Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 5 – Marla, South Australia to Yulara, Northern Territory


I was probably up a little later than I had expected to be, but was still away just as dawn broke. It had been a cold night, I was still ill with the flu, but at least I had been nice and warm in the sleeping bag and under the covers in my little tent. Having experienced a very cold night in central Australia many years ago, I have never gone camping again without all that I need to keep comfortable and warm. I now go prepared for all possibilities as far as cold nights are concerned, as the previous cold night in central Australia (18 years ago) was terrible and was in fact less than 100km from Uluru in June 1998. So now I have a sleeping bag I can be comfortable in (one I can fit comfortably in too – no pathetically small single-sized sleeping bag), the doona that I throw over the top and an inflatable double-sized mattress (which helps not only with rough surfaces, but also the very cold ground, which was the real issue 18 years ago). I speak of all this with car-based camping in mind of course – there is no way I would carry this sort of gear for multi-day walks and camping.

Before I could leave Marla I needed to fuel up and had a quick chat with the girl who was serving in the service station – she had been on duty all through the night. She had suggested to me the night before that I come up to the store and be in the air conditioning if it was too cold in the tent. Thankfully I didn’t need to do that, though it probably sounded as though I did – I was pretty ill with the flu and it was very easy to tell.

ABOVE: Wildflowers Just Inside the Northern Territory   BELOW: Just Inside the Northern Territory

The journey today would once again involve a lot of driving, broken up by the odd geocache here and there along the way. However, the main drawcard was always going to be Uluru and I would get some tantalising glimpses before the day was out. I was very keen to reach my destination and the goal of the holiday – the red centre. So today the main stops along the way were the South Australian – Northern Territory border, Erldunda for fuel (just where the turnoff for Yulara and Uluru is, from the Stuart Highway and onto the Lasseter Highway) and also Curtain Springs for one last fuel stop before hitting Yulara. There were a few stops on the Lasseter Highway along the way for a bit of sight-seeing, especially for wildflowers, views of Mount Conner and some early glimpes of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

ABOVE: Mount Conner in the Distance   BELOW: Mount Conner

ABOVE: Mount Conner   BELOW: Uluru in the Distance

On arrival in Yulara I booked in to the Ayers Rock Campground for four nights and set up my tent on a powered site. I chose to exercise restraint and not head off to Uluru straight away, choosing to both rest up for the following day and to wait until I was able to use the full 3 days that my Uluru pass would give me when I purchased it at the entrance to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ($25.00 for an adult for 3 days). So it was a case of resting up and being ready for the base walk around Uluru the next day.

The distance travelled on this day was 503 km – giving me a total of 2872 km for the whole trip to this point.

Once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning, with the excitement mounting, as I would arrive in Yulara the next day and be within sight of Uluru – the main goal of my holiday.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskFHygxC

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 4 – Woomera, South Australia to Marla, South Australia


It was a much later start in the day for me today, departing Woomera at about 7.15am. Being as ill as I was with the flu, I felt I could use the sleep-in. Once I was on my way, it was just off to Pimba for a quick fuel pit stop – Pimba is only a very short distance up the road and took only a matter of minutes to get there. This also marked the beginning of the more expensive fuel prices, with ULP coming in at $1.60 a litre at Pimba. It would be $2.02 at Kings Canyon Resort.

ABOVE & BELOW: Wildflowers Along the Stuart Highway

Once on the road proper, I again searched for a number of geocaches along the way. These helped to highlight the land that I was travelling through and allowed for regular leg stretching, which always helps when on the road for long periods of time. Another thing that helped to break up the day were the wildflowers, with a number of short breaks taken throughout the journey to take in the spectacle at close quarters. The wildflowers were really something that struck me during my holiday travels. They were really something throughout central Australia.

ABOVE & BELOW: Wildflowers Along the Stuart Highway

Coober Pedy was my first major stop as I headed north towards Marla and as I drew closer to the Opal town I visited two monuments along the Stuart Highway – a monument marking the discovery of opal at Coober Pedy and another the explorer John MacDouall Stuart.

ABOVE: The John MacDouall Stuart Monument Near Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy has never really appealed to me and once again I found myself wanting to get my business in the town settled and to be on my way again. There was a fuel stop and some grocery shopping in the local IGA, knowing that prices would become much higher the further inland I headed. The prices in the shop at Kings Canyon Resort took my breath away, and I for one believed it was little more than price gouging given that there was nowhere else to go. But Kings Canyon was still several days away and so that shock was still to come.

