TENNANT CREEK AND DALY WATERS

Hello Everybody. We have left Alice and driven to Tennant Creek (Thurs 27th). Lots of long straight road this time, but a bit more traffic. They all seem to be going the other way… Tennant Creek is about 988 Kms south of Darwin. On the way we stopped at Barrow Creek and also the ‘Devils Marbles’ or Karlu Karlu.

Barrow Creek is another link in the Telegraph line running from Adelaide to Darwin. Not much here with the exception of the necessary fuel and pub.

Marbles – Karlu Karlu

TENNANT CREEK

BATTERY HILL

Gold wonderful gold. In 1925 Charles Windley found a small deposit of gold but it wasn’t until the 1930’s that it really took off. No one actually believed that gold could be found in this area, but it was the first-time gold was found in something other than quartz. Ironstone was found to have gold within it and they soon found copper and silver in the area also. It brought people from all over to try their luck as the Great Depression was still taking affect. An interesting place to visit.

Nobles Nob was one of the most successful mines and was started by blind cattleman Bill Weaber, his wife Kathleen and prospector Jack Noble who was also blind in one eye. Jack also discovered ‘The Pinnacles’ in Western Australia. Over the life of the mine 32 tonnes of gold was produced. Hard yakka back then. 

A happy miner.

THE PEBBLES

Remember the Devils Marbles earlier, well this is the poor cousin. The Pebbles.

TELEGRAPH STATION TENNANT CREEK

Part of the continuing telegraph line that ran from Adelaide to Darwin. Beautiful old buildings that were built to last.

LAKE MARY ANN (previously Mary Ann Dam)

A man-made dam that offers a place to swim, canoe and relax on the green lawns surrounding it. A change from the harsh landscape of Tennant Creek.

DALY WATERS (Saturday 29th)

A little off the Stuart Highway and approximately 407 Kms from Tennant Creek, you will find Daly Waters. It has the distinction and honour of being the first international airfield in Australia. Initially the airstrip was used for a mail run from Queensland to the NT. It was then a refuelling point for international Qantas flights flying onto Singapore through Darwin. When World War II hit Australia, military air traffic took over civilian air traffic. The airstrip is still in use today, but the hanger is not. We also visited a tree that explorer John McDouall Stuart is said to have carved an ‘S’ into it. We couldn’t find the carving in the tree.

Bit of a giggle.
Airstrip – still in use today.

DALY WATERS PUB

First established in 1930 and licensed in 1938, the pub is the hub of the town. Well it is the town! It once catered for passengers and crew arriving at the airfield, as well as travellers and farmers. A fun pub with lots to look at. We spent a fun night in the pub, had a dip in the pool, ate some fresh caught Barramundi for dinner (we didn’t catch it) and listened to live music. We also took a look at the local museum.

Need a shoe?
The Bra Bar.
Museum of cars and other strange things.
Lights still work.

LARRIMAH

Just up the road, about 90 Kms from Daly Waters is Larrimah. Known for its Pink Panthers and 15 foot stubby pub. The pub was the original officer mess in WWII. It also has a museum about this period.  A unique and well put together museum with some excellent photos.

Homemade pies too!
Dunny.

There will be another blog soon. We have not had internet for a while, so slowly catching up.

Until next time…. Thanks for following 😊

ALICE SPRINGS & MACDONNELL RANGES

Hello Everybody. We have travelled further north to Alice Springs. It is a really interesting drive. The landscape changes from desert to rocky hills to trees and bushes. We also got to see some wild camels just hanging out on the side of the road.

Alice Springs is halfway between Adelaide and Darwin. About 1500 Kms either way give or take. Even though it is a remote town, it is well serviced with all you could need.

