Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

Please submit form to schedule a

Personal Care Consultation

Local Magic Personal Care Consultation

Please submit this form below and we will chat shortly!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home Care In Pacific, WA

Home Care Pacific, WA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic World War II Memorial gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Pacific, WA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Pacific, WA

location Service Areas

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“Great team, great clientele, available hours”

Joan K.

“The absolute best in home care services! Our family are so grateful for Phil, Deena and their entire home care team! We could not have cared for our mother at home without them!”

Lisa F.

“There is no better agency than Steve and his team. We went through 4 different agencies until we found them and have thanked our lucky stars. Reliable, educated and experienced. They have our family’s best interest and heart in mind.”

Christina M.

“The greatest in home care ever!! The staff was very knowledgeable and very caring about our needs.”

Brian F.

“They were caring, and did a good job when we finally got the right person. They were caring, efficient and they did a good job.”

Dwayne F.

“I felt confident that my mom was being taken care of and that she seemed happy with the caregivers. As far as her life she was well fed, her physical hygiene was taken care of, and she had company. I'd recommend them because the caregivers were well trained and they showed a lot of care for my mother and they also kept the family informed.”

Marie D.

“It takes some of the burden off of me. When I need schedule changes, such as today with an early morning doctor's appointment, they easily change the schedule when we need. I already have. I like that they come and check and find out what our goals are, as well as working with the provider that comes to our home. They are well coordinated.”

Lynette C.

“The services are essential because they're always on time. I would recommend Always Best Care because I like the people who they send. They're just outstanding.”

Grace C.

“The services have helped him the most by having no confusion about taking their pills. I want them to follow-up more often.”

Donna P.

“They help with things that I can't do anymore. I like that they always have someone for you.”

Robert M.

“I work for an assisted living community in Tacoma and often come across potential residents and their family members who use Always Best Care for in-home caregiving, as well as senior advising to find long term care placement. Phil and Steve are fantastic care partners, and great advocates for seniors in our area!”

Theresa L.

“I worked with Phil and Steve to try and find a memory care facility or possibly an adult family home for my mom who was in late stage Altzheimers disease. They were both so caring, empathetic, understanding and patient with us during the most difficult time for our family. Ultimately we were unable to move mom, but I never felt any frustration or impatience from them, only the utmost care and concern. I would recommend this place to anyone trying to find a care facility or home for a loved one.”

Jennifer W.

“They were proactive, nice, pleasant people. One thing I like about them is that they are very nice and professional, easy to work with.”

Richard A.

“The agency can make my life easier by communicating more. I like this agency because they are prompt.”

Danny J.

“I am not able to do a lot of things that I used to do for myself. They are responsive, and they do a good job at getting good employees.”

Thomas O.

“The whole team was great with my mom when she was finally discharged home, especially Roshea and Kelsey. I especially liked that they had consistent staff instead of a new caregiver every shift.”

debbie S.

“Having someone here to assist my parents has allowed me to focus on other things. They're good communicators, they're kind, and the caregivers do a good job.”

Dorothy L.

“The agency helps me not to worry about the client. The company could be better at finding caregivers for us faster.”

Jennifer W.

“They helped with things like light housekeeping. I liked that they were excellent at communicating with us.”

Melissa A.

“It is easier for us because someone is taking care of my mom. The caregiver is great.”

Steve B.

“They carry conversations with me. They are very smart nurses.”

