Attractions · Australian Travel · Camping · Caravan Parks · Four Wheel Driving · Free Camping · National Parks · South Australia

our top 5 of the Flinders

The Flinders Ranges is one of those special places that keeps drawing us back time and time again.

The ancient and rugged landscape is steeped with history and remnants of the past remain scattered throughout the picturesque landscape.

There is so much for every type of traveller to keep them occupied for days, if not weeks on end. Whether it is the breathtaking vistas, strenuous hikes, historical tours, scenic drives, relaxing strolls, divine dining or simply kicking back around the campfire and soaking in the 5 billion stars above you, the Flinders region really does have something for everyone.

It is hard to choose a only 5 things we love about the Flinders but we tried;

  1. Blinman; The historic mining town is situated in the Northern Flinders. A quaint historical township with a gorgeous stone pub, an underground copper mine and abandoned ruins. Our highlights included a stroll through the historic cemetery and the side-trip out to Nuccaleena mine.
  2. Quorn: The historic town began as a railway town and is now the home of the Pichi Richi Railway. A quaint town with beautiful stone buildings and welcoming locals stepping foot in Quorn is like stepping back in time. We loved the ride on the Pichi Richi, the railway workshop tour and exploring the streets of Quorn.
  3. Parachilna: From Blinman, a scenic drive to the West through spectacular Parachilna Gorge brings you to the famous Prairie Hotel. This outback pub maintains it historic exterior while
  4. Bunyeroo & Brachina Gorges: Oh my vista! The drive that winds it’s way through the Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges are nothing short of spectacular. Photographs simply don’t do it justice!
  5. Moralana Scenic Drive;  hugs the outer wall of Wilpena Pound and the colourful bluffs of the Elder Range! A great stop along the way is Black Gap!

 

There is so much to enjoy and explore in the Flinders – a top 5 simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

Have you been? What are your favourite places to visit?

Attractions · Destinations · Four Wheel Driving · New South Wales · South Australia · Travel Photography

rivers and ranges

Oh my!

What an absolutely brilliant trip we had.

This country never fails to amaze me. It’s beauty is splendid and varied.

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to the passing of a close family friend. The last portion of our trip was cancelled and we will add it to another adventure at later date. While it was a sad way to end this trip, it reminds us again how life is short and so precious. We aim to treasure every moment and live a life worth living. Our passion is travel and inspiring others to travel, we will continue to do so as long as we are able.

We titled this particular adventure; rivers and ranges. It saw us follow the Darling River Run in Western NSW where we met up with Murray River and crossed over the border into South Australia. From the Riverland we headed into the Flinders Ranges; one of our favourite places to visit in Australia. We spent a wonderful 8 nights in the mountains even with some rainy days thrown in. We then headed for Outback South Australia and the Strezlecki and spent a wonderful night in Farina. As we were about to embark on the Strez to head up to Innamincka we heard from home and it was time to head South again to the Riverina to be with family. We tried to make the most of the long trip back to Griffith and stopped in at Burra, the most beautiful little town and a few river towns along the Murray.

We gave the drone a work out and look forward to sharing some footage with you. In fact there is a link to a teaser posted below so stay tuned.

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S & S

Attractions · Australian Travel · National Parks · Queensland · South Australia · Travel Photography

wildflowers of the desert

On our recent trip to the Simpson Desert we were lucky to witness the first wildflowers blooming after the rain. It was spectacular to see the sand-dunes blanketed with vegetation of all shapes and sizes.

Can you name any of the flowers pictured below?

Australian Travel · National Parks · Northern Territory · Reader Interaction · South Australia

our top 5 Aussie national parks

These are 5 of our top national parks from our travels so far. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Australia and most of these can be found in our national parks. We have so many favourites however here are 5 of our top spots. We love these places so much we have visited multiple times and will return again for sure.

  1. Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

What’s not to love? Stunning mountain ranges, rich Australian history, four-wheel driving and beautifully rewarding bushwalks with breath-taking visitas. Check out some of our posts on the Flinders HERE & HERE.

Our favs from the Flinders:

  • Bush camping at Rawnsley Station and dining at their Woolshed Restaurant.
  • Wilpena Pound; our favourite walks were Hills Homestead, Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge. The Hills Homestead is quite a leisurely stroll while Wangara Lookout and Mount Ohlssen Bagge are more strenuous the views are well worth the effort.
  • The historical Nuccaleena Mine. The drive out is spectacular and the ruins are in fantastic condition.

