australian travel

Weekly Photo Challenge : One : A Tribute to Matilda

Matilda

Matilda has been our transport, accommodation and trusty companion  for 4 years as we travelled 70.000 kilometres around Australia. Slowly trundling up and over mountain ranges, across the outback and along the coast, coming to rest each night in iconic Aussie places. The beach with the sound of waves peeling  on the shore to lull us to sleep. Alongside mighty rivers or dry river beds. In the outback the Mitchell grass plains stretching to the horizon and at night the sky a blanket of twinkling stars. The bush and rainforest each with their distinctive smell and sounds as the birds serenade us and unseen creatures scuttle in the undergrowth.

Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach

Freedom camping right on the edge of the beach

Camping in the outback

Camping in the outback

Near the beach in the rainforest

Near the beach in the rainforest

In a field of dreams

In a field of dreams

Crossing borders

Crossing borders

Every place different and a joy to experience.

There are memories of campgrounds. Sharing a glass of wine, swapping stories and briefly befriending a stranger during happy hour, that unique time on the road to relax and meet many other travellers.

Cooking over a camp fire, learning the art of camp oven cooking and sharing a meal with new friends.

Matilda has given us the freedom of having no set timetable, no rigid plans. Being able to stop at the many freedom camping spots or parking in a back yard to couch surf in the city.

It has been a marvellous 4 years that has flown by so quickly. With thousands of photos, the memories will never fade.

Possibly the most memorable event when camping in a National Park and a cassowary came visiting, and I had my camera at the ready…

Waking to a misty morning in a freedom camp all on our own.

Waking to a misty morning in a freedom camp all on our own.

 

But now our life style is changing, we are ready for a new adventure.

We have already trialled the world of house sitting and loved the experience, it is another way of travelling. Staying in new places, meeting new people and their pets, this will keep my gypsy soul happy. Exploring an area in-depth and getting to know it like a local and sleeping in the same bed each night. No more rolling up our bed and moving on each day.

So now it is “Goodbye Matilda”, You have been number one in our life for 4 years creating so many wonderful travelling memories. I hope her new owners appreciate her as we did.

Goodbye Matilda I am going to miss you.

Goodbye Matilda I am going to miss you.

Just one of the many sunsets we saw

Just one of the many sunsets we saw

 

 

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The WP Photo Challenge this week is ONE. Matilda has been number one in our lives for 4 years. No other way could we travel on a pensioners budget and see so much of Australia. We could stay in free camping areas, cook our own meals and travel slowly savouring all the beauty that is Australia.

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A big thank you to all my regular followers and also those that drop by occasionally, I love all the likes and comments you leave and the WordPress community I am part of. I’m looking forward to 2014 and the adventures it will bring and keeping in touch with you all through the world of WP blogging.

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Categories: Australia, australian travel, campervan, camping, camping australia, freedom camping, one, photos, post-a-week, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 60 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Infinite

In the Australian Outback the road appears to stretch to infinity. The traffic approaches as if rising from a mirage as it floats across the endless Mitchel grass plains.

In 2012 we travelled through the outback to the Northern Territory. After years of drought two good seasons of rain had produced lush pasture, hay making was in progress, we saw the outback at its best. Now a year later it is once more in the grip of drought with no rain for almost a year since we travelled through.

The Matilda Highway

The Matilda Highway

Vehicles floating towards us in a mirage

Vehicles floating towards us in a mirage

That winter we travelled to the Northern Territory to explore Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is considered a living cultural landscape. The Bininj  Mungguy Aboriginal people have lived on and cared for this country for more than 50,000 years. Their deep spiritual connection to the land dates back to  the Creation and has always been an important part of the Kakadu story.

The Aboriginals are the oldest living culture still in existence and their dream time stories say they stretch back to the beginning of creation, into the mists of infinity.

I felt privileged to have the opportunity to explore Kakadu. I felt it had an aura of the ancient Traditional Owners still lingering in the rock art and the tracks and bill-a-bongs that so many years ago the tribes had followed.  Aboriginal people were traditionally hunter-gatherers and moved regularly to   places where resources were plentiful. There were no permanent settlements, but   favoured camping areas were used for many, many generations. Among the temporary   dwellings the people used were stringy-bark and paperbark shelters near   billabongs, wet-season huts built on stilts on the floodplains, and rock   shelters in the stone country.