MACDONNELL RANGES (WEST)

The ranges are located west and east of Alice and cover an area of 3,929,444 hectares. A 644 Km long mountain range. Today (Tuesday 25th) we got up at 0530 and headed west towards Ormiston Gorge. (Glen Helen located a little further on is closed due to Covid19). We took a walk along the banks of a stony gorge and up to the top to a lookout showcasing the beautiful Finke river and waterhole below. The river is not flowing but as you will see from Chris’s photos a spectacular spot just the same. You can camp here if you wish, but first in best dressed.

Our next stop was the Ochre Pits. A little stroll takes you into the creek bed and cliff faces with red ochre and white ochre. The more iron oxide the redder the ochre. An important part of Aboriginal culture and used for medicinal purposes, painting on spears etc and also painting on people.

Next stop, Serpentine Gorge. This was a short walk into a beautiful gorge and waterhole under the shade of ghost gums. If you are feeling really energetic (Chris was) you can climb up the steep gorge to see a bird’s eye view of your surroundings. There is a camping area called the Serpentine Chalet. They Chalet I believe is long gone with ruins showing a failed attempt at an early tourism venture.  

Walking into the gorge
Steps leading up to the top of the gorge.
From above.

‘Ellery Creek big hole’ was our next stop and what a charming, calming oasis it is. Surrounded by rocky gorges and gums, this shaded waterhole is very pretty and easily accessible. Before you get to the waterhole there is a picnic area and yep, you can camp here too.

As the day had warmed up, we decided to make Stanley’s Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye) our last stop. A popular destination for tourists (usually) it has a cafe and little souvenir shop. Only a 1.3 Km walk gives you a close encounter experience with this magnificent narrow gorge. Sacred to women’s dreaming of the Arrernte people it is an especially important place to the Arrernte community and is wholly owned and operated by them.

There had been a fire through here about a year ago, hence the black rock
Look at that colour.

Mt Sonder was a mountain range we could see as we travelled towards Ormiston Gorge. But we didn’t go there.

MACDONNELL RANGES (EAST)

We headed off this morning (Wednesday 26th Aug) to discover the eastern side of the ranges. I noticed that this side has lots more vegetation over all the ranges. Our first stop was Emily Gap. This is a spiritual site to the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal people and has indigenous artwork about the caterpillar dreaming. Here we could see the use of the red ochre that I mentioned earlier in my blog. I cannot show photos of the artwork as no photos are permitted. But we do have one of the gorge which has great colour. 😊

Emily Gap

Our next stop was Jessie Gap, and this continues with more artwork of the caterpillar dreaming. Not such a spectacular gorge but ok.

We then made our way to Trephina Gorge National Park. As I mentioned before there is a lot more vegetation giving it a cooler feel unlike the red earth we were surrounded by yesterday. The walk we chose took us right along the rim of the gorge, where you could look down into the dry riverbed. I think it is the Ross River, but I am not sure. As you will see from the pics, another nice spot.

GHOST GUM

This is the largest Ghost Gum in Australia.

We did a little 4 wheel driving to get to the John Hayes rock hole. A bit of fun. Here is the rock hole.

We then thought we would spoil ourselves today and have lunch at the Ross River Resort. This is about 80 Kms from Alice Springs and they have camping there if you wish or you can stay in the accommodation they provide. The homestead itself is heritage listed and built in the 1890’s. A large dining room has been added to cater for visitors, but we pretty much had it to ourselves today. The dining room is really interesting in that they used a lot of material from the old Ghan railway line. Steel girders that support the roof were once part of a bridge. Wooden sleepers are used as part of the foundation walls and the ramp outside the building has used the steel tracks as handrails. They even have some of the old first-class Ghan seating inside the homestead. The owners were really happy to show us around.

Kevin the peacock. Check the sleepers out as I mentioned earlier.

One year after rain, they had 4 pythons around the homestead. They still have one they know of that shows itself from time to time.

Phew, I think that will do it for this blog.

Until next time…. Thanks for following 😊

KINGS CANYON

Hello Everybody. I know there are lots of photos, but I couldn’t choose. I hope you enjoy.

