having withdrawals from their rowdiness.) But sitting there for that short while, was bliss.

Then there were kids…

The kids bowled on in around lunch time and set about exploring (dismantling) our room. Hotel rooms are super exciting! After that it was time to hit the pool, and we literally spent the whole afternoon just hanging about the deck, swimming (CANNON BALL!) and taking in the phenomenal view which we felt like we had all to ourselves. And it is an amazing view, especially on dusk as the sun sets over the sea and nearby Connexion Island. The photos seriously don’t do it justice.

Now, I know you might be thinking… but you can visit the Groote Eylandt Lodge and that beach any time. And that’s why, at first it did feel a bit strange to take a holiday just down the road. If we had not been lucky enough to win the accommodation in a raffle, I might never have done it – thinking just that.

Wallaby. Rachel Barnett

Watching a wallaby.

Yes, I CAN visit that beach any time. But, the reality is… I don’t do it enough. This beach is a 5-to-10-minute walk from my home, and yet I don’t clearly remember the last time we visited. Hey, day to day life can get in the way of that type of thing. Chores, errands, kids, life. It’s distracting.

Even if it was only 400 metres away, this little break did well to remind me to ‘look up’. To remember what I have right here on my doorstep. Surely, this doesn’t just apply to Groote?

If you haven’t been to Groote Eylandt, look it up. I reckon it should be high on your list of travel destinations. There’s a stack of things to do that the Groote Eylandt Lodge can arrange.

If you are lucky enough to live here, like me, remember… not all places are this stunning. Not everyone gets to see this. Don’t forget to look up and take it all in.

Happy Days!

Rach x

What’s the best thing you have ever done as a tourist in your own town?

Check out my book There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course here.

Crayons and Crocodiles…

Crayons…

As promised, here are a few pics from our Book Week parade. My son went as the blue crayon from ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’. It is a fantastic little picture book by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by one of my favourites, Oliver Jeffers. My boys love it!The Blue Crayon Book Week Rachel BarnettThere were so many fantastic and creative costumes on the day… I’m sure this was the same at schools and events all around the country. Among the costumes, too numerous to mention individually, were Captain Underpants, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Sharks, Dragons, Hermione, Pirate Princesses, Pig the Pug, Mr Strong, the whole cast of Who Sunk the Boat, and even a treehouse from Andy Griffiths current bestseller. There were superheros and a few awesome Paperbag Princesses.

I have to give kudos to the teachers who also looked fantastic in their costumes… I think that would have warranted a parade all on its own! Maybe next year?

Crocodiles…

I had a lovely surprise when Miss C. took to the stage dressed as Croco, from my picture book, There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course. How special! The costume was spectacular… Miss C. must have spent a lot of time creating her costume and she looked amazing. She even won a prize!

Australian Reading Hour

Don’t forget about Australian Reading Hour on the 14th of September. I’ll be picking up a book or two for an hour… how about you?

Crocodiles, Hats and Book Week Fun!

There's a Crocodile on the Golf Course by Rachel Barnett. Book Week Costume 2017

Mr W. as Croco!

Book Week fever hit far and wide in Australia last week. Facebook was full of kids dressing up in their favourite characters. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into some of the costumes… and I bet there are a lot of worn out parents who helped their kids look so fantastic for Book Week events. Home-made, store bought, thrown-together-at-the-last-minute, or planned-for-months… I salute everyone who got involved!

There's a Crocodile on the Golf Course by Rachel Barnett. Book Week Costumes 2017.

Mr C. as ‘Fly Guy’ and Mr W. as Croco!

I was excited to receive these photos, sent to me all the way from South Australia. Mr W. dressed up as my favourite crocodile — Croco from my book, There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course ! I never imagined one of my own characters being brought to life for Book Week! It’s pretty special!

Mr C. is dressed up as Fly Guy from the Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold, but I personally think he looks suspiciously like one of the midgies from my book too. Either way, your awesome costumes really made my day! (Love Aunty Rach  x)

Rachel Barnett Book WeekHere in Alyangula, I am looking forward to Friday morning, when our Book Week parade will be held. Seagrass Early Learning celebrated last week, and I was lucky enough to join in the reading sessions with some of the other parents. I even got to dress up myself, inspired by the picture book I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple. It was fun trudging through the Centre with hats pinned all over me, though it didn’t last long. One by one they fell off… I suspect my costume was a little rushed. At least the kids had fun trying on the hats!

