A Travellerspoint blog

India 2016

Expedition to the subcontinent - and a Wedding

This year we got an invitation to a traditional Hindi wedding in India. Its not every day you get invited to one of these so we thought "We don't have the time or the money, but why not?". The groom was a Sri Lankan bloke I have worked with over the past 3 years.
So after a mad rush to get passports, visas, vaccinations, book tickets and accommodation, we finally made into a big aeroplane bound for Kochi (south west coast of India) via Singapore:

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After the initial culture shock of the Hotel taxi driver breaking the Cochin to local Hotel land speed record, we had 6 days touring around the state of Kerala. This is the south west of India and known for relatively less dense population, mountains (cooler climate in summer), and tea plantations. Sort of the wilderness of India which means you might not see a person for a few hundred metres.
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Our hotel in Munnar. This was beside a very pleasant river surrounded by tea plantations. This was a touristy area so lots of resorts built on the side of the hills. Also a lot of half built resorts that were never finished.
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Typical traffic in a quiet country town. Road rules take a bit of getting used to (because there aren't any). The traffic is a bit like a crowd walking through a crowded shopping mall. No one sticks to any particular lane or in some cases one side of the road, and only major intersections have any sort of traffic control like lights or signs. But is all seems to work. There is no road rage or frustration, and your always moving, even in heavy traffic.
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A local on the side of the road. We didn't see a lot of wildlife, but there was a group of these putting on a good show.
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Waterfall. Any sort of natural attraction was surrounded by makeshift shops selling souvenirs and food, so you had to fight you war through the crowd to see most things. Kerala appeared to be more of a tourist destination for Indians than internationals, so we stuck out like lighthouses everywhere we went. Kids with red hair helped even more. We are in a heap of other peoples holiday photos as well as our own.
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The first elephant encounter. We were taken here by our driver for the ride on an elephant experience, which was good but a bit of a mixed experience as you could tell the elephants just walked around the same short track all day and spent the rest of the time tied to a tree. The ones not working were clearly bored out of their brains.
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Tea. Thousands of acres of it. Tea plants are actually a tree that grows to about 8 metres, but if you keep plucking the fresh leaves every 3 weeks they stay at about this height. These plantations are owned by a company that has about 96% employee shareholders. So provides huge employment and prosperity for the region. The tea companies have heavily invested in education and other community services so Kerala has almost 100% literacy as a result.
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A tea museum. Part of the tour was a presentation about tea. We got a bit of information on how tea is harvested and processed, but mainly a stern lecture on the benefits of green tea and why Asians aren't obese diabetics which was pretty amusing.
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A fruit market in a small town. This was an eye opener for the kids. As well as the sights and sounds was the overwhelming aroma of rotting fruit and vegetables. The stuff on the tables looked OK but there was plenty of stuff on the floor that probably should have been moved on a few days earlier. Had our first bartering experience for a packet of biscuits. I think we got down below a dollar.
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Street outside the market and the taxi rank. India runs on Tuk Tuks. Most of the pedal rickshaws are gone and everyone gets around in these 3 wheeled machines.
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Our driver proudly pointed out these trees. "Eucalypts!". If they look a bit familiar its because one of the royal family smuggled some seed from Australia a hundred years ago so they had firewood for the tea factories.
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Our driver Rajesh beside Mattupatti Dam. This lake provides Hydro Power.
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Some local currency. 10 Rupees is 20c. The big notes at the top are 1000 Rupees ($20). Gandhi is on all of them. Outside of the upmarket hotels things were pretty cheap. We could get a good feed for 5 of us for 8-900 Rupees ($18), and a taxi in the cities was about 300 Rupees ($6) for a 10km half hour trip. Hotels were a bit hit a miss. Some cheap ones were very good and others were very ordinary. Flash hotels were nearly as expensive as Australia as India has a luxury tax and some other not altogether clear taxes and surcharges on higher end accomodation.
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A very polite and well spoken man showing us through a spice garden. This white stuff is rubber. It only goes black when exposed to sunlight.
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Probably the highlight of the trip. Washing an elephant. This was the second elephant place we went to and obviously a lot more concerned with animal welfare. You could visibly see the animals here were happy.
Each Elephant has two minders who often live miles away and only go home for a week every few months. They also have more than one minder per elephant so if he leaves the elephant doesn't mourn. The Minders are usually for life and passed down through families (both elephants and humans)
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Yes, lots of photos of that wasn't there!