2. Kakadu National Park, NT

Kakadu is amazing. It has a diverse and natural beauty which is hard to beat.  The national park is situated in close proximity to Darwin making it easily accessible for every traveler. Check out our post from Kakadu HERE.

Our favs from Kakadu:

  • cruise Yellow Water wetlands – both at sunrise and sunset
  • visit Twin Falls by four-wheel drive and boat
  • swim in the pools on top of Maguk (Barramundi) Gorge
  • view the rock art at Ubirr Rock and climb to the top for spectacular views from the lookout
  • camping at Cooinda Lodge is excellent with wonderful facilities and central location

3. Simpson Desert National Park, SA

Oh my! The Simpson is spectacular. The parallel sand-dunes go on forever and we never got sick of the beautiful red sand. Every time the Colorado would crest a sand-dune it took our breath away. It is a natural Australian wonder. Check out our post on the Simmo HERE.

What to experience in the Simmo:

  • remote travel at it’s finest
  • wildflowers, glorious wildflowers
  • slimbing to the top of Big Red
  • the wonders of Eyre Creek
  • bush camping at its absolute best
  • star gazing – the most spectacular skies we have ever seen
  • take in the view from Knoll’s Lookout
  • cross wide, stunning claypans
  • stand where QLD, SA and NT meet at Poeppel Corner
  • while technically not the Simpson National park make sure you stop in at both Purnie Bore and Dalhousie Springs both oasis’ in the desert, brimming with birdlife.

4. Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park

The region surround Alice Springs in one of favourites in the country. It’s smack bang in the Red Centre and capital of the Australia Outback. The West Macs as they are affectionately known lay to the West of Alice Springs (funny that). The stunning mountain range has numerous gorges that have been carved over millions of years. The red of the rock, the blue of the sky and the green of the vegetation is nothing short of beautiful.

Our favs from the West Macs:

  • our favourite place to camp was at Redbank Gorge
  • a refreshing dip in Ellery Creek Big Hole
  • the stunning landscape at Ormiston Gorge
  • the aboriginal culture of the Orche Pits
  • Simpsons Gap is closest to Alice with stunning gorge walls and lots of rock wallabies.
  • for history buffs like us the West Macs also home to the memorial grave of Rev John Flynn of flying doctors fame


5. Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, NT

What says Australia better than our red heart? Uluru is iconic and recognised internationally as an Australian icon. It is truly a spiritual experience to visit and explore this region. While the town Yulara has become quite touristy due to the amount of tourists that flock to the rock each year, the National Park itself is relatively untouched. Check out our past posts HERE & HERE.

Our favs from Uluru & Kata-Tjuta:

  • sunrise and sunset at Uluru and the Olgas – the colours are ever changing
  • the Valley of the Winds walk through the Olga- OMG! One of the best walks in Australia – Amazing.
  • walking the base of Ulura – 13 km of ever changing beauty
  • the shorter guided base walk is also not to be missed. Its free and so informative. We’ve done it twice now.
  • the Cultural Centre is a great place to start you Uluru Adventure
Attractions · Australian Travel · South Australia · Travel Photography

Ruins of Nuccaleena Mine

There is so much to see in the Flinders Ranges of both natural and historical significance. North of Blinman there is a copper mine named Nuccaleena which we have now visited twice. A very scenic 4WD track leads visitors to the old mine site which due to the nature of the drive in is barely touched. The mine stack is in excellent condition considering it’s age and the harsh elements of the region. The mine was abandoned in 1866 after a very small and non-profitable amount of copper was found.

The Nuccaleena Mine drive is part of the Copper Track which is passes through local pastoral station, Moolooloo Station and includes Nuccaleena Mine, Blinman Mine and Sliding Rock. This is a spectacular scenic drive from Parachilna to Blinman via Glass Gorge. Both towns Parachilna and Blinman are worth a stop over. The Prairie Hotel at Parachilna serves great coffee and delicious scones making it the perfect smoko stop while the home-made Quandong ice-cream at Blinman made for a great afternoon treat.

Camping · Four Wheel Driving · National Parks · Northern Territory · Queensland · South Australia · Travel Photography

Travel Well to Welford

We love Welford!

Norris Around Australia

This is the first article for our special destination series. Enjoy

You’re standing on a steep river bank surrounded by stark white ghost gums dangling a line in the Barcoo River as it flows through Channel Country, Central Queensland. The wide blue western sky creates a natural contrasting backdrop behind the red sand hills. There is no one for miles except your family, your campsite, your 4WD and you.

