camping

Bench Series : December along the Waterfall Way…

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Art Gal Ebor Falls PC 091_4000x3000

Look what I found in the small village of Ebor, along the Waterfall Way,  an hours drive outside Armidale. 

 I am going to take you back in time 4 weeks when we were in Armidale. We only had 2 days to explore this very interesting town.

Day 1 we took a Heritage bus tour. (Check it out here)

Next day we drove along the Waterfall Way. One of Australia’s lesser known, iconic and beautiful drives. It passes through National Parks, the stunning gorges rise on either side of you and then there are the waterfalls. So many of them. But being summer not many will be flowing. So we went to Ebor Falls as it never dries up.

These are some of the things we saw.

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Paddocks of white daisies. When we passed them near Dubbo I thought they were weeds, but Ruth of “Ruth’s arc” informed me in the comments that they are actually Pyrethrum Daisies. She sent me this information…

“Botanical Resources Australia Pty Ltd (BRA) is the Australian grower of over 60 % of the world’s pyrethrum, the botanical insecticide, and runs the most high-tech pyrethrum industry in the world.”

They are very photogenic…

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I think these may be growing wild though…

I will link this to “flowersoverflowers” I’ve been missing in action on this site for a while.

This is the Guy Fawkes river cascading over the gorge. Creating the Ebor Waterfall, described as one of Australia’s most attractive falls.

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A walking track winds around the top of the falls and we find another bench to sit and admire the lookout.

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On the way out we pull up at an old pioneer cemetery.

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How difficult life must’ve been for these hardy pioneers when they settled in this area in the 1800’s.

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After a welcome cup of coffee at the “Fusspot’s Café” it was time to head back to our mini house sit in Armidale.

But one last side trip on the way to see another waterfall.

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Wollomombi Falls was almost totally dried up. Can you see the small pool and the trickle of water falling into it? But look at that massive gorge and imagine the force and power behind the falls in full flow during the winter wet season that has created that. It would be an awesome sight.

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Now I have caught up with my travels to this house sit and we only have another 2 weeks here.

Weather up date. After the sweltering heat of 39c+ on Sunday, yesterday the temperatures dropped to mid 20’s and it started to RAIN, and today it is still steadily falling, mana from heaven. I can see the grass and weeds growing as I look at them!!!

Well Jude week 51 of your very popular bench series and only one more week to go…

Categories: Armidale, Australia, bench series, Ebor Falls, flowersoverflowers, National Parks, Pyrethurem, travel, Waterfall Way, waterfalls | Tags: , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Black and White 5 Day Challenge : #3

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This is the walking track through Burleigh Heads National Park.

I thought rocks are an ideal subject for my number 3 monochrome study

Many millions of year ago this was an active volcano. At this time the Tweed Volcano was active. Molten basalt lava from the volcano flowed all the way down the valleys and eroded them all. The valleys were covered in hardened sedimentary rocks before reaching what is now the Burleigh headland

If you would like to see more of this park come over to another of my posts for more photos, go here.

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Gwennie of “Gwennie’s Garden” has invited me to join in. I love to visit Gwennie, her blog is filled with gorgeous photos of flowers and succulents from her garden and interspersed with stories of her travels. Well worth a visit.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to invite Wilbur of “Wilbur’s Travels” . I have just discovered Wilbur, he is an inveterate traveller having been to over 60 countries and has produced one book  ‘This is How it Feels to be City’ in 2012. And has another one in the pipeline. I’m enjoying travelling along with him. Go jump aboard you’ll enjoy the ride.

Categories: 5 day b & w challenge, Australia, black and white, Burleigh Heads National Park, Goldcoast, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Travel Theme : Freedom

In 2009 we decided a major downsizing was needed to create the freedom to travel. So we had a garage sale.

Getting ready

Getting ready

Lots of stuff...

Lots of stuff…

Ready and waiting...

Ready and waiting…

and the people came...

and the people came…

It is amazing how liberating it is to have a good clean-out. Things that haven’t been used, clothes that are never worn, objects that have been bought on impulse, but not really needed. At the end of the day almost all gone. The few things left went to the op shop.

Not only things were being disposed of we also downsized the space we lived in. Moving from a 3 bedroom house to a one room Granny flat/studio. Keeping a few pieces of furniture the rest was sold/given away.

Now we were ready, we had the FREEDOM to travel.

