Monday, August 15, 2011

Home to Milawa

Monday August 15th

Unexpectedly we decided to head for Milawa..the sky had clouded overnight and our tent was dry!! A night out in the wet was not appealing. Rain first hit our windscreen at Swanhill and increased the further we travelled east.
The NSW country around Balranald reminded us of the Nullarbor Plains..salt bush and very little on the horizon! Civilization was upon us as we travelled the Murray Valley Highway. We have had a memorable 6 weeks exploring the Australian Outback. It was great having Eileen and Geoff with us making our days more fun!!

Our home lights were on as we arrived at 'Kyamba', smoke coming from our chimney and John A in the kitchen preparing dinner for us. Thankyou John for this gesture. We are pleased to be home but we are also certain that the 'Outback' will call us again!! We love it out there..the remote locations, the quiet and stars at night and the sense of discovery of so many interesting things.

 Safari 2011 is over and so is my first foray into writing a blog! Hope my friends and family have enjoyed it as I have.

Travelling companions at Ian's Hotel

To Mungo—unexpectedly!

Sunday August 14th

Echidna on roadside

Our day began with thick fog which did not clear until 10 am. We travelled through Station properties all day..into NSW from South Australia...across the Silver City Highway and through more Station properties.  Public roads go through the outback properties and it is legal to drive on them. Often there are many gates to open and job! We crossed the Darling River at Pooncarie and unfortunately were unable to buy fuel in this small village. Eventually we have set up camp at Lake Mungo in a great spot under clear skies. The highlights today were not the flowers but the fauna we saw..wild goats, kangaroos, emus, a brown snake, a shingle back lizard and an echidna.

Port Augusta – Quandong Road

Saturday August 13th
Travelled from Port Augusta through the southern Flinders Ranges. Country through Peterborough, Orroroo and Yunta was hilly/saltbush country-- real DOT country as hills were dotted with low growing plants of various greens.
We headed south from Yunta, leaving the Barrier Highway onto a gravel road. The rain and wet conditions made me feel apprehensive. However the road proved to be well maintained and easy to travel on. As we travelled through Quandong Station the country changed from hilly to flat to slightly undulating with very colourful wattles and cassias in bloom combined with the never ending grey of the saltbush. Unfortunately a ROAD CLOSED sign was in place when we came to turn south to the Danggali Conservation Park.

Entry to our campsite!

We continued on toward NSW along the same gravel road and eventually camped near the road among cassias. wattles and small oak trees. Thankfully the dark clouds have cleared!! Today kangaroos, goats and emus crossed our path and even on father emu with 8 or 9 'fast running' chicks about 30 cm in size.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gilles Lake and Port Augusta

Friday August 12th.

This morning was one of our coldest with ice on our tent..We travelled north and east through the most magnificant cropping area. .undulating hills stretched across the patchwork of green, canola yellow and fallow brown.
We entered the Lake Gilles Conservation Park from the west. What a pretty  area with Mallee eucalypts and Myall acacias..some of which are very old. The Salina or lake has water in it at present and gave the most beautiful reflections. We stayed a couple of hours enjoying the view, walking and eating our sandwiches.

Lake Gilles
 This evening we are in Port Augusta with a very dirty rig. Eileen & Geoff will leave early to-morrow to make a fast return to Wangaratta. John & I plan to take several days to return to Milawa.

My Journal is nearly full with drawings, paintings and stitching. I was pleased to have time to paint a quick image of Lake Gilles today.

Ceduna to Pinkawillinie Conservation Park

Thursday August 11th

Fog around our tents this morning after rain in the night. However the day has fined with only intermittent showers.

We spent several hours in Ceduna shopping and visiting the Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre. There were a large number of artworks on display and for sale and everything was well organised. We had the pleasure of meeting a young artist. His name is Beaver Lennon who could definitely be classed as 'an emerging artist'. It appears that he has a great artistic career ahead of him. He is quietly spoken and already mentoring other youngsters in the town. His work will be shown next year in Adelaide in a Solo Exhibition.We wish him well and look forward to following his artistry.

Another wattle!!

