Friday, December 22, 2006


Just a quick note to all...

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the very best for the new year.

Mum, dad and myself are heading to our holiday house on the coast for christmas.. and hopefully get the boat in the water to catch our annual feed of crayfish!! yummo the forecast for xmas is going to be a scorcher with temps around 38 for boxing day!

I hope all are well and that we get to catch up soon!

Loads of love and hugs



Tuesday, November 14, 2006

- Trip Home -

From the Rock we drove west... stopping the night on the border to Western Australia at Docker River. Setting off a little earlier than expected the next day due to the time change. We drove all day and managed to get our FIRST blow out tyre 600km from Laverton. We kicked on past Laverton and camped just north of Kalgoorlie, amongst rain and very close lightening storm... i ended up sleeping in the car!! The next day we drove through to Home... though they didnt know we were comming!

The suprise worked out as planned, Dale phoned his folks and was discussing his "flight" home from Ayres Rock... "just as his mum asked what time he needed pick up at the airport.. we drove up to the front door and started beeping the horn.... A few seconds to register and Dales folks came rushing out to greet us... they had no idea!

Its good to be home... still trying to get used to the weather, still feels a little cold though it wont be lfor long as summer is just around the corner.

A huge thankyou to Dale for joining me on this trip.. i hope you enjoyed it buddy!!

- Happy Birthday Dale -

A while back I asked dale what he wanted to for his birthday. “I dunno, you can plan it if you like” was the reply. So I set to thinking... “Can I plan anything I want?” I asked “Sure go ahead” said dale not thinking much of it…

“You’re going to climb Ayres Rock for your birthday, but there’s a catch”…. “you have to climb it wearing a dress!” after much thought and persuasion I convinced Dale that this would not only be an entertaining way to celebrate, but a way not to forget his 22nd birthday in a hurry!

So while we were in Darwin I visited the local op shop a picked out a lovely purple number… I think it was quite a tame selection… considering I was basing it on the Australian Film “Pricilla Queen of the Desert”, however I couldn’t find a wig!

Not to worry, on the morning of Dale’s B’day (the day we left Curtin Springs) I convinced him to do a dress rehearsal, just in case the rock climb was closed. “I can’t put on a dress without a drop of Alcohol in my system” Dale claimed … so I cracked a beer for the birthday boy at 8:30am and made him walk around the station with me saying our goodbyes! It was quite entertaining!

(The mighty Ayres Rock.... doesnt really look that big till yoiur right up beside it.)

We finally headed off to the rock, grabbed a few supplies and drove round to the Massive rock… the climb was open and after a few moments thought we began the hike to the summit. Dale in his dress of course!

(A Quick photo to show we are still friends... haha arent i evil?)

(Dale stretches before the climb...)

The beginning of the climb is quite steep; luckily there is a chain to help you because you feel the pressure in you ankles! Once the chain stops you’re about half way to the top.

(Only the beginning of the climb.. steep already!)

The views are amazing and once at the top you can see all the way back to Mount Conner on the horizon! After a few pics and phone calls we made our decent… which can be a bit tricky… hurts your knees after a while… but it was worth it. Dale in the dress was a great conversation starter on the rock when passing other tourists… he often said “Its ok, your not hallucinating, I am a bloke in a dress”

(Finally at the top...!!! Well done!)

A cock in a frock on a Rock – what a day to remember!

- 50yrs @ Curtin Springs -

(The historic entrance to Curtin Springs station...)

Curtin Springs is a special place to me, as I worked there on my last trip for 7 months and fell in love with the place. It’s home to the Severin Family, with 4 generations now living and working there.

(Pete Severin and I catching up with a big hug...)

The week we visited was their 50th Anniversary of running the station and what an awesome celebration it was! We arrived early and helped prepare food etc for the big weekend. People travelled from around the globe to visit and help celebrate such a wonderful place.

(Dale and I were invited to ride the quad bikes out to the saltlakes on the Station.)

(Mount Conner! Truely amazing... its 3 times bigger than Ayres Rock aroun the base... and just 4ft shorter...)

Mount Conner is also on the station which often gets mistaken for Ayres Rock. Uncle, the resident tour guide has a bush camp at its base. So on the Sunday we all drove out to have a hearty breakfast on the bbq.

(This is Uncles mean looking BBQ which cooked up our dinner and Breaky over the celebration.)

- The West Macs -

(Ellery Creek, so deep we couldnt touch the bottom!)

Once we topped up on supplies we moved on from Alice heading west out into the West Macdonald Ranges. They’re magnificent in colour and full of gorges and places to explore. We spent the night at Ellery Creek which is the biggest waterhole along the ranges. The young dingo cubs were friendly and we got a spot of rain.. and went for a swim, it was so cold! Not what you’d expect in central Australia!

The next day we visited the ochre pits with colours in red, yellow, white and brown… its amazing how vibrant the ochre is.

