Travelling Solo through Australia with 5W!
A UK member recently returned from an amazing first time trip to Australia. Although travelling on her own, she stayed with 21 of our wonderful members along the way – which is what 5W is all about! She says “The Red Centre, the North, South, East and West edges of the vast continent of Australia, plus Tasmania! She says – I saw them all on my recent fantastic 5 month trip. Many of my hostesses shared my interest in art, the environment and family history. Through them I learned so much about Australia – history, geography, Aboriginal art and culture and flora and fauna. A special thank you also to the many 5W husbands and other family members for their kindness and hospitality. This was my first time in Australia and I could not have done it without 5W. I am so grateful to all those members who helped to make an exciting trip into a truly memorable one.”
5W members meet up in many different ways. A member in Canada recently posted her plans to walk the whole 150 kms of the Pieterpad Trail in The Netherlands. A UK member answered her request and that is exactly what they have done – enjoying amazing hospitality, nature at its best and most natural and meeting some fascinating people along the way. As they say “the friendship we have found together we hope will endure into the future and is an example of the potential for international friendship, which we believe to be the underlying ethos of this fantastic organisation.”
Is it the warm sunshine or the warm 5W friendship, that has so many of our members visiting Australia!
Comment from one member from the UK “coming to the end of my wonderful time in Sydney hosted by the kindest, most generous “young” ladies.” Another says, I cannot believe how kind and welcoming you all are”. So muich so, that one of our 5W Trustees has been travelling around Australia since September 2016!
A group of 5W members were recently on a wonderful London gathering. Having an amazing and interesting week. Here are a few photos to share with you …
In Australia, 5W member Marina, spent 3 days with UK Trustee, Sue… “We enjoyed a meal and conversation with the newly formed Blue Mountains 5W group, visited Norman Lindsey’s gallery then spent an evening country dancing. A member from Pitt town invited us for day in the Hawkesbury Valley, where we looked at a church designed by a convict architect, stopped at an observatory, toured the art gallery and went wine tasting at Tizzana winery at Ebeneza. Then we sauntered through the small village of Laura, ate a Japanese lunch, introduced Sue to the three sisters at Echo point, watched a pictorial presentation of the Blue Mountains at the cultural centre, took afternoon tea at the Art Deco Carrington hotel while listening to bagpipes, inspected some aboriginal rock carvings then spend the evening at a literary function listening to an author of Dark Emu a controversial book about aboriginal agriculture before white settlement which was very thought provoking. Busy day!
US members offer a warm welcome
to 5W member, Martine, from Belgium!
When planning her visit to Chicago, a group of 5W members helped her to organise a fantastic trip. Offering accommodation and guiding her around the area, showing her sights she might not have enjoyed on an organised tour. A highlight was her trip to Shipshewana in Amish County and Mishawaka, a place where many Belgian emigrants settled in around 1840 and later on after the World War in 1918. Martine says it was an amazing discovery to see several Flemish names on windows and graves in the church. A real experience of 5W friendship!
5W Membership brings your travel dreams to life!
Two intrepid Australian members recently returned home after 3 wonderful months travelling around Europe, meeting up and staying with local members along the way. As one said, ” in the words of Arnie, I will be back”. Meeting wonderful 5W women who were happy to show them the sights not normally experienced by tourists, added to the adventure.
Spending time in Rome with a local member, being taken to some lovely secret places that foreign tourist don’t generally know about. That’s what 5W is all about, local knowledge and friendly women getting together.
Moving on to visit other members in Transylvania! My 5W host in Gilau, a small village in Transylvania, braids my hair and dresses me up in one of her heritage National costumes
5W Receives VIP Treatment in Manchester!
International Group of 5W members from Australia, Belgium, USA, New Zealand and the UK meeting for a wonderful week exploring historic Chester and the surrounding area. One very memorable visit to Manchester, where participants were delighted to meet the Lord Mayor, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan and treated to a tour of the Town Hall and a delicious afternoon tea. 5W VIPs for the day!
It’s a Small World with 5W!
The power of this 5W group is amazing. At a tiny village on the East Coast of Iceland in a local /pub café, a 5W member visiting from Australia, met up by chance with a UK member who was travelling with her husband in a caravan convoy around Iceland. They first met on the 5W Alaskan Gathering over 8 years ago and recognized each other immediately! The 5W world of friendship is a very special experience!
5W International Gathering in France!
Five 5W members were guests of honour at Tours Town Hall in the Loire Valley. The Director of International Relations welcomed us all and gave each woman a gift from the Mayor’s Office. Then the Guild of ‘Veritable Nougat de Tours’ invited Debbie from South Africa and Angela from Germany to become honorary Guild members and to spread the Guild’s principle of friendship and sharing – much like 5W. We finished the evening with a photo in front of a statue of Marianne, the national symbol of France, then toasted each other with champagne.
