Christmas is fast approaching on the horizon, we have skipped through Thanksgiving… irrelevant in Aus and the New Year is on the fast track including the Islamic New Year of Hijri (celebrated only since 622 AD or 615 depending on how you view it) and the Chinese New year or Spring Festival (celebrated since forever) as well as many others drawn from different cultures. So what is this all about and just what is it we all celebrate at this time of year?
In todays global society you are left wondering just what it is we all celebrate at different times but all in the same season and spirit. We should recognize our commonality and respect our differences but first we should also understand these things.
It has been a year. A whole year since we settled into the van to live permanently in transit, travelling the highways and tracks of Aus… out on the wallaby. This was a dream of ours since The Man and I met. It was one we shared from very early on in our lives and now we are living that dream. One we hope to live for many more years to come.
We have left the Kimberley and slipped into the vast region south known as the Pilbara. The desert plains here are vast, the heat is arriving, climbing each day. The humidity is on the wind that sweeps across the plains and you can feel it heavy on your skin. We are headed south towards the cooler temperatures like thousands of other travellers and locals, this to escape the climbing heat and humidity in the air now blowing on our tails.
We have been enjoying a special privilege, visiting one of the vast Outback Stations and at this time of year they are finishing the rounding up cattle for market before the Big Wet arrives, it is almost the end of ‘mustering’ time. This is a time in the Kimberley when the land promises its bounty under the duress of flooding rains, humid heat and scorching sun and before this bounty arrives, the market cattle need to be shipped out and the ‘keepers’ settled in to fatten over the season of abundance. Continue reading →
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.