Budj Bim and the Coorong – Beautiful and spiritual places.

Budj Bim in Western Victoria and the Cooring in south Eatern South Australia are beautiful and spiritual places. Particularly spiritual for the Australian Aboriginal people who have occupied and cared for the land for 10,000 years.

The purpose of the trip was to meet up with friends from Adelaide at Kingston SE which sits at the southern end of the Coorong. It also claims to be the lobster capital of Australia!

Budj Bim National Park was a stop on route.

The campground is noted for its families of koalas. Beautiful to see but their growling and grunting through the night makes sleeping a challenge!

The park is set around an old volcano. In the park there are small lava tubes and lava canals you can explore as you walk around the old crater.

The basalt rock covers the local most of the local landscape. On the road out to Tae Rak (Lake Condah) there is Tumuli (lava blisters). Unique basalt rock blisters dotted on the landscape.

Tae rak (Lake Condah) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tae Rak incorporates the oldest aquaculture farm in the world. An Eel farm that has operated for 6500 years

Due to recent heavy rains the lake was full of water and the still day meant the water was mirror smooth

At the cultural centre I joined a cultural tour with an aboriginal guide.

It’s about a half day ride from Budj Bim to Kingston SE and the Southern Ocean and an extra special sunset.

The Coorong is formed as the estuary of the Murray River (Australia’s longest river) where is flows into the Southern Ocean.

The Coorong is a series of lakes running south for 200km from the Mouth of the Murray. The lakes are separated from the ocean by high sand dunes.

The lakes vary from almost dry saline ponds to deep expanses of water brimming with wild life.

Climbing over the dunes the Southern Ocean is wild and cold and pretty much deserted.

Of course I could resist taking a dip in the cold ocean.

The Coorong was the setting for the famous Australian movie Storm Boy. Also in the documentary Wash My Soul that examines the life and music of Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach there is stunning cinema photography of the Coorong.

Dotted around the lakes are reminders of colonial settlement like the well dug by Chinese immigrants as they made the long walk from South Australia to the Victorian goldfields in the early 1800s.

In my 2022 travels this was my December trip. There was lots of water in the Coorong which was beautiful. The big flood waters that fell in NSW and Victoria in November are still yet to reach the Coorong and the Ocean. Maybe another visit in the next month or so to see the lakes in flood is on the cards.

A bit like opposite ends of road touring in Australia. The BMW adventure bike and my friend’s EV.

If you would like to find out more about touring in an EV visit: littlecamperevtravels.blog

Around the Coorong the is much else to see and taste, art, wine, food and music.

The signs of Spring are around.

The Noon Flowers are in full bloom at the salt Marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

Also the water birds are returning to the mangroves and mudflats to feed and breed. The wet conditions in inland Australia may mean that some birds may not come to the coast but stay in the inland wetland. But it was great to see some arrivals like;

Spoonbills;

Egrets;

White faced herons;

And the old friend that rarely leave, the Australian Pelican. This one was catching a fish. Hunting, priming, then strike. Two attempts for two fish.

There are also beautiful views in and from the reserve.

Another sign of spring is finally here was the nice turn up of Guzzis at the monthly coffee catchup on Saturday.

A collection of bikes at the coffee kiosk in Lygon Street an Italian Hub in Melbourne

While it’s still a battle for Spring to kick winter out the door, it will prevail. Such is the cycle of the seasons. Meanwhile way up north in Queensland. Julia Creek has experienced its hottest ever October day- 43.9c.

When travelling in Europe people ask me – What is the weather like in Australia? I answer – It depends where and when. The above is a good example of why!

Lovely rides north of London

It’s hard to believe that my nearly 6 month northern hemisphere adventure is coming to and end. I arrived in budding april days of spring and leaving in the October autumn. Flying south back to Melbourne in a few days.

I have been back in England for a couple of weeks and indulging in some local rides. In the UK there are places designated as Areas of Natural Beauty and these are where I head.

