Hi There!

As its been a year, I thought I would look back to the start of last year where we went for a holiday to the seaside town of Kiama on the South Coast of New South Wales.  Quite a lovely spot with plenty to do and see.  Situated 120km south of Sydney this makes it an ideal spot for Sydneysiders to holiday here which we are not!  Most of the people we met were though.  It took us about 5 and a half hours to get there too.  The caravan park at Kiama East beach was really good with access directly onto the beach and plenty to do.

Beautiful clear water with nice waves, quite rough when the wind was up otherwise it was calm.

Sun has just set behind the hills to the rear of Kiama which lead to the escarpment up to the plains around Bowral and Moss Vale.  It’s quite a drop from Moss Vale through Knights Hill down to Kiama.  The Budderoo National Park is here to which is spectacular.  Here’s some nice rock pools at Kiama East Beach with the waves crashing in behind them!

A kid being buried alive on the beach.  Apparently he was rescued at a later date.

More kids contemplating the ocean.

Around Kiama there a couple of Blowholes.  A large one and a small one.  When we were there the small one was outpacing the large one by a country mile.  That’s a long way by the way!

Above we have some tourists waiting for the action and below we have the small blow-hole from a distance.

The coastline here is quite impressive and there’s a lovely walk along it in either direction from the caravan park.  Here a some photos of the sea crashing into the coastline.

There’s something therapeutic about watching the waves roll in If you are looking for a great summer holiday.  Kiama is the place to go!  Stay tuned for future posts from this part of the world.



Hi There!

Hi There!

I understand its been a while since I posted here!  I discovered another thing called Instagram but it’s not everything nor is Facebook or word press for that matter.  We’ve had a couple of little trips since the last big trip, spring has come and gone again(just about).  So, I have a bit of material I can talk about.

There was a trip to Kiama in January.  More will be revealed later.

There was some skiing action.  More may be revealed later.

There was a trip to the Grampians.  More will definitely be revealed later.  Just Beautiful.

Spring Arrived.  More will be revealed about this.

I think that will do.  Obviously there’s a whole lot more that goes on with life but seriously, who’s interested in that.  we go to work, we come home from work, we have tea, we go to the toilet, we sleep, we wake up, we go to work, we have morning tea, we come home, we have tea, we go to sleep, we wake up, we go to work, we have morning tea, we have lunch, we go to the toilet, we go home, we have tea, we go to sleep, we wake up.  Get the picture!

Have a nice day.  Don’t forget to brush your teeth.


A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 12a.

Kata Tjuta – Valley of the Winds

Hi There,

The next day dawned bright and not a cloud in sight, a bit different from yesterdays weather at Uluru(see part 11).  Todays adventure was being held at Kata Tjuta aka the Olga’s.  Another amazing landform not far from Uluru with rich cultural attachments for the local people.

Kata Tjuta is Pitjantjatjara meaning ‘many heads’, clearly evident in the above photo how they got to that name!  More formally you would describe it as an imposing series of mounds and domes that rise out of the surrounding landscape to an astonishing height of 546 metres above the plane(or 1066 metres above sea level).  That’s a staggering 200 metres(roughly) taller than Uluru(Ayres Rock), yet I don’t think it is as well-known as Uluru.  I suppose the difference is you can’t climb Kata Tjuta whereas you can Uluru occasionally!  What is it with us white fella’s wanting to climb and stomp over everything anyway… I digress, there will be no more political leanings or thoughts from now on!  As is the case with Uluru, these rock formations are just the tip of a huge slab of conglomerate that may extend up to 6 kilometres underground.  What is conglomerate?  I will get to that later!

These two photos were taken from the dune viewing area where there were some interesting plants to check out as well, always a good thing.

This is the Broad leaf Parakeelya, Calandrinia balonensis, an annual or perennial growing to 30cm either way with a basal rosette of fleshy linear to lanceolate leaves up to 10 cm long and 1 cm wide.  A good indicator plant of recent good rain, if there’s a good number and they are of a good size-this indicates recent good rain as they grow rapidly during wet seasons and store water for the dry times.  It has a small purple poppy like flower on  tallish stems that dance around in the breeze, if there is one!

Also from the dune viewing platform, you can swivel 90 degrees to the right and this is what you see below.

