Tag Archives: Kangaroo

Another Trek Across the Aussie OUTBACK!

Having loaded up our Subaru OUTBACK it was time to ‘Bugger Off’ from Darwin, Northern Territory, which has been our home for nearly a year. We were appropriately driving through the Aussie OUTBACK — destination, Wauchope, New South Wales. Our journey would take us 4136 Kilometers or 2567 Miles, from the Top End of Australia, through the OUTBACK to the Mid North Coast of NSW.

Outback Trek Pt.2It quickly became evident that Australia is indeed the flattest continent on earth, as the view towards the horizon melted flatly into a mirage of mysterious vapors. Although the Australian outback is undoubtedly flat and arid, the wildlife is abundaRoos on the Roadnt!

Spotting hundreds of kangaroos, dozens of emu, a handful of echidna and wild pigs we considered ourselves fortunate, as there was not much change in the landscape and what landscape there was, was not much to look at. Unfortunately we saw many animals as they ventured across the road in front of our car and thousands that had not successfully made that crossing, and lay in all stages of decomposition on and beside the road! It was a crossing that required our vigilance so that we did not contribute to the carnage!Aussie Roadkill Cafe

Quaint little towns also spread themselves along the highway, however few and far between. Our vigilance was also required to ensure we didn’t run out of fuel! Following the Stuart Highway South we took a left at Threeways and began the daunting journey along the desolate Barkley Highway, crossing into Queensland near Camooweal. Although stopping to insure our Outback was fit to continue this arduous trek we hurried out of the large mining town of Mount Isa, with the slogan, “What’s the best way to see Mt. Isa? – through the rear vision mirror!” which was true!

Walkabout Creek Walkabout Creek HotelAt Kynuna we drove past the Walkabout Creek Hotel, famed hangout of every Aussie’s mate, Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee. In the town of Barcaldine we visited the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, birthplace of Australian Unionism and the Labor Federation Party. From Mitchell we turned onto a one lane road for 200 kilometers, which required our increased vigilance, moving over off the tar to share the road when the occasional vehicle passed by. After crossing into New South Wales we  detoured to Lightning Ridge, legendary for its black opals, did a bit of fossicking and found some tiny pieces of the colorful gem in a ‘potch’ patch. Liz-Digging-in-Potch

Next up was Walgett, with a population of 2300—a must on our list of tiny towns! Why so important, well the house Lynne lived in for her first 18 months of her life was in Walgett – “Keep moving nothing else to see here!” Walgett,-NSW

The human spirit runs strong in this land! The early Australians built warm, inviting towns, on land that would be inhospitable without them. Those brave enough to live in these areas always welcomed us with a smile and a cheerful yarn about life in the Outback.

The trees increased and the wildlife decreased, having now made our way to ‘The Bush’ country of New South Wales and we felt triumphant! Six days after beginning our trek we arrived at Lynne’s Mum, Brenda’s, homey country farm-house alive, safe and very cheerful!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Danger in Outback Australia!

Cattle Crossing

High Speed Cattle Crossing     (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Vast, remote and arid, the Australian Outback is a landscape which offers a striking contrast to the better known beach towns of Australia. Lynne and I left Mackay, Queensland, after completing our Quest for the Elusive Platypus. Our new quest for Aboriginal Culture and dramatic wildlife would take us from the sandy beaches of Queensland, through the bush, (land outside urban areas) and into the Aussie Outback, delivering us to the tropical Top End.

A new adventure had us in its grip and we were heading to Darwin, capital city of the Northern Territory. Darwin is located on the northern central coast of Australia, thus earning the name ‘Top End’ and is a location filled with danger! I think it should be called ‘Danger End’ because there are so many things in the area that can kill you! It’s rough as guts—but—a little thing like that wasn’t about to stop us! We had a long dangerous drive ahead of us; 1161m/1869kms west and another 599m/964kms north before we would reach our destination. We would be driving through some of Australia’s harshest and least populated land and stopping at a destination which boasted about all its dangers! 33 Tips on Dangers in Darwin  (Top 10 things that can kill you in Australia)

Mackay, QLD to Darwin, NT

Mackay, QLD. to Darwin, NT.

When setting out on this type of dangerous journey it is essential you have a reliable car, food and lots of water! We were traveling off the grid into vast areas with no electricity, fuel or mobile phone service and very few fellow travelers. To avoid as much danger as possible we had the car serviced, ensuring the spare tire was adequate and all systems were working properly. After loading up the cooler we bravely headed into the desolate Outback. Not wanting to take any chances we had carefully studied and mapped out our route. Running out of gas/petrol would have been a disaster! Because of the remoteness, we found ourselves paying $2.06 per liter which equates to $7.79 per gallon, for gasoline along the way. Did I mention it could be dangerous on the wallet as well?