Where are you?

You’re within the 124,000 hectare National Park which is known as Welford.

The Park is 991km west of Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane and lays between Jundah and Quilpie. Formerly known as Walton Downs, the park was a grazing property belonging to Richard Welford, hence the current name. The National Park was established in 1992 to protect the various ecosystems of mulga woodlands, Mitchell grass and channel Country. All roads into Welford are unsealed and the smallest amount of rain can close…

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Australian Travel · Camping · Four Wheel Driving · Northern Territory · Queensland · South Australia · Travel Photography

Deserts & Corners

Friday night watching a DVD on the Simpson. Thought I’d share a post about one of our past visits.

Norris Around Australia

So yes we have been a bit slack with the blog. First excuse, no service and second excuse too busy having way too much fun.

After our nice relaxing time in the Channel Country including Windorah, Quilpie and Welford National Park. We headed out west into the desert. We took the Birdsville Developmental Road after stopping at J.C Ruins.

We reached Haddon’s Corner, where South Australia and Queensland meet. Mum and Dad had to unhitch the caravan at the turn off as there were a few sand dune crossings.

From Haddon’s Corner we free camped on the outskirts of Cordillo Downs, home of the largest stone shearing shed in the Southern Hemisphere. Shaun crossed into South Australia for the very first time.

After camping in the middle of nowhere we woke up refreshed and headed to Cordillo Downs, the sheep shearing shed.

From Cordillo Downs we continued crossing the Sturt…

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Australian Travel · Northern Territory · South Australia · Western Australia · Working on the Road

A State of Extremes

A hop, skip and a jump…..

We’ve traveled down the West Coast, across the Nullabor and up the Centre in a very short space of time. Travelling this quick is not recommended unless you are pushed for time (if this is the case pick a shorter route than the whole country) otherwise you can miss so much. We are lucky because most of the places we are passing through on our return to Queensland are places we have been before.

It really has been a time of extremes we have covered three states (and territories) in the past few weeks and the temperatures have been extreme. At the moment we are cooking with gas in the Centre, with days pushing 39 degrees. While only a few days ago in Adelaide we had to purchase beanies, jumpers and gloves because of the chilly mornings and nights.

Our country never fails to surprise and amaze.

Attractions · Australian Travel · Four Wheel Driving · Queensland · South Australia · Travel Photography

A Very Different Track

The Birdsville Track is iconic. It is a feat for many modern-day travellers, 4WD enthusiasts and caravanners. The “track” we drive these days is a world away from that of our predecessors. The road now is practically a dirt highway mostly smooth with rocky patches here and there. Back in the day soft sand dune, flooded creek crossings, rough corrugations and sharp rocks made the journey that much harder and longer. A trip up the track could take weeks now you can practically complete it in five to six hours depending on conditions. It was originally opened back in the 1860’s to drove cattle from North QLD & the NT to the railheads at Port Augusta and later Marree. The track was immortalised by the film “Back of Beyond” about the outback legend & mailman Tom Kruse. From 1936 to 1963 Kruse held the contract for the Birdsville Track mail route and for his struggles he became an outback legend.

We started our trek at Marree like many others do. A quick drink at the pub and we hit the road late in the afternoon. Our aim was Cooper’s Creek and if lucky enough maybe even Mungerannie Pub. As the wheels of the Colorado hit the gravel road we started the journey that so many have before us. It really was such a momentous occasion for us. After so much planning we were finally heading up “The Track”. Destination Birdsville.

After only thirty minutes of driving over to our right was a massive expanse of water. Who would have thought so much water could be  lying around in the desert. According to our Hema5 GPS we were looking at Lake Harry but to be honest it looked more like and inland sea. It was breathtaking. We hopped out for a few minutes to dip in our toes and take it all in.

As we drove along taking in the wilderness that surrounded us. We came up on Cooper’s Creek and pulled in for a look. It was a nice little camp spot however a few grey nomads had taking up most of the room so we decided to push on. Another quick stop at a monument of the old Cooper’s Creek Ferry. When this area floods the road can be cut for months and this ferry and flood bypass are the only thing that keep each end of the track connected. However, the old ferry is a lot different from its modern day counterpart that many traveller utilise in the wetter years. The original ferry was nothing more than a 12 ft steel punt fitted with an outboard motor. There are many historical accounts of the original ferry sinking and having to be unloaded to allow it to refloat. Lucky the water has receded and we didn’t encounter this.

