Author Archives: EGS

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Malcolm Turnbull campaigns in Caboolture, in the Queensland seat of Longman.

Divining votes all about swings and roundabouts at by-elections

Category:By-Elections,National 2019 Tags : 

Provided your humble correspondent is not eaten by a grizzly bear next week while trout-hunting in the wilds of northwest Canada, he will be back in time to help our team sift through the demographics of Super Saturday.

We will be looking for demographically driven swings across the booths in Longman and Braddon that are consistent with the swings we saw in New Eng­land and Bennelong; and tangible links between these patterns of swing and the policy offerings of the government and the opposition, especially as they relate to the hip-pocket nerve.

I’m looking particularly at swings by voters concerned with imputation tax increases for retirees and ­income tax increases for aspirational voters.

If we can see patterns among bigger demographic groups living in marginal seats then we can draw some inferences as to their impact at the next federal election. The other seats will provide a bit of a sideshow to the main event in Longman and Braddon.

South Australia’s Mayo, for ­example, is a seat a popular, local Liberal should have won back easily from former Nick Xenophon protege Rebekha Sharkie, who won Mayo from the less-than-popular local Liberal MP Jamie Briggs. However, polls show about 60 per cent of Mayo’s new generation of prosperous and professional commuters support Sharkie over the Downer dynasty’s Georgina Downer. After generations of political mulishness that has splintered the ­Coalition vote in South Australia — dating back to the original Liberal Movement — the Adelaide political establishment, like the old French aristocracy, learns nothing and forgets nothing.

The two West Australian by-elections of Fremantle and Perth will be interesting as a guide to how many intending Liberal voters, when denied a candidate, will vote for Labor over the Greens. Way too many to cancel the loss of Mayo, would be my guess.

Let’s look at what we know.

Last year’s by-elections in New England and Bennelong showed an average swing to the government of 1 per cent and a range of swings across the booths of about 12 per cent. The biggest swings against the government were in urban Bennelong booths dominated by progressive Left Sydney voters who hated having to vote yes in the same-sex marriage plebiscite and by conservatives who hated losing.

However, urban middle-class mainstream voters could not see what the fuss was about and quietly saved Liberal John Alexander.

In New England, Nationals flag-bearer Barnaby Joyce had his vote boosted by the big group of Howard battlers who had drifted back to Labor since 2007. We’re talking here about welfare recipients, tradies and hospitality workers living in rented accom­­mo­­­­dation in country towns where they can find affordable housing.

Battlers are also pretty thick on the ground in Longman in Queensland, a state where, in 2004, about one in seven electors voted for Labor premier Peter Beattie at the state election and then for Coalition prime minister John Howard eight months later at the federal election. This splitting of votes at state and federal elections is a characteristic of the Howard battler, a demographic that can be sentimentally supportive of favourite leaders but ruthless towards parties they regard as taking them for granted — especially with their Senate votes.

The trick for politicians is to match the sentimental rhetoric with what these voters see as their economic self-interest.

In Longman, they voted for Beattie because they saw themselves as Labor supporters and they voted for Howard because he stopped the boats, looked after their pensions and made the economy run on time. They had no problem holding what many commentators would regard as contradictory positions.

Plenty of Howard battlers are found in Braddon, where one in seven locals split their primary vote in the last state and federal elections. In mid-2016 the federal primary Liberal vote was 41.5 per cent for MP Brett Whiteley, but the primary vote for state Liberal candidates in March this year was 56.1 per cent.

In Longman and Braddon, polls are showing an average swing towards the Coalition of about 2 per cent, meaning both seats could go either way next Saturday. This is broadly consistent with the 1 per cent average swing to the government in New Eng­land and Bennelong, perhaps even a slight improvement for the Coalition.

Given some of the economic difficulties facing the federal government, compounded by its gaffes, even a small swing to the Coalition on its 2016 figures in these two seats would be exceptional, especially considering that Labor’s new MPs in Long­man and Braddon would have seen their vote rise by a couple of per cent since 2016 because of the personal vote benefits of ­incumbency.

Any opposition should comfortably win by-elections in seats it already holds. It should come close to winning more marginal seats like Bennelong.

Hopefully the demographic range of swings across the booths in Braddon and Longman will shed some light on why the opposition is underperforming and tell us what this could mean at the federal election due before the middle of May next year.

