Saturday, 31 August 2013

Smarting from a new rash of mozzie bites and my arrest at Elliot, I left Rinner Springs after a poor night's sleep.  I did hear curlews calling in the night, their cries like dogs howling at the moon. Back and forth, back and forth they wailed.  Driving back the way I had come up was a way of recognising aspects of the country, I had not realised before. Such as the red dirt of the centre begins just out of Tennant Creek. And as the centre approaches so do the wildflowers and roadside greening. Alice Springs obviously had had good rains as the flowers became thicker and thicker as I headed South. Waking at Erldunda, the bird calls were all different. The whistling kites, curlews and squabbling blue winged kookaburras were silent and I heard magpies and crows instead. As I headed south from Erldunda, I could see a grey line of clouds and I careered under them just 100kms north of Coober Pedy.  They stayed with me until Port Augusta and even tried to rain around Woomera.
Straight down the highway. And the highway is straight down!

Flowers everywhere painting the landscape and lighting the desert with yellow. The wattle formed beautiful borders along the road from Erldunda to Woomera.
Rain over the Woomera plains.
Lake Hart just North of Cooby Pedy.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Setting myself to drive home. This my last sunrise as I leave Batchelor.
Little did I know how the day would end as I left. Driving South down the Stuart Highway, the landscape rapidly changed. I left the cycads and palm trees in the bush at Katherine. The tall trees of the North also disappeared as I break out into wide plains heading toward Tenant Creek, planning to camp at Elliot. At 4pm at Eliot, looking for the caravan park, I was pulled over by police at the side of the road. Breath  test. I am tired, but confident its the usual routine. Not so. A very officious young woman declared my alcohol reading was 0.66. Surrender your keys, out of the car, into the paddy wagon and locked in and taken post haste to the police station at Elliot. I said all the things all the drunks say. This is impossible, I haven't had a drink all day, all week even. All to no avail. She just got angrier. Luckily, at the police station, the Sergeant recognised, I wouldn't be behaving, talking and walking so lucidly at 0,66 as I was and did his best to allay my fears.  I felt sick, life had suddenly careered out of control and what made matters worse, the you beaut super testing machine at the station wouldn't come on after a half an hour. Finally, the sergeant went and got the roadside testing unit, tested himself and then tested me again. 0.00. I was shaking with relief. Profuse apologies by the Sergeant but not the stroppy young constable. Years off my life. All in a moment the NT became the wild west!  I put another 120 klms between me and Elliot and stayed at Rinner Springs, a mosquito infested camping ground with peacocks and geese of all things.
Fog at Batchelor in the Exotic tree farm.

Magnetic termite mounds outside of Katherine.
The trusty Rav taking the shade at Taylor;s Creek roadside rest. I stopped to use the eco toilets as you are not allowed to use the toilets at Barrow Creek unless you buy petrol. Never mind its the only toilet stop over 100klms.
My first tent hills on my way south , outside of Barrow Creek.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

These last three weeks have been spent with my sister Chris and doing reflexology at the Adelaide River market. Adelaide River is the last stop before Darwin and is a busy stopping place for caravanners and road trains.  My last week there was spent doing reflexology on 7 walkers who walked from Townsville to Darwin to raise money for legacy.Adelaide River is a beautiful little town with the soldiers cemetery for those who died in the Darwin attacks by the Japanese.

Chris found one of our relatives who had died at the time. Each headstone had a different quote from the bible.

This memorial park has the most beautiful and serene feel about it. Surprising considering the circumstances of their death.  Darwin RSL has a very big service here on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
This magnificent tree stands at attention just outside the memorial park.
And the Adelaide River itself.

Bushy's Books at the Adelaide River market.
These little lorikeets were busy in the trees above us using their feather tongues to gather nectar from the trees above and shower us all with tiny yellow flowers.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


I decided to return to Batchelor after leaving the Kimberley and have spent these last few weeks with my sister in Batchelor.  We are now at the beginning of the wet season and the humidity is beginning to build, only to be relieved by a rainy night and some more cooler weather.
The burned areas of bush now have lime green regrowth glowing in the landscape.

Finnis River swamp on Cameron Downs station. Rich with water bird life and insects.

This little spider builds its web in the hoofprints of cattle in the swamp. The mud is dotted with them like snowdrops on ground.
In the gardens in Batchelor is this castle replica built in great detail by a Czech working in the Rum Jungle mine, such was the loneliness of the man who had nothing else to do on his days off. It is Karlstein Castle originally built for the King of Moravia. I always say the Czechs are mad! It is above all else incongruous as well as unexpected in the NT.
The local policeman's horse has just foaled.  This for the horse lovers. They have a very tough life in the NT.

This fire is currently burning in the Batchelor/Litchfield road and will creep along the bush unattended for several days.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Boab avenue of honour outside of the Kununurra Resort.  These beautiful trees are a sudden and comforting sight on the road throughout the Kimberley. Please forgive my attachment to these trees, but I am leaving the Kimberley with the Boab images. They grow in numbers just west of Gregory National Park all the way through to Broome.  50ks south of Broome and you will not see a Boab tree anymore. They wave cheerfully at you like fat ladies lining the highway. They are smooth and full of baubles of seed like decorated Christmas trees when they are young and fat and wrinkly with no leaves in the dry when they are old. They offer refuge at roadside stops and even were used as prison trees in the old days outside of Derby and on the Gibb River Road. The blackfellas treasure them as their seeds are a rich source of vitamin C. These trees are ancient immigrants from south Africa and have seen it all.
Rest area outside of Derby.
Broome Avenue of honour opposite the old courthouse.

Fitzroy Crossing Boab.
The three sisters.
All decked out for Christmas in Kununurra Park. So with this I leave the Kimberley and these old fat ladies are waving me off.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

No Greater love hath an Auntie who will travel 800 kms to see her nephew.  Went to halls Creek today to see my nephew and his family in Halls Creek.  Along the way, I intended to spedt time at Fitroy Crossing at some of the places along the Fitzroy River where I have worked, but all the riverside flats and camping grounds along the Fitzroy are now quarantined because of the proliferation of the Noogoora Burr which was the plant I was employed in those days to eradicate. This burr is waterborne and the cattle pick it up in their fur as they drink at the river and graze on the river flats. It will and has done in parts of Australia, destroyed the wool growing industry. once the burr is in wool it is impossible to remove.
The single lane trestle bridge over the Fitzroy River at the Crossing.

As close as I could get to the Fitzroy River without breaching the quarantine laws.

Ther are some 300 different species of termites in the Kimberley.  these mounds can be huge and as tall as the surrounding bush. They reflect the type of earth in the area. Mounds on creek beds and floodways are white and grey respectively and the desert ones are this deep pulsing red. The termite mounds in the NT are different altogether as they are fluted and built with a view to the suns affect on the mounds temperature and so they called magnetic.

The badlands of the Gnuman Cliff jump up east of Fitzroy Crossing.
The Erskine Range jump up West of Fitzroy Crossing.