Hellen B.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Pacific, WA?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Pacific, WA

Types of Elderly Care in Pacific, WA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Pacific, WA
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Pacific, WA
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Toogood Pond Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Pacific, WA
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local The Lafayette or visit Historic America, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Pacific, WA

Benefits of Home Care in Pacific, WA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Request More Information vector

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Pacific, WA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Pacific, WA

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your WA's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Pacific, WA

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Pacific, WA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Pacific, WA

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Pacific, WA

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Ncapip
  • Senior Living Foundation
  • Prince of Peace
  • Maple Heights Senior Living
  • North Capitol At Plymouth
  • Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community
Home Care Pacific, WA

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Pacific, WA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Pacific, WA 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Pacific, WA

Latest News in Pacific, WA

Australia’s support to Pacific surges as China focuses on ‘friendly’ states, aid map shows

Australia dramatically increased its overall support to the Pacific in 2021, while Beijing is targeting its development financing to “the most China-friendly Pacific island states”, the latest Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map shows.The map, released on Tuesday, also revealed that at a time of elevated debt sustainability risks in the Pacific, Australia has become the leading source of loans and contributed to a surge in infrastructure support.“Australia looks set to become the region’s dominant infrastruct...

Australia dramatically increased its overall support to the Pacific in 2021, while Beijing is targeting its development financing to “the most China-friendly Pacific island states”, the latest Lowy Institute Pacific Aid Map shows.

The map, released on Tuesday, also revealed that at a time of elevated debt sustainability risks in the Pacific, Australia has become the leading source of loans and contributed to a surge in infrastructure support.

“Australia looks set to become the region’s dominant infrastructure financier, having committed an additional $780m in new projects,” the Lowy Institute research associate and map co-producer, Riley Duke, said.

The map draws on more that 70m data points, from publicly available documents and other sources, to track the flow of aid and development funds to the region. The 14 Pacific Island nations tracked received a record $4.8bn in official development finance (ODF) in 2021.

Alexandre Dayant, a Lowy Institute research fellow and project director of the Pacific Aid Map, said the map revealed a “new era” of development financing with supporting nations introducing new financing instruments. In the past, Pacific development financing relied heavily on grants from donors for governance and human development. This has shifted, with donors increasing their use of direct budget support and loans to deliver ODF, the Lowy Institute said. This type of funding shift can increase debt sustainability risks for the region, the institute added.

Australia is the Pacific’s largest development partner, disbursing $17bn between 2008 and 2021, making up nearly 40% of the region’s ODF. The Lowy Institute said Australia’s high level of ODF support to the Pacific was “followed at a distance” by the Asian Development Bank, China, New Zealand and Japan.

In 2021, Australia committed $1.89bn in ODF – up from $968m in 2020 and $1.34bn in 2019. Australia extended a $466m loan to Papua New Guinea in 2021, making it the largest transaction ever recorded in the Pacific Aid Map.

The 77% increase in Australia’s infrastructure commitments in the Pacific comes as Pacific Island governments need “significant external support” to build new and maintain existing roads, ports and telecommunications infrastructure, Duke said.

In 2021, Papua New Guinea was the top aid recipient, receiving nearly half of all financing (44%), followed by Fiji (15%), Solomon Islands (7%) and Vanuatu (5%). The most aid received per capita went to Tuvalu and Niue with Papua New Guinea ranking last per capita, even though the overall amount was highest.

The map showed China’s total development finance disbursements fell to $241m in 2021, below its pre-pandemic historical average of $285m a year. The Lowy Institute said Beijing’s financing had become “more strategically targeted at the most China-friendly Pacific Island states”.

The institute also noted that China’s decreasing ODF engagement “has not signalled a wholesale departure from the region, but rather a strategic shift to reduce risk, cement political ties, and enhance capital returns”.

With Pacific Island states facing enormous infrastructure financing gaps, China’s once dominant role has dwindled as Australia and like-minded partners provide more support in the region. Between 2008 and 2021, China was the third largest Pacific donor, but only the seventh largest for 2021 alone.

Reaching its high-water mark in 2016, China’s share of Pacific development financing has declined significantly. At its peak, China accounted for 14% of annual support to the region, but in 2021 it contributed less than 5%.

China’s infrastructure spending has almost halved over the past five years. Meanwhile, China is funding much of the 2023 Pacific Games, which will be hosted by Solomon Islands in November.

