Central Australia Adventure 12 – Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Central Australia Adventure 12 – Uluru and Kata Tjuta

The Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park in many ways the centre of Australia

Uluru the largest monolith in the world.

Constantly changing colour and tone as the light hits it.

To see it shine red during sunset it amazing

To see it at sunset with the March full moon rising on the equinox truly spiritual.

The walk around the base of Uluru is approximately 10.5 km.

Uluru is a sacred place for Aboriginal Australians and being close to it one feels the sacred power of the rock that is ever changing in colour and mood.

Each crevice, crack, cave and stain tell part of an Aboriginal dreamtime story.

Stories often told in drawing in the rock caves.

Kata Tjuta is approximately 40 km from Uluru. A series of sandstone rocks through which valleys wind.

The Valley of the Winds walk is an approximately 7km walk through the rock outcrops

As I sit in a hotel room in Longreach, Queensland, reflecting on the two weeks spent immersed in the Red Centre a shiver still goes down my spine.

It took me almost a lifetime to get here but I may yet be back.

Central Australia Adventure 7 – Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta

Central Australia Adventure 7 – Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta

The road from William Creek to Coober Pedy was rough with lots of sand drifts – my biggest weak spot – SAND.

A large part of the track transverses the Woomera Military Base. I’m sure the leave the road rough so no one dare look left or right for fear of hitting a big sand drift.

But due to rare summer rain the desert was green and I arrived in Coober Pedy, where the populace live underground to escape the heat on a mild afternoon.

The climatologists said it was going to be a mild summer – go climatologists.

Not a day over 30 in 4 days in the hottest part or Australia in late summer

The underground nature of Coober Pedy creates a different street scape.

The road from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta crosses the Painted Desert. I can’t describe how beautiful it is and my photos can’t capture it.

The changes of colour from pink to yellow to green with glimpses of quartz glimmering in the sun.

Then there is the water holes.

And as the day warms up they siren call the traveller into the cool water.

Now I sit in the Pink Road House in Oodnadatta enjoying a cold beer.

Its 40 years since I last really road in the desert.

The desert and the sky in its vastness makes me feel small.

A speck on a motorbike in this huge space. How can one not be in awe of nature.

Central Australian Adventure 6 – onto the Oodnadatta Track

Central Australian Adventure 6 – onto the Oodnadatta Track

It was a beautiful dawn in the Northern Flinders Ranges.

There was a mixture of excitement and nerves as I headed north to Marree and the start of the Oodnadatta Track

Marree is an historic town and a major Old Ghan Railway.

The name The Ghan was derived from the Afghan camel handlers who were instrumental in opening up the centre of Australia to European settlement and in building the railway.

This historic mosque is a remnant of the Afghan presence.

The southern part of the Track is straight and fairly well sealed with quirky sideshows along the way.

It also skirts Southern Lake Eyre.

Coward Springs sits amongst provides a sheltered camping space amongst date palms originally introduced by the Afghan camel herders.

The owners have planted a new date plantation.

It provides a sheltered place to campin the arid country.

Coward Springs sits amongst a ground of mound springs.

And has a natural spa on site feed from such a spring

What a relief after a long ride!

Mound Springs are a unique part of outback Australia where water bubbles out of the ground from Australia’s Great Artesian Basin.

These springs provide green oasis in this otherwise arid land

The Southern section of the Track ends at William Creek an old railway siding with a welcoming hotel.

It was time for a break, adjust the drive, have a cold drink and choose my route to Oodnadatta.

The choice is direct or via Coober Pedy. Time is on my side so I have taken the long way via the underground town of Coober Pedy.

That tale is for the next blog.

Central Australian Adventure 2 – into the Flinders Ranges

Central Australian Adventure 2 – into the Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges or Ikara in aboriginal language run from the southern end of Lake Eyre ( Kati Thanda to the sea at Port Augusta

I’m many ways the Ranges are a set of steps, a staircase leading from the south to the the red centre of Australia.

Willow Springs Staion provided the site for a couple nights camp.

As sunset loomed I couldn’t help but climb the rim on the gorge the station is in to see the colours.

Then back to camp to set the camp fire and prepare dinner.

Great place to camp and the dawn gave a beautiful welcome to the new day.

There are special colours when you get to the edge of the desert.

Central Australia adventure 1 -the coastal run

Central Australia adventure 1 -the coastal run

Coming over the top of the Otway Ranges from Forest

The view from Beacon Lookout over Apollo Bay is a must stop before making the final descent to the Great Ocean Road

I’ve written about this iconic roadway.

But on a windy day the sea around the monoliths at Port Campbell is foaming white.

Crossing the border into South Australia, the pretty fishing town of Beachport provided a pleasant stop

The Coorong is for me one of the most beautiful and mystical parts of Australia

A string of saline lakes separated from the Southern Ocean by huge sand dunes.

At the southern end the lakes are dry salt pans which gather water as one travels north toward the mouth of the Murray River

Crossing the Murray River near where it forms its estuary and the Coorong connects back to the Southern Ocean

At Cape Jervis which overlooks Kangaroo Island it was time to turn in land

And to night the Flinders Ranges are within striking distance and the vista has turned from sea blue to straw yellow

And the buildings in the small towns are of hard stones

And the sunset starting to gain a desert hue

Tomorrow its further inland to the Flinders Ranges!