The only other imposing rock that’s around here!  The tree’s you see in the distance are Desert Oak, Allocasuarina decaisneana , also look at the first two photos of this post, the majority are all Desert Oak, quite common across the spinifex grasslands.  Juvenile Desert Oak are quite different in appearance compared to mature examples.  More will be revealed about these trees in a future post! Now lets head off and have a look at this place.

Kata Tjuta is a Anangu mens site and sacred under traditional law, which means for us tourists there is no wandering off the pathways.  There are plenty of different walks here and lots to see, so as we meander along, please stay with me!  No wandering off!  Note in the above photo the puddle of water which is a byproduct of rain we had here the day before.  If you have read part 11 of this series you would realise this, but now we were enjoying the crisp sunshine, it is winter by the way!  A balmy 17 degrees Celsius!  You can see a bunch of people above, and to their left a green patch.  I will concentrate on that now, the patch that is.

Here’s that green patch.  Wanderrie grass , Eriachne scleranthoides , a very rare type of grass, see quote from Grasses of Australia, “Known from two localities in SW central Australia. Conglomerate monoliths (Mt Olga and Mt Currie) growing on crests, scree slopes, in chasms and crevices, in shallow sand, gravelly slopes or shallow stony red soil, sometimes in seepage from
massive boulders. Flowers May (late-autumn) and Aug.-Oct. (late-winter to mid-spring)”.  Above we have a seepage area on a scree slope, which is where it likes to grow.

Quite a sharp prickly grass, looks more shrub like though doesn’t it!  Even closer below.

This is a problem I find, I get distracted by things off to the side of the pathway and lo and behold the next time I look up the family is gone!!  I’m sure I’ll catch them somewhere.

The remarkable thing about Kata Tjuta is that it’s composed of a different type of rock than what Uluru(made of sandstone) is which is only 50 kilometres away(by road, 32 as the crow flies).  Katu Tjuta is a conglomerate, a gravel consisting of pebbles, boulders and cobbles cemented by sand and mud.  Conglomerate is also a sedimentary type rock.  From a distance Kata Tjuta looks like the other big rock just around the corner, but up close its quite rough, see below photo.

Don’t know why, but I found this quite fascinating.  Here in the middle of no where, the only two objects that rise above the plain separated by a mere 50 kilometres are made of completely different rock.  I’m sure this happens everywhere, but I just found it fascinating..  Click HERE for more geology information on this rock formation.  If this was originally a huge slab of rock, how did it become domes and valleys?  This is likely to be mechanical erosion of sand from the rock and other chemical erosion caused by moisture.  The major Valley may have been fractured from the time of the Alice Springs Orogeny.  Chemical weathering due to ground water widened the fissures and rainwater run off gradually formed the domes and canyons we now see.

Now for some more wildflowers.  Look at that patch of Pussytails, Ptilotis.

Closer view here. This is actually Hairy Mulla Mulla, Ptilotus helipteroides .  The stems and leaves have a persistent covering of medium to dense hairs, giving it its common name.

It is an annual herb growing to about 50cm and usually occurs on rocky or gravelly ranges, hills or rises and on acidic rock and also found in Mulga dominated red plains and other locations.

Flowering from June until November, now for a real close-up!

We were heading to the Valley of the Winds and eventually the Karingana lookout, a return trip of 2.5 hours on a grade 4 – difficult track according to the visitor guide.  I think it was more in line with moderate track!  Here we are well into the Valley of the Winds and yes it was slightly breezy here!

It’s at this point in the above photo that if the temperature is over 36 deg Celsius at 11am, the track is closed.  This is the Karu Lookout, impressive to say the last.  Those mounds in the distance look like a flight of stairs, sort of!

As you can see it is quite rocky here.

Nothing amazing with the above photo, just showing more rock and more conglomerate, you can also see water seeping out from under that large slab.  Below is a swathe of Hairy Mulla Mulla, quite impressive to see it like this in its natural environment.

Again not a great photo but it just shows a lovely natural garden bed with no human influence!  I read something recently which I hadn’t really thought of before and that was someone’s thought on grouping colours in the garden as we do, pastels here, bright hot colours over there and so on.  The thought was (not exactly in these words)”Nature doesn’t separate plants into colour groupings, so I’m not going too.  There is just a riot of colour throughout my garden”.  I really liked that and it may just become my new mantra.  Not sure what the old mantra was!!

