Brief summary of our Big Lap in 2009

Sunday, Nov 08, 2009 at 01:00


The Big Lap 2009

While my Blogs are not yet complete, here is a very brief summary of our 2009 trip from Western Australia through the Northern Territory, Queensland, and returning via New South Wales, crossing the north west corner only of Victoria and on through South Australia. We took five months; most in the earlier states as time got away from us.

This trip and my other travelogues in more detail are being progressively loaded onto Travelogues on Australia So Much to See as they are completed. Call in and share our travels.

Blogs loaded so far take us to Carawine Gorge, then east to Alice Springs via the Gary Junction Road before taking the Stuart Highway north from Alice. We visit Mataranka and Katherine before heading to Pine Creek and Kakadu. We continue through Litchfield and Douglas Hot Springs in Northern Territory, Lawn Hill, Boulia and Winton, Hughenden, Longreach, and Ilfracombe. I have also now added Isisford, Blackall, Barcaldine, Springsure and Emerald, and soon to be loadedCarnarvon National Park as we toured our way south towards New South Wales where the very special Mungo National Park in New South Wales has been fast tracked and is loaded to both a Blog here and the website where more photos and details can be seen.

Read our travelogues in more detail on our developing website, but please have patience and visit again as they are slowly being added. Questions can be raised through the Contact us page about places you may be interested in, even if they are not yet written up and loaded.

I have now started loading photos in full size to Flickr.

Here follows a summary of some of the places we enjoying visiting the most.

Nothing beats the colour and solitude of the desert - here in WA nearing the NT border

The soft pastels of the sculptured MacDonnell Ranges are so pretty

We saw plenty of big salties in Kakadu

The Northern Territory had a major role in WW2 - here tunnels for storing fuel were made underneath Darwin. Fortunately the war ended and they were not needed. There are over 1,000 war history sites in the northern NT.

We swam under cooling waterfalls in Litchfield National Park

Saw fossils in abundance, some dating as far back a 200 million years ago - all coming to the surface in our time. This Ichythaurus is an as yet un-named species on display at Boulia. I have pieces of fossilised tortoise shells dated at 200,000 million year old. I just have to hold them and like magic, I feel so very young.

This shed once proudly shore up to 400,000 sheep each year. Sadly, this farm, like most throughout the state, now runs only cattle. At Isis Downs, that last 10,000 sheep were shorn and sold in 2004. The industry that made Australia the great nation is it today is gone; merinos are no longer profitable, and this effect flows on to so many other farms, towns and support industries. Tragic.

In the Carnarvon Ranges we drove up a track taking us to the 'roof of Queensland', at over 1,200 metres above sea level. Crisp cool mountain air and an amazing feeling. Only one peak in the ranges, the highest in the state, is higher at 1,237 metres.

We crossed into New South Wales through the Granite Belt. Here we climbed Bald Rock to look back into Queensland and the granite hills we had climbed there in the Girraween National Park.

The New England plateau is quite spectacular. With a cool climate due to altitude, and rain expected throughout the year, the farmlands are lush green, and deep canyons in the Oxley Wild Rivers region cut down suddenly from seemingly flat farmlands.Apsley Falls are one of many lovely falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers region.

On Barrington Tops it must have been close to snowing – cold and windy but so beautiful. Wonderful views across mountain tops in all directions from lookout points.

A disused shale oil mining and processing centre was commenced during the war at Glen Davis. Backing into the Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains, this facility covered a huge area.

Amazing formations of the cave walls at Wellington.

At Dubbo, animals roam in wide enclosures at the Western Plains Zoo.

At Mungo National Park ancient sand and clay textured structures are being uncovered in a large crescent shaped sand dune. Different colours of sand between red yellow grey and white indicate the ages of the levels. The blog of Mungo is already here; completed to coincide with the re-opening of the loop drive late in 2011, following being closed since rain damage in January.

This is the site of the discovery of Mungo man and Mungo woman; the earliest known humans to have been buried with some ceremony, showing the Australian civilisation to be the oldest known on Earth.

Moving into South Australia, we spend a day watching ski boat racing on the Murray River.

There are some lovely spots to camp along the Murray; this one at Loxton quiet and we had it all to ourselves, although virtually in the town.

Looking east from the Mount Lofty Ranges across ripe crops. These crops, although better than through most of New South Wales, were only average.

Crossing over the crest, suddenly all was lush and green. What a contrast. Here near Mount Pleasant, tall crops were being cut for hay. Crops in South Australia along the western edges (near Adelaide, the Yorke and the Eyre Peninsulas) were exceptionally good this year

The crumbling Bunda Cliffs of the Great Australian Bight are fascinating, and have crumbled away more each time we visit.

We had lunch at Lake Dumbleyung, where in 1964 Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record. The lake has less water than it held in the 1960s.

Later in the afternoon we reached home, after five months on the road, visiting six states and territories and seeing just a small amount of the diverse landscape that Australia has to offer.

Blog updated at last with all those promised photos.

Red desert dreaming

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