Tonight is our last camp together as a foursome and we are camped in the Pinkawillinie Conservation Park south of the Gawler Ranges yet another gravel pit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eucla - Nullarbor

Eileen & June at Old Telegraph Station

Tuesday August 9th

First Activity this morning was a visit to the Old Telegraph Station at Eucla where sand has partly covered the limestone building.

Instead of travelling on the main bitumen road we took the Old Eyre Highway which is further north. We did not see any other vehicles on this gravel track/road. My mother nad father went to Perth about 1960 and this is the road they would have travelled on. The Nullarbor Plains at this point is flat and treeless with only saltbush and a few low shrubs none od which were in bloom.

Tonight we are camped in a camping area at the back of the Hotel/Motel at Nullarbor..the only attribute of this settlement is the fact that I have Ineternet/phone connection. It is EXTREMELY WINDY.

We are heading East now but with quite a few diversions.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Monday August 8th
South of Eucla near Great Australian Bight
We have camped early today about 2 km from  the beach on the Great Australian Bight. This morning we have continued to travel along the coast through saltbush and samphire as well as some mallee type eucalypts. The weathe ris calm and warm.

South of Mundrabilla

Sunday August 7th

Most of the morning was spent driving over the Roe Plains after we had inspected the ruins of 'Burnabbie' homestead. The eucalypt trees were really very pretty. Both kangaroos and emus quickly fled from our path.

Coastal Hakea

We lunched at Madura on the Eyre Highway. After which we followed the bitumen for 115km and turned south at Mundrabilla. This new southerly track led us down to the sea where a few fishermen live/camp at LowPoint. We continued on this track until we found a delightful place on the sand to spend the night. The waves can be heard as we enjoyed a large camp fire.

Burnabbie Ruins

Saturday August 6th

After some navigating confusion we eventually camped near the Eyre Bird Sanctuary but outside the Nature Reserve amongst a thick forest of Melaleuca and Eucalypt. It is a calm night but quite cool. We enjoyed a delicious meal of roast chicken cooked by Geoff.

Bush around our campsite

Twilight Cove

Friday August 5th

Storm over Twilight Cove
Most of the morning was spent driving the 30 km into Twilight Cove along a narrow track..very stoney at times and quite good at others. We spent the afternoon walking on the white sands of the beach. Stormy skies and rainbows added to the beauty of the Cove which is enclosed by the Baxter Cliffs. Late in the afternoon a pod of whales was discovered. There were 4 cows and 4 calves quite close to the beach. We spent ages watching them floating amongst the times showing their fins and noses. What a privilege to be so close to these wonderful creatures in the wild. They were only metres from the sand and gave us a great view of their afternoon activity.

Rawlinna to Cocklebiddy

Thursday August 4th

We left this morning in much colder conditions. The winds of the Nularbor have blown all day. The Carlisle Road route through 2 station properties was slow over limestone rocks and general rough conditions.

Entering Carlisle Road at Rawlinna
The Nularbor Plains looked fresh and green after over 600mls of rain during the early part of this year. There were  also a few flowers blooming amongst the low salt bush and crop of grasses. The name NULARBOR actually means NO TREES (in Latin.) There are some trees but very few. It is one of the best known Australian Icons which everyone should experience. Generally the plains are dry and very arid but we have been fortunate to see them green.

During the last few days we have seen more kangaroos and today was no exception with several groups endeavoring to race the vehicles. Camels have been dominant but we saw only one on the horizon today.

This evening, because of the chill wind, we are in overnight accommodation at Cocklebiddy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The end of Connie Sue--Rawlinna

Wednesday August 3rd

It took us 2 hours to come out of the Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve and back onto the Connie Sue Highway. Again the flowers and trees were in bloom with many flowers of the Sturt's Desert Pea flowing onto the track. We have now travelled the full length of the Connie Sue Highway..approx, 650 km. We did not see another person on the track so we have been 5 day without talking to other travellers. The southern end of the Connie Sue has been rather rough with large limestone rocks to avoid.

Southern end of Connie Sue Highway
Tonight we are at Rawlinna which is on the Trans-continental railway line...we hope to see a train!! It is cold and windy so we have been able to camp at the Nullabor Muster grounds with both rigs in a huge shed..

Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve

Tuesday August 2nd

This has been a relaxing day spent in a very attractive location...washing, walking, stitching, reading, drawing and resting.. We were actually camped in an area that had previously been used for harvesting Sandalwood. There were piles of Sandalwood chips which we burned on our fire. The aroma of sandalwood has been very dominant and

One visitor.. a large camel who took fright into the bush..probably never seen humans before.

A simple meal this evening ...spaghetti with the Ardmona Neapolitan sauce that Joan kindly gave me as we set off.

Camp area in Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve


Neale Junction to Plumridge Lakes

 Monday August 1st

Eucalyptus Youngiana buds and blooms

I cannot adequately express the continuing beauty of the desert garden. The Great Victoria Desert is in full bloom as we have never seen it before. The brilliant yellow of cassia has been with us all day along with many of the other flowers we have already flowers for today include the dark red hop bush and carpets of white daisies and mulla mulla with pale grey green salt bush. The most spectacular tree we saw is my very favourite, Eucalyptus Youngiana with its large buds and blooms.

We have made a diversion into the Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve to camp for 2 nights amongst the bush, red sand and clear skies

To Neale Junction on Connie Sue Highway

Sunday July 31st

Hakea Francisiana

Connie Sue's garden is surely my favourite. Another wonderful day of flowers. I can't help saying again that the colours against the red sand dunes have been remarkable...mauve of the Desert Rose, orange/yellow of the Desert Grevillea, pink & white of the Daisies, blue of the Pin Cushions, yellow of the Wattle, Cassias and Everlastings; pink, white and yellow of the thryptamene and red of the Up-side-down plant..and yes, a new hakea today..growing in profusion. The Hakea Francisiana with its long pink/red tracts of flowers was quite a spectacle.

 The corrugated road is still with us but with excellent drivers we were able to travel a little more quickly and we came 175km today. We are camped near Neale Junction tonight..the junction of the Connie Sue Highway and the Anne Beadell Highway.

Warburton along the Connie Sue Highway

Saturday July 30th

Kings Mill Mallee
What an exciting morning! The flowers in today's desert garden have been spectacular. Firstly a wonderful display of Sturt's Desert Pea along with large areas of Rosie Dock. The colours were amazing against the wonderful red of the sand dunes. The new eucalypt that John has identified is 'Kings Mill Mallee. It was a very prominent roadside tree in full bloom. (Susan you would love it..The flower buds and nuts are like Youngiana but smaller and slightly bigger than Pachyphylla..common name Red Bud Mallee ) Honey grevillea came in great swathes for us to drive through. The thryptamene was magnificent even a few bushes of yellow blooms which are unusual in the desert. We stopped a couple of times and walked amongst it. All of us found it difficult to continue our journey. It was all so beautiful

It has been a thoroughly delightful day and we are now camped, under a clear sky, near Hann's Tabletop Hill.

Friday, July 29, 2011


At last we travelled on some easier roads and arrived in Warburton soon after 11.00am. We booked into the Camping Park attached to the Roadhouse. It was great to use the washing machine and let all blow dry on the line.We were able to re-stock our food supplies from the store. We will be away from 'shops' for a week as we travel down to Cocklebiddy.We visited the local Cultural Centre and Art Gallery. The Aboriginal Art on display was most impressive..even some felted works and some lovely glass platters. The weather is still very warm..hopefully no rain!!

It would be great to receive some comments from those who are following our Safari.

Gunbarrel to Heather Highway

Thursday July 28th

Geoff & John pumping water
A day of rough and very rough roads as we progressed along the Gunbarrel Highway and then onto the Heather Highway. The flowers and hilly terrain were pretty and worth photographing. We stopped to inspect stwo memorials to Len Beadell who initially surveyed these roads. We came by several bores, one of which we were able to pump water from. The days traveling time was 6 to 7 hours when we covered only the short distance of 120 km. The temperature rose to 31 deg the highest we have experienced.

Gunbarrel Highway

Wednesday July 27th

The roads/tracks have been very slow and rough for quite a few days now. Today we only travelled about 110 km and were pleased to camp this evening after very severe corrugations on the Gunbarrel Highway. The bush has been extremely pretty and varied. We went through a paradise for daisies and then a garden of Grevillias both the Honey and the Desert variety...both in full bloom.