ABOVE: Welcome to Coober Pedy

From Coober Pedy it was a pretty straight-forward run to Marla and my first night in the tent at Marla Traveller’s Rest. It was quite a cold night and with the flu I wasn’t really looking forward to it. However, my car-based camping set-up allows me a very comfortable and warm sleeping environment, so there were no real dramas. It was however a very cold night when out of the sleeping bag and out from under the covers. It was probably close to zero.

The distance travelled on this day was 599 km – giving me a total of 2369 km for the whole trip to this point.

Once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning, with the excitement mounting, as I would arrive in Yulara the next day and be within sight of Uluru – the main goal of my holiday.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskFFWHSE

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 3 – Broken Hill, New South Wales to Woomera, South Australia


The day once again started early for me, as I hit the road determined to make Woomera in good time – especially given that I intended to do quite a bit of geocaching along the way again. In fact, on this day I found upwards of a dozen caches as I travelled along. One of the reasons I enjoy geocaching (and believe me it isn’t for the goodies you find in the caches, as most is little more than junk) are the places it takes you to. Geocaching showed me some interesting sites as I travelled along, what is really quite a large and remote part of the country. It really helped to break up some of those vast distances I was travelling.

ABOVE: Arriving in South Australia  BELOW: Old Water Tower

ABOVE: Poor ‘Old Ted’  BELOW: Olary Railway Station

Other than the geocaching locations, one of the first stops of the day was at Cockburn, which marked the New South Wales – South Australian border. It was quite cold there, as it was for most of the journey across the southern stretch of Australia that I travelled on my holiday. But it was Olary that really caught my attention – a lovely old ‘bush’ type of town, seemingly lost in time. I loved the place, not that I saw a sole during the whole time I wandered about there – but to be fair it was cold and early.

ABOVE & BELOW: Morris Commercial at Olary

There were two main stops for fuel throughout the day. One at Yunta and one at Port Augusta – and these really were just quick pit stops to refuel. I then quickly moved on to Pimba and Woomera, staying the night in another cabin as I was still quite sick with the flu. This time I stayed at Woomera Traveller’s Village.

On this third day I travelled 600 km – giving me a total of 1769 km for the whole trip so far.

ABOVE: Concret Dice Near Yunta

Once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskH4YGLw

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 2 – Nyngan to Broken Hill


The second day of my ‘Red Centre Holiday 2016’ began early, with a 5.30 am departure from Nyngan. I actually tried to find a geocache out the front of the caravan park in the dark, but had to give up because of the waterlogged conditions. So it was on my way early to my next stop – another geocache along the way. In fact I searched for about a dozen throughout the day, finding most of them. So geocaching broke up the trip a little, getting me out of the car from time to time.

At this point it may not be a bad idea to explain geocaching – that way if you have no idea about what I’m talking about, you soon will have at least a rudimental understanding of it.

My first major stop of the day was at Cobar for breakfast. Following Cobar it was Wilcannia and then on to Broken Hill, where I spent the night at the Broken Hill Tourist Park. I stayed in a cabin again as I was still suffering badly from the flu.

ABOVE: Taking a Break

So there wasn’t a lot to report on for day 2. It was just another day of moving closer to my destination really – something which would take 5 days to achieve. On this second day I travelled 587 km (1169 km total for the whole trip so far).

ABOVE: On the Road

So once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskFnbSGY

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 1 – Tea Gardens to Nyngan


I have just completed a 17 day holiday to Australia’s red centre, where I visited Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Watarrka National Park and Tjoritja/West Macdonnell National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. It was a trip I had wanted to make almost every year for the last 5 or 6 years, but was prevented from doing so due to illness, surgery and other reasons associated with those ‘spanners in the works.’ This year I was determined to carry through with my plans, even though I managed to ‘catch’ the flu the day before I left and became quite ill for several days (I still departed as scheduled) during my early travels.

It was an early start from Tea Gardens on the New South Wales east coast (Port Stephens roughly), leaving at 5.15 am on Saturday morning (6 August 2016), the day after I had finished work for my 4 weeks of annual leave. I had originally planned to depart on my holiday on Monday, allowing myself the weekend to pack and get ready. However, I had myself ready in the week prior to my departure, so I decided to get going on Saturday instead. So I was off early, both keen and quite ill.