KINGS CANYON – WATARRKA NATIONAL PARK

Today (Saturday 22nd) we did the Kings Canyon Rim walk. It is a daunting steep rock stepped start, but once you get going, you are at the top in no time. The walk is a loop and about 6 Kms long. It is quite up and down as you are walking over rock the whole time, so you do have to watch your step. There is a couple of side-tracks to take and they offer another view of this canyon that just keeps going and going. It really is spectacular. The first track we took was Cotterill’s bridge and the second was the Garden of Eden and the waterhole. As we are on the cliff rim you have to work your way down to the garden and waterhole in the gorge. Again, really nice. But when you go down you have to come up to the rim again. The rest of the walk is along the canyon rim and eventually a gradual climb down. Probably feel it in the legs tomorrow but worth it.

The 500 steps up
Getting there…

Garden of Eden
Waterhole
Creek leading to waterhole
The path down

KATHLEEN SPRINGS

And as if we had not walked enough, we decided to do this one too. This is an easy walk and only about 2.5 Kms long. It meanders along to the natural spring. On the way you pass some old cattle stock yards, the old water tank where they used to water the cattle and the aboriginal story of how the spring came to be.  The photos below have more information for you.

From green to dry

This is Mount Connor. You will see it as you are driving on the road towards Uluru.

Until next time… Thanks for following 🙂

CAMELS, FREE STUFF AND KATA TJUTA

Hello Everybody. We spent today (Wednesday 19th) discovering camels, bush tucker and Yidarki.

CAMEL FARM ULURU

Today we went for a little ride on some camels. Pascal led us around and talked about the camels and the camel racing held annually. We visited the saddlery. Each camel has its own saddle as each camel has its own shape with each saddle weighing about 15kgs. The camels can carry a load up to half their body weight, so a full-grown camel can carry about 400kgs.  All the camels are sourced from outback Australia which has thousands of wild camels as they are totally at one with the environment here.  It is a really well set up farm and well worth a visit. Like so many other businesses they are really missing the tourists due to good old ‘Rona’. There is also a reptile show if you want to check out the local snakes and lizards. Oh and the bar has just been refurbished and is worth checking out.

I think we were keeping him awake.

FREE STUFF

We went into the town square of the resort and did some free stuff. The first was about bush food and where to find it and what to eat and more importantly what not to eat. We got to try some biscuits made with wattle seed.

The second free stuff thing we did was how to play the didgeridoo. (this was more for Chris as he already owns one) Yidarki is the actual name used by the indigenous, didgeridoo is just a sound it makes. It was really fun and the bloke teaching it was really good and Chris got to practice his skills. Sorry no pictures. They have free stuff all the time and it is really cool to learn about the area and traditions.

 KATA TJUTA (Previously the Olga’s)

Today (Thursday) we arose early and set off for Kata Tjuta. The loop walk was around 7.5 Kms and took us up steep rock faces, over rocky creek beds and finally up to the top of the gorge to look down over the valley below. This walk is called the ‘Valley of the Winds Walk’ and for good reason. Once you got to the top it was quite windy but a beautiful spot to take in the view.

First sighting (for us anyway)
The view from the Windy Gorge.

We also did the ‘Gorge Walk’ which is only 2 Kms return. It takes you up through a Gorge as the tall walls of the Kata Tjuta shadow your walk. Once you reach the gorge there are green trees and shrubs where the native animals live. Not that we could see any. These walks unlike Uluru rock, allows you to walk slap bang in the middle of these huge wonders and it really is beautiful.

Looking back out from the Gorge
The Gorge
Walking in alongside magnificence. (me on the right)

Until next time. Thanks for following 🙂

ULURU

Hello Everybody, we crossed from SA to NT with no issues on Sunday 16th. As you can see the police are set up here to check everyone for Covid 19 regulations.

