AUSSIEPICS


There are rather a lot (260 or so) of images this time so even broken across four pages you will notice they take a while to load.



This is only a 10 day trip of just under 3000 kilometres (just over, if you count a couple of hundred in the Cessna). The idea was that I keep hearing about Lake Eyre and that Lake Eyre with water in it is a once-in-a-generation occurence, so I went to see it.

I set off in the rain after 5pm so as to miss the worst city traffic while cutting through Melbourne. Initially it was just about making distance and I eventually pulled up on the side of the road somewhere past Avoca. It was bloody cold (my sleeping arrangements bulked up continually over the next few nights), so I got up again about 4:30 am and ran another long day. Ouyen, Pinnaroo, Loxton, and here it's becoming Murray Valley region, so quite green in it's own right and rather pretty. I cut across to Walkerie next and was suprised to find I needed to use the ferry to cross the river. Somewhere in there (Underbool) the ute clocked over 230000 k's. Next was Morgan and about 20k's out on the Burra rd there are two trees, the original "boot hill" which is a tree for hanging boots in, and another that is starting to sprout underwear. Despite the sign pointing out that the "boot hill" tree is for boots, the vast majority of content is runners or other non-boot items. Then I went through Burra, at night, which I found on the way back is the best time. In daytime it's a large non-standard rip-off town designed (mostly using antique stores) to grab cash of people who start off intriqued by the apparent olde-world charm. Even the hamburger shop is poncy (once you find it), the IGA is the only 'normal' shop in town.

You will see a few photo's of Terowie included, this, according to signage at the rail depot, was where General Douglas MacArthur apparently uttered the quote "I shall return", which suprised me as the middle of South Australia seems a bit far from where I would have expected him to be. This might hold water as Terowie is also the place where the two competing and conflicting railway guages met and was therefore quite an important distibution point back in the day. In the current day the town is running down, although it's definately not dead, see the photo's of the metal art (even if the odd one or two is blurry because I was shivering a bit much). The shots of the rusty old cars in the allotment also comes from here. If I had a shed I'd love to go find the owner and 'save' some of those historic vehicles.

Further north, just enjoying horizon-meeting stretches of well made straight roads, I stopped off at Beltana for a snack (all concept of meal-times goes out the window on the road, if you get hungry, you stop at the next town or eat out of the back of car. It's so much easier done that way). While pie-munching and gazing blankly at the railway crossing I heard a train, and imagining it might be the Ghan (yes, I should learn to do research) I ran back to the ute for the camera (yes I should learn not to put it down). It wasn't the Ghan of course, it was the daily coal train which I ended up crossing paths with quite a lot over the next few days. There's a big open cut coal mine just North of Leigh Creek so I imagine the train is how most of the coal gets to whereever it goes. I thought I had one photo that had the whole train in, but if so I've misplaced it. With three engines and 160 wagons (the time I felt I got the count about right) it's quite a long train and even the shots that show most of it, show it as a thin line across the landscape.

Remember I started off just making distance?, I didn't do stupid hours, and I got plenty of sleep along the way, but I reached Marree in just under 48 hours, so it's not a huge ask. All the roads are good and in a modern car (the new FPV for instance), you'd call it an "easy drive". Less than ten minutes after arriving at Marree I'd booked a flight for the next day (you walk into the pub and book it at the bar). I started to do a lap up Birdsville track (it had re-opened that morning) but got warned off by some noises in the drivechain of the ute as soon as I dropped in the front axle. Instead I had a lazy afternoon and an early nights sleep. The next morning I figured the track was quite a bit dryer and I'd go see how far I could get using only the rear axle. Well, you could get as far as you wanted with a bit of "Ollie style" driving so I put in just over a hundred k's on the Birdsville track just-because-you-can. The GPS (iPhone app) says I made 111.1kph (briefly) but most of the track was done at 80, with a few spots at single digit speeds. I have a few pots of Birdsville Track Mud that got washed off the car later, for annointing city-type four-wheel-drives that never go offroad to remove that evil stigma. Cheap. (I should have washed the car somewhere else though, our driveway will take time to recover).

Having got all that out of the way, it's time to walk over to the airfield and go for a flight over Lake Eyre. This wasn't the cheapest thing I've ever done by the way, but if you can, I'd advise the longer trip that includes Cooper creek. The actual Water on Lake Eyre bit, looks a lot like a huge muddy puddle (which effectively it is), and I was possibly too early but the expected masses of birdlife did not appear. An eagle flew past the Cessna, that was it. Now the fun bit, Lake Eyre has a wreck. Note that I am sitting in a Cessna 210 as we are told all this. The bottom of Lake Eyre is 15 metres below sea level. Some bright spark figures there's plenty of room there to fly (A Cessna 210) below sea level (presumably taking a pic of the altimeter at the critical point). Fail!, hence the "wreck of the 210" is now a reference point on all the tourist flights.