Lovely clear stream!

These plants I have no idea at the moment what they are, they are a work in progress.

Pretty, never the less!

In the above photo we are nearing the Karingana Lookout.  You can see it in the distance, the high part in between the two walls.  The walls of the domes just seemed to rise and rise into the bright noon day sun.Well!  We made it, what an amazing panorama greeted us!

Time to sit down for a quick bite to eat.  The 3 oldest boys decided they would keep going on the circuit walk and us oldies along with our youngest lad turned back here.  Here they are heading off at breakneck speed as per normal!

Below is another beautiful spot to recharge your batteries!

Heading back to Karu Lookout.  Below we have another Pussytail, Ptilotus exaltus , also known as Tall Mulla Mulla.

Grows to about 1.5 metres tall forming large showy drifts in open scrub and mulga country.  The flowers start off cone shape then eventually lengthen to be elongated and cylindrical 3-20cm in length and 4.5cm in diameter.  Compare the above two photos.  The leaves are quite thick and rubbery looking,  flowering from early spring until summer.  Widespread across all mainland states.  Here’s a small drift of them below.

Simply gorgeous!

Below is another plant that has featured in quite a few of these Northern Territory posts.  Solanum quadriloculatum

Another plant we saw was , Hakea subarea . This small tree also made an appearance at Ormiston Gorge.  Click HERE if you can’t remember!

Here’s a beautiful Eremophila as well.  Quite possibly Eremophila latrobei .

Some walls for perspective!  Note the little pocket of green three-quarters of the way up.  Plants Hey!  Amazing.

More tall walls, this one below includes small people, well not small people, just normal ones!

This is a small person one though!

He’s also carrying a firearm( a gun I was told!).

Here are some more flowering meadows(for want of a better word) which were good to see.

Oops! forgot about this little fellow. sorry!

This plant below is Cattle bush or Camel bush.  Yet again you see the need for scientific names!!  Two common names for the same plant, not confusing at all!  It is actually Trichodesma zeylanicum .  A perennial plant growing to 1 metre occurring on rocky hills and sand dunes, stony alluvial soils or areas subjected to seasonal flooding, flowering in winter and spring.

It was originally eaten by camels in the outback, hence one of its common names.  One presumes then that cattle also ate or still eat it!  Summer forage option!  Here’s a few more random plant photos!

More stunning scenery!

Here’s one last plant I noticed when we had nearly finished the Valley of the Winds Circuit walk.  I walked right past this on the way in!  Go figure.

Obviously a Brachyscome of some description, beautiful anyway.

A nice sculpture below.  The dead tree that is.

Now we are nearly back to the start of this circuit walk.  We did another small walk after this one but I will cover that next time round, i.e. part 12b!  To finish off, I have added the below photos sans words as a parting gesture to the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta.  They speak for themselves!


A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 7.

Macdonnell Ranges-Serpentine Gorge

Hi there!

Heading west out of Alice Springs on Namatjira drive you are soon in the heart of the Macdonnell Ranges.  We went past places like, Standley Chasm, Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Water Hole and then we pulled up at Serpentine Gorge.  All these places by the way are easily accessible from Alice Springs as Day trips, quite handy if you don’t want to camp out in the wilds!  The Macdonnell Ranges run for about 640 odd km’s east and west of Alice Springs.  Parallel ridges on either side of the valley are quite visible and in these ridges there are gaps which provide spectacular scenery and beautiful waterholes to cool of in the middle of summer.  The Ranges were green from recent rain which really made them standout amongst the surrounding landscape of red and ochre desert colours.  If you want to learn more about the Macdonnell ranges click HERE.

Serpentine Gorge was created by a south flowing creek which has cut through two ridges of Heavitree Quartzite leaving a spectacular gorge.  The road in is not too bad for a dirt road and once you get to the parking area it’s about a 1.5km walk in to the gorge across dry creek beds and scrubland.  If you’re lucky and are here after rain there are lots of wildflowers to see.  I was the one lagging behind taking photos of plants and flowers as the rest of the family steamed ahead to the heady heights of the gorge lookout.  Now if you want to see pictures of Serpentine Gorge in all its glory, I’m not going to show them right now!  You will need to scroll through this post to find them, cruel I know but well worth it!