ERLDUNDA

1335 Kms North of Adelaide in the NT is Erldunda. It is a roadhouse, Hotel Motel, Caravan park, camels, emus, and a good place to stop before heading to Uluru tomorrow. We were lucky enough to meet Nellie Mick, a local indigenous artist. We bought a painting from her as the gallery she usually works in is closed due to Covid.

Erldundra campground.

AYERS ROCK RESORT

After travelling approx. 268 Kms west, we reached the ‘Ayers Rock’ resort and set up camp. It is a large resort with many choices of accommodation, restaurants and shops. With Covid 19 they are not terribly busy and so not everything is open, but we have found everything we need. (food! 😊)

ULURU  

A massive sandstone rock and I have been seeing photos of Uluru all my life, but nothing compares to the real thing. It is a very impressive work of mother nature that is believed to have started forming 550 million years ago. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We set off early and walked around the base of the rock which is about 10.5 Kms return plus a few little walks into the gorge, water hole and caves. I enjoyed the other side of the rock more. When I say the other side, I mean the side you do not see in all the photos. It has a lot more nooks and crannies from the wind and rain. It took us 3 hours all up and we didn’t hurry so we could take it all in. Well worth it if you are ever up this way. Here are some pictures for you.

first view of the rock

Sunset photos. Everyone goes to the viewing areas and brings their chairs, wine/beer and nibbles. It is quite the gathering. Then we all watch as the sun hits the rock and changes colour. After the sun has gone down you see blue and purple hues across the sky.

Until next time… Thanks for following 🙂

Northern Territory

Hello Everybody, as mentioned in my last blog we have now set off and heading north. We left a little later than intended on Thursday after a little hiccup with the hitch but thankfully got that sorted and made it to Port Augusta around 4 pm for an overnight stop. Port Augusta is approximately 322 Kms north of Adelaide.  It is known as the Crossroads because the Stuart Highway to the north heads to Alice Springs and Darwin. The Eyre Highway to the west heads to the Nullarbor and the Eyre Peninsula and the Princes Highway to the south heads to Adelaide.

COOBER PEDY

We arrived here on Friday arvo and after setting up the van went for a drive into town. Coober Pedy (the name is from indigenous Anangu words “kupa” and “piti” meaning “white man” and “hole in the ground”), is approx. 846 Kms north of Adelaide and 75% of the world’s commercial opal is mined here. Pretty cool hey! As you drive in you see lots of piles of dirt mounded all over the place. As I mentioned there are some huge commercial mines but also smaller privately owned mines too. Watch your step!

view of the town

Boot Hill – yep the cemetery. Lots of European settlers came to make their fortune after world war II. I love the headstone on this one.

Faye’s Home and Mine

We visited this underground home and mine and were shown around by Grant and Jan the caretakers of this site. Faye was the original owner and dug the home and mine out using only pick and shovel back in the 70’s with the help of a couple of girlfriends. They even built an inside pool.

The Mine

This has been drilled out for easy access, it was a lot smaller when being worked.

Faye did very well out of the mine and went back to Queensland where she was from originally to breed racehorses. She passed away a few years ago.

Serbian Church

The Entrance.

Breakaways – about 20 Kms out of Coober Pedy this land was once covered by sea 70+million years ago. I have never been to the moon but I felt like I had landed on it driving through this landscape.

We arrived into the NT today. Watch this space.

Until next time. Thanks for following… 🙂

“Take 2”

Hello everybody. Just a quick note to say we are finally starting our journey north tomorrow to the NT after being rudely interrupted by Covid 19 back in March when we chose to cut short our journey up the east coast of Australia and come home. (however we do appreciate how lucky we have been here in SA and grateful to be in good health).

We have updated the car while we have been back waiting for the borders to re-open. We said goodbye to the Kia and now have a Holden Colorado. So now the Colorado is all decked out, we are good to go. (new homepage photo coming soon)

I hope you enjoy our travels north. Stay safe everyone.