I’ll be paying particular attention to the range of swings across booths dominated by the different income groups to see which tax policies look like winning the most votes — with the opposition favouring those earning below $90,000 a year and the Coalition favouring those earning above that amount, particularly up to $200,000.

Like my Canadian trout taking a breather in a deep pool on their upstream spawning run, taxpayers tend to concentrate in income tax ranges just below a big jump in their marginal tax rate, so we’ll check the reaction from working voters who aspire to earn more.

We will see if we can discern any impact from the reductions in dividend imputation for retirees, although this one could be messy in practice.

With this sort of research, we go where the evidence leads us and we could see, for example, some impact from the campaign run by Catholic education against some of the federal funding ­reforms, which would be easy enough to measure given the ­detail in our education database.

We may see some increased support for the government’s quiet cuts in immigration, which would show as an increased vote for the Coalition among the huge mainstream groups of English-speaking and Australian-born. It’s pretty hard to lose an Australian election when you’re getting a swing towards you from Australian-born voters.

My working hypothesis is that Labor is making gains among younger, professional voters, ­especially those benefiting from the opposition’s big spending promises on new jobs in health and education.

We find these voters in the high-priced houses of the inner cities, the city seaside suburbs or bigger blocks with a view in the outer suburbs. But the Liberals should be able to withstand this sort of movement in what are typically their more comfortable urban seats, unless they repeat the mistakes of Mayo.

Labor is also making gains in Sydney and Melbourne among some conservative, non-English speaking migrant groups living in safe Labor seats, who respond well to big-spending promises as they are direct beneficiaries. However, these gains in votes by Labor often don’t bring commensurate gains in seats.

The Coalition seems to be still going well among middle-class, Australian-born families in mainstream urban areas and among Howard battlers in the middle to outer suburbs and in some pro­vincial city-rural seats. This is not the picture of a comfortable Labor majority, either in votes or in seats.

Roll on, Super Saturday, and I’ll report back if the bears don’t get me first.

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Digital Disruption Vs Wealth - Education Geographics, John Black


Category:Education Tags : 

From 2008 to 2017, half the increases in Independent enrolments have been in the bottom fee quartile of schools by student numbers.

Three quarters of the increases have been within the bottom two fee quartiles of schools by student numbers.

However, around 2014, this pattern of growth changed and from 2014 to 2017, the growth in Independent schools charging $5,000 to $11,000 slowed, due to losses of working family jobs in their dominant catchment suburbs.

Growth however, jumped for some high fee schools, covering predominantly higher SES suburbs, due to growth of professional jobs and the wealth effect of low interest rates, driving up the value of investments in real estate and equities.

This pattern has been observed in the national data, such as we see above and it has been noticed in the profiles of more than 100 larger non-Government schools.

In some Non-Government schools with wedge-shaped catchments covering both inner-urban professional areas and more middle-class areas further from the CBD, we have seen both of the above trends in the same catchment, with enrolments growing in inner urban professional areas, but declining in middle class suburbs.

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John Black with Jack D of ESRI


Category:Education Tags : 

Jeanine and I are soaking up the latest GIS, Stats, AR developments at the Esri User Conference 2018 in San Diego with 18,000 other participants.

EGS are development partners with Esri in Australia.

We had a short meeting today with Jack D, the international President of Esri who is keenly interested in teaching kids about GIS.  Jack is the founder and owner of Esri.


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GFC-impact-on-three-sectors- Education Geographics


Category:Education Tags : 

Here is a summary of slides presented in late 2017 to Principals, Vice Principals, Business Managers and Marketers.

Data is sourced from the five yearly Census results, the annual ABS school census, My School, ABS Labour Market releases, Digital Finance Analytics and Education Geographics Research.

These slides show

  • The characteristics of suburbs where each sector has been gaining or losing enrolments and market share (not always the same thing).
  • The national impact of the GFC on longer term enrolment trends for each sector.
  • The state wide impact of the decline in manufacturing and mining jobs for each Education sector.
  • Longer and shorter term impact on Independent school enrolments across increasing school fee ranges.
  • Maps at SA4 Labour Force Region level showing spatial impact of the labour market changes since the GFC.
  • The longer term impact of Digital Disruption on working family jobs for Tradies and Clerks, the jobs which pay school fees for one in four Independent school students.
  • The impact of longer term trends in tertiary education and marriages for Gen X Catholic mothers.
  • What could happen to young highly geared Independent school families when interest rates start to rise.
  • Recurrent themes of change for the three sectors.
  • How Non-Government schools can take charge of Big Data and think spatially and demographically to minimise risk and maximise opportunities.