Citing Samoa’s 2021 cancellation of a $100m infrastructure loan from China as an example, Dayant said the decline in demand for Chinese loans amid an economic slowdown makes domestic spending more appealing for Beijing.

In a vast region with small, dispersed populations, for Pacific Island states reliant on tourism and labour mobility, development financing plays an outsized role as they recover from pandemic impacts and face existential threats from the climate crisis.

This year, for the first time, the map includes figures on climate development financing and a new feature tracking gender equality funding. Dayant said that funding to meet the goals of climate adaptation and mitigation, and gender equality projects is slowly increasing but still far from what is needed.

He notes that Australia now requires gender equality objectives in all ODF projects over $3m, potentially increasing Pacific regional gender initiative financing by one-third.

Seeing both poles of Australia and the Pacific islands

The Lowy poll is a national survey of 2077 Australians, while the Whitlam report includes focus groups and key informant interviews with 150 participants in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.In the Whitlam report, ‘the Pacific’ refers to the region known as the South West Pacific or Mela...

The Lowy poll is a national survey of 2077 Australians, while the Whitlam report includes focus groups and key informant interviews with 150 participants in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

In the Whitlam report, ‘the Pacific’ refers to the region known as the South West Pacific or Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. The authors acknowledge that the results of the report cannot be generalised across the region, although they provide grounds for informed assumptions and further research. There are also limitations in comparing the two studies’ quantitative and qualitative data, but when examined collectively, they can act as a guideline on views on common issues, in spite of the changing nature of the Australia–Pacific Islands relationship.

Barely a month after the release of the Lowy report in June 2023, there were renewed concerns in Canberra and Washington about Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s closeness to Beijing. His trip to the Chinese capital in July 2023 was his second in four years, and his first since a security deal with China upset Australia and the United States. The latest trip culminated with the opening of the Solomon Islands embassy in Beijing, and the signing of nine agreements, to the consternation of Canberra and Washington.

The seesawing nature of the Australia–Pacific relationship is reflected in the Lowy and Whitlam report findings. Nearly half of the Lowy poll respondents believe that relations have not noticeably changed, as opposed to a quarter who see improvements and a lower number who see deterioration. The Whitlam report highlights disenchantment with Australia’s position on climate change, with feelings that Canberra is yet to ‘fully embrace being a member of the Pacific family’.

These sentiments become evident when Pacific Island leaders express their disapproval of Australia. At the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) talks on climate change, Tuvalu’s former prime minister Enele Sopoaga accused Canberra of a ‘neo-colonial’ attitude. In Beijing in July 2023, Sogavare told Chinese media that the Pacific is not the backyard of any country, but is comprised of sovereign nations capable of making their own decisions.

Despite leadership-level scuffles, both reports demonstrate that respondents appreciate Australia–Pacific ties. The Lowy poll shows that most Australians value the Pacific relationship, with overwhelming support for aid to fund disaster relief (92 per cent), long-term economic development (83 per cent), COVID-19 vaccines (80 per cent) and climate change action (76 per cent).

Similarly, the Whitlam Institute report indicates that Pacific islanders value the economic, social, cultural and sporting links with Australia. This is synonymous with Australia’s privileged position in the region as the leading aid donor, security partner and PIF member.

China’s growing Pacific footprint looms large on Australian minds and is shaping citizen attitudes — 84 per cent of respondents favour using aid to counter Beijing’s activities in the region. Yet Pacific respondents see increased geostrategic attention as an opportunity to engage with non-traditional partners like China to pursue their development needs.

This view reflects Pacific leaders’ ‘friend to all, enemy to none’ stance — to engage all potential partners on equal terms, while sometimes pitting them against one another for greater leverage in negotiations. In 2022 alone, Pacific leaders hosted the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong to firm up various agreements.

China’s competition with the United States and its uncompromising stance on Taiwan are also weighing on Australian minds. Over 60 per cent of Australians told Lowy they believe that a US–China war over Taiwan is a critical threat. These concerns have nearly doubled compared to 2020 and are apparently fuelled by increased Chinese aggression toward Taiwan.