But we then downsized even further and Matilda came into our lives.

Setting off

Setting off

This small van gave us the freedom to travel around Australia. For a year in 2010 we travelled 37000 kilometres, met many interesting people and saw the incredible diversity of this great land.

Crossing the Nullabor Plains

Crossing the Nullabor Plains

To see more about this iconic part of Australia click here.

Freedom camping at the beach

Freedom camping at the beach

Freedom camping in the outback, cooking over open fires in the camp oven.

Camping alongside rivers

Camping alongside rivers and billabongs in the shade of the mighty gum trees.

Feeling as free as the birds to follow our own path.

Feeling as free as the birds to follow our own path.

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The open road, the anticipation of what is over the hill. That is the great feeling of FREEDOM…

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Feel free to click here and go to Ailsa’s “Where’s my backpack” for many more glimpses into the freedom bloggers have found.

 

Categories: Australia, camping, freedom, freedom camping, outback, photos, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Travel Theme : Above

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The view from the lookout on the top of Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania.

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As I came down the mountain Hobart spread out before me on both sides of the Derwent River.

We house sat here for 3 months in 2013

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Another memorable flight was over the Bungle, bungles in the Kimberly area. This is the view from above.

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This is the view as I walked toward these amazing formations.

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Travelling is great and there is so much to see, but after an extended trip this is the best view of all from above.

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The best harbour in the world, Sydney. Can you see the iconic sails of the Opera House and the majestic curve of the Harbour Bridge, fondly known as “the old coat-hanger?

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This post is inspired by “ABOVE” Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge for this week.

Categories: above, Australia, Bungle Bungle, Hobart, Mt Wellington, photos, Sydney, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

A walk along Beautiful, Burleigh Beach : Joining Jo’s Monday walking group

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This is my street and that hi-rise is on the beach front, just one kilometre away. So join me as I hop on my bike to go down to the beach for my morning walk. Bring water, put on sunscreen and a hat it is hot and sunny.

Today is  a special day as it is the last Sunday of the month and that is the art and craft markets on the beach front.

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Only a 5 minute ride (10 minutes if you walk) and now I tie the bike up. The beach is just the other side of the bushes, from here we will head south, next time we will go north.

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I think I will wander around these markets, it is mostly local art and craft. I have never seen any Chinese or imported products here, great place to shop for gifts or Christmas presents. Be warned this could add an hour or more to the walk…

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It’s a great venue under the shady Norfolk Pines and next to the beach catching all the sea breezes. They are very welcome as it is going to be hot day today.

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That is my cup of iced tea waiting while I take a photo. It was delicious.

Still lots to see.

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This group of Hare Krishnas passed by chanting and playing their instruments. Times have changed as a few years back they would all be in their orange cloaks with shaved heads…

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This is Burleigh Beach, my local beach. It is very hot today and what better way to cool down, but you must swim between the flags as there can be very strong rips along this coast. Notice the surf life savers in their orange and yellow jackets.

That hill in the background is Burleigh Heads National Park and that’s where we will be walking round.

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The surf rescue boat and team are ready for any emergencies, and the sea is very choppy today.

The board riders club are having competitions.

The board riders club are having competitions.

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This is the surf club building, a great place to have a meal upstairs right on the water front. Downstairs you can have a coffee and a snack.

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Further along is my favourite coffee hole in the wall. I think she has recognized me!

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Notice all the seagulls on the scrounge?

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This is the entrance to the National Park.

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The tracks go round the hill in a figure of 8. The right hand track goes up the hill and is STEEP with lots of steps, quite a challenge. The left hand one goes round the bottom of the hill along the ocean. I am not very fit at the moment so we will go along the low track.

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This gate is padlocked if the track is dangerous. You’ll see the rocks soon.

The day we arrived home a fire broke out on the hill and these gates were locked for a few days. I am interested to see how much damage was done.

10AM: A SENIOR ranger has revealed an illegal camp fire is thought to be behind a large blaze that engulfed Burleigh Headland overnight.

The fire began at about 6.30pm and burned well into the early hours of the morning.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service senior ranger Henry Waterman said about three quarters of the sloping headland had been burnt.( go to this link to see dramatic photos of the blaze)

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How did these Pandanus survive?

The report was that three-quarter of the Park burnt, but in fact it was only a small section of the grass land, the bush was not effected.

