A Travellerspoint blog

A camel called Trevor

Seeing Uluru by camel

sunny 22 °C

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There are over a million feral camels in Australia, so we're told. They're descended from the ones brought here by the Afghan (really Pakistani) cameleers that the Ghan train is named after.

Trevor, Jack, Digger and their mates were all feral camels once. Then men caught them, gelded them, named them and trained them. Now they are the friendliest outback tour transport you could ever hope to meet. They patiently carried us through the dunes near Uluru, responding to commands like 'stand' (stay) and 'hoosh' (kneel).

On our own feet, we've been on a few bushwalks in the National Park - at the base of Uluru and to a lookout at Kata Tjuta. It's like doing a sculpture walk - amazing colours, shapes and textures on a huge scale. Aboriginal rock paintings pattern some of the walls. It's easy to see why it's a spiritual place for the local Anangu people.

One evening, Susie and I went to watch the sun set over Uluru. With friendly people from India, Germany and everywhere cramming the sunset viewing area, we watched in awe as the rock changed from luminous orange to purple-blue to chocolate brown. Then the full moon rose.
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Posted by kecasumi 11:54 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises people deserts Comments (0)

Why I like opals

Michael tells what he discovered in Coober Pedy

semi-overcast 18 °C

Opal has really nice colours like red, green, blue and orange. The noodling (fossicking) was annoying because you might think you'd find opal but you didn't always.

I got some opal from loads of places - from the mine tour we did, the shop at the underground motel we stayed at, noodling in the public noodling area, and the opal shop where I bought some. Going in the mine and being pulled up on the swing thing was really fun. (Read more about opals by clicking here).
Going up an opal mine shaft

Going up an opal mine shaft

Posted by kecasumi 20:41 Archived in Australia Tagged mines opals Comments (0)

Flight over Lake Eyre

A scenic trip over an enormous inland sea

semi-overcast 18 °C

This post responds to comments/ideas from friends. First, Ross who wants to know distances driven from home. It's 5736km so far Ross. Now, Lee who wants a photo with adults in it. Lee suspects we've sent the kids off on their own because parents are absent from photos. So here is one with the whole family in (not Photoshopped either):
Family photo for Lee

Family photo for Lee

Last, Melissa likes co-incidences and referred to them in her travel blog. So Melissa, here's a beauty. The plane in the photo above is the plane that Keith's late grandfather (Pa) owned and flew in the 1980s and 90s in Queensland. It just happened to be at Coober Pedy when we were and Keith, a former passenger, recognised it. We were doing a half day trip over Lake Eyre in a different plane.

Lake Eyre is now 75-80% full and expected to fill this year - a rare event and a great opportunity to see it while we're close by. The incredible green of the outback testifies to the rain they've had here, but most of Lake Eyre's water is from distant floods. Here's a photo of Lake Eyre in its vastness. The Lake now has islands (such as 'Stingray Island' with its tail, shown) and peninsulas. They get smaller and disappear as the Lake fills.

Stingray Island, Lake Eyre

Stingray Island, Lake Eyre

Posted by kecasumi 18:30 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes lakes flights Comments (0)

Fossils, ferals and the longest train ever

Last day in the Flinders

sunny 19 °C

Feral food - eat some today

Feral food - eat some today


Camel, kangaroo, emu and goat - delicious! We stopped for a pub lunch at the Prairie Hotel and had their 'feral mixed grill' and 'red curry goat'.

Just before, a train went past the pub on its way to Leigh Creek to pick up coal. Susie counted 153 coal cars being pulled by 4 locos. The train took at least 5 minutes to pass. At one point, you couldn't see its front or its end. Everyone ran over to watch it, including a guy wearing an Akubra and carrying a takeaway coffee, and the train honked. We all waved madly.
Fossil from Ediacara

Fossil from Ediacara


Also at the pub were a stack of fossils from the Ediacara Hills, about 50km away. Ediacaran fossils starred with David Attenborough in his series 'First Life'. The fossils are of soft bodied jellyfish and marine worms from the pre-Cambrian period, about 580 million years ago.

Also on a fossil theme, yesterday we drove the Brachina Gorge Geological Trail where we saw even older fossils. They were fossils of stromatolites from 640 million years ago - some of the earliest life forms. Stromatolites are layers of blue-green algae. We could see the layers in the fossils. On the 20km trail, we drove through 130 million years of earth history. The Flinders Ranges are some seriously ancient mountains.

Posted by kecasumi 19:46 Archived in Australia Tagged trains wildlife pubs fossils Comments (0)

Wild about wildlife

The Flinders Ranges has lots to see (and even eat)

semi-overcast 20 °C

Rain in the Flinders Ranges

Rain in the Flinders Ranges

We saw a lot of wildlife on Kangaroo Island, as you might expect on an island named after a marsupial. Unfortunately much of it had been hit by cars and was dead by the side of the road. That's one reason we decided not to drive at night there. The Flinders Ranges seems to have lots of live wildlife and, like Kangaroo Island, some amazing places to see it in.

The wildlife we've observed so far (and the kids have been counting some of it) include:
- 15 koalas at Cape Otway
- probably hundreds of seals at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island
- 108 kangaroos in Flinders Ranges National Park
- 9 emus near Hills Homestead, Wilpena Pound
- 1 friendly wallaby who came to visit us at Vivonne Bay expecting to be fed
- some ferals - a feral goat at Wilpena Pound, feral rabbit at Victor Harbour and a feral cat somewhere
- assorted lizards, unidentified green parrots by the road, and birds of prey hovering in the sky
- plus masses of insects squished on the front of our car (in the US, there's a book on how to identify them)

Hopefully we'll get to the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna to sample some of their feral food. They're famous for it. Seals are not on the menu, thank goodness.

Seals at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

Seals at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island

Posted by kecasumi 21:30 Archived in Australia Tagged animals wildlife Comments (0)

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