(Dale gets creative with yellow ochre...)

Further west we swam at Orminston Gorge and then had a Beer at Glen Helen Gorge before heading up to camp the night near Red Bank Gorge.

(Check out the view from our camp at Redbank Gorge!...)

The following day we drove into Hermansberg to reach Palm Valley. Its home to over 1200 rare red cabbage palms that tower against the red cliffs. It was beautiful, though quite a lot of visitors…

The next day was a 155km drive around the Mereenie Loop to check out Kings Canyon. We tackled the 6km walk in just over 2 hours and the views were truly amazing! The rock has fallen away in places to leave a very flat face to the canyon walls… and the colours are unreal.
(On the Edge at Kings Canyon!)
We checked into Kings Creek Station for the night, which was lucky as it poured down! Though the lightening show was amazing and Dale managed to capture some awesome shots…

(Dale was so excited at capturing this awesome shot!...)

- Darwin to Alice Springs -

(Mataranka Thermal Pool, crystal clear and 34C!)

We left Darwin heading south and passed through Mataranka which is famous for its thermal springs. The area is also the setting for the Aussie classic story, “We of the Never Never”. Took a dip in the thermal pools although the water is 34C, it was nice to take a break.

We pushed on to reach the famous NT pub, Daly Waters for the night. Its claim to fame is that it’s the oldest pub in the Territory. It’s filled with Australian humour and memorabilia from wild nights and should be a stop for any passing traveller!

(The unusual decoration of the Daly Waters Pub, you find yourself constantly expoloring the walls! Driver licences, underwear,stickers, hats etc)

The next morning we continued south, stopping off in Tennant Creek for lunch. We then explored the Devils Marbles which are a strange sight! Giant boulders scatter the landscape and look as though a slight nudge will send them rolling down the slopes! I tried, but there was no moving the massive pebbles! Stopping the night at Wauchope had us mixing with the locals for a “few” beers before driving into Alice the following day.

(The Devils Marbles are unbelieveable!...and not to mention huge!)

(Here's me trying to make these balancing beauties budge.... not a chance!)

Alice Springs was quite busy and we decided to stay 4 nights, giving us time to explore the town and chill out before the next stage of the trip. We visited the reptile centre which was awesome, stopped into the famous pub Bo Jangles and also went to Lasseter’s Casio for a free concert.

(Dale getting up close and personal with the locals!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

- Darwin -

We arrived in Darwin on the 15th and ventured out to Mindil beach markets in the evening. It’s a buzzing atmosphere with the sun setting and then local bands busking… the endless array of multicultural food stands and the quirky stalls filled with local arts and craft etc.

Days have been spent chilling out in Darwin, exploring the city. I celebrated my birthday on the 18th, beginning with a “fry up” of bacon, eggs and fried tomato on toast for breaky thanks to Tim! Then with the day filled with a trip to the Botanical Gardens, the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT and then a wonderful dinner at a Greek restaurant called Yots on the marina at Cullen Bay!

(Photo's coming soon!)

- Waterfalls -

(This is Florence Falls! It was just a 5 min walk from our camp.... )

(Mighty Termite mounds are dotted around the landscape... they can get bigger that this one!)

I think Litchfield NP has been a highlight of the trip to Darwin. We spent 3 wonderful days exploring water falls, cascading over tall rock ledges lined with ferns, palms and ancient trees falling into deep plunge pools filled with inquisitive little fish! We also ventured through an old homestead. We ate like kings but most of our time was spent amongst the waterfalls, the water was like velvet to swim through. It was amazing. In the evening we entertained ourselves with tasty food and scaring off wild pigs and trying to squash a cane toad or 5!

(Dale enjoying a free massage from Mother nature!)

(Ah... this is the life... swimming in this water was like velvet... until a little fish nibbles at your toes!)

(In honour of our Canadian friend Jamus, we spoiled ourselves with pancakes on the last morning! Thanx Jamus for the maple syrup!)

- Rock Art & Cane Toads -

(Compared to my travels here last year, i've never seen so many cane toads!Tthe buggers are invading!!)

(The "Blokes" celebrate swimming in the waterfalls at Edith Falls... 'Ah the serenity')

Driving on into the Northern Territory we saw the landscape change and the weather getting warmer. Our first stop was just out of Katherine at a place called Edith Falls. It’s a huge plunge pool 150m across to a small waterfall. It was a beautiful place to stay and in the morning we walked a 2.6km loop to visit the upper falls.

From Edith falls we ventured north to Kakadu NP beginning with a swim in yet another waterfall! We checkout Cahill’s Crossing, which crosses the East Alligator River into Arnhem Land, to try and spot the saltwater crocs and try fishing for barramundi (loads of bites). We camped nearby and tried again in the morning with me landing one on the first cast!! Much to guy’s disgust! Although too small to keep, they need to be 55cm in length and over. We pulled ourselves away to soak up some local culture exploring the local rock art site Ubirr. Some of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal rock art is found here. It was amazing.