Here is one of the dry creek beds, very rocky as you can see.

img_1749This is what a lot of the surrounding plant scape looks like, uninspiring you may say but you just need to look closely to find its beauty.

img_1786Larapinta trail marker, this walking trail is 223km in length across the Macdonnell ranges, click on this link, maybe one day!


If you’re walking too fast you will miss this little plant.  Brachyscome ciliaris also known as Variable Daisy is found in all states of Australia and usually in sand and gibber plains(extended plain with loose rocks).  Grows to about 45cm.  Brachyscome quite often seen in nurseries and gardens around the country even more exciting to find it out here!

img_1784Remember!  Don’t just look ahead, cast your eye’s down and to the sides of where you’re walking, you’ll never know what you will find or see next.

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Above is a couple of more photos of this little gem.  Now, what about some Nightshade!  Solanum quadriloculatum.  That’s a mouthful, Wild Tomato sound better? Be very wary, this plants fruit are poisonous, another reason why common names are misleading.  This plant grows to 50 x 50cm near flooded watercourses and or low sand dunes.  It’s quite prickly and flowers in winter and spring.  

img_1416-1Below is Senna artemisoides subsp. artemisoides, another mouthful but a very beautiful shrub which grows to about 1-2 metres with beautiful yellow buttercup flowers in winter and spring.

img_1774 img_1788Maybe you can just call it the Silver Cassia.  Now for an Emu Bush.  Eremophila latrobei , commonly known as the Crimson Turkeybush, click HERE if you want to read more about this plant.  Quite beautiful!

img_1366-1 img_1426-1Another stunning Emu bush is Eremophila longifolia , also known as Berrigan, tall shrub to small tree weeping in form, click HERE if you want to know more about the Berrigan.

img_1770Sorry, I got distracted with the plants in the Serpentine Gorge, lets move onto the scenery.  This is the first sort of glimpse of the gorge and it looks like its sort of straight up to the top, hmm!

img_1781Lets go for it!  Now we are starting the climb up and here you can clearly see the parallel ridge lines that run through the Macdonnell Ranges.

img_1797Another couple of views of those ridge lines

img_1801 img_1805Yes, as you can see above we are getting higher, quite spectacular!  It is quite a rocky landscape and on these hillsides there is a lot of Porcupine grass, Trioda irritans.  The last past of its botanic name sums it up very well indeed, very irritating because it’s quite prickly.

img_1819 img_1800Below are more views across the valley.

img_1347-1 img_1794Another plant of interest for me to see in the wild was Dodonaea viscosa , the Broad leaf Hop Bush or just plain Hop Bush, very common in gardens around the country and useful for many things from hedging to specimen plantings.  It’s a very variable plant in the wild and widespread across the country.

img_1792 img_1798Now I know photos are great but there’s just no comparison to actually being there and seeing this landscape.  I have a great digital SLR camera but it doesn’t capture the WOW! The size, scope and detail of what your eyes are looking at or what your feeling right then and there as you look at this amazing country.  Below is the Serpentine Gorge.



img_1814 img_1808 img_1817 img_1807Where does one go now from these heights?  Down one would expect and lo and behold something I missed on the way up nearly hit me fair and square in the head on the way down.

img_1830Leaning over the rocky pathway was this intriguing large shrub with what looked like  stems twining around themselves like a climbing plant.  This is Pandorea doratoxylon also known as the Spearwood Vine.  The Aboriginal people use this plant for spears hence its common name. The long twining stems are light weight and are straightened and hardened over a fire.  The flowers are quite pretty when one comes upon them in such a tough landscape.

img_1828If they look familiar to you, you may be thinking of Pandorea jasminoides the Wonga Wonga vine or also known as the Bower Vine or one of the many hybrids available today.  You would be correct because they are in the same family Bignoniaceae.  Check out this closeup below!

img_1829This next photo doesn’t show too much, I just liked the detail of the bark.  To me it tells a story of the harsh landscape in which it resides.

img_1803These next photos show an interesting Grevillea, the Holly Leaf Grevillea, Grevillea wickhamii.  There are a few sub species but I’m not sure which one this is.  I have pictures of this flowering at a different location which will be revealed at a later date!

img_1833 img_1827 You can see above that the new growth gives the plant a tinge of yellow which from a distance look like flowers.img_1826Some more plants of interest here included another beautiful Emu Bush, Eremophila freelingii. The Rock Fuchsia Bush.