Until next time. Thanks for following… 🙂

COVID FRICKEN 19

Hello Everybody. After much, much, much deliberation we have made the decision to return home. As you may be aware the borders are closing between each state in Australia. As well as that we cannot visit the places we want to see without restrictions, so it makes for a really difficult holiday.

We will leave from Maitland NSW tomorrow and be home in SA by Saturday at which time we will have to self isolate in the van for 14 days. Yep, we could be somewhat twisted and crazy by the end of it. But we are happy to do it and ensure we are doing the right thing by others who the virus may impact. Not that we have the virus, but NSW has very high number of confirmed cases and so we must be cautious.

I may still blog from time to time and share any happenings on our way home or thoughts as they come in isolation.

At this time we all have to do what we can to stop this virus spreading and there are a lot of other people a lot worse off than us and at a higher risk of the virus affecting them. So all good and happy to do the sensible thing.

Take care of each other, be patient, be kind and wash your hands!! 🙂

Until next time… Thanks for following 🙂

COLEDALE

Hello Everybody. 18 Kms north of Wollongong and about 67 Kms south of Sydney you will find Coledale. Mt. Keira in the Illawarra mountain range circles above us. We are staying right on shoreline at the Surf Life Saving camping ground.

Yesterday we watched a surfer walk out onto these rocks and get flattened trying to get into the water. Crazy! He was Ok and eventually got in and surfed.

SEA CLIFF BRIDGE.

A very cool bridge at the cost of 52 million. It links the towns of Coalcliff and Clifton up the road from Coledale. It is a balanced cantilever bridge. It runs along the rock face of the mountain range and it is a strange feeling as you drive or walk on it. You feel like you are out in the ocean. If they have rock slides the bridge is safe from falling debris.

Once you get over the bridge you keep driving and climbing up the mountain range until you get to Bald Hill Lookout. Quite spectacular. They hang glide off this hill. Wow.

Can you see the bridge way down there?
There were 4 cruise liners just off the shore. We think they are all in quarantine.
The village of Stanwell. Long way down!

WOLLONGONG

Today (Thurs 19th) we visited Wollongong. A city of concrete apartments and holiday hotels along the coast. It is about 86 Kms south of Sydney and the third largest city in NSW. It reminded me of the Gold Coast. It has a big steel industry also on the coast which is quite distinct from the rest of the apartment filled coastline. Two light houses – Head Lighthouse (still active) and the Breakwater Lighthouse that sits on the heritage listed Wollongong Harbour. We could not believe the amount of people swimming, surfing, exercising in the park and the skydivers floating down from the sky quite frequently into a park.

Doesn’t anyone work around here? 🙂

Both Lighthouses.
Head Lighthouse
Steel Industry. A bit fuzzy, but you get the idea.
Breakwater Lighthouse.

We are heading north on our way to Newcastle and surrounds.

Until next time… Thanks for following 😊

ULLADULLA

Hello Everybody. We are about 230 Kms south of Sydney in the hilly coastal town of Ulladulla due to a change in plans as you would have seen in my last blog. Lots of Kookaburras laughing at us around here and beautiful views.

But no loo paper here either! In case you were wondering. 😊

We went for a walk today (Tues 17th) to see the Warden Head Lighthouse. It opened in 1873 and is still in use today. When you see the rocks around this beach, it is a good thing too! We went for a walk along the coast through a wooded area and then onto the beach itself. It is such a beautiful day and it is Chris’s Mums Birthday today.

“Happy Birthday Pat” xx

We then went for a walk in the Wildflower Reserve. The Reserve was burnt in August 2018 and only reopened on the 1st of September 2019. It is totally the wrong time to be looking for wildflowers, but it is still a nice walk amongst the trees and Bracken fern. That was until Chris found a tick on his elbow and I decided we needed to leave. It had not attached itself to Chris, so he was none the worse for it. We were warned about ticks a few weeks ago, especially the further north we go. ☹

A Banksia with bubbly bark.
Before we found the tick!

Take care Everyone, and be kind to each other.

Until next time… Thanks for following 😊