For two days we drove on roads blistered by the heat, with the occasional head jarring ‘whoopdy’ as we bounced on the mini roller coaster made by flood damaged sunken culverts. It’s hard to believe this dry area, bare of vegetation, would ever have flood waters! We drove past creek after creek, dry and dusty, only identifiable by the sign posts giving them names. The danger of being caught in a flash flood was real, only so much water could be absorbed into the dry, rock hard land! The outside temperature gauge read 42 degrees Celsius or 107 Fahrenheit! If our car had broken down, the danger of dying from heat stroke or dehydration would have been a real possibility! Don’t ever leave the car when stuck in the outback!

We forged on, passing through random small towns advertising dinosaurs, flying doctors, livestock and mines, however, being populated by very few people. It’s fascinating to see the extreme measures that are necessary to live in this harsh, isolated, dangerous land, yet, humans insist on living there! The buildings were obviously lived in ~ so the people must have been somewhere.Livestock Road Train Road_Train_Australia

Very few vehicles passed us during the drive and the majority of these were Road Trains; huge trucks pulling 3 or more trailers and can be up to 53.5 meters–174 feet long, some even double decker—hauling cattle.

“Keep your eyes on the road Lynne, this is dangerous!” I nervously instructed while she was overtaking these road hogs. We tried not to stay behind the ones with livestock for too long; the potential for a very messy windshield was far too great! The novelty of the lack luster landscape wore off after the first few hours so we tried to entertain ourselves with a game of ‘spot the’ but all we spotted were carcasses and lots of them! We had avoided traveling at dawn and dusk for this very reason, too many hopping kangaroos made it very dangerous! Poor kangaroos didn’t stand a chance against big heavy vehicles and if you were in a small car, I think, sadly, both would lose.

Day three was filled with excitement from the get go! We saw foliage on the horizon and we dodged living kangaroos and an emu. Despite all the danger, we could see beauty in this ancient terrain in the way the colors of red earth and pale green vegetation played against the cobalt blue sky and occasional white puffy cloud. In some areas we were 200 meters (656 feet) or less above sea level and it was easy to believe that Australian was indeed, the flattest continent on earth! The danger seemed to be diminishing slightly.

In the early hours of our drive we came upon a temporary muster station; 1500 head of cattle had spent the night resting by the side of the road and were being readied to set off for a day of grazing. Thrilled with this discovery we pulled over for a closer look. A line of cattle dogs had been tied to a nearby fence, which also served as a makeshift clothes line and was draped in numerous pairs of blue jeans. The attentive puppies’ eagerness was apparent as they jumped and yipped, wanting to be released. Surveying the camp we noticed a man winding up the electric fence that had kept the livestock contained during the night. He welcomed us for a chat, introducing himself as ‘Matey’! How’s that for a proper Aussie name mate?

Matey TaylorMatey Taylor was the lead drover; in charge of keeping the cattle alive for a week while waiting for the road trains to arrive that would deliver them to an auction. His station at Camooweal, QLD. had been stripped bare of all food and they were forced to graze the side of the highway. As his name would indicate he was friendly and consequently up for a chat! Matey had us chuckling when he told us about the two German women he had helping him. He only had three ‘Jackaroos’ (Australian cowboys), which included the two ladies on horseback, (they would be ‘Jillaroos’) and a young boy on a motorcycle. Unfortunately the dogs would be riding in the truck; according to Matey it was far too hot and dangerous for them! With no water available they also traveled with a semi-truck hauling a massive water tank, which they managed to drain daily.

German Jillaroo

Matey told us, “Those girls told me they could ride but, you can’t put them on just any horse, too dangerous!” He explained, “They have a bit of trouble controlling them and if they get hurt we are a long way from help and they’re very far from home. It’s a big job for me watching out for them!”

He went on to tell us a story of one of the girls coming in one evening complaining how her legs were sore and hurting, so he told her, “Here—take this spoonful of concrete —and harden up!”

He laughed at his cleverness and so did we! On our way out we noticed one of the girls having trouble with her powerful steed, we lingered and I had the video camera ready for a ‘Funniest Video’ moment, but, she was able to gain control after a few wild circular spins. Disappointing!

More danger on the road once again as we carefully negotiated around wild girls on horses and 1500 head of cattle!
Small NT Termite MoundHours down the road, the landscape greened up even more, and anthills started to pop up like tombstones. They could very well have been the tombstones of travelers not so lucky during their outback crossing! Our backdrop was becoming tropical and the temperature even fell a few degrees. Danger peeked around every little shrub as wallabies and kangaroos decided to travel during all hours of the day!

Reaching the end of our westward journey, we took a right turn at Three Ways, NT and headed due north to Mataranka, and the Elsey National Park, with soothing thermal pools, refreshing swimming holes, the Roper River and spectacular waterfalls. With the new danger of snakes, bats and insects on the increase, it was nonetheless, an astonishing contrast, breaking through the desert into this lush tropical paradise. We soaked up the healing energies of the warm water and dined in the local pub, very grateful we did not have to make this journey on horseback and have a spoonful of concrete for dinner.

