14 May 2009

Best Pics by James

For the best pictures of the Outback trip check out James' website:

P.S.: Another fun thing we did before boarding the plane back to Brisbane was the 'Hard Times Mine Tour' in Mount Isa. We tried out a drill etc. Unfortunately we could not take any photos, but we got one before we went down under(ground) :-)

Outback Queensland III: Boodjamulla

Boodjamulla is the Aboriginal name for the Lawn Hill National Park located just a couple of kilometres from Adel's Grove. Having seen the sandstone rocks the day before, we were eager to experience what was hidden behind them. The canoe seemed the best way to travel! For me it was the first time that I was sitting and paddling in a canoe, consequently James stored his camera gear in a waterproof canister. The scenery was beautiful, you really do have the best view from the canoe: calm waters, blue sky and 60 metres red sandstone walls rising up in front of you. I had to pause to take in the scenery, which made it a little tougher on James. Sorry mate!

Rod, our host and tour guide, made us aware of some Aboriginal rock art. We also saw all kinds of birds, lizards and fish, but the animal that excited me the most was a wallaroo with her little one, who was observing us curiously and let us come pretty close to the edge with our canoes. Matt and Rod were a little ahead of us and claimed to have seen the tail of a crocodile disappear into the water. Too bad we didn't, but maybe that is what kept us at ease when we took a swim in the river later on.

Then we arrived at Lawn Hill's Indarri Falls, crystal clear waterfalls dividing the Upper Gorge from the lower. An oasis surrounded by palm trees! We got out of our canoes to carry them over to the Upper Gorge, but not without taking a break. Which is, as I mentioned earlier, a typical custom in the Outback. We took a hike up the red sandrocks to get a bird's eye view. A painting in lush green, blue and red colors was unfolding in front of our eyes! The best part was when we took a dive into the fresh waters and every one of us got a personal back massage by the Indarri Falls!

In the evening Rod surprised us with a scenic flight over the national park and the highlights of the day. The perfect way to end our stay at Adel's Grove! The next day it was time to say 'Goodbye'. And it really wasn't easy! The place and especially the people had grown on me. I will never forget my time there and am so thankful to the people that made it so special!
Thank you Adel's Grove, Michelle and Rod!

13 May 2009

Outback Queensland II: Adel's Grove

At Adel's Grove I really loved waking up in the morning, opening my tent and right away having this beautiful view out on Lawn Hill Creek. Did I already mention that we had real beds in our tents and every tent had a veranda? It feels like a little house in the middle of nature. Of course they also have the real camping ground, where everybody can set up their own tent etc.

After having a nice freshly prepared breakfast Rod, our host and an accredited Savannah Guide, took us for a ride through the red desert. There was hardly any desert though, it had been raining and the desert was flourishing: Grass sprouting, birds (due to the bloom more and more birds are arriving daily) and the permanent residents the termites. Their mounds picked up the vivid red color of the soil and the rocks.

Rod took us to Riversleigh Fossil Fields, one of five World Hertitage listed spots in Queensland! It was enscribed in 1994 for representing a major stage of Earth's evolutionary history and especially its outstanding the evolution of Australian mammals. The fossils are are up to 25 million years old and they found two species of weird pouched mammals there whose relationship to other mammals is a mystery as well as what they ate or how they lived. It is hard to believe that this site was once a rainforest filled with lakes, rivers and creeks. But with Rod explaining the development, the limestones and other evidence, it is not hard to see. The traces are everywhere!

Even though we were in the middle of the desert, we did not have to drive far to get to an oasis of palm trees. At the Gregory River in Riversleigh we had our tea and cookies while watching a bus driving along the street that ran directly through the river. This how you spend your time in the Outback! There is a lot to see and experience but there is always the time for a rest, a break to take in everything that is around you. It is a great trick to make people fall in love with this remote place! It definitely worked on me! Later that day we hiked to a cave and got a peek at the Lawn Hill National Park. We got to see its great red rock formations and just the next day we would also experience what lies behind them.

The day had a perfect ending! With the Adel's Grove bus we went on the Sunset tour. We were really lucky, as once a month on full moon you can see the sun setting and the moon rising at the same time. What a spectacle! Up on Harry's Hill we had wine and appetizer while sharing this experience not only with a group of nice people but also the termite mounds that looked like
the apostles witnessing a miracle.

11 May 2009

The Outback of Queensland I

Tourism Queensland was so nice to spoil every unsuccessful candidate with an extended itinerary. James and me were lucky to get the trip to the Outback of Queensland. The desert and red rocks are just as much a trademark of Queensland as are its sunny beaches.

We took a plane from Brisbane to Mount Isa and Matt from the „Outback“ department of Tourism Queensland picked us up. Mount Isa is a down-to-earth mining town in North Western Queensland. It was quite a difference from the Whitsunday Islands. Instead of ordering prawns at a resort, we were now stuck in a snack bar ordering a sandwich. We had our meal at the nearby lake called Moondarra. As we looked out at the water, the red rocks, the diversely shaped termite mounds and the kites floating through the sky, we just smiled at each other. We listened and both heard the very same thing: Silence. That was just what we needed.

Westwings Charterflights took us from Mount Isa to Adel's Grove. As soon as we were 8000 feet high I realized the never ending vastness, this borderless outback that offers its horizon to you no matter which direction you look. I really started falling for this place. Thank God our pilot Sally didn't and we arrived safe and sound at Adel's Grove.

Lawn Hill Creek runs along Adel's Grove and right away we went there to cool off a little. As you can see we had some good times there. Nothing better on a hot day than diving into fresh water and having a cold beer.

The evening ended with some excitement. Our host and guide Rod found a little baby python and I hit it off with her right away. We cuddled for quite some time. James was a little uncomfortable about that. But considering that he is scared of snakes he was doing pretty well, I'd say!