The prospect of a future conflict seems to have brought Australians closer to the United States — 82 per cent of Lowy’s respondents see the relationship as important for Australia’s security, though this is down 5 per cent from the record high in 2022.

Ironically, Australia and the United States are facing counter-allegations of militarising the region with the Manus Island Naval Base in Papua New Guinea (PNG), which appears to give the US military ‘unrestricted access to the territory of PNG’.

The Lowy poll’s 67 per cent approval for AUKUS could further indicate uneasiness about a US–China conflict, even as analysts observe a ‘limited thaw’ between the adversaries. AUKUS leaders touted the pact as a deterrence against Chinese aggression — half of Australians believe it will make Australia safer.

Some Pacific leaders were initially against AUKUS, alleging a lack of consultation and breaching the non-nuclear proliferation ‘Treaty of Rarotonga’, but were appeased by US assurances that the treaty would be respected.

On climate change, a slim majority (56 per cent) of Australians view global warming as a serious problem needing immediate action, aligning with Pacific sentiments. The Albanese government took a progressive stance on climate change by declaring a ‘climate emergency’ shortly after taking office in 2022. Pacific leaders have called on Australia to raise its climate ambitions even further if it is to retain its favoured security position in the region.

The delicate nature of Australia–Pacific ties reflects the continuous efforts needed to maintain the relationship, especially with China looming in the background.

Shailendra Bahadur Singh is Associate Professor of Pacific Journalism at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. He was a 2022 Pacific Research Fellow at the Australian National University.

Australia’s epic, 4352-kilometre train journey beats driving any day

By Brian JohnstonSeptember 15, 2023 — 12.49am, register or ...

By Brian Johnston

September 15, 2023 — 12.49am

, register or subscribe to save articles for later.

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

This article is part of Traveller’s Holiday Guide to train journeys.See all stories.

Listen to this article

9 min

Our continent has many great journeys: the Stuart Highway, the Savannah Way, the whole circumnavigation around Highway 1 if you’re keen. Most involve windscreen glare, broken crank shafts and far too many pub schnitzels.

Then there’s the Indian Pacific train ride, 4352 kilometres between Sydney and Perth over four days. On this journey, I never find myself squinting at shimmering tarmac. I have no dust in my eyes or bad driver’s back.

I’m certainly never thirsty. I’ve discovered the barman in the train’s Explorer Lounge serves a fine riesling. The food is excellent: grilled fish fillet with pea puree, lamb shoulder with ratatouille, almond frangipane tart.

The comfort and convenience is as close as you get to a river cruise without a river, leaving me to direct all my attention to the magnificent scenery, which seems to summarise Australia: the Blue Mountains, Flinders Ranges and infamous Nullarbor nothingness. Vineyards, outback, desert, ghost towns, goldfields, wheat fields of extravagant size.

The Indian Pacific’s two blue locomotives and conga-line of silver carriages depart Sydney after lunch. It hardly matters that it’s raining. I’m not driving, I have no care for slippery roads or other dreary practicalities.

Rain from a train is nicer than from a car. Sydney suburbs are washed grey like a watercolour. Footie pitches, shawarma shops, trucks on bridges and brick bungalows with fly-screen windows are urban trappings that slowly peel away in a great Australian strip tease that eventually will leave only the bare bones of the outback.

For now, the train dawdles along, groaning as it hauls into the Blue Mountains. Well-timed blue sky erupts. The sun flashes through yellow-tinged eucalyptus forest and into my cabin in golden splashes.

What’s the rush? The hurried can fly to Perth. Train travel is a slow hypnosis of landscape, and I revel in having nothing to do but gaze out the window. How often in our busy lives do we have such a simple luxury?

Already the sense of space is exhilarating. The sky is huge. The silvery matchsticks of central Sydney seem a million miles away. The Jamieson Valley briefly yawns, and then we’re tilting downwards through purple ridges into a coppery sunset.

