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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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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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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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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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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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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