We arrived at Mungerannie Hotel late in the afternoon. I can imagine the relief on many a travellers face as they reached this little oasis in the desert. The campsites are dotted along the river and only metres from a hot spring spa. This was delightful and much appreciated after the stress of smashing our window earlier that morning. Due to the days events we headed to the pub for dinner and a few drinks. The characters you meet in the outback really make your experience that much better. Phil, the publican was no exception as he poured our drinks he had us in absolute stitches. What a character.

The next morning we hit the road early as Birdsville was in our midst. For some reason Birdsville holds a special place for us and we find ourselves coming back again and again. We have been three times in the last 18 mths and are already planning our next adventure back there in September. As we neared Birdsville we stopped for an early picnic lunch on the edge of a river. It was so romantic just us and a gazillion meats ants and even more flies. After the ants and flies chased us back into the car after half and hour of shooing them away we were back driving up the track. Next stop, Birdsville.

Pulling into Birdsville felt like coming home. We don’t have a physical home at the moment so Birdsville is as good as any. We decided to stay for two nights to catch up on blogging and washing, yes in that order. I have to admit we spent quite a lot of unplanned time at the pub and relaxing around the campsite. We had some lovely meals at the iconic Birdsville Pub and they were quite reasonable priced. The Birdsville Bakery was frequented for brekky with Dusty’s square, flat croissants delish. The mayor of Birdsville even got a standing ovation after a true Dusty style introduction when he came to get his morning coffee.

From Birdsville we had a horribly long trip to Mount Isa in one day. I say horribly long because we are heading to work soon and the thought of not travelling for leisure is always a dampener. We left Birdsville early and waved goodbye as we headed North. Don’t worry the road always leads back there.

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Attractions · Australian Travel · Caravan Parks · Free Camping · National Parks · New South Wales · South Australia · Travel Photography · Victoria

Three States in Three Days

We are back on the road after our working stint in Griffith and we are back into the swing of living on the road. This leg of the trip will see us travel through some of the remotest areas of the Australian outback. However, to start off our adventure we jumped from New South Wales to Victoria and onto South Australia in the first three days. No we are not running a race it’s just how our travels have unravelled thus far. From Griffith we headed towards Mildura and the mighty Murray. I had heard so much about Mildura and it didn’t disappoint. It had a similar feel to that of Griffith I guess due to the fruit trees and grapevines but the architecture was similar to that of Bendigo. For our first night we found a secluded little free camp on the edge of the Murray River. We followed signs out of town towards King’s Billabong & Psyche’s Bend. There were a few other campers around but the closest was about 500m away so it felt like we had the whole river to ourselves. There were no facilities other than flattened out campsites & some camp fire ditches. Sometimes it’s nice to just be amongst nature with no man made intrusions.

From Mildura in Victoria we weaved our way across some brilliant scenery towards Silverton in New South Wales just to the North West of Broken Hill. We had planned to go via the Darling River Run and Menindee Lakes but unfortunately due to flooding we were unable to get through. Oh well next time. For the night we called Penrose Park home and were very happy with the facilities and camping areas. After our camp was set up we headed into Silverton to have a look around. Silverton is only 25 kms from Broken Hill and over 39 dips in the road (think rollar coaster ride) It is quite a historic little town dotted with old stone buildings scattered throughout the outback backdrop. It’s modern claim to fame is the “Hollywood of the Outback” Many movies have been filmed in the town and surrounding areas including; Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mad Max, A Town Like Alice and many more. It is a beautiful landscape so you can see why directors and producers flock to this desolate place. We headed to the Silverton Hotel for a quick drink and a game of table tennis before heading out of town to a lookout with views across the Mundi Mundi Plains. Breathtaking. We enjoyed some wine as the sun set over plains with several other travellers it really was spectacular.

We had a quick poke around Broken Hill in the morning visiting the look out and the Miner’s Memorial. Leaving Broken Hill saw us heading towards the South Australia border towards Port Augusta. For lunchtime we pulled over in the small town of Mannahill and we had a very quick lunch stop. The wind and cold hurried us along and it was back into the warm car to churn a few hundred more kilometres. After Petersborough we headed North into the Central/Northern Flinders Ranges past Hawker. This is where we will be staying for the next several nights. It is freezing as I write this blog post I am over looking the mountain ranges as the sun sets, rugged up from head to toe still feeling the cold in my bones. We really do live in a wonderful country, one of such extremes and variances. Who wouldn’t want to explore it.

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