By the time I head to Queen Adelaide dining car, trees are black silhouettes against the dying day. I opt for saltbush-crusted kangaroo loin with soba noodle salad, grilled swordfish with lemon-myrtle green curry and, as we pass through Bathurst, banoffee pie for dessert.

When I return to my cabin, the crew has dimmed the lights, prepared my bed and plumped my pillows. My Gold Service cabin has old-fashioned wood panelling, a fold-down table, and seating that converts to bunk beds. It’s compact but cosy, and the shower in my ensuite surprisingly good.

I’m up before sunrise. The black outside is undisturbed by lights, stars or a glimmer of moon. No phone signal, either. We could be rattling through the far reaches of the universe. Then pink streaks the sky, and mines light up like sci-fi settlements on Mars as the train lurches into Broken Hill.

This is one of several chances to disembark for what would be called shore excursions on cruises. Then we’re back on board and into an orange landscape hammered flat but for grey-green saltbush. We trundle past Olary: a rusting water tower, tumbled-down houses, dead trees, an abandoned bakery missing its roof.

By 10 am we’re skirting the southern Flinders Ranges in one of the loveliest parts of the journey. The view is like an Albert Namatjira watercolour of purple and rust-red hills above silvery plains streaked with orange.

Finally a town, Peterborough: colonial-era cottages, weatherboard houses, three cars at a railway crossing, backyards full of rusting engines and Hills Hoists. Grazing land ripples up into shy hills and suddenly the scenery is green. I have lunch to a symphony of yellow canola fields.

The Indian Pacific pulls into Adelaide, and passengers scatter for more off-train experiences. By next morning, we’re deep into South Australia’s outback. The sun comes up in slashes of red and gold, and pink clouds are smeared across the sky. Wattles wave yellow pompoms at the sides of the tracks. Trees are skeletal as modern sculptures, or dwarfed like bonsai.

The landscape is a passing impressionist entertainment of orange earth and white gum trees and blue skies wheeling with annoyed cockatoos. Then we chug slowly into minimalism. Fewer trees, circles of spinifex, grey earth. The bold size of this emptiness is exhilarating.

Next day we’re on the infamous, world-beating 478-kilometres stretch of straight train track across the Nullarbor. I stare out and urge my eyes to spot something. Little things become exciting in this horizontal place: a rock, a solitary bush.

I wander down to the Outback Explorer Lounge for a barista-made coffee, and swap traveller’s tales with other passengers as the train rocks and sways. Our journey is being tracked on a screen like those on an airplane, the train a dot against an almost empty background.

We pass Watson, a former railway village now abandoned. Then Maralinga, where the British tested seven nuclear devices. We make a stop at Cook. At 3pm we pass a sign, defiant in the emptiness, that says: “Welcome to Western Australia”.

The hypnotising peculiarity and wonder of Australia has me stuck to the windows for most of this journey. Behind a car wheel I’d never be this relaxed, nor as absorbed in the scenery. I’d be cramped and hot and sore-eyed.

On the Indian Pacific, I’m tucking into smoked-ham, potato and saltbush frittata for breakfast in the art deco dining carriage, and noticing that the orange landscape is now smeared with green. Trees have made a comeback, and telegraph wires.

It’s day four, and we’re passing into Western Australia’s Wheatbelt. I spot my first enormous stubbled field. Despite the flatness, the scenery is lovely. Canola is in full bloom. Corellas roost in gum trees against a cornflower sky.

Our last leg is along the Avon Valley, where the river gushes below the railway line. Then the valley opens into fields of llamas and solitary horses, vineyards and olive groves. At last we’re back in fenced-in, cosy and then suburban Australia.

We arrive in East Perth Terminal at 15:15. The long journey through the inspiring, hostile heart of Australia is over without a single stress.

