A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 13.

The End Approaches.

Hi There!

You may have guessed from the last post or even from the heading above that our trip to the Northern Territory was drawing to a close.  In some ways it was good to think that we would be home soon because really deep down at the bottom of your hearts there is no place like ‘HOME’.  This old saying(if that’s what it is) is so true on so many levels it’s not funny!  In other ways it was sad to be leaving the Territory, this natural beating heart of Australia Its grandeur, its beauty, its harshness, its isolation, its story, its cultural significance and many more its.  We have only seen but a portion of it.

Our last day here dawned bright and clear albeit slightly chilly.  We were of to have a camel ride!  These animals having been introduced to Australia, certainly have taken a likening to the Outback and many thousands, roughly 300,000(2013 estimates after a cull which started in 2009, which estimated there to be 600,000 in 2009) roam the outback.  Apparently we are the only country in the world with feral herds of camels and the largest populations of them, seriously??

Here’s a few lined up ready to go on some long tours, we were only going to do the 20 minute version.

Old Tom’s waterhole, not sure who old Tom is.  You can see our rig in the car park all packed and ready to head south(home).

getting up close with our ride!  Here we go!

Time to head towards the Stuart Highway and start our 2,381 kilometre journey home!

Right it is!

A far too common sight on the side of the Stuart Highway.  Rolled and crashed vehicles, obviously too expensive to retrieve out here, wont be long and they will be scavenged and rusted away in this harsh landscape.  Another common sight is road trains, the lifeblood of the outback!  Click HERE for some interesting information on road trains.A couple more photos of these largish trucks!.

Not real great fun overtaking them either as you watch the individual trailers moving around!

We were heading for Marla, 5ookm away in South Australia, our first stop on the way home.  When we set up camp behind the Road House we realised there were seven of us instead of the usual six.  We had picked up a hitch hiker!

Poor little fellow, thought he might like a holiday, we caught him and placed him on the side of a tree at Marla much to the disgust of our youngest who thought we could take him home.

Next morning we continued south to Coober Pedy to have a look at this interesting place, click HERE to find out more about this bizarre place!  You know you are getting close when you come across these mounds.

There is some serious mining for Opals here, it is also known as the opal mining capital of the world with over 70 opal fields.  To me the unfortunate thing is it leaves the landscape looking like the above and below photo’s, interesting but quite ugly!

There are a lot of houses here that are mostly underground or partially underground to escape the searing heat experienced here.  You can see the ventilation shafts in the photo below.

Here’s a panoramic view from the lookout.

Another view.

Time to move on.  unfortunately we found Coober Pedy to be dirty, unappealing and creepy.  Not a glowing endorsement considering plenty of other people find it amazing.  I should also say that we didn’t do any of the underground mine tours or building tours, apparently these are quite good.  We can recommend the Coober Pedy Outback Bar and Grill, we had a really great lunch!  Time to hit the road again and get as far along as we could before it got dark.

Another road photo, not really exciting.  Lots of road to look at.

Last night on the side of the road,  plenty of firewood required for a nice warm fire!

Toasty feet.

It was a cold windy night.  We had one more night before we got home and we decided to book a house at a campground which was sort of nice not to have to unpack and set up the camper trailer, a last night of luxury.  Sort of!  I apologise for all the blurry/grainy photos above, they were all taken on a IPhone 5a, b or c, who would know…Well after 6500 kilometres and three weeks on the road, it was great to be home with a whole heap of memories and experiences which we shall never forget for all the right reasons!  Now the fun starts…..Unpacking!!

That’s just me with my family poking fun at me, never seemed to have the camera away from my eyes!  Oh, and a small bald spot!

Just in case you missed any of my posts on the Northern Territory, here is a recap for you with links to them.

Part 1 – A long time ago now!

Part 2 – Alice Springs – Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Part 3 – Alice Springs Reptile Centre
Part 4 – National Road Transport Hall of Fame.
Part 5 – Alice Springs Desert Park
Part 6 – Alice Springs, a few last glimpses.
Part 7 – Serpentine Gorge
Part 8 – Ormiston Gorge and the Ochre Pits
Part 9 – Kings Canyon
Part 10 – Kathleen Gorge
Part 11 – Uluru
Part 12a – Kata Tjuta – Valley of the Winds
Part 12b – Kata Tjuta – Walpa Gorge
Part 13 – You’re already on it!!
I will finish here with a tribute to the Northern Territory using lyrics from a hugely popular and loved classic of the screen and Broadway.  I couldn’t have said it better!!
“There’s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall
And the bells in the steeple too
And up in the nursery an absurd little bird
Is popping out to say, “Cuckoo”
Cuckoo, cuckoo
Regretfully they tell us cuckoo, cuckoo
But firmly they compel us
To say, “Goodbye”, to youSo long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night
I hate to go and leave this pretty sightSo long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to you and you and youSo long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen

I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye
I leave and heave a sigh and say “Goodbye”, goodbye

I’m glad to go, I cannot tell a lie
I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly

The sun has gone to bed and so must I
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye”

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A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 12b.

Kata Tjuta – Walpa Gorge

Hi There,

Continuing our sojourn at Kata Tjuta, we next moved onto Walpa Gorge, a much shorter walk of about 1 hour return, this is a desert refuge for plants and animals as the soaring high walls shield the gorge from the hot sun.

Notice above on the left hand side on top of the dome, plants in a very exposed situation, coping with all sorts of extreme weather.  Walpa means windy and quite frequently you will get refreshing winds through here.  Refreshing in winter time may mean “cold”.

We didn’t see any animals in this gorge and one could imagine that with the hoards of tourists who come in here everyday, they would be quite selective with the times they would show themselves.

The walls are virtually straight up and down!

Not sure why I included this photo, just like how the water plays across the stony ground.  This is actually a very small stream that was trickling across the pathway.  Might be more apt to call it runoff.  Just imagine its a high-resolution satellite image taken from high altitude of a flooded plain.  Amazing what you can see in a picture!  Look at the size of those people walking compared to the gorge walls!

Here’s a few more water related shots.  No doubt the native fauna enjoys these cool ponds.

A nice reflection.

We are nearing the end of the track here and the flora landscape is dominated by the Spear wood vine, Pandorea doratoxylon ,  which is making very large shrubs and thickets here.  We have seen this at a few locations now, click HERE to revisit this plant at Serpentine Gorge, or just have another look at Serpentine Gorge, it is spectacular!  We even spotted it at Kings Canyon, now that’s a spectacular place, hint..hint

An interesting information panel above.  Below you can see some of the Spearwood in flower(white dots on green foliage, if you squint).

Well, we’ve reached the end of the track and officially our feet are now sore and tired after two days of a fair bit of walking, but we are at peace with the landscape and our minds are refreshed.

Thanks Kata Tjuta, we may or may not ever see you again, but your features and form are forever indelibly inked in our minds.

As we make our way back to camp for our last night in the Territory, we make one final stop at the beating heart of our great land.

So long Uluru, it has been wonderful!

Cheers!