Thursday, August 25, 2011

We Got Married

For those of you who haven't heard - we got married 2 weeks ago in Auckland. It was terribly romantic - Kate needed a visa and Lawrence has the all important British passport...  Australian bureaucracy is such that it was much easier to fly to Auckland to get married in the  registry office by a 12 yr old Chinese dude in a pullover.  The bride's bouquet was a Moet & Chandon ice bucket, very apt, supplied by Joint Chief Bridesmaid, Jenny Vickers.

House is packed up, we leave tomorrow!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Out the Back o' Bourke

After leaving Tibboburra, we headed toward Bourke, and yes the back o' Bourke is as bad as you'd think. Barren and flat, but really not that much different from what we'd be driving through in SA - except the Flinders Ranges. I always thought that WA was the flat and barren country specialist, but it seems that SA has really cornered that market.
Back o' Bourke

We hit Bourke for lunch, but it seems that Bourke was closed, only the last person forgot to turn out the light and put up the closed sign. What a depressing place, NOTHING was open, not even a cafe or a pub. Everything was battened down and security grilled. We did see a horse in someone's front yard though.

From Bourke we headed to Dubbo for the night. Gave up on trying to find a steak that was edible and went for fish and chips with a very respectable pinot gris. Breakfast was at our favourite patisserie in Wellington where they do the best pain au raisin outside of France, shame the tea was undrinkable. Next stop, St Malo Bakery in Crows Nest for real coffee - man, I sorely missed a decent long black. Coffee is not a strong point in the desert.

Queensland for Lunch

After leaving Arkaroola, we headed north to the Strzelecki Track. The road that took us to the Strzelecki was really remote and barren, with a lot of wildlife with no traffic smarts at all, the highlight being a camel, who thought the road was a racetrack. I had get right up close to the poor thing and blast the horn to get him off the road, what a sight!

We turned off the Strzelecki onto a road with no name that we hoped would lead us to Cameron Corner. This is where QLD, SA and NSW meet. We had lunch in QLD and then off into NSW, with a marked deterioration of the roads. All the remote dirts we had done were in good condition, apart from a few holes here and there, but the road from Cameron Corner to Tibboburra was dire. We downed a very welcome cold beer on the verandah of the Family Hotel in Tibboburra. Kate another very well done 'rare' steak for dinner. You'd think she'd learn!
Half and Half - one breast in QLD, one in NSW

The Lake via Flinders and Orange

What's a road trip without stopping at a few wineries? First stop Orange to check out Word Of Mouth and Borodell wineries. They were so good we had to buy some wine - unlike us. The whites they making out there are truly first class.

Second stop - Broken Hill. Could have shot a gun off on the streets of Broken Hill on a Friday night and not even hit the horse. Managed to find a very well done 'rare' steak. Hmmmm.

Third night saw us sleeping under the stars in our swags in the Flinders Ranges - what a beautiful place. An unexpected delight.

Fourth night William Creek. This out on the Oodnadatta Track near the western shore of Lake Eyre North. There is a pub and a caravan/camping ground and an airstrip - that's it! Not even a horse. We took a 2 hour flight over the lake which is so vast that it is almost incomprehensible. Sadly most of the birds had left and the next shift hadn't arrived. They must have been waiting for Coopers Creek to reach the lake with the water from Cyclone Yasi - which apparently is still some weeks away. Typical QLD - laissez faire attitude to time and agendas.

However we did see black swans, pelicans, silver gulls (AKA common seagulls), chats, banded stilts, avocets (in the distance), gribs, and orange capped plovers. Also saw plenty of stupid emus on the road - "I'll stay on this side of the road - no wait, here comes a car, think I'll dash across, no wait, I'm going to change my mind" and so on...  managed to avoid collecting any.

We headed back to the Flinders after meeting a local who said "You can drive for 4 hours on a shit road to the other side of the lake and it will look exactly the same as this side", so we took his advice and headed to Arkarola on the eastern side of the Northern Flinders. Absolutely stunning! Very Kimberly in terrain and colour. It has recently been saved from uranium mining within the wildlife sanctuary - thank the gods for greenies and protesters!