img_1353-1 img_1355-1A characteristic of this plant is that it sheds its lower leaves during drought to conserve moisture, you can see that quite clearly in the above photo, the plant looks half dead but it’s not!  Grows to about 1.5 metres.  The lilac flowers are stunning and are produced after it rains.  Just a few more views below of this beautiful plant on the sides of Serpentine Gorge.

img_1793 img_1789 img_1354-1Funnily enough another surprise was what looked to be some type of Fern here as well and yes it was.  Not sure of its identity but quite possibly Cheilanthes brownie , The Northern Rock Fern, either way still remarkable to me to see a fern out here.  Nature is amazing.

img_1834 img_1780Another interesting plant we saw was a parasite.  Lysiana exocarpi , the Harlequin Mistletoe.  This parasite is found mostly in inland locations and is very colourful.

img_1778 img_1776Now we have made it back down and headed into the cool of the gorge, being winter it wasn’t hot out in the open so one could imagine how nice and cool it would be in the heat of summer.

img_1842In the above photo in the distance you can see some cycads, Macrozamia macdonnellii , the Macdonnell Ranges Cycad.  Here they are below as well.

img_1841Ah well!  That’s about it for the Serpentine Gorge, here’s a few last photos of plants and foliage.

Lets have some lunch, its been a great morning in the Macdonnell Ranges.  Serpentine Gorge has been a truly magical experience.

img_1422-a-1Finally a last look into the gorge.


A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 3

Alice Springs Reptile Centre

Hi There,

We decided to do quite a few touristy things in Alice Springs and the Reptile Centre was one of those we visited.  We got to meet a whole range of creatures, some new and some we were just reacquainting ourselves with.  From the outside the Reptile Centre didn’t look like much but as always, never judge a book by its cover.  There were heaps of different Geckos, quite a few snakes, Goannas, lizards and Terry the Salt water Crocodile.

IMG_1402Above is the Olive Python, Liasis olivaceus.  My goodness this fella was huge, lucky the glass didn’t just vanish hey!  Adults can reach over 4 metres in length, the second largest snake species in Australia.  Dinner also includes the below pictured, Rock Wallaby, Yum!  That’s quite a mouthful….


Here’s something a bit more pleasant and smaller to look at.  Two of the many Geckos, top photo being the Mesa Gecko and bottom one is the Knob Tailed Gecko.  There is a Gecko Cave at the reptile centre holding about 13 species from habitats in the Northern Territory.

IMG_1393IMG_1391Pogona vitticeps, aka the Central Bearded Dragon pictured below can grow up to 60cm in length with the tail accounting for approximately half of its length.  Central Bearded Dragons can be seen with a range of different colours, browns, reddish-brown,  red, white, orange and yellows.

IMG_1401See his scary beard under his chin, used to intimidate would be tacklers!  When threatened they flatten themselves, puff up their throats and open their jaws to look bigger and more fearsome.  The photo below shows a different coloured Dragon, they change colour to regulate their temperature.

IMG_1366We were able to pass this fella around which was pretty cool!  Quite soft to touch apart from his claws.

IMG_1378Here is the Centralian Carpet Python, Morelia bredli growing to 2 metres and in captivity its known to get to 3 metres or more.  Don’t think we need to dwell on this anymore, moving right along!!


This is the Western Brown Snake, Pseudonaja mengdeni , a mouthful I know and one scary looking snake also known as gwarder(aboriginal name) which means “go the long way around”, great advice I say!  I refer to the Australian Museum website, “The snake’s fangs are quite short (only 2-3 mm), however the venom is very potent and has high neurotoxic and haemolytic activity. A bite from any species of brown snake should be treated as life-threatening and medical attention sought without delay.”

IMG_1400Talking about Brown snakes, here’s the King Brown, Pseudechis australis.  Another one to give a miss or go the long way around!!

IMG_1396Luckily its a bit out of focus so it wont see you!!  Here’s a few more animals from the Alice Springs Reptile Centre.


Last but not least is Terry, Crocodylus porosus , the Salt Water Crocodile.  We learnt a few things about Terry that I didn’t know before.