Desert Myrtle
The most entertaining thing for the morning was finding 2 large camels on the track. They immediately turned and trotted, in their swaying fashion, along the track ahead of us. We followed them for over 30 minutes as they were too silly to step off the track. In the 30 minutes they averaged 25km per hour. Eventually they careered off into the bushy desert.

Mulgan Rockhole

Tuesday July 26th

A day trip to see the Mulgan Rockhole which did not appear to have any water in it and to McPherson's Pillar. This was a rugged rocky outcrop high above the surrounding lands. The shale ranged from white, cream, tan, brown purple and mauve and appeared quite glass like.

Eucalyptus Pachyphylla
We lunched at this site and were entertained by hundreds of fire tail finches flying about the area and very close to us. We then realized that a nearby eucalypt had amazing red flower buds on it. John has identified it as eucalyptus pachyphylla. It has beautiful red buds, a cream flower and a large nut to follow.
It was all very exciting to enjoy this pleasure in such a remote place.

On returning to the lake we noticed a few swans in the distance and quite a number of ducks diving for their dinner. It has been a great place to spend an extra day. Both sunrise and sunset over the waters has been very pretty.

Lake Cohen

Monday July 25th

Luckily the few clouds have blown away and the weather continues to be delightfully warm.

The narrow highway/track continues to be quite rough in patches. We drove up to see
Mc Dougall Knoll which provided us with a 360deg vista of the surrounding Gibson Desert.

The wild flowers today have been on much smaller plants and ground covers. However it is no less exciting to see such a brightly coloured pretty garden in the wild.

We lunched by Lake Cohen which is a magnificent fresh water inland lake. Disappointingly we found no water birds. However the huge flocks of budgerigars have made up for this. John and Geoff filled some water containers from the lake using John's special little pump. The edges of the lake are very soft so it is easy to have boots unexpectedly covered in mud.

This is such a special place that we moved further around the water and set up camp with the plan to stay for 2 nights. A great opportunity to wash a few clothes.

Road runs into Lake Cohen

Gary Highway - Windy Corner

Sunday July 24th

Great camp under the ghost gums near Whau Whau Well. It was 9deg this morning whereas last time we camped here in 2003 it was -2deg in the morning! We have enjoyed a wonderful week of warm sunny weather.

There were many more birds today but so hard to identify...zenra finch, budgerigars, crimson chats pigeons and quails. The track was narrow and rough and sometimes rather overgrown. We drove through 2 large areas where the spinifex was dead..most unusual..we can only presume the areas had been very wet and the plants had drowned.

By 2.00pm today, at Windy Corner, we had not seen another vehicle for 48 hours. During the afternoon we saw 12 vehicles.

Tonight we can hear owls, dingoes and a camel in the night. The stars in the desert sky, have been spectacular every evening.

Spinifex Garden

Gary Junction turn south to Gary Highway

Saturday July 23rd

We have not seen another vehicle all day. Early morning we travelled the last 20km of the Gary Junction Road and turned onto the Gary Highway.

At the crossroads we inspected and signed the travellers' registration book and noted that Anne Beadell (mother of Gary) had signed the book on her way through to the CanningStock Route. We also noted that Beth & John Harrison had signed the book on July 6th 2010.

John and I have driven along the Gary Highway in 2003. What a privilege to experience this scenery again. The Gibson Desert is in full bloom....a profusion of flowers of many colours....yellow, red, cream, blue, mauve, pink and many more shades. Added to this were Crimson Chats, Zebra Finches, Masked Woodswallows and Budgerigars.

Jupiter Well & Desert Oaks

Friday July 22nd

For most of the day we travelled through a beautiful desert garden filled with grevillias, wattles, and some wonderful examples of Cunningham's Parrot Pea. We have seen several flocks of budgerigars, finches and a bustard/bush fact we nearly hit this large bird as he tried to become air borne.

We were pleased to be able to fill our water containers at Jupiter Well and enjoy our lunch in the shade of a desert oak tree. There were a number of people camping in the area..popular because of the availability of good water.

The Gibson Desert opened into a wide plain with a huge dome of clear blue sky. Eventually we camped in a large clean gravel pit surrounded by flowers including several holly grevillias in full bloom.
A camp oven meal this evening with dumplings!!