Rachel Barnett Book Week

My son was keen for me to come and visit. He chose about ten books for me to read… in the end I managed to read three or four before I was puffed out and it was someone else’s turn. Some of the favourites were Do Not Open This Book by Andy Lee and What do they do with all the Poo from all the Animals at the Zoo? by Anh Do. A bit of a tongue twister, but super funny! Thanks to the Seagrass team for hosting the event. I had a great time!

Australian Reading Hour



Looking forward… Have you heard about the Australian Reading Hour? On Thursday, September 14th all Australians are encouraged to pick up a book for one hour and read, either by themselves or with their children. I don’t need an excuse to pick up a book for an hour, but in case you’re hesitating, the benefits of reading for children and adults are massive.

To quote the Australian Reading Hour website:

‘In children, it has been shown to help with identity formation, setting them up for success in the future.’ 

‘In adults, it has been shown to reduce stress by 68% more than listening to music, going for a walk, or having a cup of tea.’

For more information on this fantastic initiative or to register for the event, click here to visit the website.

P.S. I will try to remember to post some pics of my son’s book week costume later! He worked hard to make it himself… with just a little help from Mum!

‘There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course’ Book Launch – Colouring Competition

Hi Everyone!

As promised, here is the information about another competition to celebrate the official release of ‘There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course’ along with our Book Launch and Family Fun Day on 12th of February!

As part of our celebrations we will be holding a colouring competition for the kids. You can pick up the colouring sheets for the competition from The Alyangula Golf Club, Seagrass Early Learning Centre or by clicking on this link to download it here and print your own!

Book Launch Colouring Competition Print Out!

There will be different age categories and also an opportunity for kids who don’t live on Groote Eylandt to win with their own category! For details on the colouring competition and more, CLICK HERE.

Entries need to be returned to the Alyangula Golf Club or Seagrass Early Learning by Friday 10th of February at the latest to be in the running to win some great prizes!

You can download the printout as many times as you like, but please choose your favourite to enter as there is a limit of one entry per child. Our judges decisions on the winners will be final and winners will be announced at the Launch on 12th of February as well as on our website on the same day.

Get colouring kids! Cant wait to see you there.

Happy Days,

Rach X

Croco’s Alyangula Book Launch – Best Dressed Competition

Hi Everyone!

Well, I am back from a very relaxing family holiday and it is time to start thinking about celebrating the release of “There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course” with our Alyangula Book Launch and Kids Fun Day!

To help us celebrate we will be holding a Best Dressed Competition for the kids on the day. Come as your favourite character or animal from the book and participate in the costume parade to be in with a chance to win a prize.

Come and join the fun at the Alyangula Book Launch for “There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course”!

For further details, Check our BEST DRESSED COMPETITION Page.

The 12th of February is coming up fast! To RSVP for the event, visit our Facebook Event HERE.

Get creative kids! I can’t wait to see you all there!

Happy Days,

Rach x

PS. Details about the Colouring Competion will be posted soon…

Book Launch and Kids Fun Day – Save the Date!

Hi Everyone!

12 February 2017! Save the date!

I am so excited to finally be able to share the details around the official Alyangula book launch event for my picture book, “There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course”!

The event will be held at the Alyangula Golf Club, naturally! Croco won’t have to venture far to join us (though the real crocodile can stay away, please) and there will be plenty of activities and fun to be had for everybody!

I will create a Facebook Event (check out / follow my Facebook page – Rachel Barnett – Holus Bolus Books for details) to keep everyone updated on activities and competitions for the day and will also post more information here as the date gets closer.

Please put it on your calendar and come and help me celebrate if you can. Croco and I would really love see you there!

Happy days!

Rach x

Here’s to 2017!

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year to all!

I have been having a very relaxing time whilst seeing in the New Year here on Groote! Hopefully you have too?

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be posting and delivering books on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th of January and then there will be a delay in availability for a few weeks. Books will become available again the week of the 23rd of January. You can still put in an order and these will be filled as soon as they are available again.

So, if you still want to order and need to get your book asap, you will need to put your order in quick! To order now, CLICK HERE.

Happy New Year to all… I truly hope that it is a great year for you and your loved ones.

Rach x

PS. News about the official book launch for There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course will be coming VERY soon! Keep your eyes peeled.

A visit from the big man in red – and some gratitude.

I live in a very remote part of Australia. For those that don’t know, I live on Groote Eylandt, which is a small island in remote Northern Territory. The only real way to get here is by plane, and everything we have has to be flown or barged in.

