What is wonderful about the Kimberley is the things that are hidden. The landscape is amazing, from ancient scraggy rock karst in beautiful ombré red tones to the flat sandy grasslands, now golden and baked under the sun. I have written about the magnificent boab tree, which sits following flows of water, ancient and new but I haven’t yet mentioned the gorges, those cracks hidden in the vast planes which cut deep into the earth.
When I first met The Man at quite a tender age, I fell in love. I knew that this was the man I wanted to marry, the one I wanted to spend my life with. I think part of you, perhaps the part that lives beyond life, knows when you encounter a soul mate and immediately some part of you recognizes them even if you decide not to acknowledge it. Even if they are difficult, demanding or secretive … not that The Man is any of these things … Yet somehow you know you have met a destiny of one kind or another.
The most striking thing about entering the North West corner of the continent, the top end of Western Australia from the remote NW Northern Territory, is the magnificent old man boab (also the baobab of Africa & Egypt). These wonderful trees, which have captured the rains of the monsoon dot the landscape and are found from the coast of WA east into the Northern Territory, bloated in their push to survive an ancient red and harsh country.
They were a valuable food source for the Aboriginal tribes not only in their abundant fruit but also for providing water trapped in hollows in their twisted trunks. The tribal people chose the slightly immature (greenish rather than brown) fruit and found them best roasted. The pulp is similar to stewed fruit in texture and taste. If however the fire is too hot they will explode, so take care. The seeds in the fleshy fruit can also be collected and roasted and eaten like peanuts. Even the sap can be added to water to make a drink. The pith will dry to a fibrous sherbet with the seeds mixed in but this, though pleasant tasting will drive on a considerable thirst. Continue reading
We have been freecamping across two states for several weeks now. The camps have been a delight from Cairns to the Western Australian Border. Those who understand the Outback, who understand the Aussie perchance to tour and explore along the needs travellers have for simple comfort and survival, have ensured that there are rest areas, often well appointed.
In a landscape that sits quiet and still within the vastness of a singular horizon, when you come across such a striking natural feature as the Devils Marbles it is no wonder that the old Aboriginal tribal people as well as Aussies today, found much to be amazed with. In the Central desert and vast savannah country of the Northern Territory in the red heart of Australia, you find a truly wonderful landscape. The photo is deceptive… there a hundreds if not thousands of these clusters of marbles scattered within the bowl of their creation.
The vast region of the Northern Territory, which is by no means the largest sector of Australia, but certainly one of the countries foremost frontiers and it has within its boundaries iconic destinations. There are many, indeed everyone has an opinion but there are some that should be on every traveller’s list of ‘Musts’. Some of these icons have faded, others have grown to become gems and so many are truly very much still a magnificent wilderness.
We are camped up near Tenant Creek in the Northern Territory having crossed the border along the ‘Overlanders Way’, a long and lonely stretch of tar that is the world of the vast grasslands and savannah of the Australian Outback or otherwise known as The Top End. We took a left at the Three Ways, coming in from Queensland and here you either turn left into the heart of the country onto Alice Springs and Adelaide, or right into Kakadu on the way to Katherine and Darwin. The roads are good and as a local has said… “So they should be. NT only has two.” Continue reading
I’m on an adventure at the moment, a treasure hunt and I feel like a crusader in the Lost Ark from the Indiana Jones series. You see I found a treasure map, some years ago now. It was in the back of an old tome of Australian Lore and Legend from the Dreamtime. The study, later published a number of times was written over a hundred years ago by an anthropologist in his record of ancient Australian tribal custom and structure.
Having crossed the vast coloured ombre’ plains of a thousand ochre shades, we are now taking a moment to rest-up on the banks of the Georgina. We are at the top end and far West in the Gulf Country. Next we will be venturing into the central deserts of the Northern Territory though they are not deserts as you would imagine them. Savannah and grasslands of vast flood plains would better describe the land where we are headed.
We caught a train this week, one that is the most unusual and the most isolated in the world. It travels between Normanton and Croydon and that is the only place it travels. It’s affectionately known as the Gulflander and it’s been in operation since 1991 on a narrow gauge rail that is in itself unique. The rail line is completely made of iron, the sleepers, the line and it has no need of ballast.
The train was a true charmer, an old lady of a past era with no windows but blinds, leather bench seats and quaint detail right down to the brass passenger bell and chord. It also has a crank petrol engine… I did say it was unique and it truly is. In Australia, the like can only be found at Australind in WA and Puffing Billy in the Gippsland of Victoria.