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These are the rocks that caused the concern. They have been like this the 16 years we have lived here and probably very much longer.

Between 20 and 23 million years ago, molten lava from numerous eruptions in this area spread in all directions, some flows reaching the present coastline at Burleigh headland. Slow cooling of the thick lava resulted in shrinkage and cracking into six-sided columns. Many slid and rolled to the water’s edge.

So let’s quickly and safely move on.

Round into the shady, cooler bush track

Round into the shady, cooler bush track

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The 6 sided basalt columns line the track.

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Round the other side of the hill we look over to the mouth of the Tallebudgera River. Beyond is Palm Beach and down to Coolangatta and over the border into New South Wales. The wind is whipping up the foam today. No surfers out here in these conditions.

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Further along the river bank it is calmer. That bridge is the Goldcoast Highway, the major road south.

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On the other side of the river is another surf club, they certainly have the best beach front positions.

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This is the intersection of the 2 tracks, to go right it will be all up hill, straight ahead takes you to the Highway. I am feeling quite hot and so I think I will go back the way I came and leave the hill climb for another cooler day.

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There’s the iconic hi-rise outline of Surfers Paradise on the horizon.

I think I will stop for a coffee and ice-cream at that little kiosk.

Hope you enjoyed your walk in the sun.

To enjoy more walks around the world visit Jo’s blog and join her for Monday morning rambles.

walking logo

Categories: Australia, beach, Burleigh, Burleigh Heads National Park, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , , , | 33 Comments

A journey into the dawn of time.

 

Where we are staying for this house sit, along the mid-north coast of NSW, the mountain scenery  is a spectacular backdrop to the pristine beaches along the coast. National Parks abound in this area. One in particular we have been told about is Dorrigo National Park along the “Waterfall Way”. The name alone tempts me to explore. So today with the sun shining we head inland.

It is a 65 kilometre drive from Nambucca Heads to Dorrigo and the road is a marvel of the grit and determination of the early road builders. It climbs and winds through narrow gorges cut from solid rock. In places the tight turns curl back on themselves. Then it will narrow to a one way cutting. It feels like driving a rally course and needs intense concentration. The spectacular scenery spreads away to the horizon.

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As I squeeze past the oncoming traffic I catch a glimpse of this waterfall mistily cascading down the cliff face, we pull over to take a photo.

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The rainforest towers above us.

It is lunchtime when we pull into Dorrigo the small timber settlement on the edge of the National Park.

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This grand old hotel built in 1925 by Michael Feros, is heritage listed and is still owned by the Feros family. It is a classic example of Australian hotel architecture of the 1920s. The meals had been recommended and they were good, but HUGE. After seeing the size of other diners meals, we ordered one seafood platter to share. 4 Large calamari that just melted in the mouth, 4 super size prawns, 4 pieces of fish a heap of chips and a delicious fresh salad, that was supposed to be a meal for one! Needless to say we enjoyed it…

Next it was a short 2 kilometre detour along the road to the Dangar Falls.

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It was a pleasant surprise to see so much water cascading over the escarpment as there has been no rain for weeks.

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  This fertile area was once covered in forest and the giant red cedar was the king, but the timber industry of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s soon cleaned out this precious timber.

Word quickly spread of the agricultural potential of the area’s deep basalt Soils, and with Government regulations requiring selectors to improve the value of their land, farmers immediately set to work to clear the scrub for pasture.

Rainforest clearing was backbreaking work. Trees were ringbarked or felled, and burnt in ‘great conflagrations’.

 “During the last twelve months it is estimated that fully 3,000 acres of timber have been committed to the flames so that at the present rate it will not be very long before the entire original scrub has disappeared.” (Agricultural Gazette, 1911).

The 1917 Guide to the Dorrigo Shire extolled the plateau as “an enormous area of splendid, delightfully, watered agricultural and dairying lands, upon which are many smiling homesteads and herds of well-bred cattle and adds “notwithstanding wanton destruction of enormous areas of timber, magnificent supplies yet remain for posterity”.

However, the luxuriance of the rainforest growth exaggerated the fertility of the underlying soils. Most of the valuable plant nutrients were derived from the rich and constantly recycled litter layer of the forest floor, and after forest clearing and subsequent burning,these nutrients were quickly depleted.

It was a hard life for early settlers, with distant markets and decreasing soil fertility offering poor returns. However, many were successful and dairying, beef cattle and logging are still major industries of Dorrigo today.”  (information from the Dorrigo community web site)

Leaving the fertile farmlands behind we drove on to the Rainforest centre.