Central Station, NSW A first railway experience comes before boarding, with Eternity Cafe in Sydney Central’s former booking hall reserved for Indian Pacific guests to enjoy lunch and free-flowing wine. The high coffered ceilings and art nouveau stained-glass windows are a marvel. Take time to inspect the recently renovated and redeveloped station.

Broken Hill, NSW Early morning on day two sees a choice of tours in this isolated mining town. I choose a visit to the Trades Hall, where in 1919 the union movement championed the 35-hour working week and safer working conditions, and to the sobering Miner’s Memorial, which shows why change was so desperately needed.

McLaren Vale, SA Outside Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula unfolds a panoramic coastline and family-run wineries around McLaren Vale. My optional off-train experience takes me to the beautifully presented cellar door and gardens at Coriole Vineyard, then to ocean-gazing Star of Greece restaurant for an excellent dinner.

Cook, SA Bang in the middle of the Nullarbor, this railway-service town was established in 1917 and once had 200 residents. Now it has four. The rest is a ghost town. A half-hour stop to take on fuel and water lets passengers roam past jail cells, abandoned buildings and disembowelled Mad Max machinery.

Rawlinna, WA After dinner on day three, the train stops at a vast Merino sheep station in the western Nullarbor, where passengers disembark for drinks and live music. (In the warmer months, a barbecue dinner is served too.) Red earth and saltbush stretch into the distance, smoke drifts up bonfires, and outback stars are splendid.


Journey Beyond’s four-day Indian Pacific journey between Sydney and Perth departs Wednesdays with off-train experiences at Broken Hill, Adelaide and the Nullarbor. Between Perth and Sydney departures are on Sundays, with off-train experiences at Kalgoorlie, the Nullarbor, Adelaide and the Blue Mountains. From $2115 a person including food, drinks and off-train excursions. See

The writer was a guest of Journey Beyond.

Sign up for the Traveller Deals newsletter

Get exclusive travel deals delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up now.

Australian aid policy to focus on climate — and countering China

Australia has put the climate and job creation in the Pacific at the center of its new foreign aid policy, part of an effort to woo back island nations that have fallen under China’s deep-pocketed influence.The policy, unveiled by the center-left administration of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday, will direct at least half of all investments valued over $2 million toward climate-focused projects by June 2025, rising to 80 percent of investments by 2029.It comes amid calls from Pacific nations for world leaders t...

Australia has put the climate and job creation in the Pacific at the center of its new foreign aid policy, part of an effort to woo back island nations that have fallen under China’s deep-pocketed influence.

The policy, unveiled by the center-left administration of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday, will direct at least half of all investments valued over $2 million toward climate-focused projects by June 2025, rising to 80 percent of investments by 2029.

It comes amid calls from Pacific nations for world leaders to address a climate crisis that threatens their existence, with rising sea levels and increased natural disasters linked to warming temperatures.

“Australia is using all elements of our national power to advance our interests and shape the world for the better,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement as the policy was unveiled Tuesday. “Development and prosperity underpin peace and stability.”

The new international development policy also takes aim at China’s “debt-trap” diplomacy — although the document doesn’t mention China by name. It ranks “looming debt” alongside climate change and escalating disasters among the major challenges facing the region.

Australian officials predict public debt in the Pacific will almost double from 2019 levels by 2025, making it hard for countries to deliver vital services like health care and education.

Wong said Canberra’s goal is to “advance Australia’s interests in a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific and ensure we are a partner of choice for our region.”

U.S. and China battle for influence in Pacific island nations

Instead of mentioning China, the policy refers to the “vexing strategic circumstances” facing the region and says the “security and economic dynamics that have held for decades are shifting” — which analysts say is code for concerns about an emerging great-power competition between Washington and Beijing.

Top U.S. officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have fanned out across the region in recent weeks in a more assertive stance against China. Washington is also stepping up its regional presence with new embassies in the Solomon Islands and Tonga and plans for two more in Vanuatu and Kiribati.