Click on link to view: Stats Round Up.pdf



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Category:Election Profiles,National 2019 Tags : 

See for yourself in our Esri online map how local demographics fed into the results in New England and Bennelong by-elections and the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite.

Click on the link to the map below. It will open with a default map of the Bennelong estimated 2PP swing to the Liberals, with the dark blue streets swinging slightly to the Liberals and the lighter areas swinging strongly to Labor. Now click on the Layer icon layer-esri-map at top right of your screen to open the Layer list. You can see the legend in the map by clicking on the small arrow to the left of the layer called Bennelong Liberal-Swing Benelong-Liberal-Swing. You can click on the layer Bennelong Polling Booths Benelong-Booths to show each booth and click on the booth icon itself to see the results.

Save this map of the swing by taking a screen snip or leave it open in another screen and then click off the swing and open the other Bennelong layers. You can open more than one at a time and see the impact of the various demographics on the swing. So you can open Layers for creative arts, Green votes and Agnostics, to see the combined impact of all three. This isn’t rigorous statistical modelling, but it gives you an idea of how it works.

The strongest predictor of the swing was not the Bennelong Chinese born males (or females), but Bennelong Males with No Religion. These Agnostics at the National level were the strongest supporters of the Yes vote in the Same Sex Marriage Plebiscite and when we fed this variable into the modelling, ethnicity did not contribute any additional explaining power. Chinese born persons in Bennelong tend to be Agnostics, but it was their lack of religion, rather than their ethnicity which tended to accompany the biggest political swings to Labor in Bennelong.  This shows us we should look past obvious ethnic stereotypes if we’re trying to explain voting behaviour.

When you have finished with Bennelong, you can click on the Bookmark icon Bookmark at top left and select New England which opens a default map showing the estimated 2PP swing to the Nationals, with the darker green areas registering the largest pro-National swing. Once again, save a copy of this map and compare it to those larger local demographics most strongly linked to the by-election swing to the Nationals: 2016 ALP voters, Tradies, or those demographics dominating the booths with smallest by-election swings to the Nationals: in this case men working in the Agricultural industry.  We reversed the direction of the legend in this last one so the areas with the darker green colouring contain the fewest farmers and farm workers and the biggest pro-National swings. This confirms that the smallest swings to a party often occur in the areas of strongest support for the same party.

Click on the map or link below to view.

New England and Bennelong By-Elections - See for yourself in our Esri online map how local demographics fed into the results in New England and Bennelong by-elections and the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite. See for yourself in our Esri online map how the local demographics fed into the results in New England and Bennelong.

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Category:Election Profiles,National 2019 Tags : 

Back in 1998 the major parties were under pressure from One Nation, particularly in the State of Queensland, where the fledgling party scored well amongst the older, rural, Australian born, less well educated and those with low-income, blue collar jobs. Fast forward to 2011 and the major parties are again under pressure with Green and Independent votes on the rise. This research piece, originally done for the Courier Mail in 1998, profiles the antecedents of the rural protest vote.

One Nation VoteCourier Mail September 22 1998_1.pdf

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Category:Recreational Research Tags : 

Owen River Lodge - South Island, New Zealand

Running a fishing lodge can be a complex thing. There are so many variables to take into account, without doubt, the weather has a significant impact on the trout fishery and therefore the fishing.

In our early season the weather cooperated brilliantly. November & December saw clear rivers, sunny days and little wind. The results speak for themselves…….

Owen River Lodge, New Zealand

Andrew from Sydney’s first trip to ORL was for his honeymoon in 2010. He’s subsequently stayed with us a further 3 times including a quick 4 day trip in early November.  He landed 11 wild brown’s in his 3 days fishing including a sensational 11 lb monster and 2 x 8lb, 2 x 6lb 3 x 5lb and a 4lb wild brown !

In early December, 3 anglers landed 3 wild New Zealand browns and each of them set a personal record. The 3 browns weighed in at 9lb, 12 lb and new lodge record of 14lb. There was no expensive helicopter required, as all these browns were caught in our local, drive to rivers!

fly_fishing_Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

To be honest during our summer (January > March) the weather was rubbish. It was unusually windy and wet. This made the fishing, at times, challenging, however with the help of the wonderful fishing guides that work with us our guests still caught fish and had some memorable moments on the river.

