Oct 08 2016

Lessons I have learned travelling in outback Australia

Driving on wide open spacesWell, my first solo outback trip is over. Would I do it again? Definitely. I’m already planning the next trip.

I loved every minute of it. Even the … um … actually there weren’t any “even the” moments. It was all fabulous. There were a few times when I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right or if the car would make it through, but I survived them all. And so did the car.

Every time I go away I learn something, usually because I did something completely stupid! So what did I learn this time?

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Oct 05 2016

Camp cooking doesn’t have to be boring

There's no excuse to not eat wellWho said you can’t cook and eat well while camping?

When I started travelling with Doc his food requirements were simple – meat, meat, and more meat. All of which got cooked on a barbecue plate. If he wanted gourmet, then it would get a packet of some sauce or other poured over it. Sometimes he’d stop for a meal at a local pub, or a bakery for a pie. When we went to Cape York he did a fish & chips tasting tour (the best were in Cardiff).

But for me, being able to cook while camping and travelling outback is a necessity. I’m vegetarian so stopping for a pub meal is usually not an option. Not unless I want to live on chips and, if I’m lucky, side salad. Or unless the pub is the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna.

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Sep 28 2016

Tips for driving in outback Australia

Birdsville-trackOn this trip I’ve driven the Birdsville Track, unnamed dirt roads between main roads, gorges and canyons in the Flinders ranges, the Strzelecki Track, and the Old Strzelecki Track. I’ve gone through sand, gravel, clay, and water.

And I still don’t know if I’m doing it right.

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Sep 18 2016

The romance of sleeping in a swag

Sunrise over my swag ParachilnaHow romantic is it to throw out your swag and lie there looking at a million stars while you fall asleep?

To wake up with birds singing, and kangaroos hopping around your campsite.

Then get up, rekindle last night’s fire and brew some coffee for breakfast.

Aah, freedom.

There is another side.

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Sep 02 2016

The Corner Store: where all the kangaroos hang out

Three states Cameron cornerI’m sitting at the Corner Store.

Not the one down the street from home, the one at Cameron Corner, where three states meet: New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia. I’m not sure which state I’m in, or should that be what state I’m in.

And I drove the Strzelecki and Old Strzelecki tracks to get here.

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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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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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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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