IMG_1362 IMG_1360 IMG_1359Never ever touch croc infested water, if you do you will be dead(most likely),  vibration for them is like pollen to a honey bee.  If you see their eyes break the water surface, you have just been triangulated, they know where you are.  If you’re walking past croc infested waters – make sure you have a small dog with you.  They are far more interested in small animals than they are in you.  There is no such thing as a death roll, you are already dead, they are just trying to rip a piece of you off yourself because their hungry. They kill their prey by drowning them and it only takes a minute or so, no rolling required  Their teeth are quite blunt and they tear pieces off, so that’s why you get rolled around. . See, not a death roll, more like a subway sub being prepared!  So on that happy note, have a great day and look out for Terry!



A trip to the Northern Territory. Part 1

Hi There,

Having been absent from the world of blogging for quite a while, what better way to get back into it than showcasing our very recent adventure to the Northern Territory.  Alice Springs being the furthest point we would go to and at about 2351km(according to Google maps) from where we live, some planning was required.  particularly if your going to drive.  Now Google Maps tells you it will take 25 hours.  That’s one full day of driving plus one hour, no stops…. Throw in a car load of people(4 kids plus 2 adults), makes for an interesting trip to say the least!  Don’t panic, we didn’t do it in a day +1.  We did it over four days, had a look around, made our way back and ended up clocking about 6250km travelled in just under three weeks.

Hope you enjoy this series of posts, it may take a while but hope you can stick around and enjoy them as much as we enjoyed our little holiday!

A Road not so much less travelled

Saturday Night 18/06

IMG_1199Having ticked of several different lists, scratched my head more than a few times, what else do we need, what have I forgotten, do I need this if this happens?  Time is fast approaching when the road will be calling us and I think we have everything packed, a bit late now if we haven’t!  There is so many little things that you need to think about when your leaving on an extended holiday over what may include rough terrain.  Major items may include bedding, clothing, food, cutlery, plates, cups, toilet paper, shovel.  Did you swap the gas bottle over?  Minor items may include, well what do you class minor, something that’s small?  What about spare nuts and bolts, hose clamps, D shackles, tools, wire?  I’m afraid nothing is small on a big trip like this, many things can go wrong.

Sunday Morning 19/06

I think the alarm went off about 5:30am, hoping to be on the road about 6:30am.  We were planning for a big day to get us on the way.  Morgan in South Australia was the destination 843km away and roughly 9 hours driving time.  Seven o’clock we drove out the gate, a little late but not bad.  Our adventure had started.

IMG_0041Morning tea saw us in Deniliquin for a quick cuppa and a fuel stop.  Everything seemed to be holding together and the bikes were still behind us, always a good sign.

IMG_1201Lunchtime had us in Balranald and it was still cold.  I did have shorts on but always find that more comfortable to drive in than jeans or trousers.  To me car interiors can become quite warm and make one sleepy.  Not a good thing.  We pressed on for Mildura then Cullulleraine for another fuel stop.  By this stage the sun was truly starting to sink in the western sky.  Our dream of reaching Morgan on day 1 was evaporating as I was not willing to risk dusk and night travelling through kangaroo infested territory.  We headed for Renmark and decided to call it a day there.

IMG_1299Camped by the Murray at a free camp site amongst the gum trees, wonderful, plenty of firewood!  Wrong, there was no firewood.  All those pesky campers before us had cleared any fallen wood out of there.  Small twigs and plenty of bark had to suffice, amazingly we made do!

Monday Morning 20/06

Time to pack up and get back on the road and see how far we can get today knowing that we were behind our original schedule by 116km.  Day 2 we originally pencilled in Coober Pedy but from our current location that was 935km away, realistically we knew that we wouldn’t be able to do it so we would push on until the light started to fail.  Every stop takes longer than what you think it will.  Made it to Crystal Brook for Lunch and more fuel, a nice little town.  We then pushed on for Port Augusta.  I had heard stories about this place but was heartened to notice a road sign that said “You have come a long way and so have we”.  We stopped for groceries at about 3 pm here amongst all the army convoys.  There was army stuff every where, then realised Cultana Army Training Reserve was not far from here.  Boys had fun looking at everything!

IMG_1303 IMG_1304Bushmaster, now that’s one solid vehicle and even being in a Pajero ourselves as I pulled up beside one I was still looking up to its drivers window.  We pushed on through Port Augusta, came to a roundabout.  Left was the Eyre Highway and Western Australia, right was the Stuart Highway and the Northern Territory. Right it was and now we were really heading north.  We made it to a destination I like to call “Somewhere on the Stuart Highway about 70km south of Pimba”.