Vaughan and Bess are regular Australian guests @ Owen River Lodge. Whilst Bess went horse riding, Vaughan had some sensational fishing over 4 days of angling adventure. In a 2 day period he landed over 25 wild browns in the 3 > 5 lb range !

Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand_Fishing_Owen_River_November_2015_Rene_Vaz

Robin & Andrew, from the UK, stayed and fished with us in February. They had some unbelievable fishing, landing 20 browns averaging 4lbs in one day and landing over 50 browns in 6 days

Howard, one of our most regular guests, had four sensational days fishing with his guide David in late March. In his 4 days fishing he landed 24 wild browns including an 8lb & a 9lb caught on consecutive days in the Owen River !

Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand


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Category:Election Profiles,National 2019 Tags : 

One in four women work as professionals. Their support for Labor candidates steadily increased from 1980 under Coalition Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and by 2004, this support had levelled off to split 50/50 between Labor and the Coalition.

However, the inner-urban professional seats – such as Melbourne Ports and Brisbane – swung to Coalition Leader Malcolm Turnbull in 2016, bucking the national swing back to Labor in 2016.

About one in four men work as Tradies and one in four women work in clerical and admin jobs.

Since the 1966 election, Tradies have been seen as the pro-union, working class foundation for Labor campaigns, with the politically non-aligned female clerks successfully targeted in 1972 and 1974 to provide the more volatile winning margin in the outer suburbs.

Shifting Demographic Tectonics

The political significance of these two demographics switched after the period 1977 to 1980, and by 1998-2001, we were more likely to see safe Labor seats dominated by female clerks than by male Tradies, as white-collar workers became more unionised, and many older, blue collar workers such as the Howard Battlers, switched to the Coalition in the outer suburbs.

These two groups have remained the ALP’s campaign focus as Labor’s Working Family Stereotype and in 2016 seats containing the highest proportions of Working Families -such as Burt and Macarthur –  swung strongly to Labor and Bill Shorten, even as former pro-Labor professionals moved in the reverse direction towards, small-l Liberal Malcolm Turnbull.

So, the Coalition lost Working Family seats across Australia’s outer suburbs, but clung to power by its fingernails across wealthier, inner urban professional seats.

In this ADS update, we’re publishing the last instalment of John Black’s demographic profiles of Australian voting behaviour, stretching back to the 1966 Federal election.

This instalment covers the period of 1977 to 1980, the mid-point of Malcolm Fraser’s Prime Ministership, which marked a watershed era for the demographic alignments of Australia’s biggest occupational voting blocs: Tradies, Clerks and Professionals.

These three groups determined the outcome of the last election, and they are also likely to determine the outcome of the next election. Read how they came of age here.

PROJECT 4 –  Australia : 1977-1980  Project 4-Part One   Project 4 – Part Two

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Category:Labour Market Tags : 

78,300 full time jobs were lost for Tradesmen and Tradeswomen in the past year, virtually all of them in the private sector.

65,700 of these full-time jobs lost were formerly held by Tradesmen.

55,500 full time clerical and admin jobs were lost last year.

51,400 of these were former full time jobs in the private sector and 43,800 of them were formerly full time jobs held by women.

A family made up of a Tradesman dad and a mother with a clerical job makes up 22.2 percent of the workforce and 2,669,200 jobs. This is the key middle Australia voting demographic which makes or breaks Government.

In terms of its percentage of the workforce, this demographic has been declining since the GFC, when it was about 25 percent of the workforce.

This is why Governments representing the status quo are not getting re-elected.

Australian Labour Force Regions - Changes November 2008 to 2016

The private sector over the past year grew by 131,300 part-time workers, but lost 50,100 full time workers, with a net growth of 81,200 workers. This casualisation of jobs is why incomes are flat.

The public sector grew 28,700 full time jobs and lost 22,600 part-time jobs, with a net growth of 6,100 jobs.

So, all the growth over the past year in full time jobs has been in the public sector, with the private sector going backwards by 50,100 jobs.

The big growth in high wage jobs continued among professionals where some 47,300 jobs were created in total and virtually all of them were for women employed in the private sector.

There have been an extra 102,900 jobs created in past year for semi-skilled and unskilled blue collar workers, with two-thirds of them part time.  Virtually all of these jobs were in the private sector.

When we look at Industries, we saw a major recent jump in manufacturing jobs in the past year of more than 100,000 workers, with a similar rise for the public-sector trio of public admin, education, and health. These are the industries where the union movement still has strong representation and which support Labor or Green candidates.