There are apparently a reasonable amount of wild Elephants and even the odd Asian Tiger in the wild, so we took an early morning "Jeep Safari" and pretended to be David Attenborough.
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Every lookout spot we stopped at in the wilderness had another half dozen carloads of Indian tourists and a local entrepreneur selling tea and warm lemonade under a tarp shelter. But we did spot a couple of Bison up on the hills
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This is the border of the "State Forest". Beyond here you get shot.
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One of the flasher motor mechanics workshops. Most of the cars were fairly modern but there was quite a few of these about which I think were an old Mercedes or something based on them.
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From hills and windy roads we travelled down to the flats closer to the coast. The "Backwater Country" was full of canals and rice paddies, and with that came boats made out of bamboo, and lots with blue plastic tarps shoved under the bits that leaked.
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One of our days was a boat cruise through the canals and then we stayed on the boat for a night. After 5 days of winding roads with plenty of traffic this was a very welcome step back in pace. Still busy and mad like the rest of the place but slightly slower pace.
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This is Rice. Probably not that exciting unless you live in a area that runs on it. India grows 100 million tonnes a year. Australia grew 250,000 tonne this year and in a good year grows 1 million tonnes:
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No roads in this area so everything is serviced by boat:
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Local School. Catholics certainly left their mark everywhere. Lots of big churches as well.
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So from Kerala, we flew to the other side of the country to Chennai which is where the wedding was.
To get into the full spirit we got kitted up in traditional garb from a local famous department store called "The Chennai Silks".
This place was 7 floors of cloths and more staff than you could count.
We were celebrities again being one of the few paleface families in the shop, so we had our photo taken with multiple members of staff.

The lady in between Simone and Beth is a local Tailor. And on the far right is the Grooms mum who was very helpful in helping us kitted out.
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Standard motorcycle safety attire. Probably half the riders wore helmets, Didn't see a pillion with one on. A fair few had the helmet sitting on the tank or strapped to the helmet lock like this.
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A rare Ox Cart. A lady from Leeton at the wedding was telling us that the traffic is a lot better than it was 30 years ago as nearly all the pedal and ox powered vehicles are gone. Now that everything is motorised it all travels at pretty much the same speed. Back then it was total chaos.
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Street cow. Sacred animal so has to be driven around. Not uncommon to see a herd of goats in the middle of the road either.
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Part of the wedding preparation was Henna for the bridal party and a few lucky Australians. This is one side the brides arms.
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And Ellas arms. The artists were really impressed with how it looked on pale skin.
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The post Henna sit around and wait for it to dry. The longer you leave it the darker it is, so the bride had to wait for 5 hours. Makes eating and scratching your nose a challenge.
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Full Indian regalia ready for the wedding service.
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The Groom, his best man and the wedding celebrant.
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Bride and Groom after 2 hours of ceremony. The traditional weddings use to take multiple days, but they now offer a condensed version to suit the limited time that international travellers have.
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In the evening was the reception. A change of cloths and another chance to bless the bride and groom and get another photo with them.
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It certainly made a western wedding look like a pretty dull and quiet affair.

From Chennai we headed down the coast to an area with a few temples. The hotel swimming pool was popular too.
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One of our rooms had a broken lock so plenty of experts got involved to fix it.
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After a couple of hours of looking for the master key, they got the man with the master master key.
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Being a bit more of a touristy area we found a cafe with no curry. Kids had lived on fried rice and Naan bread up until now.
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Some of the temples carved out of single rocks between 600 and 1400 years ago. We got ambushed by a government guide who"had an official government tourist license" at the first temple. So he told lots of stories and showed us around. The fee structure was a bit vague so we paid 3 times more than I thought we negotiated. And he had no change as we "were his first customer today". I'm sure we were.
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So after 2 weeks we were about worn out. Being such an intense place and pretty hot and humid it is very tiring.