IMG_1210 IMG_1308 IMG_1311 IMG_1317

Beautiful sunset, lovely full moon, soft red sand, fireplace already prepared for us, oh and burr’s!  Boys keep your shoes or thongs on please..Stuart Hwy on one side, Trans Tasman Railway line on the other, lovely and peaceful.  Sort of!IMG_1324You get use to the road trains pretty quick because they go all night long.  Three or Four semi trailer behemoths all joined together rumbling along in the dark getting louder as they approach you.  The other problem was the other type of train,  lights piercing the darkness a rumbling noise getting louder and whoosh, a goods train rolls passed on to some far-flung destination.  Lucky there was only 2 overnight.

Tuesday Morning 21/06

Up early, pack and on the road again.  Decided to get to Pimba for late breakfast at Spuds Roadhouse.


Decided on the Big breakfast and then to forgo lunch, we were trying to reach Coober Pedy for the night and have a look around.  Got their early afternoon and it didn’t seem that appealing to us, so decided to stock up on fuel and supplies and press on to Cadney Homestead which we reached about 5pm.  Cadney Homestead(Park) is a large Roadhouse with Bar, Restaurant, Various accommodation options and fuel of course, as are most road houses out here and across Australia.  Get set up, cook tea, HOT SHOWER!  Now that was nice!

IMG_1319 IMG_1322

 Wednesday Morning 22/06

Final push for Alice Springs today which was still overcast and drizzling now and then.  Reached the border about lunchtime and had a quick toilet break and a power nap.


Pushed on to Kulgera for Lunch


Alice Springs was within our grasp now and about 3pm we rolled into town.  Pulled up to the MacDonell Ranges Big4 caravan park to be greeted with 2 queues of caravans and camper trailers waiting to check in! The person in front of me at the check in counter was a bit bothered since the caravan park had no reference of their internet booking.  Oh no I thought, hope they have mine!  All was well, checked in and made our way to campsite #316.  This would have to be the biggest campground in Australia, there were at least 500 sites I think.  Massive!IMG_1231

So that was our Journey to Alice Springs where we spent 5 days relaxing and seeing the sites!  Stay tuned for part 2.



Hi There!

Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  The answer to these two questions is of course nowhere and nothing.  Do I have writers block, not that I can write though.  Have I been away?  You already know the answer to that one.  Have I been on sick leave or have I broken both arms so that I can’t type?  Did I loose my fingers in a horrible industrial accident?  No.  Have I been busy?  Yes and no. Do I have to fight the kids to get on the computer?  Yes.  That excuse is waning though, since they all have laptops from school.  Do they do much school work on them? NO.  Are the days getting shorter?  Yes.  Will it rain again? At some stage no doubt.  Have I been on Long Service Leave? No, do I want to be? Yes, any leave will do.  Is the dog barking?  Occasionally.

A fox got into the chook yard a couple of weeks ago and decided to have a roast chook for dinner.  Now we only have two left.  How many chooks were there before the fox visited?  Is it blowy outside?  Well, today is.  Did the sun rise?  Yes.  Did you see the Aurora Australis?  We didn’t, to far north.  Do you want to move to Tasmania?  Depends.  You can see the aurora australis from there.  Would you like to go to Nepal?  Yes.  What about N. America?  Yes.  Bali?  No!  What’s with all the questions?  Is it not the Spanish Inquisition?  No, that happened a few years ago.  Can we go to Spain?  Of course!

Did you have breakfast?  Yes.  What’s for lunch?  Not sure, what’s for tea?  Food I think.  Have you fed the animals?  Ummm.  Can you clean up your room?  Why.  Because it’s a mess!  Here’s some standard teenage responses that I know of.  Why?  That’s not fair, later, I’m in the middle of a game and it can’t be paused.  He made the mess, not me.  Hurr, why, when, how come?  Why.  I have rights, I’m a young adult now!  Why, what for.  No! So!  I’m hungry.

Are the leaves turning?  Yes.  Are the nights cooler? Sometimes.  Have we got enough firewood?  Nearly.  Is the firebox cleaned out?  Not quite, why didn’t you do it last year?  Not sure.  Firewood is stacked though.

