Wallaroos and Didgeridoos

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, November 27, 2006

How many times do you ever meet a guy from Lichtenstein over breakfast in the middle of the outback? Suddenly Scotland doesn't seem so small, until looking out along the road we would be traveling today stretching out as far as the horizon.

A 6am departure saw mainly sleepy heads on board as we headed to Winton in the morning one of those places never heard of before but was the birthplace of both Qantas and Waltzing Matilda. They had actually tried to make Waltzing Matilda their National Anthem here a few years ago to replace God Save the Queen (who still appears on the money here) but lost out to Advance Australia Fair which no one knows the words to apparently.

From here we arrived at the top of spectacular Williams Gorge given a stunning view of the desert land below and the three large rock formations known as the three sisters which wouldn't look out of place in the Arizona Desert. The view from the top of the gorge, which was more of a 100m+ drop off gave us our first look out the desert lands here with the immense size of this place beginning to sink in.

Here we also met up with Graham, a local who took us on a short walk to see some Aboriginal rock art with some choosing to stay in the shade instead of hike up and down the rocky path as it was 50oC - it was only 47oC!

On the way we startled a group of wallaroos who hopped madly passed us to get away with their main difference to the larger cousins being they have hair instead of fur, not that we could tell as they bounded up the rocks. Waiting at the bottom for us was another local resident of the scaly type with a large rock python curled up in the shade beneath the rock art who didn't budge an inch as we approached.

Back up top we had a BBQ lunch wondering if the gas BBQ was actually needed since I'm sure you could have cooked everything on the scorching metal table set up for food prep in a few minutes. Descending down from the gorge we were now driving along an old seabed with this part of Australia being underwater millions of years ago with not a drop around today as we crossed another bone dry river bed. We also saw the first of many kangaroos hopping through the bush beside us going at quite a speed.

Stopping at Middleton with a population of 3 for a few drinks with a sand funnel forming on the horizon. The solar powered phone box with helicopter parked alongside furthered the feeling of remoteness out here as we saw a group of wild camels milling about. Strewth mate, camels in the outback, some 500,000 which even get exported to Saudi Arabia due to whatever makes camels good.

Passing through Boulia another small town and the last we would see before Alice Springs we soon arrived at Wirrelyerna Station which also gets its water through bore holes in the ground like many places out here but also meaning it comes up at 98oC - not something you really want out here.

Wirrelyerna Station is a working cattle station and also larger than some European countries but whose star attraction was Mary a pet kangaroo who would happily play with you looking for food or beer with her getting one half mug per night.

After watching an amazing sunset over the outback we all had dinner together around a campfire with me talking to the son who works here telling me where he used to go to school.

"Just down the road."
"How far from here?"
"Only 800kms."
"Oh, right around the corner then."

As the night wore on and Mary fell asleep (or passed out) a didgeridoo was passed around with the best sound we could manage being not far off that of a sick elephant.
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