China has been building up its presence in the strategically important region in recent years, taking advantage of a power vacuum as the United States struggled to disentangle itself from more pressing foreign policy priorities elsewhere.

Australia, which shares many of the U.S. concerns about China’s activities in the Pacific, has struggled to compete with Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.

The changes will apply to all of Australia’s $3.1 billion in foreign aid programs, but the policy does not allocate more money to aid.

Canberra’s foreign aid budget, around 0.2 percent of gross national income, is among the lowest of any developed nation, although Albanese’s government has been promising to increase it.

The investments unveiled Tuesday are, on their own, “not sufficient to wind back China’s influence in the region,” said Benjamin Herscovitch, a China-focused research fellow at the Australian National University.

But they do “provide countries in the region with alternatives to Chinese aid and infrastructure,” he said, alongside “harder-edged ways of counteracting and deterring China’s power” such as the AUKUS nuclear submarine partnership with the United States and Britain.

Beijing’s economic inroads have led to deepening security ties — the Solomon Islands has signed defense and policing pacts, while Fiji agreed to law enforcement cooperation, although the new government has promised to rip it up — and to growing debt burdens. Tonga owes two-thirds of its $430 million external debt to China, a sizable portion of which comes due next year.

Many countries have complained that Chinese construction companies bring their own workers rather than employing locals. The Australian policy appears to respond to that by setting targets for hiring local contractors to increase the direct benefits to the Pacific countries.

Pacific experts say Canberra’s new focus on infrastructure projects designed to create local jobs shows officials have been listening to the requests of Pacific leaders.

The pledge to direct a large share of its investments toward projects with a climate change focus will probably also find a receptive audience — particularly in low-lying atolls like Tuvalu and Kiribati, said Maho Laveil, a researcher from the University of Papua New Guinea currently at Sydney’s Lowy Institute think tank.

Already, some 6,000 residents of Kiribati, which will be among the first countries rendered uninhabitable by rising sea levels, have sought refuge from rising seas in Fiji, Laveil said. “It’s consistent with what a lot of Pacific Island nation leaders have been asking in the past. Obviously, climate change is top of the agenda.”

China’s growing reach is transforming a Pacific island chain

Climate change has long been a sore point in relations with Pacific nations because Australia is among the world’s highest per capita emitters.

Beijing’s approach of using Chinese workers to build roads, stadiums and administrative buildings in island nations has also been a source of local tension. As has Canberra’s reliance on Pacific migrant laborers to take up low-paid jobs in Australia that its own citizens avoid.

“What Pacific countries want is economic development and particularly employment in their country,” said Cleo Paskal, a Pacific expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “They don’t want to have to go to Australia to pick fruit. They want to grow their own fruit and export it to Australia.”

Canberra is walking a diplomatic tightrope in that its new aid policy comes amid a period of economic rapprochement with Beijing, its biggest trade partner. Only last week, China removed tariffs on Australian barley — a legacy of years of crippling trade restrictions imposed after Australia’s then-conservative prime minister called for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

China and Australia are starting to get along. Will AUKUS torpedo it?

“The Pacific islands for China is not a luxury. It’s a strategic imperative,” Paskal said. “If China thinks that debt traps are helpful and you’re trying to give a country an alternative to debt traps, China will try to block you. And they might do it on the ground in that country, or they might do it in your own country.”

The new policy document also includes a broad pledge to work closely with Southeast Asian countries where China’s loans loom large. In Sri Lanka, for example, China assumed control of a port facility it financed and built in 2017 after the country struggled to repay its debts — a pattern policymakers and analysts here worry could play out across the Pacific.

There is little expectation, though, that Canberra can outcompete Beijing in terms of infrastructure investments. “You don’t have Australian firms that can roll out railway networks in the island of Java in Indonesia, for example. Or build large rail networks elsewhere in mainland Southeast Asia,” said Herscovitch.

Pannett reported from Wellington, New Zealand, and Vinall from Melbourne, Australia.