The Steinbock ready for the outback

The Steinbock ready for the outback

It has been an anxious wait to start this trip.

A covid 19 5 day lock down in Melbourne meant state borders closed and my Central Australian adventure not possible.

Life during the 5 day lockdown was not too arduous as I live near the beach

And it was only 5 days till I could catch up with mates again

And undertake preparation for the trip ahead.

In the days of GPS I still love a good map

The 5 day lockdown turned out a godsend.

The outbreak was quickly bought under control and there are no more new cases in Victoria

I recieve my permit to enter South Australia on Friday and today I complete my annual medical tests

Problem of being 63 with some heart disease.

But will soon be off on the adventure which will take in

The Great Ocean Road;

The Coorong;

The Adelaide Hills,

The Flinders Ranges,

The Oodnadatta track and surrounds,

The Red Centre of Australia made most famous by Uluru and the amazing county around it

Into Queensland and down to Longreach,

The fossil area finds around Winton,

Carnarvon Gorge.

0ver 8,000 km to get to my friends eldest daughters wedding near Brisbane.

Wouldn’t do it any other way!

Grenfell, NSW and the run home through the mid west

Grenfell, NSW and the run home through the mid west

The little town of Grenfell is famous for a couple of things

The birthplace of Henry Lawson

And of my mother

Its a pretty town in the mid west on NSW

I only stayed a night

Just wanted to touch my mothers spirit

Its 27 years since her passing

The during the pandemic I have heard here voice a lot

She was born just before the 1918/1919 pandemic and was a stickler for hygiene

Michael, wash your hands, have you got a hanky, always cover your mouth when you cough

Probably the teaching of her mother

There was a beautiful dawn the next morning as I looked out from the balcony of the hotel.

And I was soon heading back through the NSW mid west plains back Melbourne.

The Motorcycle as Art

The Motorcycle as Art

The motorcycle has been used as a symbol in many ways;

the rebel,

the outlaw

the philosopher

The revolutionary

the freedom seeeker

the speed freak racer

the dare devil

and many more archetypes

The book Sons of Thunder in its anthology of writing covers many of these

To a rider their bike is a work of art

But as a public artform curated in an Art Gallery

This was special

The beautiful old Moto Guzzis took my eye

as the the Norton Commando and Laverda Joto-bikes I once owned

There were bikes so stylish

And bikes record breakingly fast

There were the off road bikes

And the electric bikes of the future

And my favourite – amazing hand built Britten

Still amongst the most innovative and eye catching bikes ever built

So if you love the image of motorbikes, the art of motorbikes and you are in Australia, head to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

whoops I nearly forgot the helmets

and if you go don’t forget to buy a tshirt!

Is Yamba the most iconic beachside town in Australia?

Is Yamba the most iconic beachside town in Australia?

Yamba sits where the Clarence River meets the Pacific Ocean

The rolling white surf of the ocean

Crashing into the salt water pool at high tide

These pools are such iconic scenes of beaches on the norther NSW coast

Where you can swim in the ocean water that in Spring is a warm 22c

Looking back to land from the waters edge

The white sand and the matching cream coloured Surf Lifesaving Pavilion lead your eyes to the Pacific hotel

The perfect place for a cold beer and a meal on a summers day.

The smooth water of the moorings in the Clarence River are such a contrast to the pounding white surf of the ocean just the other side of the headland

and looking west of the Clarence river

The sunset is breathtaking

On the way to Yamba from Coffs Harbour there is one of my favourite camping spots.

It’s in the Yuraygir National Park the Illaroo campground.

I had first visited this place with a dear friend.

There was a big thunder storm due

So I pitched my tent and shelter in behind the sand dune and its scrub

and walked down to the beach to await natures lightshow

I wish I had the skills crashes of thunder and the forks and sheets of lightning that filled the sky that night.

Hitting the road on the Mighty Breva as Australia is close to Covid 19 free

Hitting the road on the Mighty Breva as Australia is close to Covid 19 free

The internal borders on the eastern seaboard of Australia finally started to open as the community transmission of Covid 19 is eliminated.

It was time to load up the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva and hit the road.

Time to visit dear friends interstate that I hadn’t seen a long while

First stop was the lovely old town of Carcoar,and the lovely camping spot on the banks of the dam

From Lithgow through to Singleton the Bell Line of Road and the Putty Road is a spectacular ride across the top of the Blue Mountains.

The Blue Mountains were badly burnt in the terrible Australian bushfires last summer, but it was great to see some regeneration.

Off the Blue Mountains it was the backroads to the beautiful Pacific coastline north of Sydney.

Rattling over the old timber bridges that are distinctive part of the NSW backroads.

On the way from the mountains to the coast.

On the northern NSW coast mountains and the sea come together and on a hot summer day there is the ocean or a run up the Waterfall Way for a freshwater dip.

To Dangar falls in Dorrigo.

A route enjoyed by many beautiful bikes.

And at the bottom of the Waterfall Way is Urunga.

Where the Kalang River flows into the Pacific Ocean.

And the big old hotel offers a cold beer, a comfy room and a good meal.