Back in Singapore airport, where we didn't stand out like lighthouses.
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Evan flew us from Singapore to Melbourne:
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The trip home in the car. Very quiet.
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Posted by enookway 02:07 Archived in India Comments (8)

August September 2013 - Exmouth to Portland

From Exmouth onwards (well most of WA) was big days in the car. Kids doing their afternoon shift on the ipad movie thing:
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Carnarvon apparently has an all year round summer, and was still warm but also had spring winds.
Bit of space history in the area as a lot of the NASA missions flew over the area on the way up, so a big dish was used to communicate with most of the Gemini and Apollo missions:
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Further south is a big Jump up called Gladstone Lookout. We only stopped there so mum could have her turn at being sick after it had been through everyone else over the past week. Turns out its a bit of a travellers stop and the trend seems to be to leave a momento behind:
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View is the same in most directions:
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We were in 2 minds about Monkey Mia as it is a fair drive in and out on the same road and we had heard differing opinions on it from people who had been there. We decided in the end that we might as well and found it very worthwhile. There is nothing else there apart from the dolphin feeding (and a big visitor center and resort tacked on, but was worth the drive in:

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Shark bay is also pretty spectacular in that there is an abundance of proper big sea creatures that you can see. From this lookout you can see schools of sharks swimming by:
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The Country changes fairly dramatically towards Geraldton from endless miles of salt bush to endless miles of mallee scrub until you hit green rolling fields and proper trees. The greenery took us a bit by surprise reminded us why we live the southerly, windy, cold, wet parts of the country:
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Being spring we were starting to get a regular dose of cold, wet and windy.
New tyres in Geraldton before driving in the rain to Perth. Stayed there a few nights with a workmate and his wife who were in Moranbah.
Visited the kids school teacher and saw lots of traffic lights.

From Perth we headed straight to Albany as we had been to Margaret River etc before. Wet, windy and cold most of the way so not many photos.
Albany was very scenic and lots of colonial history, and wind. Very much like SW Victoria in spring
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Took a look at an old replica of an older Brigg that sailed into Albany in the mid 1800's.
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More rain and wind toward Esperance. We only stayed there for lunch due to gale warnings.
Headed inland toward Norseman where the climate was much better.

Lot of native flowers out around Norseman:
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Turned right onto the Nallabor. Nearly ran over this bloke:
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Had a windy night at Eucla before poking around the old telegraph station in the morning:
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Saw a few mad cyclists:
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Camped just west of Ceduna at an old hall. The wind dropped just before sunset so we though we were in for a peaceful night:
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Even had phone service. Actually not too much of the Nullabor was out of phone service:
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Then the wind got up and blew all night. We had to pack up camp and move around the other side of the hall, so another night of minimal sleep.

Next day we booked into a cabin at Ceduna at 10 in the morning. That night there was hardly a breath of wind.
Went for a tour of the Bureau of Meteorology and learnt about watching the weather:
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Took a slight detour down the Eyre Peninsula to Streaky Bay. More wind and rain but believe it is a nice spot in good weather:
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Hiding from the wind in Kimba (concrete verandah with tin roof too for a change)
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Called into Whyalla to see what it was all about. Nicely developed town but absolutely nothing past the town boundary.
Port Augusta much the same. Ditto Port Pirrie.

Dust storm south of Port Augusta:
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Near Crystal Brook we stayed on a large cropping farm owned by a family friend. Looked at lots of big machinery:
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Camped in the shed:
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Helped with the shearing:
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Moved on into Adelaide and looked around for work but the place was very quiet. After a few days we decided we weren't city dwellers and rang around the rest of the country enquiring about work. Once gain the RIce industry took pity on us so we headed for NSW...
via Victoria.