Can I go now?  Sure!



Summer time

Hi there,

I sit here and feel the still day with air that you think you will be able to cut with a knife because it’s oppressively hot and thick.
Sweat drips down my forehead and silently falls onto the dusty dry ground. For a second or two there’s a dark spot where the sweat fell,then it’s gone, evaporated by the sheer heat that radiates from the sun.
A cloud passes between the sun and the earth and mercifully there’s respite for a brief second where the suns rays cannot be felt. But the air is still oppressive. That’s summertime!
The minutes tick by seemingly going slower as the sun rises higher in the sky. Waves of heat rise from the ground creating a shimmering hazy effect which creates illusions, you see the oasis, but then it’s gone.
A breeze appears from nowhere, the very air itself is hot and of no relief to you. The wind brings dust stirred up from the interior of the country, stripped from dry paddocks and open land. Deposited hundreds of kilometres away and of no use to anyone.
The Cicadas start their high-pitched drone, some years worse than others but a sure sign summer is here. The birds get their work done early and then retreat into the shade to find some relief , the not so friendly snakes, browns and tigers mostly, come out to warm their cold bodies making us tread wearily through the long grass.  That’s summertime.  The kookaburra’s sit in the trees or on power lines looking and waiting for their next meal to slither into sight. The wedge tail eagles launch from their hill-side nests and lazily making circles in the sky drifting along until they catch a rising thermal which launches them high into the sky giving them a panoramic view from which they can view the earth with their all-seeing eyes. He swoops but this time he misses his target. Now the hard slog starts to get back to altitude.
Need I mention the flies which surround you like a cloud, getting in your ears, nostrils and even down your throat if you breathe in at the wrong time. That’s summertime.

You hear a crack, it’s a ball hitting a piece of willow.  Cricket, the nations game, played and revered by many throughout the Commonwealth.  Played on ovals, backyards, beaches and just about anywhere where there’s a bit of room.  Every backyard version has its own rules unique to your backyard.   A gentleman’s game, R.I.P Phil Hughes.
You hear a splash, it’s the local pool in full swing, providing a cool respite enjoyed by all ages. The air conditioning also provides a cool haven as well as the tree, providing welcoming shade.
You hear a roar, it’s the waves crashing onto the beach, the current pulls the water out, then it’s in again constantly moving yet somehow providing a calming influence. Surf and sand provides joy for many a long hour.  You hear a jingle,  it sounds like Greensleeves, it’s the Mr Whippy ice-cream van providing cold treats for everyone.  There’s a mad dash to find your parents.  Can I have some money please?

Summertime! It’s not all bad…

Hello and Goodbye

Hi There!

After deciding to go down the solar electricity route, we signed up for a system on the 17th of July.  When the installers got here finally and installed the system on our shed roof, they asked how are we connecting this to the house.  We said via the trench you have to dig and lay the appropriate cable.  “No one told us about a trench” they said.  “You contact your people” I said.  They said back “you contact your people”, okay.  My people said ” we will contact their people”, which they did, their people contacted them back then back the other way and then vice versa.  “You will have to pay for the trench and appropriate wiring” my people said to me.  “No I won’t” was my reply, the contract say’s it’s going on the shed roof, not my fault your sales team forget to mention anything about a trench to connect it to the house as was discussed with said sales people.

Trench people finally come, dig a trench make a mess, run a cable, connect it all up, test the system, do some more paperwork, oh and while trenching miss the phone, gas, mains and watering system pipes/cables but manage to clip the storm water pipe!

Said mess after trenching people left and sink holes appearing.


Now we wait for the electrical inspector to come and check it all out,  which he doe’s in a timely fashion, fantastic!

Now we ring our power provider to see if they have received the paperwork so they can send someone out to reprogram our smart meter.  “Sorry, cannot connect you to our solar people today, we’re having phone problems?” or the next day or the one after.  Do they really want us going solar, me thinks not.  Finally get through, “yes have your paperwork, its wrong, have got it fixed up by the trenching people, we have lodged it with another company, they will come and adjust the smart meter”, “when?”, “oh, in the next twenty business days”  Great I say!

Today is the 14th of October, Hello Solar and Goodbye power bills.  We are generating!!!


4.5 kilowatts of beautiful german made solar panels


Inverter and sundry items


A beautiful thing!