About your hosts

Carol and Geoff Bromeliad B&B DarwinYour hosts, Carol and Geoff McKenzie welcome you to our home.

In 2000, our life plan changed dramatically with a midnight phone call from the Department of Foreign Affairs  to advise us our youngest son had been a passenger in a vehicle crash in South America.

Our life took a hard left turn as we faced the future with complicated medical bills, housing challenges and relocation from remote Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula to Darwin.

We still had to pay a lot of money  but Thank heavens for Travel Insurance!!

Our youngest son spent the next month in critical care in Florianopolis hospital and was repatriated to the Royal Adelaide Hospital just days before the Sydney Olympic Games.  A further time in hospital and at the Hampstead Rehabilitation and then back to Darwin in February 2001. Over the years his dream was to have a Bed and Breakfast so we supported his aim. During the next 17 years he used his chef experiences to help our guests enjoy their top end visit.

No easy transition to retirement for us but a whole new approach had to be developed. We purchased a ground level home in Darwin and started modifications to suit our changed circumstances.

Extensions to our home embraced our goals which now include design features and facilities so others with a disability or limited mobility have another option as a holiday destination. Unfortunately, during 2016 our son Allen became very ill and after a long fight against a Super Bug infection in his lungs he passed away in hospital in October 2017. We miss him terribly as he was the reason we started the Bromeliad so we are not sure what the future will hold but we will continue for the time being.

Why Bromeliad?

bromeliad-nursery Photo Steve DavisOur large suburban block has a “cloud” front and side hedge, while around a thousand Bromeliad plants provide a massed display from spiky leaves topped by exotic flowers from remote locations in the South American jungle to the tiny Cryptanthus or “Earth Star” which seems to crawl along flat.

My love for these plants began more than fifty years ago as I admired a Billbergia my Mother grew in her garden in South Australia.  I have managed to keep a “descendant” of her plant in our collection today.

We also have Red, Yellow, White and Pink Desert Roses – the oldest about fifteen years old.  I have seen purple on the internet but the price for the plant was outside my pocket money!!

A friend “leaving town” to return to New Zealand gave us her Orchid collection and over the past few years we have added new plants from a local Orchid nursery or from the Orchid Spectacular held around June each year.

The Northern Territory is about nature – and we do our bit

bromeliad-trees Photo Steve DavisWe have selected trees and shrubs to encourage birds so we have seasonal visits from Torres Strait Pigeons, yello browed honey eaters, double bar finches, bee eaters and the ever present Diamond Doves who love to shower under the sprinkler on the back lawn.

Unfortunately, the White Ants also like our shrubs and we have now “lost” four trees to these subterranian species.

The Cyprus Pine which is supposed to be unattractive to white ants, the Mango which we were told after we planted it that they love, a shrub and most recently our Cape York Cherry tree has turned up his toes as a tempting meal for these underground munchers.

Termites don’t seem to like the Broms or the Orchids so I think they’re safe!

Our home encourages our guests to take time out from their busy lives, learn a little about the Top End and our unique culture and heritage, take a walk around the business centre and “see it” through the eyes of a Traditional Owner, or even stand in the middle of  the “Cyclone Tracy” display and wonder at the destruction when you come “out”.

Your holiday memories can be a collection of the places and things you have “paid” to participate or your memories can be peppered with snipets of the things you can do or see for free.

We encourage you to explore, enjoy and learn to love Darwin and the Top End for yourselves.