Cunningham's Parrot Pea

Kintore and Kiwirkurra

Thursday July 21st
The remaining 30 km of the Sandy Blight Road proved to be very rough. We were pleased to arrive at Kintore shortly before 11.00 am. Because of a funeral, court proceedings and an Intervention Meeting the store closed at 11.00am. The Art Centre was closed for the day as well..disappointing but this is how these communities operate.

Travelling through desert gardens is a privilege and most spectacular. Wattles and hakeas have are in full bloom. Eucalypts have again stood out with their beautiful white trunks. John has been challenged to identify a new bloodwood. The Gary Junction Road is much smoother to drive on as we came west again entering Western Australia.

Honey Grevillia
After a delightful lunch of cold lamb and Clive's tomato relish we arrived at Kiwirkurra...a very friendly settlement where we were welcomed into the store and the Women's Centre. We were shown a wide range of paintings some uncompleted. John & I chose a larger piece of work to purchase. It was painted by Patricia Jackson who was away visiting relatives in another settlement so we were unable to meet her.

We have camped in a gravel pit west of Kiwirkurra surrounded by desert flowers once again.

Sandy Blight Track

July 20th Wednesday

We continued along the Sandy Blight Track travelling along the swales which are the lower areas between the sand dunes. The vegetation is continually changing.
Today we had vehicle problems..firstly a flat tyre then both trailers had shock absorber problems due to the severe corrugations.

We crossed the border into the Northern Territory and were pleased to find a campsite at lunch time near the Davenport Ranges amongst the desert oaks and cassia. Two young dingoes were taking a great deal of interest in us.

We had time to do extra camp chores including a camp oven meal of roast lamb, potatoes, kumera and pumpkin served with peas and mint jelly.

Camels on the road
The Eco dyeing I had batching developed serious leaks probably due to the rough travelling. I decided to untie all the tiny parcels of silk and dry them. They are now all carefully labelled and stored.

The Sandy Blight Junction Road

July 19th

A wonderful morning..very still without a breath of wind as we watched the sun come up in the east and the moon setting in the west. We enjoyed Anneshka's Crab Apple Jelly on our toast..what more could we want!

On top of Sir Frederick Range
Camels have appeared quite often during the day. Our top temperature both today and yesterday has been 25 degrees. It does become cool at night but only as low as 6 degrees so it is very comfortable camping weather after all the cloudy and rainy days.

The Sandy Blight Road is very rough at times with rocks and corrugations.
We detoured to explore the Sir Frederick Ranges and actually drove up to the Cairn to take in the 360 degree vista.

Again the variety of bushland growth is amazing. This afternoon alone I saw at least 10 varieties of wattles as well as eucalypts, bloodwoods, grevillias, hakeas, cassia and spinifex.

Tonight we are camped along the Sandy Blight Road near a bore...again a clear starry sky and again we are enjoying the camp fire.

Warakurna and Tjukurla

 July 18th Monday

This morning we had a great visit to the Warakurna Roadhouse where we enjoyed the gallery of Aboriginal art works...paintings, carved wood pieces, jewellery, T shirts and bags. We purchased a painting by Anna Porter. It is so good to see the areas in which the artists paint.

We also visited the nearby Giles weather Station which was interesting as well, especially as Len Beadell's road grader was on display. One of the last roads that Len built was the Sandy Blight Junction Road which finished at Giles.

Desert Grevillia
Early afternoon we setoff along the Sandy Blight Junction Road and visited the settlement of Tjukurla with the hope of seeing the Art Centre there. Sadly this Centre is not operating at present. However one young woman, Lisa, brought a lovely painting to show us. She shyly told us that the story of her work was about water holes and sand hills.

 The desert bush is constantly changing. desert oaks are quite common with many wild flowers and other trees which we cannot identify. Grass trees, ghost gums, honey grevillia, holly grevillia, wattles and thryptomene. camels appear regularly and race away through the bushes.

We were late camping in amongst a large stand of desert oaks further along the Sandy Blight Road. It was a very quiet night despite the fact that we were within 30 metres of the road.

West to Docker River

July 17th Sunday

Clear blue sky. Thankfully the road is acceptable with obvious muddy patches which are drying out quickly.
Honey Grevillias are in bloom amongst the low eucalypt scrub. Some areas have been burnt and the black is attractive against the red sand dunes.
We visited Lasseter's Cave – an historic place where Lasseter spent his last days as he searched for a reef of gold. We lunched amongst the River Red Gums.