We are now in Darwin, settling into the hot, humid, dangerous conditions derived from being so close to the equator. Wish us luck, for it is a rugged dangerous lifestyle. A lifestyle we will eagerly embrace. We’ll keep our spoonful of concrete handy – we just might need it after all!

snapshots from the road

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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The Land ‘Down Under’!

Australia's Got TalentThe name Australia comes from the Latin word, ‘Australis’ meaning ‘southern’. As the name would indicate we are now in the southern hemisphere, where the water goes down the drain backwards* and cars are driven on the left side of the road. Feeling flipped over, upside down and backwards we hit the ground running!

On the list of necessities for any traveler is accommodation, transportation and communication. Fortunately during our first month in Australia, family and friends opened their homes providing us with beds, couches and even a camper, parked in a front yard. After visiting a few used car dealerships, with no luck, we spotted a Subaru Outback for sale on the side of the road. An Outback in the outback, brilliant! With the first two essentials crossed off our list we easily acquired a mobile phone and a portable wi-fi device, we were all set to begin our Aussie adventure!

Huge Aussie Prawns

Of course food is also an important necessity and we were both devouring some of the best seafood in the world! Not to mention the Aussie meat pies and other culinary wonders only found in Australia like the thick, yeasty Vegemite and the yummy sweet desserts; pavlova and lamingtons.

After we arrived in Sydney, we had no plans of what to do or where to go but, family and friends lived along the coast further north so this seemed to be our next logical step. All the while we kept our eyes and minds searching for whatever presented itself as a guide towards the future. Trusting in the journey is a skill Lynne and I have fine-tuned during our world travels. Looking for synchronicities and whatever shows up in our proverbial headlights, is how we roll!

Kangaroo MaleThe koala, kangaroo, emu, kookaburra and platypus are all animals found in no other country than Australia and in the first few weeks of our adventure we saw them all. Except that is, for the elusive platypus! When the early explorers first revealed this unique semi-aquatic monotreme, (mammal that lay eggs), to the world, it was thought to be a joke—Aussies having a go at the English by sewing a duck bill onto a rat—but it turned out to be authentic! The search for a platypus seemed like a lofty goal and a good reason to head further North, in the direction of their habitat. Well, that and a job offer for Lynne in Mackay, Queensland, which could help fund our expedition. Lynne’s brother, Peter, and his family also live up north in Mackay which cemented the platypus idea, that was ‘showing up’ as to how we should proceed.

Spy HoppingOff we went, driving north from New South Wales to Queensland. As luck would have it, whale season along the east coast was in full swing, (July through October). We stopped in to visit some longtime friends who live near Brisbane and were treated to an ocean adventure in their boat, to search of Humpbacks! It was a phenomenal success and not only did we spot over a dozen whales splashing, breaching, spy hoping, tail wagging and flipper flapping, we also saw a huge sea turtle and a heap of flying fish! We had been on whale watching charters before but nothing can compare to this smaller boat which afforded us an up close and personal encounter, on the same level as these majestic beings!

We now find ourselves in Mackay; sugarcane and coal mining country. We have moved into a fully furnished studio unit at the Ocean Resort Village (not as flash as it sounds). We seem to have it all, tropical gardens, swimming pool, air-conditioning, cable TV and wi-fi, all this and beach front access to boot! What we don’t have, however, is a platypus sighting! Not yet anyway! Bless Lynne’s heart for working, but, it seriously cuts into our platypus discovery time! Rest assured, we will find our platypus and moving towards this end, we are certain to discover additional adventures here in northeast Queensland!

Some interesting facts about Australia:

The Australian Coat of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu on it. The reason being they can’t go backwards, they can only walk/hop forward, similar to the country’s forward movement into the future.

Most of Australia’s exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Australia is known as the ‘island continent’ and is the only continent on earth to be occupied by one nation. It is also the flattest continent in the world.

Some of Australia’s most prolific inventions are the bionic ear, black box flight recorder, clothes line, notepad and stubby (beer) holder.

The land masses of Australia and the United States America are comparable, however, their estimated populations are not. The United States of America has approximately 313 million people, while Australia has approximately 23 million, 90% of whom live on the coast.

*You find both counterclockwise and clockwise flowing drains in both hemispheres. Some people would like you to believe that the Coriolis force affects the flow of water down the drain in sinks, bathtubs, or toilet bowls but, it’s not true! The Coriolis force is simply too weak to affect such small bodies of water. The Coriolis Effect is the observed curved path of moving objects relative to the surface of the Earth. Hurricanes however, are affected. Hurricane winds move counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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