Arnhem Land, going back into the mists of time

In the distance, looming over Kakadu, Arnhem Land is a place the present day Aboriginal calls his traditional home, a permit is needed for non-aboriginal people to visit here, it is like going back into the mists of time.

We walk along the tracks that the tribes have walked along for thousands of years

We walk along the tracks that the tribes have walked along for thousands of years

We rest near a bill-a-bong and appreciate the beauty and reflections in the fresh water

We rest near a bill-a-bong and appreciate the beauty and reflections in the fresh water

Be ever watchful as the crocodile is also a predator that has been around for thousands of years and will be waiting for the unwary

Be ever watchful as the crocodile is also a predator that has been around for thousands of years and will be waiting for the unwary

The track winds through the rocks formed when the world was young

The track winds through the rocks formed when the world was young

The roots of an ancient gum tree have slowly over many years worked through the rock and clung to life in the surrounding rock

The roots of an ancient gum tree have slowly, over many years, worked through the rock and clung to life in the surrounding rock

When the storms rage and the lightening flashes across the sky and the violent tropical rain falls we can shelter under the ancient rock outcrops, safe and secure till the storm passes

When the storms rage and the lightning flashes across the sky and the violent tropical rain falls the tribes can shelter under the ancient rock outcrops, safe and secure till the storm passes. Stories can be told of the culture passed down from generation to generation. Drawings immortalise the creatures the ancestors saw and hunted

The lightening man, a spirit to be feared

The lightening man, a spirit to be feared

The rainbow serpent who created all things

The rainbow serpent who created all things

Kakadu

Then the sun shines once more and the tribe moves on

Then the sun shines once more and the tribe moves on

Kakadu

Yes Kakadu is a very special place, a spiritual country of beauty. I feel privileged to have spent 6 days discovering it and learning more about the Traditional Owners that have lived here for so long. I hope that their culture and stories can remain into infinity and not forgotten.

Categories: aboriginal history, Aboriginal rock art, Australia, infinity, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, out back, photos, post-a-week, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Inside

Inside Matilda

Inside Matilda

The challenge from the Word Press team this week is INSIDE. It prompts me to pay homage to our constant travelling companion, Matilda.

In 2010 we lived and travelled for a year inside this small space. We named her Meandering Matilda, a Toyota Hi-ace pop-top camper van. Jack is in the dining room/office which at night converted into our bedroom by dropping down the table and pulling across the back rests. Surprisingly it became a queen size bed. On Jack’s right is the fridge and along the front of that is a small gas cooker, the kitchen area. We had every thing we needed for a comfortable, cosy or should I say compact, life on the road.

We travelled right round Australia, covering 37,000 kilometres and taking thousands of photographs. It was a memorable experience, and we are still talking to each other…

I started this blog in 2009 to record our journey, starting with the search for our transport and the downsizing of our house to a studio apartment/granny flat.

After the doing the “big lap”, almost a rite of passage for retirees, the urge to wander still remained. So after a short stay at home spending summer on the Goldcoast we now head north each winter to the tropical northern climate. 2011 we meandered to Cairns. 2012 Darwin and the Northern Territory became our winter stop over and this year we are on the Atherton Tablelands.

Matilda has been worth her weight in gold.

Matilda set up for camping

Matilda set up for camping

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, campervan, Inside, photos, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Escape = Freedom

The definition I think of for escape is “to get away”. To leave your day-to-day life, in your safe and comfortable harbour, and set sail for places unknown.

So this is my interpretation of this weeks photo challenge. Click here to see how other bloggers escape

In 2010 that opportunity came when we bought Matilda, our ticket to freedom, our licence to escape and go where ever the wind would blow us.

Leaving home March 2010

Leaving home March 2010 in Matilda

 

Australia here we come....

Australia here we come….

Matilda is our home, our transport and our ticket to adventure. We have meandered around Australia for 3 years now. Spending short spells back home then off again. My gypsy soul loves this lifestyle. The people we meet, the beautiful and very varied scenery, the endless photo opportunities. Life never gets boring.