5W member, Morgan, gave a heartfelt speech of thanks, which is translated here in English -
“We are very honoured to be here with you today. We thank the people that we have met in Tours and Touraine for the warmth and friendship they have shown us. We, the women of 5W, travel to improve relationships between people, in whatever modest way we can.
Despite the terrible floods you have suffered and, of course, the strikes, your beautiful region has enchanted us with your pretty villages, splendid chateaux, lively and picturesque markets and your delicious cuisine. Our visit to Chateau Valmer was an unforgettable experience. When we return hone, we will look at our gardens in a new way. We have learned much about your famous women: Anne of Brittany at Longais, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis at Chenonceau. At Loches, of course, Agnes Sorel and your national heroine, Jean d’Arc.
Many thanks to the community of La Grande Bretèche for their hospitality and to everyone who contributed to our marvellous memories of this visit to Touraine. It has been too brief. We will return with our families and friends. Thank you very much.”
A delightful afternoon was spent with gentle goats, who give their milk for the famous St Maure de Touraine cylindrical goats’ cheese. Finishing in the village of Chedigny, where the mayor planted 600 roses ten years ago.
Despite torrential rain, train strikes and delayed planes, nothing stops 5W members getting together to enjoy 6 days taking just a peek at all the wonders of the UNESCO site of the Loire Valley in Central France. Along came the sun too!
Celebrating 30 Years of 5W Friendship in Australia!
Meeting up in Newcastle, Australia for a tour of all this beautiful area has to offer.
Making beautiful 5W memories in Japan!
The amazing trip to Western Japan with over forty 5W members from seven countries was an awesome experience!
with cherry blossoms
The World Heritage
A beautiful memory
with beautiful people
Origami class at the hotel
Friendship & Travel – with 5W life can be an adventure!
One 5W member making the most of her visit to New Zealand, cruising at the foot of Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier and enjoying an exhilarating jet-boat ride on the Dart River, South Island.
News from a UK member’s travel blog -
This is my fifth visit to Australia, and each time I have been, I have been impressed and inspired by the individual 5W members as well as the groups I have met whilst I have visited. They are wonderful ladies.
This time I arrived on the 30th December with my husband John ready for the New Year in Sydney and to spend time with our son and his fiancee. After John returned back home to the UK to work, I left Sydney to visit 5W friends old and new. I stayed with Marina in the Blue Mountains and we had a wonderful time taking in the local scenery and culture. With Linda I had a wonderful time in Sydney on Australia Day, before heading out to stay at the Narara Ecovillage visiting the beautiful surrounding coastline and watching the pelicans being fed.
Moving up the coast to Ballina I had fun staying with Christine and Jan and became addicted to bathing in the tea tree lake and was besotted with the misty dawn over the sea. I met other 5W members local to Ballina as well as going into another time zone for lunch with around a dozen or so of the Gold Coast members.
Tomorrow I head to Wagga Wagga to meet Joy and in my final few days I am meeting fellow Brit, Linda for a coffee and a catch up back in Sydney.
I have been so well looked after and there are too many highlights to mention. I have met not only these ladies but their friends, families and other local 5W’s. For me, this is what 5W is all about and when I finally get home it won’t be just the places that have made my stay in Australia so special. It will be these lovely members and the warm hospitality and the fun we have had together which will stay with me much longer.
Make friends and travel with 5W!
A surprise meeting of old friends, when members from Canada and the UK both travelled to Perth. Joining 5W opens up a world of friendship.
Sharing Global Friendship and Understanding!
A 5W member, who is a teacher in the UK, found a wonderful way of enjoying her membership and spreading friendship around the world. She teaches a class of children who have difficulty with reading, writing and maths and had struggled to find ways of making lessons fun and engaging. To capture their interest for a term project on Africa, she wrote to a 5W member in Ghana who happily sent postcards, text messages, emails and photos and then patiently answered the many questions posed by the children. She found that her reluctant writers were motivated to write to a real live person and fascinated to read the replies. They learned about a life very different from their own, which opened their eyes to a whole new world.
The 5W experience – you never know who will show up in your holiday photos!
A 5W member from Australia was being hosted by a member in Atlanta, USA. She arranged a trip to Sunday School, held by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn in his home town of Plains, Georgia. What an amazing photo opportunity!
G’day Mate from ‘Downunder’!
UK member enjoying a typical 5W Australian welcome.
In beautiful Ballarat with another lovely 5w member! After visiting the Hepburn spa centre, where we both enjoyed a lovely massage , we walked around the beautiful grounds and tasted some of the natural miniral waters which all tasted very different . After lunch at Daylesford town a walk by beautiful Daylesford lake near past mining area there were 3 more types of mineral water to be tasted, again quite different – quite incredibl1e!
Yesterday I spent the day at a Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum presenting the story of Australia’s ‘gold rush’ history, quite enlightening, entertaining, and fun.