So, during the past year, Green voters have been travelling well in the inner cities, Labor voters (and the unions) have been doing ok in the outer industrial suburbs, but working family jobs continue to be hollowed out in the middle-class suburbs.


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Category:Recreational Research Tags : 



Talk about an adrenalin rush.

I’m strapped down tight in a Bell Jet helicopter two kilometres above the western coastline of British Columbia and I find myself hanging on to pretty much anything in the chopper to convince myself that flying through the air in a machine without wings is a perfectly natural and safe thing to do.

Sitting up front next to the pilot, I’m surrounded on four sides by clear Perspex and it feels like the only think stopping me from dropping two kilometres is the seatbelt strap.

Now we’re scooting along at up to 200 km/h and the tips of the twin props are nudging the speed of sound, thumping out a booming bass accompaniment to the headphones sound track of Neil Young, the Canadian Godfather of grunge rock, on electric guitar belting out Rockin’ in the Free World.

Nimmo-Bay-bell-helicopterDown we go again dropping a few thousand feet and slowing to about 15 knots as the Douglas fir tree tops sweep past well above us on either side.

Now Don is spotting salmon in the Wakeman River about 50 feet below. He looks first for the schools of fish, then individual trophy sized fish. The shape, size and colour indicate the species of salmon, whether pink, sockeye, Coho, chum or Chinook.

He finds a likely spot, where the Atway River joins the Wakeman and we drop down vertically, like moving down a magic green lift, with Douglas Firs and Alder trees decked with Spanish moss, surrounding the chopper on three sides.

Nimmo Bay, British Columbia While we’re waiting for the blades to slow and stop, Don gives us a routine warning about there being a resident Grizzly Bear in this spot, but at least he usually makes a lot of noise from the opposite bank, so we get plenty of warning. Apparently it’s the black bears that like to sneak around from behind, if they are seriously stalking you, so we should keep looking over shoulders here, just in case.

Just in case, Don’s packing a 12 gauge chrome plated pump action shotgun with three inch magnum single ball shot, kept in a back holster at all times.

For an Aussie farm boy, this is bloke heaven.

I flick out the fly to schools of ten pound Coho and some 30 pound Chinooks. The Coho seem to like my fly – a lot – but the big Chinooks prove elusive and they keep jumping from the water, just out of casting range. Still a ten pound fighting fish on a fly makes it memorable in any fly fisherman’s almanac and ten of them in an afternoon makes it the trip of a lifetime.

Nimmo Bay, British Columbia
Earlier that day we had ridden the Bell with Don to lunch on the Kingcome Glacier on the Silverthorne Icefield. While I did the mature thing and peed my initials in the snow, Don pulled out portable table and chairs and laid out red or white wine, gourmet antipasto, fresh fruit and profiteroles, all served on crisp yellow tablecloths and napkins contrasted against the ice blue of the glacier.

John Black - Nimmo Bay, British Columbia

After we’d climbed stiffly back into the chopper, feeling rather pudgy with all the layers of clothing and too much food, Don lifted off the ice and took the Bell straight out over the Kingcome Valley floor, 4000 feet below our lunch site and then began a steep descent. The pit of my stomach told me it was all over, but it had been a great ride. I turned up the headphones Richard Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries. You had to be there.

If a roller coaster is a seven on the zero to ten ghost train score of scary things, and a 100 foot bungy jump is an eight, then the sensation of looking at the ground drop 4000 feet beneath you is scary on a completely different level, like a roller coasters for grown-ups.


The next day I was off with Don to Kakweiken River, a short flight in the chopper, but impossible commute in a realistic time frame, by boat or overland.

When we head over a likely spot, we see a big lumbering female Grizzly, followed by three ‘small’ cubs … so Don decides on discretion and we keep flying.

It’s on this trip that I discover the only fool proof way to see bears in British Columbia – you forget to bring your camera.

Now we’re dropping down near the famous two mile pool, into a tight landing spot right alongside a massive migrating shoal. The normally clear turquoise shaded Kakweiken looks black from a massive shoal of big migrating Coho.

A father and son from the US are on the trip with me and they’re using lures, which the big Coho find irresistible and after an hour, they caught and safely released a combined 50 Coho. The Coho didn’t seem to mind – they had a date with some sandy gravel a few km upstream, followed by an uncertain fate at the hands of mother nature, so they just got on with it, stoic these Canadians.

