Blogs from Australia, Oceania


Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Arkaroola September 21st 2020

A windy night gave way to an overcast Friday morning as I prepared to leave Marree. A few drops of rain falling on the dusty ground hinted at what was to come. After leaving the Marree Hotel, I had to get some fuel and buy some bread. While there, an optimistic fellow asked me about conditions up the Oodnadatta Track. I told him it was fine when I came down two days ago, but with the rain closing in, I didn’t like his chances. I drove south on the bitumen for a bit over 100km – the longest stretch of sealed road I had driven on for a few days. As I headed south, the flat landscape gave way to rising hills, and I knew I was approaching the Gammon Ranges – the northern part of ... read more
Cockatoos at Arkaroola Springs
Echo Camp Backtrack
Gill's Lookout

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Marree September 17th 2020

After three days in Uluru with barely a cloud in the sky, Sunday morning was a surprise. It was cool and cloudy, and the clouds were dark enough to suggest rain. I was going to be driving on dirt roads and camping for the next few days, so I didn’t want that. As I drove east on the Lasseter Highway, I seemed to outrun it at first. But I turned south on the Stuart Highway so by the time I reached Kulgera Roadhouse it was cloudy again. Eventually I did get enough rain to use the wiper blades twice, but that was it. Even though I had fuelled up when leaving Uluru and didn’t need more just yet, I was about to head to remote roads and wasn’t sure when I would be able to fill ... read more
Sunset over Lake Eyre
Algebuckina Bridge
Old Mount Nor'West Gorge

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Uluru September 12th 2020

On Wednesday morning I checked out of the hotel and had a couple of tasks to take care of before I left Coober Pedy. I needed fuel first, and then I had to visit the most useful vending machine in the outback. This may exist elsewhere, but it’s the only one I know of – a coin-operated water station. For just $1.00 you can get 30 litres of water. One of my jerry cans was nearly empty so I wanted to fill it up. Unfortunately, the station seems to just start when you put the coin in and keeps going until 30 litres is dispensed. I wasn’t ready, and the jerry can only holds 20 litres so some water was wasted. It probably could be a bit more efficient and allow you to stop and start ... read more
Kata Tjuta from the air
Taking sunrise photos at Kata Tjuta
Taking sunset photos at Uluru

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Coober Pedy September 8th 2020

When planning this trip, there were two key places I wanted to visit and everything else was added while joining the dots. The first is the Flinders Ranges, which will be the final stage of my visit to South Australia. The other was Goog’s Track. Goog’s Track runs north from Ceduna up to the Trans-Australia railway through remote country. Described as a mini-Simpson Desert, it crosses approximately 360 sand dunes as it passes the salt lake named after the first white man to set foot on it, Goog’s Lake, and Mount Finke. While it is not a long distance - the track itself goes for about 150km – you need to be self-sufficient as the distance between services is about 350km and there is essentially no water along the way. On Friday morning I stopped for ... read more
Mount Finke casts its shadow
Me and my car
Airing down

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin September 7th 2020

After a week of busy days we were glad to take it more slowly on Saturday morning. Nevertheless we went down for breakfast at 8-30am. Our first try, last Wednesday, had not boded well. Again we had to wait for a table and then they took a while to serve us. Because they cannot have a buffet because of COVID-19 we had to order from the menu. There was nothing simple on it, no cereals, fruit or yogurt or toast. The big breakfast had such things as kale and baked beans and the rest was not very appealing. We both had French Toast which was very nice but a large serve with berries, pear and icecream. Again it was over 30 minutes until we received what we ordered. We decided we wouldn't bother in the future. ... read more
Plaque outside the Military museum
The entrance to the Museum
One of the displays

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin September 6th 2020

Lucy, Rowan , Sam and Tracey had bought us a trip out to the Tiwi Islands as my birthday and Fletcher's Father's Day present. This was planned for Friday morning. I was sure that the ferry left at 8-30am so we planned to have a taxi collect us from the hotel at 8 and it was only a 5 minute drive to Cullen Bay where the terminal is situated. We went down to the lobby at 7-55 and the taxi was waiting so we set out. I got out the ticket to check and suddenly read that the departure time was 8am! We arrived at the Terminal about 8-02 and while Fletcher paid the taxi driver I ran up the steps and along the quay and could see the ferry just pulling out from the dock. ... read more
Welcome to country
Smoking ceremony

Oceania » Australia September 5th 2020

Wednesday we needed a break after two jam packed days of travelling and touring. We took our time in the morning and decided to explore the city after that. The Hilton is in Mitchell St, the main drag in town. We had gone across the road the night before to watch the second half of the Crows game, our first win for the season, at the Hotel Darwin. This was because, unbelievably the Hilton did not have cable TV!! We set out along the street and went into the Mitchell Centre, a shopping complex, where Fletcher managed to procure a cable to connect his camera to the laptop. He had left his at home. We walked a fair way, noting the various bars and restaurants along the way. Then we branched off to Smith St which ... read more
Darwin Waterfront
Swimming area Waterfront

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Coffin Bay September 3rd 2020

I’m far from the only person to have travel plans wrecked in 2020. This year I finally got long service leave after 10 years in my job and I had plans for 4 different trips away. The first 2 were scuttled almost immediately once the pandemic hit and #4 is still in doubt. But the third trip was 5 weeks in the South Australian outback, and I was determined to make it happen. In July, South Australia almost opened the border with NSW but as they had no cases and Sydney had a small but persistent number of daily cases, that didn’t happen. I was left with two choices – cancel another holiday or cross the border and do 14 days of quarantine. As I’ve been working remotely for months, I figured I could do two ... read more
Golden Island
Seven Mile Beach
Tyres down, ready to hit the tracks

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin » City of Darwin September 1st 2020

After another magnificent lunch we arrived into Alice Springs at 1pm. There are excursions included in the fare and we had opted for the Alice Explorer. There was another out to Simpson's Gap but Ken and Edna had taken us there last year. We were the second to last group off the train and had to wear masks for about 100 metres until we had given our border entry forms to the police on the platform. Then it was into the bus and off. Our driver was very glad to see us as this was his first job for four months.We drove around the town and our first stop was at a Reptile Park. This turned out to be suprisingly good ad the presenter was an enthusiast who knew his stuff. Inside there were many, various ... read more
snake in the reptile park
Black snake

Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Marla August 31st 2020

2020!! What a year!! We had two overseas trips planned and paid for but Covid-19 struck and so they were on hold. However, we saw that The Ghan was recommencing and there was a generous package being offered for a trip on the train, seven nights in Darwin and various excursions all for the price of what it usually costs for the train alone! So here we are, on the train on our way tot he Top End. We left on Sunday morning. Tracey kindly drove us to the Rail Terminal and we were quickly through the check-in process, including showing our border permits which allow us entry to the Northern Territory. Strange to have to think of borders in your own country!! We waited in the comfortable lounge until it was time to board. Our ... read more
The Ghan
Outback Lounge
Our cabin

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