Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: Western Australia

Is Customer Service Dead?

I have to ask where has customer service gone and if it is still practiced, how low can it go? Whatever happened to “the customer is always right?” The worst part, this customer service disaster story happened in a tourist information centre.

Al and I were in Western Australia. We had just arrived in Margaret River, which I might add is a very beautiful part of Australia. We had no idea where to stay so we thought we would go to the Tourist Information Centre which was very conveniently located right on the main street.

It was a busy place so we dutifully stood in line to wait our turn to be served by the young girl at the counter.  After a 5-10 minute wait, it was our turn. The conversation went something like this:

“We would like a room for the evening. We were thinking a nice little B&B perhaps overlooking a vineyard?”

(look at watch) “Do you realize it is 4:45 and we close at 5?”

“Does this mean we can’t book a room?”

“I will try to find you something, but we don’t have much time because we close at 5”

“Okay, we were looking for a quiet B&B”

“Let’s see what I can pull up on the computer. Here, I have a caravan park down the road?”

“We were not really interested in a caravan park, we were thinking a B&B?”

“Okay, let’s see what else I have. Oh, here’s another caravan park. This one is called Riverside!”

“Is this all we can get? Because we were kind of thinking about a B&B or something funky, with character!”

“What do you mean by funky?”

“Something different? Does the Riverside Caravan Park have a cabin overlooking the river?”

“No, it’s not on the river. (Look at watch again) What about a hotel built in the 1800s? Would that be considered funky? It’s nearby too!”

“Oh, that sounds great. That is what we meant by funky. So…it’s quite nice?”

“Yes, it’s very different because it is so old”. (look at watch again) “It’s called the Grange on Farrelly!”

“Okay, we will take it if we can get a room.”

She quickly gave us the confirmation number and the address and sent us on our way. After all, it was now 5 and she wanted out of there. She had told us to look for the round sign with 1886 written on the front gate. Sounded so quaint! What seemed like a very painful conversation might have turned out to be worth it in the end.

We drove up and down the street, but couldn’t find the place. The only accommodation was a Comfort Inn motel!

It finally dawned on us. Round sign? We checked the address and yup, it was the typical late 60’s, early 70’s Comfort Inn! On the front gate as we drove in we saw the little sign, 1885! Turns out only the restaurant is from the 1885, the rest of the hotel was built around it much later on! No view, no spa tub, no tub at all! At least we got to park right outside our room!

I am left to wonder, were there no B&B’s available? Did the girl get a “cut” if she booked us into one of these lower end accommodations?  Were her listening skills that poor that she never heard us say B&B? Or, more likely was she in such a hurry to get out of there that she just wanted to book us into “whatever” and then leave with no care in the world for our Margaret River experience? I suspect it is the latter. My only hope is that she decides on a career outside of tourism! Perhaps accounting would work for her as she was very good with numbers or at least the numbers on her watch!

Thankfully Margaret River and the surrounding area is so beautiful and has so much to offer that our night in the little motel did not deter us from having the time of our lives!

Finding the actual Tourist Information Centre (there is a sign pointing to it from the freeway, but that was it, no other sign after leaving the freeway) or for that matter ANY hotel in Bunbury was another story!

Big Red

We have left Perth and are on our way to Margaret River. Driving down the highway when I start screaming…roo, roo, roo! I am excited because I have just seen a kangaroo. Not just any kangaroo, but a red kangaroo.

Playing peak a boo

Playing peak a boo

There are about 40-50 kanagaroo’s in this paddock (for all my North American friends, that’s just a field). We are pulled over (because Al listens to me so well when I am screaming roo, roo roo) on a major highway. Vehicles are wizzing by us. Are they crazy? I think everyone should stop to gaze and appreciate the beauty of these magnificent animals. They are huge!

In fact the red kangaroo is the worlds largest marsupial. The male red kangaroos can jump over 30 feet in one jump and clear a 6 ft fence without a problem. The male kangaroo can grow to about 6 ft tall and 200 pds. One would not want to get too close to the dominant male in the mob (that’s what you call a group of kangaroos).

I didn’t have to worry about that because we weren’t even close enough to get a decent picture. After letting me goo and gaw over these incredible animals for awhile, Al finally decided we had to move on. I reluctantly agreed, but was so happy to have seen them.

We have grey kangaroos where we live in New South Wales, but no red ones. The red kangaroo inhabits the more arid regions of Australia. I was happy. One of my missions while in Western Australia was to see a red kangaroo in the wild. Mission accomplished!

We continued on to our destination, Margaret River. This region is known to produce some of the best wines in Australia. This region must also be known for it’s lack of signage! Even with a GPS (that never worked and almost went out the window many times) we got lost, many times. That in itself is another story.

One scenic route (lost again) found us in a rural area with farms all around. I noticed a horse lying in a field then suddenly realized that it wasn’t at horse. “Roo ,roo, roo” I screamed. Al slammed on the brakes! What a good partner he is.

Look at the power in that tail!

Look at the power in that tail!

Sure enough, it was a paddock (field) full of red kangaroos. They were all around the farmhouse, in the backyard and in the neighbours yard. We found the back lane that went behind the houses, got out and walked a little closer so I could get a picture. They were everywhere. I got some great pictures of some bounding away.

On the run

On the run

Then the roo that had been lying in the field stood up. It was the head of the mob! The head honcho! The big kahuna! He was huge, well over 6 ft tall and no word of a lie, he had balls that hung down about 2 ft. When he stood up, the harem of roos around him dispersed. I got some great pictures, but you don’t have to tell me when to back up. I am respectful!

Momma with a joey in her pouch

Momma with a joey in her pouch

We got back to the car safely. I was ecstatic. Kangaroos are such a beautiful and different animal from anything else I have ever seen. I just love seeing them.

On our way home from Margaret River, we decided to take the scenic route (the real one) back towards Perth. We would drive until we got tired and then find a hotel room for the night, which is what we did. It wasn’t easy though because apparently hotels aren’t easy to find. We found towns (some quite large), but couldn’t find the main street or any hotels. It was the weirdest thing. If the GPS had of worked, we might have had some help, but it was taking another break (one of many).

We had just been through a town, but luck was not on our side, no hotels! Or, at least not any we could find. We decided to snake our way back towards the highway and try our luck in the next town. It was dusk.  Roo, roo, roo! Man I am good at spotting kanagroos. I just don’t miss a thing!!!

Seriously now. Too cute!

Seriously now. Too cute!

This was a narrow two lane road, but my main man stopped and reversed anyway. He couldn’t have me missing the opportunity to see another red kangaroo. There were two of them. They were close to the edge of the road doing what kangaroos do best, eating! I got some great pictures of them, but these kangaroos had no fear. They were not in the least bit interested in me. They were content to keep eating with one eye on the food and one eye on me. This meant they wouldn’t stand up! I still got some great pics!

Don't bother us, we are eating!

Don't bother us, we are eating!

I can tell you, I am home from Western Australia a happy person. I am such a lucky person to be able to experience the magnificence of the red kangaroo in the wild. I look forward to seeing them again…next time I am in Western Australia. Because I have to go back and ride the camels and travel through the Kimberly’s and, and, and…