The road less travelled

The road less travelled

Freedom camping on the banks of rivers

Freedom camping on the banks of rivers

Waking up to glorious sunrises

Waking up to glorious sunrises

 

Cooking over an open fire and eating under the stars

Cooking over an open fire and eating under the stars

Waking up to an ethereal, misty morning

Waking up to an ethereal, misty morning

 

Sunsets over lakes

Sunsets over lakes

The many sunsets are perfect endings to the day spent discovering this amazing country I call home, Australia.

We are so lucky to be able to travel in safety and with freedom in this land. It is such a huge and diverse country that we will never run out of places to explore.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping australia, escape, photos, post-a-week, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Change

For 3 years we have followed the sun around Australia. We have had continual summers. Matilda, our van, has been our constant companion, accommodation and transport. Now we are going to fly south instead of north and leave Matilda behind.

We are on the cusp of change.

I have felt a restlessness growing. Destinations have called me. I love to discover new places. The mystery of what is over the hill and round the next bend intrigues me. Australia is a diverse and dramatic land with huge distances to cover and I loved exploring the endlessly changing landscapes. A hard drive filled with digital images is testament to my love of this country and the many places we have visited.

But I can also feel a physical slowing down, a need to savour the time left to me.

Then comes one of those decision-making moments….

So we are going to Tasmania.

Friends look at us quizzically and say “Tasmania?” “Do you know how cold it is down there?”

Other’s say “Tasmania it is incredibly beautiful, you’ll love it”

So what was that decision-making moment?

For a several weeks I have had destinations swirling around in my head. Gradually they became short-listed to 3…

  1. A road trip through the red centre of Australia, watching the sunset on Uluru, then spending winter in the tropical north– again…
  2. A trip to Cambodia to see the amazing temples and statues of Angkor Wat
  3. Tasmania. But it was down the bottom of the list due to the climate in winter.

Then a message arrived in my in-box from the “House carers” site we belong to. That message changed all our plans.

A lady in Hobart needed someone to look after her house and care for and love her little dog for 8 weeks. Now just to back-track, we have done house sitting when we travel  and always enjoyed the experience and the home owners have become friends. So I applied for the position, we made contact and after a few emails back and forth and a phone call the decision was made and so in 16 days we will fly to Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania.

During the past couple of days we have dug out our winter clothes that where stored away in boxes under the bed for 3 years. Now comes the difficult job of deciding just what we will need and even more difficult job of selecting only 23 kilogram then squeezing it into a suitcase.

Is it going to fit?

Is it going to fit?

 

The flight is booked for May 1st, but there are lots of things to do before we leave. So with our thermals and winter woollies packed we will soon be up up and away….

Tasmania has always been on my must see list so I am looking forward to our stay there. No doubt there will be lots of photo opportunities so stay tuned.

 

Categories: australian travel, change, photos, post-a-week, Tasmania, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 47 Comments

Travel Theme : Time

This is a tricky one Ailsa, at least I thought so. But lots of your followers have come up with so many different interpretations of it. Go to “Where’s my backpack?” to see how inventive bloggers are…

I couldn’t come up with anything that would translate into photos. I thought about it as I dropped off to sleep, I ruminated about it as I prepared our meals, I even pondered it when shopping. It became an all-consuming mental search. I almost gave a mental shrug as Thursday dawned. “Oh well I will have to miss out this week”…

Then this morning going through my photos looking for a totally unrelated theme I suddenly came across the photos of an amazing heritage village we visited on our trip around Australia. I thought of all the museums we had visited. What were we doing? YES we were going back in time and reminiscing and reliving the time back then when life was without computers or TV’s and house-work was hard labour. Horse power really meant just that. I could remember, and had used, quite a number of the things that are now museum pieces.

So I would like to take you with me down memory lane and around an amazing old-time village called Old Tailem Town Do click on this link it will give you more information of a truly historic pioneer village that brings the past to life.

