Blogs from Oceania


Rising in the vast Arnhem Land Escarpment, the Katherine River (known to the Jawoyn people as Barraya, meaning 'Blossoming Kookaburra') flows through a fault in the sandstone escarpment, forming a vast gorge system framed by spectacular cliffs. In the Wet Season the river rises up to ten metres, flowing unimpeded through the entire gorge system at a speed of up to 40km/h. In the Dry Season however, the river falls significantly and a series of exposed rock bars divide the gorge into different sections separated by small sets of shallow rapids, with the various navigable stretches of river being referred to as the First Gorge, Second Gorge and so on, continuing upstream as far as the Thirteenth Gorge some 16km away. And though freshwater crocodiles are right at home in this sort of ecosystem (there are ... read more
Hole in the Wall
Cleft in the Cliffs
The Rocky Road Ahead

The Jawoyn people, who historically inhabit the Stone Country around Katherine in the Northern Territory, believe that a rainbow serpent named Borong carved a great gorge through the heart of their land. Then from the west came a dragon-like creature named Nabilil, who travelled through the gorge before camping high up on the plateau above. While Nabilil was sleeping, Walarrk the Cave Bat speared him, and in the process his dilly bag full of water was pierced, spilling out over the land and filling the gorge. At the entrance to the gorge Nabilil had heard the call of the cicada ("nit nit nit-nit") and named the place Nitmiluk, meaning 'Cicada Country'. My parents had brought me to Nitmiluk NP and taken me on a boat trip through the lower sections of Katherine Gorge when I was ... read more
Scenic Cruise
Soaring Palms and Striking Cliffs
Paddler's Paradise

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns » Northern Beaches July 28th 2021

Following on from my previous theme of walks around Cairns, I decided to return to one local to me called Earl Hill. This was a track I had used many years ago when training to tackle the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. At that time, the track was quite steep, with high step ups, which I needed to train for Kokoda. I would go up and down it about 3 times, with my back pack, to strenghten my legs. Over the last couple of years, the local Council has completed a lot of work on the track, taking out many of the high steps and putting in a more zig zag track. This has made the track much easier and the steps which have been installed are very good. A surprise on the way up, ... read more
Earl Hill, Trinity Beach, Cairns
Earl Hill, Trinity Beach, Cairns
Earl Hill, Trinity Beach, Cairns

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 28th 2021

FJ Holden’s Café was an interesting stop. Owned by Francis & Jan Holden, they have cleverly used their initials and surname to create a quaint little café filled with car memorabilia, naturally with the Holden car featuring. There were cabinets of model cars, signed flags and posters from well known Holden racing drivers, as well as a couple of antique juke boxes. It was very interesting to look around as we enjoyed our morning tea. Afterwards we quickly stopped at the local SPAR supermarket and butchers to replenish our provisions. Talk about country service at the supermarket – we were in there briefly yesterday and I was looking for some English Muffins. There were none available but they were expecting their weekly delivery from Townsville on Wednesday morning. We casually mentioned that we would call back ... read more
7280721.2 Golden Fleece sign
7280721.3 Golden Fleece bowser
7280721.4 the drive to Mt Walker

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 27th 2021

Hughenden was once dubbed the “Capital of the Inland” and is now the administrative centre of the Flinders Shire which covers 41,200 km2 and was gazetted a local government entity in 1882. It is roughly 383km west of Townsville. It was going to be a hot day on Tuesday – of course it was, because that was when we planned a trip out to Porcupine Gorge. Loaded up with water, sunhats, sunscreen, hiking boots, a picnic lunch and a trip/drive sheet from the T.I. Centre we drove 62km north via the Kennedy Developmental Road, stopping at a couple of points of interest along the way. At Eaglehawk Gorge Lookout/Devil’s Elbow we were amazed at the abundant black basalt rocks remnant of nearby Mt Desolation, an extinct volcano. The view, however, was nothing compared to Porcupine Gorge ... read more
7270721.3 Eaglehawk Gorge
7270721.4 Eaglehawk Gorge lookout
7270721.5 lookout at Eaglehawk Gorge

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 25th 2021

Staying in the caravan park overflow area located at the Richmond Racecourse. It is a couple of kms out of the town, but extremely quiet with the added benefits of power and water and a very modern amenities block. Despite being called a Turf Club the only turf was in front of the grandstand – the track itself was all dirt and dust. On the wall of the Moonrock Café (within the Tourist Info Centre) there hangs a painting of 4 local men (Bunny Walsh, Ken Ryan, Tom Wilcox and Jimmy McGuire). It is titled “The Seat of Knowledge” as all four gentlemen would sit there every day, watching the world go by and offering advice to one and all. It is of no real significance – just one of those images that appealed. Richmond is ... read more
7240721.2 Richmond Racecourse
7240721.3 the sun goes down
7240721.4 and the moon comes up

With Australia's International travel ban still in place, my recovery from foot surgery now almost complete, I needed to get out and about again. So I headed off to a place, which I have visited on many occassions, lived there for a short time and always seems to draw me back, the Red Centre of Australia and Alice Springs. Having flown into Alice Springs, I headed into town and was greeted by their great town sign, the red dust and Northern Territory flag, just sets it up for me. Next morning, I headed off and picked up my home for the next week, a Britz High Top camper van. I had never driven one of these before and after stocking up on food at a local supermarket, I headed off on the open road to Yulara, ... read more
Home Sweet Home for 8 days

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 23rd 2021

Alongside the creek at JuliaCreekthere is a spacious but dusty free camp, just a short walk into the town. Like all the free/freedom camps we have stayed in this holiday it was very busy. We first checked in for four nights but because of increasing temperatures (into the low 30’s) we have decided to move on after 2 nights to Richmond where we can have access to water and power and therefore air con. (Our generator has given up the ghost, so parks or reserves with power might be our go to for the next week or so.) In the meantime, we enjoyed a very good morning coffee at the local bakery – and once again it was well patronised by many nomads – before a quick stroll up the main street, popping into one or ... read more
7230721.1 the creek at Julia Creek
7230721.2 steel brolgas at T.I. Centre
7230721.3 a Dunnart at Julia Creek

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 21st 2021

There are a few tracks leading into the different camping areas here at Clem Walton and then there is another track taking us to the Dam wall. It was quite rough in places and definitely a case of “tighten your bra straps and remove any dentures”! Unfortunately, just as we neared the dam wall, the road was barricaded to both vehicles and pedestrians. However peering through the scrub we saw what looked like a very refreshing waterhole and a small waterfall. There was a small picnic area and it too had a few vans and camper trailers parked up. About 10kms back toward Mt Isa, in the Selwyn Range, lies the old ghost town of Mary Kathleen – built to support the nearby mine. There are no ruins per se, save for the remains of a ... read more
7210721.2 waterfall at Corella Dam wall
7210721.3 Mary Kathleen town site
7210721.4 remains of fountain

Oceania » Australia » Queensland July 20th 2021

Our plan for the next two nights was to camp at the ruins of Mary Kathleen township, but after speaking with one of the checkout ladies at the Mt Isa Coles supermarket we changed our mind and drove instead to the Clem Walton campground overlooking Corella Dam. It was a very short drive of just 60km heading east to this pretty and hugely popular free camp. The camp straddles both side of the dam and in the area we have chosen there are about 20 vans all nestled at the base of some rocky outcrops. The scenery as we were driving along today across the Tropic of Capricorn was vastly different to that which we have encountered over the past few weeks. It was quite hilly to mountainous with very dense bushland. Red termite mounds are ... read more
7200721.2 eastbound
7200721.3  along road to Cloncurry
7200721.4 Clem Walton campground

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