The Cotswolds is one such place with rolling hills and farmland and villages built from the local stone dotted through the land scape.

A little further north of the Cotswolds are the Shropshire Hills . Close to the Welsh border and the Severn River Valley it’s the entree rides around the hills of the Midlands and their network of canals.

East of London there are villages such as Thaxted with its beautiful old buildings.

And if you are lucky you may see a Master Tthatcher at work rethatching a roof.

Maldon on the east coast is home to the fleet of Thames Sailing Barges. Beautiful little ships that carried cargo along the east coast of England for over a century and a half.

The sailor in me marvels at the skill of the sailors of these Barges who sailed them loaded with cargo up and down streams and inlets with 5 metre tides flowing quickly. The true sailors skill.

The mighty breva is off getting serviced ready for storage as I prepare to head back to Australia. Master mechanic and friend Badrick has given me his Moto Guzzi 1200 sport to ride as he works on the Breva. That’s what guzzista do.

Photo Sketches in Spain

Travelling in Spain is one of my joys. I love the people the culture the landscape.

This year it seemed different. Traversing Spain between the intended destinations of Morocco and Portugal and the UK. A day or two here and there as I moved north and south through the country

The sketches are places I stopped along the way.

Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez is a couple of hours from Tarifa. It’s also the sherry capital of the world so a good place to stop on the way to Morocco. Who would have guessed there was a Flamenco and Sherry festival on!

Such a difference to 2020, Andalusia already in tight restriction and the the whole of Spain going into lockdown.

Cadiz and Rota

While Cadiz is quite the tourist centre Playa Aquadulce is a quiet Rota beach and a restful place to stop after hopping off the ferry from Morocco.

And in Cadiz the covid delayed carnival gave the old city a certain buzz

Stops in Aragon

Caspe is on the Mar de Aragon a huge dam in the mountains of Aragon. Lake Caspe camping is a fantastic camping ground right on the edge of the lake.

The lake is wonderful for swimming, boating, exploring and birdwatching. Sighting Egyptian vultures, peregrine falcons, and grey cranes.

Why stop in Calanda one might ask. The answer is it’s 2pm and the temperature is already 39c! The surprise is a pretty little village in the centre of great motorcycle roads that is the birthplace of Luis Bunuel

Then to find the site of a miracle in the village.

The miracle of a regrown leg. I dubbed the church the house of the holy legless. I wish I had known about this miracle in my younger years when I was more likely to be legless and in need of redemption!!!

Finding little villages like these is the joy of taking the back roads on a motorbike with a loose plan of where and when to stop. Serendipity as a guide book.

Finding the first communion parade in Tomelloso in Castille de La Mancha. Or Goya’s birthplace

Truly serendipity has been my wonderful travel guide.

For more detail and up to date information on Cadiz and its beaches go to: https://faheyjamestravel.com/2022/12/23/cadiz-good-beaches/

The Ferry from Santander to Portsmouth

Santander is capital of the Spanish Provence of Cantabria and a major seaside city. Beaches and a ferry port all part of the the mix the city offers.

It was so different leaving Santander March 2 years ago when the pandemic and a lockdown drove me out of Spain. http://piecemealadventurer.com/2020/03/23/travelling-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-the-last-ferry-from-santander/

A beautiful summers day a yacht on the water sailing alongside the ferry.

As it left the harbour

Up on deck we spotted whales in the Bay of Biscay Abyss. Can you see the spout?

Agh how I missed the sight of the open sea when I was confined to cabin. At that time, like all of us, unaware how much time confined to hotel rooms, to our houses and neighbourhoods lay ahead.

How amazing to travelling internationally adventuring and watching the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

White cliffs up the Solent welcomed me back to Great Britain.

It’s a bit of a heatwave as I sit in my sister’s house in London. Covid 19 hasn’t gone away and being in a big city like London requires caution but life is an adventure to be lived so let’s live it.