KathSwinbourne » Photos and stories about life and travel in Australia

Aug 23 2016

Women adventurers in the Australian outback

early am swimInnaminkaI’m going to go out on a limb here, commit sacrilege, and say I am sick of boys’ own adventure stories in the outback.

As you do when you’re in Maree waiting to drive up the Birdsville Track, I began re-reading Tom Kruse’s story of forging the Birdsville Track for the mail run from Maree to Birdsville.

I heard and read a lot about Burke & Wills’ (doomed) expedition, Ludwig Leichhardt’s disappearance somewhere in the desert, Reg Sprigg’s crossing of the Simpson, Charles Sturt, early pastoralists battling the elements to open up the outback, and a seemingly never ending parade of other blokes doing bloke stuff.

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Aug 21 2016

Wildflowers in the Australian desert

Australian desert wildflowersI cannot believe how absolutely, stunningly, jaw-droppingly, beautiful the Australian outback, and the desert countryside is.

If I could put more superlatives into that sentence I would. The desert is beautiful, and I am in awe. I don’t mean beautiful in the way that ‘deserts have their own beauty’, I just mean beautiful.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/wildflowers-in-the-australian-desert/

Aug 15 2016

Flinders Ranges photos

Champagne on the Ghan Parachilna_02It’s been an amazing four days at Arkaroola.

I’ve done the Ridgetop tour, and looked at millions of stars in deep space at one of the observatories.  I’ve laid in my swag and looked at millions of stars visible to the naked eye – as long as you’re far enough away from city lights, and outside.

I’ve had a campfire every night (except the first when I arrived after dark), and rekindled it every morning for my coffee (after breaking the ice on the swag).

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/flinders-ranges-photos/

Aug 14 2016

Where to collect wood for a campfire in the bush

Power station at the top of the Spriginna walk, Flinders RangesI’ve discovered where all the firewood is in the park. Unfortunately it’s not even close to my campsite.

I went for a walk to Spriggina Lookout today after I got back from the Ridgetop Tour. I’m doing the startrails tour tonight, so just wanted a short walk to get some exercise. It’s only 2km up to the lookout, then 2.2km back along a track in a loop.

There, at the peak of the walk, by the power station, was wood that would be perfect for a campfire.

Unfortunately it was 2.2km back to my campsite and I really didn’t feel like walking that far dragging a log of firewood. Especially not along a track cut into the side of a hill.

Then again, it gets very cold at night.

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Aug 13 2016

Are you ready to go bush camping?

My campsite at Arkaroola with the campfire and my swagThis is how to ease yourself into bush camping if you’re at all nervous or unsure.

Dinner’s cooking on the campfire, and my swag is ready for me to hop in. I’m in beautiful bush surrounds with absolutely nobody else about. The sun is setting behind the Flinders Ranges, there is a mass of birdlife swooping and filling the air with their song, and the wallabies are coming quite close. I’ve already had two hop in to check me out, nibble on some grass and then leisurely hop away again (shame I left my camera in the car).

And yet I’m at Arkaroola resort, and there are people about 1km away at the village.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/are-you-ready-to-go-bush-camping/

Aug 12 2016

Walking through the Flinders Ranges

Going upBuns of steel.

That thought is keeping me going up the ridges and rocks on my walks in the Flinders. That and all the people over 60 (and even over 70) who keep passing me.

Stopping to take photos, and to soak in the atmosphere, is my excuse for being slow.

And it’s true. To a degree. I’m also not very fit. Going to the gym 3 times a week to get fit before I came away sort of petered out. It was cold and I’d rather stay in bed. Perhaps a fitbit would have helped!

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Aug 10 2016

Arkaroola – yellow footed rock wallabies and ice on the swag

Arkaroola my campsite is there

My campsite is down there somewhere

It is so easy to get lazy.

Here I am at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, after a drive through stunning scenery, with the sunset blazing mauve on the ranges, and kangaroos and wallabies everywhere beside the road, and I couldn’t be bothered cooking dinner.

Wine and kettle chips it is tonight.

People in campsites nearby have fires going, which is very enticing. But I arrived after dark, and not only had to set up in the dark, but first had to try to find a decent campsite. You’re not allowed to collect wood, and I completely forgot about buying some when I checked in. So not only am I lazy, but I’m cold.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/arkaroola-yellow-footed-rock-wallabies-and-ice-on-the-swag/

Aug 09 2016

All’s well that ends well – a change of plans

On the tar with the rugged Flinders Ranges to the eastMy car is fixed and I’m back in the Flinders. Well, the car’s not really fixed. The fan belt is still slipping, and the engine’s still missing. But I’ve worked out how to minimise the missing thing, and I can tighten the fan belt every day, so I’m going to live with it.

Don’t anybody tell Doc or he’ll start to worry that I’ll get stuck somewhere and he might have to come out and rescue me.

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Aug 03 2016

Dealing with car trouble in the outback

On the dirt leaving YuntaI’m in Gawler for a couple of days.

I thought it would be churlish not to call in to see my parents when I was just up the road, even if that road is 437k long.

Also, I had car trouble.

Yes, despite the care, attention, and time Doc lavished on my car over months before I came away, something went wrong.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/dealing-with-car-trouble-in-the-outback-2/

Aug 03 2016

The view from the top

Selfie of me and my sister at the top lookout, looking into Wilpena PoundI’ve walked 36,000 steps over 24km, and climbed the equivalent of 98 floors up two mountains, over the last two days. Yes, my sister has a fitbit.

I mocked her mercilessly for being a yuppie, then kept asking how many steps I’ve done and how many floors I’ve climbed.

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