We drove out off Kakadu towards Litchfield National Park, being sure to stop into the Bark Hut (a popular NT Bar) once the cheeks were red rosy again we drove off to a new adventure at Litchfield NP.

(My Barra, caught first cast of the morning... sheila's luck the guys say!)

(Over looking the wetlands at Ubirr in Kakadu... this area is in a scene from "Crocodile Dundee")

(Viewing some of the Aboriginal rock Art...)

- The Grotto & Kununurra -

On the drive towards Kununurra we stopped the night at a place called The Grotto. I know what you’re thinking “why on earth would we stay at a place called that” We arrived late so we set up camp in the dark leaving the mystery of the place til the morning.. Up at sunrise, with our swimming gear on, we rushed down the deep beautiful swimming hole that we had all to ourselves.. a rope strung from a tall tree provided a challenge and entertainment. What a relaxing way to begin the day and with a short drive into Kununurra.

(Graeme jumping out to the rope at The Grotto.)

Kununurra was a welcomed break from the road and chance to clean ourselves up and check out the sites. Tim met up with friends in town who invited us all out onto their boat to have sunset drinks on the mighty Ord River! We spent mornings trying to catch Barramundi just off the dam. Dale managed to catch 3 although all too small to keep! On our final day we drove out to the local Rum distillery called the Hoochery. It was an interesting place and we all indulged in the $1 a shot taste testing! They also produce liquores, cane spirit and ouzo. By the time we left the guys had a rosy glow on and were great entertainment as we crossed the border into the Northern Territory!

(A big thankyou to Tim's friends Peter and Anne invited us out in their boat to explore the Ord River! The bats here are amazing taking off at sunset.)

(Dale caught this Barra one morning off the Kununurra Dam! Too small to keep though.)

(This is us outside the Hoochery... I think this experience will be remebered by all!)

(Yes well..... What can i say, the peanut factory strikes again!)

- Onto The Bungle Bungles -

(A beautiful photo halfway through the cave in Tunnel creek.)

(L-R:Graeme, Me and Tim. Wading through water in tunnel Creek.)

Leaving Windjana Gorge saw us exploring nearby Tunnel Creek which runs 1km through a sandstone cave system... You have to wade through water in some parts which was quite refreshing in the increasing heat of the day.

Bats were plentiful and the formations in the cave were beautiful. Traveling on we passed through Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek to eventually begun the rugged 53km drive into the Bungle Bungles.

The Bungle Bungles are truly unique. Giant beehive domes layered in colour surrounded us as we walked in to check out the mighty Cathedral Gorge. Its like nature’s amphitheatre with towering domes and vibrant colours. We camped over night and explored Echidna Chasm and the Mini Palms walk. The play of light on the rock was different at every turn it was truly amazing!

(The "beehive" formations of the Bungle Bungles...Truly awesome!)

(Dale passing time while i was driving round to our next walk...)

(Tim, Dale and Graeme relaxing midway through a walk...I've dubbed them the "peanut factory")

- Broome to Windjana -

(Windjana Gorge... )

Well ,we’ve finally moved on from Broome, with my car being fully loaded with gear for 4 ppl and the swags had to be tied to the roof! Tim, Graeme, Dale and I headed off in pursuit of a 2 week adventure to Darwin.

Our first night was spent out at Windjana Gorge which is just off the notorious Gibb River Road in the Kimberley. A beautiful spot, with high sandstone walls and rich colours of reds, yellows and greys, which look amazing in the light of the setting sun. Dinner was coral trout, saved from a recent fishing adventure! What a way to begin!

(L-R: Graeme, Me and Tim. Exploring the banks along the gorge.)

(One of over 70! resident Freshwater Crocodiles)

(The colours on the sandstone were amazing in the sunset light.)

(Preparing our Coral Trout Dinner! Yummo... this is the life!)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

- The VERY next day -

Yes I mean the very next day! Ha ha I woke to aching arms and sunburn, however just to top off my day of Sail Fishing out on WaveRider, I was asked back out on the boat to go Bottom fishing with some local blokes and a guy who flew over from QLD. I absolutely jumped at the chance... This is my day2 of awesome fishing!

(This is the first fish of the day, A Lovely Red emperor)

(This Travelly took forever to get up... He just kept pulling and pulling downwards! Not to mention my arms were killing me from yesterday... However not good for eating apparently so we threw him back!)

(I was a quiet achiever with this one, much to the other guys disgust! haha while the guys were all in a fix with tangled lines... I quietly brought this one on board.. You little beauty!!)

(Steve and I enjoying a beer or 3 on the drive back into Broome!)

(I decided it was only fair that with all my fishing I should bring something back to camp for a feed. So I cooked up my Red emperor in about 30 mins with garlic, lemon and a little butter! Yummo! It feed about 8 of us...)