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This word brings to me the vision of an ancient land, with dinosaurs roaming through the rainforest. But this is the twenty-first century and fortunately remnants of these prehistoric rainforests have been preserved as National Parks.

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This 75 metre long “Skywalk” takes you over the rainforest canopy to magnificent views to the distant mountains and on a clear day as far as the ocean.

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After seeing life from a bird’s eye view it is now time to go down to ground level.

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Another board walk takes us down into the bowels of the rainforest.

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As we walk through this heritage listed park the track winds through the luxuriant tropical vegetation. Trees, with large buttress roots,  tower above us, palms fight for space as thick woody vines encircle every thing. Epiphytes and ferns are also common and add a profusion of multi-layered confusion.

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This describes the atmosphere so well. Much better words than I could ever think of to describe how it feels, with the rustle of the wind and the abundant call of birds and, surprisingly, no one else on the track, it felt as though we had been transported back to the start of time.

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There is so much more to see in this spectacular area and I make a mental note that we will come back again and follow this “Water Fall Way” right along its 165 kilometre length from the ocean at Coffs Harbour to Armidale on the New England tablelands.

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This is my contribution to “Jo’s Monday Walk”.

Categories: Australia, Dorrigo National Park, Jo's Monday walks, National Parks, New South Wales, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 72 Comments

Travel Theme : Illuminated

A difficult theme for me this week as I don’t take many night photos, but one memorable illuminated moment was during our stay in Sydney, just before Christmas, I watched the magnificent Sydney Town Hall illuminated with magical lasers and computerized images and I took a short video of it.

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Then I remembered all those magical moments around camp fires, cooking over the coals in the camp oven. Watching the sunset illuminating the sky in a rich red glow. Enjoying a glass of wine as the casserole simmered. The fire light flickers and illuminates a small circle while the rest of the surrounding bush disappears into dark shadows.

Preparing the chicken casserole

Preparing the chicken casserole

The sun sets in a ball of fire

The sun sets in a ball of fire

Enjoying a glass of wine while dinner cooks

Enjoying a glass of wine while dinner cooks

Damper cooked in the camp oven

Damper cooked in the camp oven is ready to eat

 Jack waits patiently for dinner

Jack waits patiently for dinner

Another camp site sharing a meal with new friends

Another camp site sharing a meal with new friends

Beautiful memories of time spent exploring and camping in the Australian bush. I hope you have enjoyed your short stay around some of our camp fires.

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Thank you Ailsa for this weeks theme. It has brought back all those memories. Go over to “Where’s my backpack” to see the many lights on Ailsa’s post.

 

Categories: Australia, camping, freedom camping, illuminated, outback, photos, sunsets, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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.

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

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge : Mountains

Australia is mainly a country of sweeping plains and endless vistas, but round the edges we have some rather spectacular mountains.

The Great Dividing Range runs along the east coast and at the southern end the Snowy Mountains loom up. When we crossed them a bush fire had raged through and left the land scorched and devoid of trees, the scenery was stark and rugged but made beautiful subject for aerial perspective.

In the opposite corner, the north-west, there are the Kimberly’s. Hidden in the heart of this mountain range are the Bungles. Only discovered by Europeans in the 1980’s. Of course the Aboriginal people had known and worshipped them as a sacred place for thousands of years. These are now called our “last great wilderness”  and they are spectacular.

The fly over and then the walk among the domes of the Bungles and into Cathedral Cove I rate in the top three experiences on my journey around Australia.

So here is a gallery of photos I took of these two mountain areas.

This week, we’re challenging you to take inspiration from the mountains! If you happen to live in an area totally devoid of altitude, even moderate hills will do!

On Wednesday, April 24th (at 2pm EST, so be sure to submit your entries before that time, even at 1:59pm!) we’ll choose 1 judge’s choice winner, 5 runner ups, and 1 audience choice winner & share their entries here on LetsBeWild.com, announcing the winners by the following day! Send your friends to this page to leave a comment-vote for your entry to win the audience choice award!

This on-line travel magazine now provides an excellent photography course for both beginners and more advanced photographers. It has quality information and  if you click here you can check it out for yourself, and it is FREE…

Categories: Australia, Bungle Bungle, mountains, photos, Wild Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

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