Left Coolah on 24th October. I was worried, as I had been warned about snakes – didn’t sleep well at all the first night! In fact, I didn’t see any snakes at all during my stay, so I was very relieved. After driving through beautiful country with very little traffic, we stopped for lunch at Canowindra – famous for its Fish Fossil museum. Here we also met local artist, David Ibid.
I was then collected by 5W member Jo, who took me to her place in Wamboin. Boy! What a surprise when we walked into her front room and looked out onto the verandah – wow, there were kangaroos and cockatoo everywhere! It was an incredible experience and beyond my wildest dreams. As well as spending time with kangaroos, Jo took me to Canberra. Saw the very modern Parliament House, went up the Telstra Tower – magnificent view of Canberra. Today we had lunch at Tarago, about 60lm from remote Wamboin. Tomorrow, I am leaving for Adelaide for another adventure.
Another lovely day in Coolah Valley with my new 5W friend, viewing her property in a 4 WE D buggy – aren’t I the luckiest!
I’m having a great time. My newly made Aussie friends are just great – warm, welcoming and generous in every way. Just briefly, I have been travelling since 4th September…. 2 days in Hong Kong, from there to Brisbane. From Brisbane I was on a tour to ‘Longreach’, saw lots of Kangaroos, mostly dead ones on the road side! After a week, returned to Brisbane, did the local things, one of the most important items being the ‘Welcome’ dance by an Aboriginal Group. It was enlightening, interesting, and informative. We also had our 5W member gathering lunch where we met many Australian 5W members. Following this we did the Gold Coast, where our coach met with a serious accident, thankfully we were all OK – and Frank a local resident invited all 25 of us for a calming cup of tea – soaked as we were. Then it was the Sunshine coast, where it mostly rained! I hurt my knee here and for the next few weeks had to walk with a stick! On 6th October we arrived at Cairns, did a Rain-forest-amazing! walk. Next stop was Sydney. Here we stayed in a friend’s apartment on the 15th floor facing Sydney Harbour, and the Opera house – it was like something out of the movies. On 17th my companion and I parted – she went to Perth, and I headed for Newcastle, where I am now, staying with a 5W member and her husband in their beautiful home. Both have been amazing hosts, taking me out sightseeing – today we did the Dolphin cruise at Nelson bay – saw some Dolphins – it was quite exciting. Geoff has just made a delicious veggy stir fry for me – I’ve been thoroughly spoilt – isn’t it wonderful, and this all by people I have known only a couple of days! Tomorrow I am being driven to Coolah, a way out place near Dubbo, where I will be staying with another 5W member.
A LOCAL LEGEND
We are delighted to announce that 5W Founder, Dr Frances Alexander, has become a local legend – although to 5W members around the world, she has always had legendary status! She was one of five chosen to have an ecobus named after her by the Arriva bus company. When Frances found out about this honour, she said she would be pleased if it were an eco bus and was presented with a long list of its eco credentials. The dedication on the bus says that she is a supporter of sustainable transportation. Congratulations Frances!
A Unique Australian Outback Adventure!
Wednesday 23. Visit to Sunshine Coast.
1st stop. Mary Cairncross park-Maleny. Here we had a guided 90 minute walk through the rainforest. Absolutely fascinating – special trees, markings of where animals have been, and spider nests were pointed out. We heard the sounds of various birds, and it was thrilling to hear the kookaburra. But the best was yet to come-we actually came across a python! It was a first for me, as I had never seen a snake in it’s natural habitat, and although I don’t like snakes, I did enjoy the experience.
After this we drove to Eumundi markets -this was an exciting diverse cultural experience. The markets were colourful, buzzing with people and full of exciting things to buy. Sadly we only had 45 mins to wander about. However, I did manage to buy myself a glass of sugar cane juice, which I was surprised to see here, as I have only had it in India, and it’s one of my most favourite drinks -so this made my day even more enjoyable !
Next stop was Noosa-apparently a holiday mecca for Australians, and international visitors. The beach was beautiful, and the sand, it was like walking through liquid silk.
Mooloolaba came next, and wow, what a welcome by the local members. A banquet of tea was prepared for us. Thank you so very much for a lovely afternoon, and the food of course!
Final stop before returning back was Fish and Chips at ‘The Deck’ Parkyn parade. This was very appreciated as it was cold and raining outside.
Tuesday 22. Tour of the City Hall, visit to the clock tower -learnt a little history of life of Brisbane River.
Also had a great opportunity to listen to a concert in the great hall by the pianist Simon Tedeschi playing Gershwin.
Lunch at Red cross cafe -Evening BBQ at Merthyr bowls club, and tour of the city by night in the ‘City Cat’ ferry- a beautiful ending to another interesting day organised by the lovely, friendly local 5 W members!
