Monday, 9 July 2018

Claire's Aussie-bucket-list Road Trip _ 02

We spent two nights at the Lake Mungo campground. The free showers at the Visitor Centre were pretty good. A family of Apostlebirds used the tree above our tents as a night roost. This meant an alarm clock at daybreak.

Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea

Our camp at Lake Mungo. Claire's tent was a whizz. Cheap and cheerful for $36! All she had to do was take it out of the circular bag and "throw" it away. It would instantly expand to full tent size before it hit the ground! Downside was no fly. It provided every campsite with entertainment in the mornings as to put it back in a state to put in the bag involved much arm-twisting.

We became pretty well organised with food. Breakfasts would be either yoghurt and Low Carb Healthy Fat grainola (spelt correctly) or eggs and baked beans on toast. You can see the toaster on the righthand side. It worked very well. All quick and easy with minimal preparation and clean up.

At Lake Mungo, we spent most of a day driving the 70km loop track.

These are Walls of China

Here is a view of Lake Mungo from the eastern side where the loop track climbs from the lake to the eastern country at Red Top Lookout.

This is spinifex country; the same all over the centre. I just love it.

The facility at Zanci Homestead.

Vigars Well is a small set of holes in the ground where water accumulates from underground. It used to be a stopping point for stage coaches. The emus and kangaroos know the place well.

Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae

Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus giganteus

On our way across country towards Brisbane along station tracks, we came across the entrance to Clarebank Station. Not quite the right spelling but it will do.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Claire's Aussie-bucket-list Road Trip _ 01

My goddaughter, Claire, (from the UK) has been in Australia on the second year of her working visa. During her first year we did a short trip featuring Kangaroo Island. This time her dreams were bigger (way bigger). Before she went back home -- to a job hopefully -- there were certain places she wanted to see. A summary would be Cairns, Darwin, Uluru.

Claire especially wanted to see some waterfalls, any crystal shop we passed and to do some hiking (although the English view of hiking is a nice walk along well defined tracks. My previous excursion on the Three Greys trip meant my knee was not in a good state for any vigorous, challenging hikes but that meant I was not a hindrance to Superzoom Claire as she powered through hikes left, right and centre. Despite lots of chit-chatting on the phone and via social media, it wasn't until Claire came to Sale a few days before the off that we crystallised the plans around her revised bucket list of Lake Mungo, the Great Barrier Reef, Lawn Hill, Litchfield NP and Kakadu, Uluru, Coober Pedy and the Flinders Ranges. About 12,000 kms. Six weeks. I had to be back for lambing.

Although visiting several key birding areas in Australia, I assured Claire that it wouldn't be a birding trip. At all. However, I did stipulate that we had to do the western Victorian Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo count (on Day 2 of the trip), check out a Sandstone Shrike-thrush at Lawn Hill and look for Yellow-breasted Mannikins which had been reported very recently in Katherine. Owning the vehicle we were going in was a substantial bargaining chip!

After camping in Coleraine, spending a day doing 60km at 10kph for 8 RTBCs (we were one of the few teams to see them -- numbers well down this year) we checked out the Silo Art Trail running from Rupanyup to Patchewollock in north-western Victoria. It is a pretty impressive feat to produce 2-dimensional art of a 3-dimensional surface at any scale, let alone wheat silo scale!

Red-rumped Parrots Psephotus haematonotus

Seen at Coleraine. The male is colourful, the female less so.

Silo Art Trail


Sheep Hills





From there we headed north, through Mildura, to Lake Mungo National Park.