WOMADelaide and surrounds

The World Of Music And Dance comes to Adelaide every March. A four day festival held in the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

A showcase of music from around the world.

We visited a couple of days of the festival basking in the beautiful warm and letting the music from.the world stimulate body and soul.

Youssoa N’Dour from Senagal the headline act on Monday night.

Sampa the Great and her all Zambian band

There were songs from Persia

Songs of the Pacific as interpreted in the Torres Straight Islands

Sexy soul from the UK

Cuban funk

Wild Romanian gypsy violin

Argentinian Tango. And much much more!

Not far north of Adelaide is the Barossa Valley. Settled by German migrants in the late 1800s it’s a centre of winemaking and one of Australia’s most famous wine regions.

A nice day trip from Adelaide.

There is also some lovely bushland for a nature walk.

The closing act at WOMAD was a an aerial dance of angels casting feathers on the crowd. Here is a sample.

Meanwhile back home summer time ends on a beautiful autumn day – time for bird watching

Summer daylight saving time has ended on the east coast of Australia.

The autumn sun and stillĀ  mild days are welcome.

I took my long lens and bicycle and went bird watching on a near perfect day.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

White Faced Heron

Spoonbill

Australian Pelican

Black Swans

And some passing ducks

The Darling River and Lake Mungo

The Murray and Darling rivers converge at Wentworth. These rivers form the Murray – Darling Basin which is an area important for both food production and environmental diversity.

The Murray starts in the Australian Alps near Mount Kosciusko fed by snow melt and Alpine rain. The Darling is fed by the monsoons of northern Australia. In the photo you can see the muddy water of the Darling in the foreground as it mergers into blue water of the Murray.

I camped 20km down stream of the rivers junction on the banks of the Murray.

Beside the Murray River as it slowly rolls south west to the Southern Ocean around 500km away.

In many ways the Murray forms the southern boundary of the Outback or at least the southern east corner of the hot dry lands that are the outback.

I had ridden up from a cultural holiday in Adelaide and this was the first stop on the edge of the outback that would lead me to Mungo National Park (my next stop) then up the Darling to Bourke (previous post).

Leaving the banks of the Murray it was onto the dirt roads to get out to Mungo National Park – A World Heritage area.

It was hot and I was happy to set up my tent under a shady tree

The Park was once sheep station and the old shearing shed a relic of those times.

Mungo National Park has both colonial and aboriginal history. The colonial history goes back a century or so. The aboriginal history is an over 46,000 years continual association with the land.

This long association was confirmed with the finding of the remains Mungo Man and Mungo Lady. These remains that have been dated as 46,000 years old. These are the oldest homosapian remains found on the Australian Continent. These are also some of the oldest examples of ritualistic burial any where in the world. If you want more information follow this link: https://learn.culturalinfusion.org.au/story-of-mungo-man-and-mungo-lady/

Another feature of Lake Mungo is the sand dunes that stretch for 135km across the horizon like the walls of China, but nature made.

Areas of dunes are called Lunettes because of the luna type landscape. But in these dunes are artefacts tens of thousands of years old.

At sunset the dunes tale on a redish hue as the sun burns the sky orange and red.

That night I slept with wonderment of the place and what a tiny spec modern humanity is on the universe while sleeping under the milky way.

In the morning I did a tour of the dunes with an aboriginal ranger. As part of the tour I help artefacts 10,000 years old and heard stories of the land, this place that had been passed down from generation to generation in the oldest continuous culture in the world. Stories and rituals that had their origin back 46,000 years ago.

As I left Lake Mungo there was a Sand Goanna on the side of the road.

I thought it was wishing me a fond farewell but, looking back, I think that it was a sign that the 350+km of dirt road I had before me to get to Bourke was going to be a difficult and sandy ride.

Been out Back o’ Bourke

In other words the outback,

Out past where the Darling River flows.

Where the roads are rough dirt and sand

The land is harsh and hot

That’s 45c hot on an early autumn day and the days in 38 – 45c range stretched on while I was there.

The recent floods meant that the inland rivers were flowing.

And in Wilcannia where the banks are 12 metres above the normal river height

But the high water line on the doors of the shower cubicals shows the flood got well over 12 metres.

The locals told me that in Bourke when the water was at its highest it was running over the old wooden lift bridge. A relic from the days when paddle steamers plied Australia’s inland rivers.

Water is life. Not just for humans, but for animals, especially birds.

The kites circling in the skies over the rivers.

The waterbirds in the river.

My favourite was the raucous Glossy Black Cockatoos that came down to the river to drink.

While there is always beauty there are also constant reminders of the harshness of the Outback.

There is also something quirky outback and for me this time it was an amazing stick insect.

There is also something quirky outback and for me this time it was an amazing stick insect.

The dry, dusty, sandy, and rutted roads

The dry red soil

The millions of fish that die when the relentless heat suck all the oxygen out of the water.

The dead Dingo hung in the tree. Supposedly to scare off other Dingos, but more likely a reassurance to the shooter that he has control of the environment. There is no controlling this wild country.

Not far on from.the Dingo Tree is Warnaaring -200kn out Back o’ Bourke. I stayed at the camp ground.

The owner just laughed when I said I was looking forward to a cool shower.

I turned what I thought was the cold tap. Scalding water came spurting out. I quickly turned the tap off. I turned on the other tap and heard the gas hot water heater burst into life as piping hot water came forth.- tap off. Back to my first choice of tap and let it run a bit.

Agh after a little while a nice hot shower from the cold water tap. I guess that’s how hot the sandy soil gets after long spells of 40c heat.0

There is always something quirky about the outback, everytime I visit. This time it was amazing stick insect

You have to look so closely to distinguish it from the tree twigs!

Each trip to the outback is a learning experience.

Back to Queenscliff to Swim with the Seals

Finally the strong winds that had been blowing around the Rip, the entrance to Port Phillip had abated and a date to swim with the seals fixed.

The evening before the swim, on Shortland Bluff overlooking the Rip, a Kestrel was riding the last of the wind as it hunted for prey

Then he spotted me and was off

As night fell the ships passed through the heads. Mechant ships going about their business and cruise ships sparkling bright in the night.

The next morning was still and the converted fishing boat awaited us.

Most of Port Phillip is marine sanctuary these days and hence a haven for wildlife. Structures have been built to give shelter to the Australian Fur Seals that reside in the Bay.

The seals are happy to join the swimmers in the water.

Along with a largish Smooth Sting Ray.

Pope’s Eye is an artificial reef also in the Port Phillip Heads National Park. It is a significant breeding area for the Australian Gannet.

There are also forests of kelp and other sea weed and colourful and inquisitive fish.

The crew were great as was the little old fishing boat.

Nothing like lolling in the net and watching the world go by!