Monday 21. Visit to Toowoomba to see the Carnival of flowers. We saw three very different gardens, one of them being Japanese- all very beautiful and colourful.
On way back to the hotel we stopped by an Olive Grove, where we were able to taste various products made from the local olives- very enjoyable.
Sunday 20 was very exciting. We travelled by ‘city hopper’ to Riverlife and were welcomed by an Aboriginal group of people by performance of their ‘welcome to the country’s dance. This was a very special experience-almost felt like ‘Royalty’!
The leader of the group was a very knowledgeable, and gave us some insight into the Aboriginal history, and cultural background.
And, of course photo time was fun
After lunch we had a tour of the centre-Tony, our tour guide was very informative. In St. Stephens church we saw a statue of a lady saint-Mary Mackrllop made from a hundred year old camphor laurel trade-off was quite amazing.
Saturday 19 we cruised back to Brisbane. It was a lovely sunny day, and the cruise on Lady Brisbane was calm and gentle. It took about five hours.
Along the long stretch of the coast we saw some beautiful islands, inhabited and uninhibited, also managed to see a few Dolphins which caused great excitement.
For morning coffee we had huge muffins, and lunch was bbq which everyone enjoyed thoroughly Around 4 pm we reached our hotel.
Day 1. Most of our members were dropped at a city railway station. The Gold Coast is where our Gathering started. We dropped our bags at our hotel and headed off for our lunch canal cruse. Back to our hotel to check into our luxurious self contained apartments. The local Gold Coast ladies cooked us a delicious bbq on the hotel pool deck. The less said about the weather the better!
Day 2. This morning we awoke to clear blue sky. We were off to the Gold Coast Hinterland to explore ancient rain forests. Again bad weather caught up with us. South East Queensland has had very little rain over the last months (until we arrived) and unfortunately our bus skidded across an intersection, coming to rest against a road sign just short of a 12 – 15 foot drop. We all carmly exited the bus to wait for a different bus to pick us up. We were waiting in a small bus shelter – it was raining again, when a local friend invited us back to his home for shelter. He had a roaring fire going and served us tea and coffee, After being checked out by Qld Ambulance Officers we were on our way again to finish our Gold Coast adventure. When we arrived back at our lovely hotel the bus owner had an envelope containing money plus a box of chocolates for us to help compensate for disrupting our day. Not the day we had planned!
Previous 5W Adventures
Cowboys & Cajuns!
5W members recently enjoyed an exciting gathering in San Antonio, USA. Treated as honoured guests in the small town of Blanco, enjoying a Chuck Wagon lunch with cowboys entertaining them with tales of their lives as cowboys and actors. They attended the San Antonio Rodeo, where our Australian members cheered loudly for the Aussie competitor! More fun followed at Lafayette, cheering floats and bands at Mardi Gras, covered in ‘bling’. So much laughter, so many experiences, all shared with 5W friends!
Read The Latest Press Articles On 5W:-
Inspiring Women For 30 Years
Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W) proudly celebrates 30 years of promoting friendship and understanding around the world. This global organisation, not only encourages friendships between its members, but also offers a safer and more enjoyable way to travel the world. The words of… Read More
Vor fast 20 Jahren steckte eine Frau namens Frances Alexander in einer kleinen Stadt etwa 50 Kilometer westlich von London eine Liste mit Frauennamen in ein Kuvert. Es war die erste Mitgliederliste des Reisenetzwerkes Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W), die sie verschickte. Mit ihrer neu… Read More
Open houses and a warm welcome. Eday woman urges Orkney ladies to get involved in 5W organisation. Travelling and making new friends is probably something that most of us say we want to do more of at some point in our lives. Moira Byers, from Eday, certainly did and, 20 years ago, she joined an… Read More
25th Anniversary Commemorative Newsletter
Celebrating 25 years of friendship! Thanks for the memories… Back in 1983 when Frances uttered those magical words, “I have an idea!”, who could have imagines that we would today be celebrating 25 wonderful years. What better way to commemorate this very special anniversary than with a look back… Read More
25th Anniversary Celebration Lunch
Women’s Global Network Celebrates 25 Years of Friendship! Over 100 women from all over the world congregated in High Wycombe on Sunday 24 May to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of a unique travel and friendship network. Travelling from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland… Read More
Celebrating 25 Years Of Friendship
Worldwide web of international friendship celebrates a quarter of a century! Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W) the international friendship and travel network for women has reached its 25th birthday, a remarkable achievement for an organisation based on the simple concept of… Read More
The Year The Wall Came Down
Celebrating Freedom! Women Welcome Women World Wide (5W) has been promoting friendship and understanding amongst women around the world for 25 years! Our Founder, Frances Alexander, visited 5W members in East Berlin just before the Wall came down and remembers the emotions… Read More
Friendship & Travel – with 5W life can be an adventure!