Spent a day and a bit in Portland,
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Then camped in Flynns Shed:
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And made our way to Leeton (near Griffith, NSW)
Picnic on the Murrumbidgee River:
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Started work at the start of October and rented a house:
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So I think we have officially completed a lap. What was a 2 year plan only took 3 years.
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The last bit was about 23,000km. I think the first year we did 18,000, so around 41,000 km.

A lot of people ask which was the best bit. Very hard to answer as there were lots of highlights, but I think we all agree the places we worked (and lived), particularly the stations were the most memorable.

Job done. I'm off to have a shower in a proper bathroom in the same building as where I sleep and with a dry floor.

Posted by enookway 01:31 Comments (1)

July 2013 - Mataranka to Exmouth

Looks like it has been a few weeks since the last update, and we've covered a bit of ground since then, so:

After our 3 weeks at Mataranka, we headed into Katherine again, this time as proper tourists and ticked another of the must see box's being Katherine Gorge.
We soon got used to walking on the right hand side of the footpaths as European tourists (mainly Germans) outnumber everyone by a fair margin. They also seem to be proficient at heading off on some sizable bushwalks in midday heat with no shirt and even less water.
We had 3 nights there to allow two full days for a look around. I walked into the second gorge the first day, then Evan and I paddled up the first gorge the second day:

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Still within Katherine Gorge NP but up the Stuart Hwy a bit is Edith Falls. Lovely big swimming hole with nipply water. Kids built a gorge of their own:
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Edith Falls Salon
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From there we headed into Kakadu. Driving in is a bit underwhelming, the only striking thing being the quality of roads that mining brings to isolated areas.
Then we went on a boat cruise on a huge wetland called Yellow Water. This was very impressive. Amongst the plethora (big word for the day!) of birds we saw at least 6 or 8 crocs and a water buffalo. The guide was a local indigenous lady who was very informative and could spot wildlife from incredible distances.
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Next stop was Jabiru, with all the appointments of a mining town (everything you need and nothing in particular that you want), so we camped on the Eastern end of the NP on the East Alligator River which is the border with Arnhem Land. Local sport here is to watch the crocs catch fish on the causeway as the tide changes.

There is also some impressive rock art and lookouts in the area:
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Beth found a traditional bed:
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The road out was even better than the road in, and ends in Darwin. A fair proportion of Australias baby boomers saturate Darwins caravan parks for the winter so getting accommodation is a bit challenging, so we had a week there once we'd found a site. While there the local show was on:
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The army had a very good display with lots of hands on stuff.
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Not sure how cranky this thing ended up by the end of the day.
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Proof she's lethal:
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Darwin has a lot of World War 2 history including these oil storage tunnels underground to protect their fuel supplies in anticipation of being bombed.
There was only one tunnel out of about 14 open. Although impressive it lacked any detailed information so was a bit dissapointing.
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Hadn't seen the sea or a beach for a while (since Karumba). This is as far North as we are likely to go:
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Midil Beach Markets. Most of Darwin out to watch the sunset, which was a bit of a fizzer as it was overcast.
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After Darwin was Litchfield, which a lot of advice suggested is better than Kakadu. WE found it very different to Kakadu and both are well worth visiting.
Kakadu is all wetlands and Rock Art. Litchfield is waterfalls, and termite mounds:
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Ran into this young bloke from Victoria doing a lap of the country on his home made solar bike
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Florence Falls swimming hole. Standing room only.
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Blyth Homestead is an old outstation which a local pioneering family housed their kids (over the range from the main homestead) to operate a tin mine. They had something like 14 kids and as soon as they were old enough to work they lived here with their brothers and sisters. Tough (or insanely stubborn) people:
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The track in had a few puddles:
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Highlight of Litchfield - Wangi Falls. Another big swimming hole:
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As Katherine is the crossroads to everywhere here, we were back there again for about the 5th time. Luckily the caravan roof decided to collapse here and not way out in the bush so was able to spend a pleasant day finding stainless wire rope and pulleys.