Mid afternoon settled into the Docker River Camping Ground for a peaceful night under the Desert Oak trees. A dingo was evident as he wandered around the area and eventually howled very loudly about 9.00pm. It is a very spooky sound!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Olgas

July 16th,

The Olgas
The weather has improved so we drove out to see the Olgas and walked through the magnificant rock formations.
Wild flowers are everywhere. The Honey Grevillias are coming into beautiful green/yellow blooms. We have also seen many wattles, hop bushes, hakeas and pea flowers as well as acres of thriptomine.  We look forward to seeing more flowers as we travel west.
Hopefully the roads will have dried out enough for as to travel easily. The fine sunny day has certainly been welcome.


July 15th
John & June with Uluru in the background
Another cloudy day, with some light mist. We drove out to have a close look at THE ROCK. Even though I have seen it before and even climbed it. ..It is a magnificant Australian Icon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

From Mulga Station to sealed road

July 14th, The good night's sleep helped us survive the 105 km along a very slippery road to bitumen. We had the good fortune to see a mob of camels about 20 or 30 we thought. They are amazing animals. We then had a close up view of several large wedged-tailed eagles.
The tour to Mt Connor has been cancelled because of the poor weather. We hope we can join a similar tour on Sunday. We have come on to Yulara and Uluru. It is a very big complex with 4 resort hotels as well as a large camping ground which we have settled into for 3 nights.
We hope for a fine day is fine mist again tonight.

Entry in Pitjantjatjara Lands

July 13th.
Rain had fallen all night however after ringing Police we decided to enter the area. July 13th was the only day we had an entry permit for. The roads were soft and difficult to drive on. There were no views of the country because the cloud was so low.
The first Art Centre we called on was Fregon where Beverley Peacock welcomed us.Beverley has been living and working at Fregon for 20 years. Paintings were on display around the gallery. Some were spectacular. I could see that they would easily fit into the Ian Potter Gallery. Beverley showed us quite a large number of Batik scarves. These were quite detailed in design. Artists mostly paint intuitively so designs and colours were rather irregular which added to the appeal of them. There were embroidered cushions which had been stitched in Katmandu and designed at Fregon Art Centre. There were also quite a variety of cards printed from artist's paintings.
Plans were in place to take many paintings to Darwin to take part in a market there next weekend. Many of the paintings are done in the 'dot' technique but there are other ideas being introduced. The varied use of colour is amazing.

Late in the day we visited Ernabella where the welcome was not so readily offered. However we were able to watch 6 or 8 artists working and chatted to several of them. One chap told us his favourite colour was yellow. It was amazing how he used dots in 4 shades of yellow to tell the story of his father's home country. He had been painting for only 2 years and prior to this he had been a policeman at Ernabella. He is the chairperson of the Artists' Incorporation. Many works were obviously about the nearby Musgrave Ranges.

The rain continued most of the day causing the roads to be treachorous. Luckily both John & Geoff are skilled drivers. We actually come acroos a guy who had completely turned his truck onto the roof. Luckily he was unhurt.

We continued on until we were out of Aboriginal country ro spend another very wet evening camping..we slept for 10 hours warm and dry.

North from Coober Pedy

July 12th,
Travelled along Stuart Highway to deteriorating.
Mid afternoon we had a very interesting visit to the Indulkana Art Centre near Chandler.We watched artists working on some interesting pieces. Most techniques were dots which were placed with a stick or small rod and not a brush.

The gallery display included paintings, baskets, jewellery, cards, wallets, handbags and cushion covers. Artists designs are used on the cushion covers and handbags.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gawler Ranges to Coober Pedy

July 11th

Travelled north today along the edges of Lake Everard and Lake Harris. We had lunch at the Kingoona Hotel which is a very remote Hotel. We were able to purchase fuel there as well.

We saw Red Rumped Grass Parrots lined up on a water trough...these birds are found in a wide area as we regularly see them in Milawa.,
 Dew Tanks are to be found along the track..these tanks are built with a large iron roof over a series of tanks.The evening dew settles on the roof and is collected into the tanks. It amazes me to think that water is so scarse that the dew has to be collected. Of course all the water in the lakes is salty.