Steve and Pat are the original blokes that started this amazing collection back in 1982

Steve and Pat are the original blokes that started this amazing collection back in 1982

Mail Street

Main Street

Butchers shop

Butchers shop

Butchers shop information

Butchers shop information

Old butchers block

Old butchers block

Here's the old fashioned butcher. Sausages any one?

Here’s the old fashioned butcher. Sausages any one? I think I have seen this bloke some where else. 🙂

Old delivery van

Old delivery van

Fresh??? fruit and vegies

Fresh??? fruit and vegies

Waiting to be served at the grocery store, no help your self back then

Waiting to be served at the grocery store, no help your self back then

Grocery store shelves. Can you remember any of these grocery items?

Grocery store shelves. Can you remember any of these grocery items?

Garage, these customers have been waiting quite a while...

Garage, these customers have been waiting quite a while…

Real old timers, now in retirement...

Real old timers, now in retirement…

Bike shop

Bike shop

If the car didn't go you could always rely on the horse

If the car didn’t go you could always rely on the horse

An old farm house

An old farm house

Very basic pioneers dwelling, early 1900's

Very basic pioneers dwelling, early 1900’s

This bed does not look very comfortable

This bed does not look very comfortable, can you see the “guz-under”? Do you know what it is for???

Kitchen/dining from the 1940's

Kitchen/dining from the 1940’s

A kitchen/dining area of the 1950's

A kitchen/dining area of the 1950’s

1960's I think...

1960’s I think… (I have been told that this style of kitchen is more likely to be from the 1930’s. Can any one confirm this?)

This oven was considered state of the art back in 1930's

This oven was considered state of the art back in 1930’s

I can remember using these things to do the laundry when I first got married

I can remember using these things to do the laundry when I first got married

Any one recognize this pie cart?

Any one recognize this pie cart?

Those are just a few of the photos we took of this fascinating place. We stumbled up on it quite by accident and only meant to spend a couple of hours browsing around. We spent the day absolutely captivated and engrossed in the atmosphere of the old pioneering days. A real trip back in time…

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The  future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, 

whatever he does, whoever he is.
C. S. Lewis

Categories: australian travel, photos, South Australia, time, travel theme | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Travel Theme : International Women’s Day

This week is International Women’s week and Ailsa of “Where’s my backpack?” has linked her theme with it for this week’s challenge for us to honour and remember women. So I have decided to put together a gallery of women we have met on our recent travels. Some photos I have taken and some are Jack’s photos. Jack is very good with portraits he can get people to relax and their character shines through, maybe it is his happy pants or more likely his smile and happy relaxed nature.

Jack also has an artist’s eye for composition. Visit his latest post jacksjottings>to see some of the sketches he does when we are travelling.

So this is my tribute to the women of Australia we have met briefly like ships passing in the night…

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, international womens day, photos, travel theme | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Forward

Here they come, here they come...

Here they come, here they come…

It is March 2010 and we are setting off on our round Australia trip. The first stop from home was Stanthorpe. The annual apple and grape festival weekend was in full swing.

Then on the Saturday of the big street parade it rained 😦

But did this dampen anyone’s enthusiasm? No way. Out came the raincoats, up went the umbrellas and every one looked forward to the parade.

Redlands Ladies Band

Redlands Ladies Band

The rain wasn't going to stop this parade..,

The rain wasn’t going to stop this parade..,

 

Striding manfully forward pipes playing, kilts swirling...

Striding manfully forward pipes playing, kilts swirling…

It was also St Patrick's weekend

It was also St Patrick’s weekend

 

They may need this to get home in...

They may need this to get home in…

These are only a few of the participants in the parade. Every club and sporting body had a float and there were at least 6 bands interspersed between them and marching girls, clowns, dancers and acrobats cavorting to the music. It took almost 30 minutes for the parade to pass by. Fantastic fun.

It was a great weekend and a memorable start to our one year, 37,000 kilometre road trip.

We were also looking forward to this trip of a life-time.