Alyangula itself, which is where I live has a population of about 1000 if we are lucky. It is a small town, and mostly filled with people who come here for work, whether for the mine or government employment or one of the various other enterprises that base their workers in the town.

I am very lucky that I have some family living here, but I am mindful that for the majority people living in Alyangula the distance from family and friends is great. This can be a difficult thing for the families of this town, particularly at this time of the year when the holidays are upon us, and the emphasis on the importance of family and loved ones can make it feel like we live on the edge of the earth.

Which is why I wanted to do a bit of a shout out to the events for children and families that are run in this little town. Take this last weekend for example. On Saturday afternoon the Alyangula Children’s Christmas Party was in full swing. It involved an amazing itinerary including a disco, free food (including the favourite – Fairy Floss! You should have seen the line!), face painting and tattoos, Santa Singers and a visit and presents from the big man in red himself. Yep, that’s right… Santa made the trip to Groote Eylandt, despite the heat!

Santa braves the heat!

Santa braves the heat!

The kids had a ball all afternoon. As I looked around I saw children of all ages from the teeniest babes being fawned over to the dancing tweens and teens having an awesome time and being free to just enjoy themselves. I sat with friends and watched our kids dance on the stage with no thought for anything else but singing the Christmas Carols at the top of their lungs and busting out the awesome moves. I saw how well the children in the community know each other and how easy and comfortable it was. I watched as Santa arrived and a gaggle of kids tore out of the fenced area to chase the fire engine around the street… and no one was worried about it. It was awesome.

I also saw the adults that worked very hard to pull off the best event they could. A lot of people worked tirelessly for the days and weeks leading up to that event and I am so thankful that we have people who are willing to do that in our little community… and we have quite a lot of them. It’s not just the Children’s Christmas Party I am referring to now either. We have volunteers running events for the kids left, right and centre here, from an ever growing BMX club that the kids talk about non stop, to MyGolf and Family fishing comps. From Auskick to playgroup, from Net Set Go to Craft workshops run by the CWA. And this is just a small list.

And I guess the reason why I am writing about all of this is that I am very thankful to be part of a community of people where there are so many who are willing to pitch in and make the community strong, especially for the kids. A lot of us do miss family and friends while we are living here. It is an amazingly beautiful place, and a fabulous place to live, but it is still ‘far away’. The people who run these events (and I hope they know who they are) help to make that distance seem just that little bit less, in my opinion, and at this time of year particularly, I am very thankful for that!

So to anyone in our little town that has contributed to any of the amazing family events, no matter how big or small, this year or any other, I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation. You guys truly do rock!

Happy Days,

Rach x

PS. My team mate Kel and I did catch a big Sailfish for anyone that is wondering… A few in fact! And this little marlin. Had to put it up… tagged and released 🙂

Kelly's first marlin! I'll catch one some day...

Kelly’s first marlin! I’ll catch one some day…

 

PPS. Hoping to get the pre-orders out very soon! Watch this space…

Welcome to Our Website!

It is so exciting to be launching this website, Holus Bolus Books! Mainly this is because it means that I have finally figured out how to put a website together… but more on that later maybe.

What a big month it has been! Melbourne Cup, Halloween (I am including this as it all rolls into one this time of year) and my boys 5th birthday, fishing competitions, hubby’s birthday… and a few other events in between. I feel like I need to go and lie down for a week now to recover, but that is just not going to happen…

Receiving the advanced copies is just a bit exciting!

Receiving the advanced copies is just a bit exciting!

And now for the REALLY exciting news, I received the advanced copies of There’s a Crocodile on the Golf Course last week! Do you know how exciting it is to hold one of the first copies of your first book in your hands?!

Oh, and the smell of a freshly printed book…

It has been a steep learning curve, and it’s one that I’m still on, but it’s nice to finally have a copy or two.

It’s not due to be released until February, however. There is still a lot to do! But… drum roll please… pre orders are now open! For those who pre order before February, a 20% discount will apply. Just order through this website, and enter the code PREORDER, or Contact Us here.

Unfortunately I can’t guarantee that the books will be ready by Christmas. I am still looking at options to try to make this happen if the first lot of books arrive soon enough… you never know but I can’t make any promises!

In the meantime, feel free to take a look around the website, see what we are all about and share with your friends if you think they’d be interested. We hope you like our website. We’d love your feedback! Oh, and if you want to be kept up to date with our news (eg. official release dates, the Launch Party!!) subscribe below or keep up via our Facebook page.

Now I’m off to (hopefully) catch a billfish or two…

Happy days!

Rach

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