I decided I was going to do a bit of geocaching along the way, so my first morning involved a bit of this, which slowed my progress considerably. One of the places I found (and had noted previously) was a place known as ‘Split Rock,’ to the east of Dunedoo. This is a very interesting landform just off the road.

Split Rock

ABOVE: Split Rock

Along the way I stopped at Nevertire and visited the Nevertire Cafe, which was quite disappointing. The prices for what they sell are not posted anywhere in the cafe and when I asked for a price list there was none to view. So when I paid for what I ordered I was shocked by the price I was charged – no wonder the prices aren’t displayed. This happened somewhere else on the journey as well and the lesson to take away from this experience is never to order anything without first being told the price. Better still, avoid establishments that hide their prices – it’s a fair bet they intend to price gouge. What really hurt was that the food wasn’t even any good.

ABOVE: Outside Nyngan Riverside Caravan Park

On this first day I travelled a total of 582 km and ended up at Nyngan, New South Wales. Some of the towns that I had briefly stopped at during the day included Merriwa, Dunedoo, Dubbo, Nevertire and then Nyngan.

I stayed the night in a cabin (I originally planned to stay every night in a tent) because I was ill. The cabin was at the Nyngan Riverside Tourist Park, not far from the flooding Bogan River. Having booked into the cabin, I decided to pop down to the local park and take a look at the minor flooding that was then occurring.

ABOVE: The Flooded Bogan River at Nyngan

After settling in for the night, it was time to do some ‘house keeping’ – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskCo9t1f

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Posts for the Time Being


I thought I’d post a quick update on what is currently happening with me and posts to my Blog. It is a short story really. I live in a town which is a massive tourist destination during the holiday season – especially at this time of year. What this means for me – being reliant on wireless access to the Internet – is real difficulty gaining Internet access. There are so many people in the area, using so many gadgets and the like, that the Internet is locked into a constant traffic jam. It is practically impossible to get Internet access most of the time. You do get the odd time where you can get access, but it is so slow that it is pointless to try and use it. For example – it takes minutes and minutes just for one page of the Blog to load.

I’ll keep trying to access the Net every so often, but it is likely I’ll be unable to post much for the next couple of weeks. There is good news – the number of tourists in the shopping centre here have diminished, which probably means we are heading back to some form of normality.

Showcase Your Travel Photos


One of the joys I have following a holiday, having travelled to some wild place within Australia, is to share those photos with others. Many years ago that would be primarily with family and friends, but now with the advent of the World Wide Web I am able to share these photos with a much wider audience. I tend to post my photos all over the place, though I have to confess I am way behind where I would like to be in this regard. I have a lot of work to do and hopefully I can make some useful progress on this front in the weeks to come – especially as I recover from upcoming surgery.

The link below is to an article that looks at 5 ways Bloggers can use their photos to enhance their content.

For more visit:
http://blog.travelworldpassport.com/use-your-pictures-create-visual-content-strategy/

Glass House Mountains Road Trip: Day 1 – 11 August 2013


Due to what was seemingly constant illness since November, I cancelled my planned trip to Uluru (Northern Territory, Australia) and brought forward my holidays in order to spend time getting well. From the moment I cancelled the trip I was healthy, until the very last day of work when I again fell ill and had to stay at home for the first week recovering. I then decided I should at least go on a road trip for a few days during the second week and do something useful with my annual leave.

So a very hastily planned road trip to the Glass House Mountains and Australia Zoo (Queensland) was thrown together in a matter of hours and when I couldn’t sleep I decided I might as well be up and off on it – that happened at 3am on the Sunday morning and I was away by 4am. At the end of the first day I was completely exhausted – however I had arrived in Beerburrum, with both Australia Zoo and the Glasshouse Mountains just down the road, which allowed a sleep in the next day with plenty of time for exploring as well.

Without getting too far ahead of myself though, I should cover the first day of the road trip, which did involve a lot of driving – which I think is an essential ingredient of any journey termed a ‘road trip.’ My road trip took me up the Pacific Highway, with a number of quick stops along the way (including Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Maclean, etc). The featured photo is of an old sugar cane barge in the Ferry Park, at Maclean in New South Wales. I took that shot while taking a pit stop at the Visitor Centre located in the Ferry Park. The journey north also included a drive through Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast, as well as Queensland’s capital – Brisbane.

Australia: NSW – Sea Cliff Bridge


This video is just a short clip featuring the Sea Cliff Bridge which is part of the Grand Pacific Drive on NSW’s east coast. Hoping to be going along this tomorrow as part of my current holiday.