Sturt's Dester Pea
Growing along the road we found several clumps of the beautiful  Sturt's Desert Pea in bloom. This is always a thrill to find!

Coober Pedy is busy with visitors this evening.  We are settled comfortably into an Underground Motel in Coober Pedy. 

Gawler Ranges

July 10th

Geoff & Eileen are with us now. We have explored the remaining areas of the Gawler Ranges with the wonderful rock formations. The special site called the Organ Pipes is steep, colourful and very rocky.
There are quite a variety of wildflowers in bloom including buttercups and Harbenger of Spring.

I have identified 3 different varieties of Mistletoe. Leaves from each been cooked and silk has been dyed. The colour from each seems to be strong so it will be fun opending them when I return home. I have done quite a bit of dyeing and will run out of silk very soon!

Gawler Ranges Organ Pipes
We camped on the west side of Lake Gairdner this evening.

Mt Ive Station - Gawler Ranges

July 8th

The country from Mt Ive Station was very pretty with a variety of trees, bushes, flowers ans general scenery. The Gawler Ranges are rocky and tower over attractive flats which are currently rather damp. The trees all look healthy after recent rains. John has identified several more eucalypts so Eco dyeing is in full swing!

 Old Mail Wagon
The last two days we have seen a lot of kangaroos and emus. I never become tired of seeing these creatures travelling across their native habitat.

Port Augusta - Mt Ive Station

Thursday July 7th
What an interesting day! First stop was Iron Knob which is nearly deserted as no mining is taking place. We were told that mining is scheduled to begin again in surrounding areas.

We went on to Mt Ive Station where we are camping tonight. We took a circuit drive this afternoon out to Lake Gairdner which is a massive salt lake. The salt is said to be 1.5 metres thick in some places. We could see great bands of salt with a ring of water around the edge. Salt was glistening in the course red sand around the lake. Reflections of nearby hills were clearly visible in the water.

Lake Gairdner
St Ives Station is a typical outback sheep station with wonderful outcrops of basalt rock, spinefex, acacias, birds and flowers. On the way to Lake Gairdner we saw the remains of the old vermin fence, basalt formations called organ pipes and an old embankment or damn wall, built from rocks in 1892.

We identified a Port Lincoln Ring-neck parrot, Mulga parrot and a Blue Bonnet parrot. I have gathered two varieties of Mistletoe leaves with the hope of dyeing some silk with them.

At this stage we are finding it difficult to name the trees we are seeing. However we can identify the Dead Finish Acacia, the Fire-bush Cassia with its wonderful seed pods and the Casaurina which is most common of all and known as a Buloke. Hopefully the leaves of this tree will colour silk!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Burra to Port Augusta

Today we saw many more of these very attractive eucalypts, in fact we passed by two plantations of them. I had gathered some dry leaves so tonight I am Eco dyeing. John has been able to identify the tree using his computer progam. We think it is a 'STRETA' Eucalypt with a beautiful smooth copper trunk and a 'mallet' type canopy of leaves.

Stone walls and buildings have continued all the way to Port Augusta. Stones are a distinctive building product. Many homes are old but others hve been built more recently to continue the historic appearance of this early settled area.

We spent time at the Wadlata Outback Centre. interesting interpretive centre clad with brightly coloured corrugated iron. The wonderful desert colours are obviuos both outside and inside the, tan, blue, mauve and purple. We followed the stories and historic facts tabling the development of the Australian Outback from very ancient times including the stories of the Ghan Railway, the Telegraph Line, School of the Air, the Flying Doctor and the Delivery of Mail. A poignant point in history this week with the death of the very famous Mailman- Tom Kruse who delivered mail to outback people driving his Ford Blitz Truck through the most difficult conditions imaginable.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ouyen to Burra

A freezing morning with a strong wind most of the day. Burra is as cold as we have always found it.

The wonderful Mallee Sallee trees lined the road all the way until we reached the Riverland Country along the Murray. Flowers are evident along the roadside as well. Many eucalypts are in bloom..mostly cream flowers but some red and yellow. We found Woodwardie  trees in full bloom..a magnificant sight! Cassia and wattle are showing their spring colour as well. I have been gathering a few eucalypt leaves to dye silk with, later in the trip.