Heading west finally and into Gregory National Park. Victoria River is a reasonable size:
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Boab tree at site of Gregories base camp on the Victoria River. Very interesting explorer who I have found reasonably difficult to find many books on, Probably because he wasn't a spectacular failure. When he missed the rendezvous with the supply ship (I think the captain was drunk), he simply gathered up his blokes and rode back to Brisbane.

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Into Western Australia, and to Kununurra. Famous for it's residency by previous generations of Hookways during the Ord River Dam construction.
Lots of green grass around and well watered crops.
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A tiny bit of Lake Argyle:
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Some of the locals
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Lagoon beside Lake Kununurra. No shortage of water anywhere:
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After servicing the car in Alice Springs it was due again.
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The road into the Bungle Bungles is legendary for corrugations, and didn't disappoint. After 80km in we weren't really looking forward to coming out the same way. Anyway we ended up with a few new rattles in the car and surprisingly reduced a few old ones.
The drive was worth it though:
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This is Cathedaral Gorge (Most of WA's attractions are gaps in rocks), which of course is much more impressive than this photo would suggest.
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A family we met at the camp near the Bungles kept running into us of the next few nights. We also ran into a couple from Portland (as you do).
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Halls Creek was only a lunch stop, although one claim to fame is a distinct lack of water.
Fitzroy crossing was less inspiring.
After that was into Tunnel Creek, which as the name suggests, a creek running underground. The walk is about a km long and requires a bit of wading through water slightly above freezing:
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Further along this road is another gorge, Winjana this time. Famous for its freshwater crocs sunning themselves on the opposite bank:
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The Winjana Gorge road meets the bottom end of the Gibb River Road. Then heads into Derby.
Had a look at the tide roaring in at the jetty, then continued onto Broome:

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Broome is very much like an Airlie Beach on the west coast. Mainly a resort and tourist town with a bit of pearling history.
Struck it lucky again when the caravan bed broke and were actually near somewhere that could weld it back together.

Cable beach fish and chips view:
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South of Broome is some of the most monotonous driving in the country, which is only interrupted by the immense industriousness of Port Hedland. No photos of "Hedland" as there's not a lot to take photo of.

Between there and Karratha the scenery does improve a bit with the lumpiness of the Pilbira.
We stopped in Karratha as a couple of blokes I worked with in Moranbah had move here. Karrratha is also famous for being near Dampier which is famous for the Red Dog:
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Birthday celebrated:
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Next stop was Exmouth. Camping in the NP was a bit competitive. Required lining up at the gate at 7 in the morning for a campsite.
The wind here made it a bit unpleasant. We did get to snorkel about on bits of Ningaloo reef and saw turtles, sting rays, heaps of fish, then turned blue in the wind when we got out of the water.

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The map of the last 5 weeks or so. As we've been heading west the sunrise and sunset times have been changing all the time. The hour and a half time change at the WA border took a while to get used to. Sunrise moved from 7am to 5:30.
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Were currently in Caranarvon and the weather has just turned pear shaped.
Onto Geraldon and Perth from here.

Posted by enookway 05:29 Comments (1)

June 2013 - Alice Springs to Mataranka

Well, been a while since the last post, so better fill you in on where weve been.
Bit of confusion with the last email as I edited the post a few times and this thing must send an email each time it is changed.

I think the end of the last episode we were heading into Alice Springs. Did we mention it was cold.
After 2 months or so in Western Qld and the Gulf where overnight temperatures rarely got below 20, within a few days we were getting single figures (like 5) and only mid teens during the day. So we had to work out how to put jeans and jumpers on again.

After a day or so poking around the big smoke of Alice Springs, we headed aout to the West Macdonnel Ranges and camped in a few different places.
Kids made some damper to fulfill some practical schoolwork:
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First two nights we spent at Ellery Big Hole:
Then moved on to Orminston Gorge. The campground here didn't allow fires so we backtracked a bit to Sperpentine Creek which is a bit more "bush camping" rather than the standard NP camps.
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Found a few caves in the hills:
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Evan in the Civil Construction game
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One of the reasons we were in Alice at the coldest time of year was the Finke Desert race:
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Sat around in the cold and watched a few fast cars and bikes and lots of slow ones. The event gets about 50 cars and 400 odd bikes.
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Race Day 1 on the race track which is the service road beside the old Ghan Railway line:
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Eventual buggy winner:
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Sponsorship money must be impressive for this class of racing. The pro buggies chassis alone cost around $250,000 then you have to put an engine and suspension on it.