So, now I'm about 3 days into my holiday and I've clocked over 231000 k's on the Birdsville Track and flown over Lake Eyre. That was pretty much my whole plan. Now what?

Well, I went and camped at Trebilcock creek, that's not how the friendly policeman pronounced it by the way (you can tell I'm not in Victoria just by that, ours all seem to be arrogant bastards). It was dark when I got there and I camped on a rise behind the railway bridge. Being the fourth time we'd 'met' by now, the driver of the coal train tooted merrily as he headed south while I'm brewing up a night-time cuppa. Morning came and I had a bit of a look around. I decided to move the car to the side of the creek and sat there shooting birds all day. That's a slow process and most of the birds are quite small so I went for a walk. You'll see shots of a Hawk, Magpies and some Galahs that 'got in the way'. The first I knew of the hawk was a huge flap of wings directly overhead (and not overhead by very much) as he made his first run at me. It is nesting season I suppose so maybe 'she' would be the better description. Anyway, while trying to combine retreating to safety with getting photo's I got swooped a couple of times by the hawk. The hawk additionally had it's own problems as it was being 'warned off' by a couple of Magpies who were quite determined and suprisingly accomplished aerialists, actually knocking the hawk literally off it's perch at one stage. This was so much fun that I camped there that night as well.

Even though I'd decided originally to avoid Wilpena because there are vague plans for the 4WD crew to do a run up this way, I had so much time lying around that I spent the next two days checking out the National Park. Due to the wetness of the season, everything is incredibly green. I've glanced briefly at the area before and it's 'supposed' to be basically brown. Kangaroos, Wallabies, Rabbits and Emus were all there in abundance, there's one shot showing an emu with I think thirteen child-emus and plenty of the emus had four to six offspring in attendance. As a tip, don't come here to 4WD, come to Wilpena to camp and especially to walk. For walking it would, especially while it is so green, be an awesome place to spend a week with a backpack and tent (and a camera of course).

The noteworthy inclusions over the next few days include the sandy park next to the Murray on the south side of the (another) ferry at Morgan where I got the swan-and-cygnett shots. Alligator Gorge near Wilmington was the best of the gorges I have been to since Katherine. The road in has crossed the line from forcing you to drive safely to annoying the hell out of you, with a series of car-wrenching dips that you can barely take at the advised speed limit of 10kph. Melrose should be mentioned as it's obviously a mecca for mountain-biking types and while I'm a bit lame in that department I have a couple of friends who would find that the place just rocked for them. Then there's Jamestown. The sign as you drive in says it is the birthplace of R.M.Williams. Awesome, this will be a hoopy place to kick back, or so I thought. FAIL. The only 'gear' on sale was a couple of 'Burke and Wills' branded swags as a side issue in a craft shop. No belts, boots, longhorn stickers or anything at all that you would associate with R.M.Williams were to be found. I also must-have-missed the mural (there were many) that included the man himself. As I caustically posted at the time, there was even a freeking emo walking (unmolested) down the main street. I went out of town to eat before moving on, it was a sad moment.

As far as planning goes (not quite toss a coin at each corner, but not that far from it) I was just about to do a slow meander probably along the south coast back toward home when all reports were warning about a rather large storm so I just put in a long haul and just over a thousand k's and went home to work out how I was going to post this many photo's. That's why this page is different, although if you still want to see the other 1400 images, you'll have to come round for a coffee. There's flooding up north at the moment so either I came home in time or I missed some great photo opportunities. Nothing is ever clear-cut is it. By the way, the ute clocked over 232000 k's in Bayles which is fairly meaningless.


..cheers ../cb ..20100905


Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: Rows of apple trees near the murray.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: It says Boot Hill but see next image.








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Aussiepics:: Shoe tree 20km out of Morgan.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: Rainbows in South Australia 1.








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Aussiepics:: Rainbows in South Australia 2.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: Holden Graveyard at Terowie.








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Aussiepics:: Holden Graveyard at Terowie.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: Metal Art. Still in Terowie.








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Aussiepics:: Metal Art. Still in Terowie.








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Aussiepics:: Metal Art. Still in Terowie.








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Aussiepics:: Metal Art. Still in Terowie.








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Aussiepics:: Metal Art. Still in Terowie.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: On the birdsville track.








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Aussiepics:: On the birdsville track.








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Aussiepics:: Just off the birdsville track.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: The airport fence at Marree.








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Aussiepics:: My ride for a jaunt over Lake Eyre, a Cessna 210.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics:: Views around Lake Eyre.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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Aussiepics:: The powerline shot, Marree.








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Aussiepics photo from central South Australia trip 2010.








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