Every water way we have seen has some birdlife on it..ducks, pelican and swan are clearly enjoying the extra lakes and ponds.

Woodwardie blooms
The wind was so strong that it was blowing the topsoil from the paddocks..a mini dust storm. I do hope the dust is not blown over to Mt Hotham where the snow could become discoloured. Tumble weed, in great round shapes, was being blown along as well.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Milawa -Ouyen

Left Milawa in bleak weather conditions. By the time we reached Echuca the sky was blue and remained this way until we reached Mallee country. Then the sky turned black and heavy rain fell.

We travelled along the western side of Lake Tyrrell and saw the sign post to Kow Swamp..what a great name..we must visit this swamp one day!

I find mallee country most attractive with the wonderful Mallee Sallee eucalypts. Many varieties grow along the roadside. The distinction of different trunks and different overall tree shapes is notable.

Leaves of a Mallee Sallee
We greeted the small township of Ultima for my SIL Joan who grew up on a property in this area.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Final Packing & Textile Festival

The week has been busy with 3 exhibition openings in 5 days. All have been great both socially and artistically.
The interest in Eco dyeing has been fueled after viewing 2 displays of beautiful textile art using eco dyed fabrics. I hope some of the leaves I find while travelling will release colour into silk. A great inspiration to go away with.

Ready to leave
Today has become increasingly wet so drying clothes and doing the final pack into the camper has been somewhat hindered. We plan to leave early tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beechworth Textiles

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the opening of the inaugural  Beechworth Fabric and Fibre Award. The Old School House was full of textiles and excited people. The display of textiles was fantastic with a huge variety of techniques, colour and ideas. I will have to return to have a closer look. Claudia Chan Shaw was the judge of the 102 entries with 4 prizes awarded. She had an unenviable job choosing winners from such distinctive and beautiful artworks.
Kekki Windows
I had a small piece entered made from Eco dyed cotton fabric with a pieced organza overlay. The piecing had been done by using Korean Kekki seams.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Planned Route

Red Safari Route
 This map shows the roads of Australia that we have travelled on and John has overlayed, in red, the roads that we plan to take this trip ( If all goes to plan)   

Monday, June 27, 2011

Journal Pages 1

Inside cover & embroidery on Eco dyed fabric

Coloured paper & paint
I have used some embroidered Eco dyed fabric, coloured paper and paint to begin my journal. I hope to do large style drawings and include some embroideries to add distinction.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Journal Preparation

Safari Journal
I have made a journal from good quality art paper and covered it with fabric. It is a wallet style book. The front pages are complete so the next challenge is to draw or paint in it at regular intervals while we are on Safari. I could set an objective to add an entry every day but sometimes this is not possible so I will aim to work in it as often as time and situation allows.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Art Box

Have packed my drawing stuff as well as some fabrics to include in my journal. I have also been researching a simple method of doing Eco dyeing while  'on the road'. Yippee! Hope the containers don't leak. I have tested the method over night. The fabric has been dyed with the leaves of our argyle apple tree. It will be a good memory of our trip if the method proves successful. It will depend on what leaves I find along the way and how receptive they are to releasing their colour.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Checking the Camper

Very important to have the camper in order as it will be our home for several weeks. I will check bedding. We will need layers of warmth to combat the frosty desert nights. Misty rain here today so hope we can travel north of this winter weather. Most plans are in place although we have yet to specify a time to leave and a venue to meet  Geoff & Eileen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Textile Preparation

As well as preparing for our Safari I am preparing for the Stitched Up Textile Festival. Today I joined with a group of friends to make Pom-poms..quite an uninspiring activity but I am sure the resulting pom-poms will be a significant part of the street decoration and will look great in Wangaratta.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The truck is being fitted and packed. Menus are planned and some food purchased

Inland Tour 2011

Safari Planning

For several weeks we have been planning our itinerary which will take us South Australia and north into the Northern Territory, then west into Western Australia. We will work our way south through inland country until we reach the Great Australian Bight. It will be eastward bound from there.
Mt Connor
I am looking forward to the colour of the desert, the colour of Uluru, Mt Connor and the Olgas.