Then I note Don shouting at us. He picks up two big rocks and starts bashing them together. I think what have I done wrong here? Turns out it is not me he’s shouting at, but a pesky Grizzly Bear which has been watching us catch what he considers HIS fish.

Nimmo Bay Bear

At this point I reach for my camera … not there. Then I ask the US dad to please snap a few shots of me fishing, with the bear in the background. My editor will love this. This is my idea of a real story.

Don had other ideas and, seeing as he had the big gun and was standing between us and the helicopter, we did what we told.

By this time, the bear was fast approaching the chopper from the opposite end of the pool. And well, Grizzly Bears don’t practice catch and release.

My US companion kindly snapped a few pictures as we trotted back and were quickly on our way, relieved to hear the reassuring thump, thump, of the chopper blades.

Adrenalin rush? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Yep.

Nimmo Bay, Brittish Columbia

Back at Nimmo Bay we experience the sort of service that this resort arguably the best of its kind in the world. Certainly the testimonials from the rich, famous and powerful, provide enough evidence, from captains of industry, to the cast of Boston Legal and former US president George H Bush, confirm what I know already.

Nimmo Bay, British ColumbiaThe adventure guide Mike is there to meet us and takes to the heated gear room, to help us get out of the waders and boots. In my intertidal chalet, my housekeeper Gillian has been at work, arranging everything with neatness verging on the OCD – I’ve never had my toothpaste tube rolled up for me before.

I take an hour out for a massage from Reiki master Jelena, to iron out my kinks, then pop down the ramp to the outdoor hot tub and plunge pool, to enjoy a preprandial foaming libation, kindly served to me from Brianna, who made sure my favourite brand of single malt was always available, along with a complimentary hand rolled Cuban cigar, presumably kept on hand in case William Shatner popped down from his nearby digs for a bit of R and R.

Then it was an open shower by the plunge pool and I toddled off, purring, to the floating fire deck, where the guests snuggled under woollen throw rugs, to do very little except relax, watch the Nimmo Bay sunset and be indulged with entrees prepared by Chef Sandi and resident Baker Teri.

The dinners were invariably delicious and I even picked up some tips from Sandi on how to clean my barbecue plate back home. She was a class act in the tucker department.

Fraser, our host was there, with Mike and Troy to organise activities for those who wanted to chill and avoid the excitement of the chopper rides and being chased by bears. These kinder, gentler souls could visit the local indigenous Canadian cultural museum, enjoy a spot of yoga, watch migrating whales broaching or follow some of the local killer whale pack around the waters between Nimmo and Vancouver Island. There was also more family oriented activities, like wildlife walks, white water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, meeting the local survivalist expert …

Nimmo-Bay-fly-fishing- John Black

So, if you’re an old fart like me, who just likes to go fly fishing, it was heaven on a stick. Oh, and if you really like anadrenalin rush, spare a day for Perry, the local fly fishing expert, who takes you out in his jet boat, skimming over the shallows in narrow streams inches from overhanging leaves. Perry doesn’t take a gun. If he sees a bear he reckons he and his mates chase them, just for the fun of seeing a big grizzly clamber a tree. So he said. Perry has been an Australian with stories like this.

Many of the clients were grandfathers and sons, fathers and their kids, mothers and kids; sometimes three generations … there was a fair bit of bonding going on here.

The costs for the basic wilderness package were about $1500 Canadian a day each, plus gratuities. The chopper rides added another $1500 to $2600 each per day depending on how many mates you teamed up with but the chopper is at your disposal all day and the pilot doubles up as the guide and the bloke who chases away very large bad hairy things that want to eat you.

This price seems competitive with heli fishing in New Zealand, where the helicopters tend to just to drop you off and pick you up, which means you pay to transport the guide and you pay the guide. So factor that into any costs.

But if you’re quibbling about a grand here or there, forget it. Nimmo is all about indulgence. Think Fantasy Island with a fly rod.

I loved it, especially as the Canadian Tourism Commission were picking up the tab, but the realities were pretty practical, really. I was on a 14 hour mid-morning direct flight from Sydney to Vancouver and you arrive three hours before you leave local time. I took a detour to another resort, but I think the local connections would normally get you to Nimmo Bay around about the same local time you left Australia. That’s fast.

I’m doing it again. Soon as I can really. I made the mistake of telling my wife about the bears. Bugger.