Bike winner Todd Smith:
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The following week we went and saw the big Rock:
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Bit of a hike to the top and pretty steep on all sides:
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Also had a look at the Olgas next door:
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Other attractions at Yulara was Scruffy the baby camel:
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Back to Alice and in and out of Repco a few more times to chase car parts that I'd ordered a month prior, then we returned North.
Tennant Creek Overland Telegraph Station. Most of the OTL stations appear to be restored and open, so if you miss one you can always stop at the next town.
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Stuart Highway has a selection of unremarkable attractions, mainly monuments to early explorers and pioneers who passed through. They are conveniently spread out to relieve the monotony in between the monotonous bits.

Near Elliot is Longreach Waterhole. Very pleasant camping area so we stayed there for a few nights. Bit windy during the day at times.
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Just North of Elliot is Newcastle Waters. This was the crossroads of the stock routes and a busy Drovers camp. In its heyday it was a small town with a pub, school, store etc. The School still runs and a few of the houses are occupied.
Pub closed in 1975:
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Next stop was Mataranka which is famous for its "Thermal Pool". A spring fed creek that isn't thermal, just nice a warm because of where it is. Kids swam here most days:
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Ella and Evan turned 7, so we had a night in Katherine, which was only 100km away.
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July the first in NT is Territory Day. The one day of the year you can buy and use fireworks. The local sports oval put on a very impressive show after the locals tried to blow each other up around the perimeter of the oval. The main fireworks were set off from the cricket pitch so we were pretty close to it and could feel the ash falling on our faces.
Kids dressed up for a night out:
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We stayed on Cave Creek station near Mataranka for 3 weeks and did a bit of helping out around the place.
The kids caught up on some school work and finished off the term while I welded stock yards. Thankfully the workmanship improved over time and we were allowed to stay.
The station has another spring fed river running through it which had a good swimming hole. No Salties up this far (apparently), although they are only about 20km down the Roper River:
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Cave Creek regatta:
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Gernooing up the Waterhouse River
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Near Larrimah is Birdum Creek Station (another 100,000 odd acres) leased by our hosts. This time of year is mustering so we went down for a day and learnt lots about moving cows around in small areas they aren't very happy in. This lot are about to get branded:
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Beth on the slide gate.
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Before we left the station we were taken on a tour out East to a place called Goose Lagoon.
Negotiating the locals on the way:
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Kids attempting to fish with a stick, line, hook and leftover pasta.
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Then Evan cought a fish:
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And luckily not a croc or Bull Shark which allegedly inhabit the waterhole.

More locals on the way back, although these ones are vermin along with the Water Buffalo that regularly get around the area.
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So a very enjoyable 3 weeks was had. We've moved on now and are at Katherine Gorge before the Katherine Show next weekend.

Haven't ventured too far off the main road in this state. NT has very good sealed roads, due mainly to only having one.
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Next place is Kakadu followed by Darwin and into WA.

Posted by enookway 03:56 Comments (6)

May 2013 - Mt Isa to Alice Springs

After a few days dosing up on big smoke facilities we headed back out into a bit more remoteness.
First stop was West Leichhardt station just North of Mt Isa. This is a working cattle station with tourist accommodation. Had a pleasant few days amongst green grass.
This part of the world missed out on wet season so was very dry and stock numbers were down.

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More rocks in this area and a contrast to the black soil plains to the East.
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Further North was Lake Julius, stopped in there for a look but lots of no camping signs so moved on. Next major stop was the Burke and Wills Roadhouse famous for nothing other than being in the middle of nowhere, or halfway between Cloncurry and Normanton.

And so we arrived in Noramanton, and found a big swimming pool and other water features:
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Normanton is famous for Krys the bloody enormous croc that was shot here in the 60's. Hard to believe this is a lifesize replica:
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Cultural event was Saturday night Karaoke in the Purple pub.