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, forward, photos, Stanthorpe apple and grape festival, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

CBBH Photo Challenge ; View of the Bungle Bungles from an Aircraft

I have just discovered this blog “East of Malaga” Marianne gives us photo challenges with a twist, as well as posting appropriate photos we also pass on a couple of other blogging buddies that we follow…

This challenge really excited me as I have photos of the amazing flight we took from Kununurra (I love the name of that town, it rolls off your tongue) Over the huge Ord river dam and Lake Argyle diamond mines into the heart of the Kimberly’s and landed among the surreal Bungle Bungles mountain range. We spent 8 hours walking through this ancient landscape before flying back as the sunset.

vegetables and sandalwood plantations

vegetables and sandalwood plantations

Lake Argyle used for the irrigation of this huge vegetable growing area

Lake Argyle used for the irrigation of this huge vegetable growing area

Huge irrigated vegetable crops

Huge irrigated vegetable crops with township of Kununurra in the distance

Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle

Argyle diamond mine

Argyle diamond mine

Escarpments stretch through the out back plains

Escarpments stretch through the out back plains

Bungle Bungles from the air

Bungle Bungles from the air

You can see the track we walked along into the domes

You can see the track we walked along into the domes

The track winds among the domes

The track winds among the domes

Deep canyons in the Bungles range

Deep canyons in the Bungles range

I had to include a photo from the ground they are the most amazing formations I have ever seen

I had to include a photo from the ground they are the most amazing formations I have ever seen

Information

Information

The Bungle Bungles domes

The Bungle Bungles domes

It took an hour to fly to the small landing strip and then we spent 8 hours walking among these ancient formations. This place rates as one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The history of it is very recent in European discoveries as it was only in 1988 that these formations were discovered. Of course the Aboriginals had known of them for centuries and they are a very special and sacred place to the indigenous people.

In 2010 I did a 2 day over-land tour into this area and slept in a swag under the stars. It was truly a magical experience.

This time it was fly in and then as the sunset we flew back to Kununurra, my gypsy soul full to over-flowing with the experience…

If you come to Australia put a visit to this area at the top of your list it is truly a unique and inspiring place..

The sun sets slowly in the west

The sun sets slowly in the west

Now I have the pleasure to introduce you to a couple of my blogging buddies. It is hard to name just 2 as I follow and enjoy reading the posts and interacting with so many inspirational people out there in the blogosphere. I will be back to visit Marianne’s weekly challenge and I can then gradually introduce you to more.

Lisa of “Zeebra Designs and Destinations” is an artist living in Costa Rica. She is a very talented lady and shares stories and photos of her life and friends in the area she lives, taking us for walks along the muddy tracks into town. Showing us the food and interaction with the children and neighbours. I love chatting with her in cyberspace. Go over and say “hello”…

Ailsa of “Where’s my backpack” is a traveller, I love following her stories of the adventures and places she has seen and visited. She is a true free spirit and her descriptions and photos take you on the journey with her. She also organizes a weekly photo challenge “Travel Theme” each week she chooses a different subject to keep you searching for photos to portray the theme. It is hugely popular and hundreds of bloggers submit very interesting interpretations of the theme each week. Take a look, this week it is “shadows“..

Categories: australian travel, Bungle Bungle, CBBH photo challenge, photos, travel, View from aircraft | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Travel Theme : Shadows

Shadows can be everywhere when the sun shines, and shine it does most of the time in Australia. The heat can be over-powering.

When we travel north it is always a priority to find a camp spot with shady trees. Just outside Katherine in the Northern Territory we knew of a delightful shady camp ground behind the Springvale Homestead. This beautiful old stone building is the oldest surviving homestead in the Northern Territory and has a fascinating history. Click here to visit the post I wrote in August 2012 when we stayed there.

I Googled “Springvale homestead history” to check the dates and facts and I was absolutely amazed to see my post pop up at the top of the list….

So for the theme of shadows that Ailsa of ” Where’s my backpack”  has challenged us with this week I thought I would revisit the homestead and the amazing Indian rain trees that Mary Giles planted in 1879.

Indian rain trees

Indian rain trees

Katherine Springvale homestead pc sx40 014_4000x3000

Springvale homestaed

Springvale homestead

Looking through the archives I came across this photo below, and couldn’t resist popping it in….

A walk into the sunset

A walk into the sunset

 

 

 

Categories: Australia, australian travel, camping australia, Northern Territory, photos, shadows, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

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