Secretary Haaland Highlights Value of Pacific Nation Engagement in Australia Visit

Date: Friday, February 17, 2023 Contact: [email protected], Australia — This week, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Australia to highlight the importance of Indigenous Knowledge, collaborative conservation and international partnerships to inform the global effort to fight the climate crisis and preserve our land and marine environments for future generations. The trip showcased the interconnectedness of...

Date: Friday, February 17, 2023 Contact: [email protected]

Canberra, Australia — This week, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Australia to highlight the importance of Indigenous Knowledge, collaborative conservation and international partnerships to inform the global effort to fight the climate crisis and preserve our land and marine environments for future generations. The trip showcased the interconnectedness of the Interior Department’s mission and priorities with those of our international counterparts, including the U.S. relationship with key allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Throughout the trip, Secretary Haaland, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland, Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor, U.S. Consul General Perth Siriana Nair, U.S. Consul General Melbourne Kathleen Lively, and Senior Advisor Heidi Todacheene visited sites that speak to the importance of close collaboration to address the climate crisis and steward our lands and waters.

The delegation met with Australian officials including Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek, Governor of Western Australia Chris Dawson, Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan, and Western Australia Minister for the Environment Reece Whitby. Those discussions underscored the enduring partnership of the two countries and commitment to continued collaboration on issues including climate change and marine conservation, clean energy development and critical minerals mapping, wildfire management and support for Indigenous communities.

Secretary Haaland is the first U.S. cabinet secretary to visit Western Australia since 2012. At an event hosted by the Perth USAsia Centre, she noted how intensifying wildfires, historic droughts, and disastrous flooding threaten the futures and national security of every country on earth. She discussed efforts in the U.S. to conserve and restore public lands through the America the Beautiful initiative, and reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to fostering and upholding international partnerships that will help us all bolster our resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.

Since 2000, the United States and Australia have exchanged firefighting personnel and resources 13 times to assist one another with combating devastating wildfires and bushfires. The delegation received a tour and several presentations at the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ (DFES) Bushfire Centre of Excellence, which is pioneering the incorporation of First Nations fire management techniques across Australia to protect communities from the devastating impacts of more intense wildfires.

The delegation traveled to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, one of Australia’s most iconic and important sacred sites. Uluru was declared a National Park in 1950, and Kata Tjuta was added in 1958. While there, Secretary Haaland met with Anangu Traditional Owners and Mutitjulu community rangers at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Cultural Center and learned about the joint management and collaborative conservation efforts between Indigenous rangers and national park rangers. She highlighted similar efforts across America’s public lands to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge into federal land management through co-stewardship agreements. While in Uluru, the Secretary also held roundtables with students and Mutitjulu Community members.

During her visit, Secretary Haaland had the opportunity to explore some of the urban outdoor places maintained by Australian state and territory governments – including Kings Park in Perth and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra. At Tidbinbilla, the Secretary had the unique opportunity to visit the Koala Sanctuary, where she learned about the rangers’ efforts to enhance protections for koalas in the region. Secretary Haaland was also given a tour of Tidbinbilla’s breeding facilities for the critically endangered Northern Corroboree Frog and the endangered Grassland Earless Dragon.

Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary Newland also met with several members of the “Stolen Generations,” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were taken from their homes to boarding schools or “mission schools.” They discussed the Secretary’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which includes an investigative report released in May 2022. The roundtable discussions gave Department leaders the opportunity to learn about the best practices gathered in the 15 years since Australia's publication of their own investigative effort.

Also during the delegation’s visit, Assistant Secretary Cantor met with representatives from the Australian Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence, and the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet to discuss the recent signings of Memoranda of Understanding between the United States and the Compacts of Free Association States (the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) and discuss how the United States as a Pacific nation collaborates bilaterally and regionally with Australia.


This website publishes news articles that contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The non-commercial use of these news articles for the purposes of local news reporting constitutes "Fair Use" of the copyrighted materials as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law.