Grooming kids:
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Normanton to Karumba is only about 70km and on the coast at the Eastern End of the Gulf. Very popular with grey nomad fishermen who migrate here for the winter. Some spend between April and September here every year.
Outdoor classroom.
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Sunset over the sea, bit of a novelty, especially when with warm nights and the local fish and chips.
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Mandatory play on the beach.
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From Karumba we headed toward Lawn Hill National Park, via a few back roads south of Burketown:
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Didn't come across many road trains until the Gregory to Lawn Hill Road,
Before:
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After:
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Lawn Hill Creek is spring fed and well worth a visit. We stayed at the National Park camp but theres also a privately run campground at Adels Grove about 10ks out.

Lots of fish, turtles and the odd freshwater croc. Apparently these mind their own business if you leave them alone. Ella got bitten on the toe by a turtle.

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Justified carting a canoe from one side the state to the other.
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Plenty of nice swimming holes:
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Still very warm here. low to mid thirties during the day and only got down to 20 at night.

Back to Burketown for grazing supplies. Amusing local road sign:
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From there we headed West toward the Northern Territory via the Savannah Way. This is the unsealed road that follows the Gulf.
Found it very difficult to get reliable road conditions and river levels. Its also 320km with no fuel or much of anything else so were a bit nervous heading into it.

Crossed into NT
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Being so dry all the rivers were very low. Normally this road would be still closed this time of year.
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Made it into Borroloola with only one buggered tyre. Wasn't a particularly appealing place, so we continued on to Cape Crawford further south. Confusing name as its nowhere near the coast but is a "Cape" of the Barkly Tablelands.

Campground behind the roadhouse and live music every night by a one man guitarist/Singer called Road Dowsett. Most expensive fuel so far ($2.09)

We were going to go to Lorella Springs bu the road in was very ordinary. Took us well over an hour to do 45km. Then we broke a water tank hose so decided to abandon the next 120 odd km and head back toward Borroloola and further North to King Ash Bay. The campground there is run by the local fishing club and very well serviced.
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They had a pub serving meals most nights of the week. Mobile phone service, and a shop/servo that was well stocked. Fuel way out there was also the cheapest in the area.

Cracked a few coconuts without losing any fingers:
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Did some relaxing
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And Schoolwork
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After 4 days we headed to a station stay we had lined up back near Cape Crawford. The two girls there were the same age as our lot, so it was a good week for kids to make new friends:
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Admire the view from the top tank
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Play with chooks
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Tour to the tip:
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And learn how to find, capture and groom a semi wild horse, well an old semi gone wild horse:
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We boosted the numbers at the local KICS session (Katherine Isolated Childrens Services). They bring out a trailer load of toys every few months for a get together of local kids.
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Weekly assembly at Katherine School of the air:
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More green grass
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Grooming feral bush kids. By the end of the week they had graduated from thongs to no shoes:
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Evan found a few things to drive around:
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And was a bit sad to leave:
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From Cape Crawford we headed south down the Barkly Tablelands highway. The first 80 odd km is a gradual climb with a bit of changing scenery. After that its another 300km of pretty much nothing:
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Turn right at Barkly Roadhouse, then more flatness into Tennant Creek. Camped about 10k out of town at the Pebbles:
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In Tennant Creek we went to the first "supermarket" since Mt Isa, then on to the Devils Marbles:
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Lots of rocks and more caravans. There were about 50 odd and most had cleared out by 8 the next morning.
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Bit windy at the top:
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Been a bit of rain further south, this is about 300km North of Alice Springs:
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Crossed the tropic of Capricorn and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Was "only" 23 when we got into Alice Springs.
Nights have been in single figures so were doing a lot of whinging and digging out all the cloths we have.

Covered a bit of the country in the last month:
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West MacDonnell ranges this week then back to Alice next weekend for the Finke Desert Race.
Then to the big Rock and North again.

Posted by enookway 04:50 Comments (1)

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