Journey to the Outback

My apologies for such a long time between posts… I’ve been having “Wi-Fi trouble”. It seems many of the places I’ve been staying at either don’t have Wi-Fi or it’s very limited.

Flinders Ranges and beyond

Here is Marree Man…Australia’s version of the “Nasca Lines” albeit it’s only 20 years old…. It’s a scratching in the sand of an Aboriginal man, 4.2 kms tall with a perimeter of 28 kms. It’s caused a heap of controversy…. more later..

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I’m now in Ceduna, about to tackle the Nullabor

In the last few days I’ve crossed the Coorong, navigated through the Adelaide Hills, crossed the Flinders Ranges and ventured into the Outback as far as Marree where I flew across Lake Eyre. I then rode south and crossed the Eyre Peninsula. 

The Coorong is a great place for bird watching and fishing, neither of which I did. It’s an interesting ride though, but the cold and miserable weather didn’t really help! After a few hours shivering I weakened and treated myself to a superb bacon and eggs in the Salt Lake café. Well worth a stop if you’re going that way!

I skirted Adelaide and rode through the Adelaide Hills. This is a stunningly beautiful area. It is very varied with a mixture of green, wooded hilly country, pretty vineyards and rugged gorges. It’s got the lot!

My next destination was the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Sound.

En route I passed through Orroroo… what a great name

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Orroroo’s only claim to fame is that it’s on the Godyer Line… just in case you’re unsure what that is…. the Goyder line is a rough line across South Australia… Above the line, rainfall is less than 10 inches per year making it suitable only for grazing. The line was created by George Goyder, Surveyor- General in 1865. It has proved correct and those who plant crops north of the line do so at their peril. The line is a “heritage icon” of the National Trust.

In the Flinders Ranges I stayed in an overpriced cabin at Rawsnsley Park Station but it was a lovely setting. It’s hard to beat the quiet still  evenings in the Aussie Countryside.

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The main activities in the Flinders Ranges are walking or four wheel driving so I thought I should do a walk. I even saw some locals

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DSC02476North of the Flinders Ranges National Park is a little town called Blinman. There’s nothing  much there but it’s typically Australian.

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My hope was to do a flight over Lake Eyre. Flights go from various places including Wilpena but my problem is that I’m a single. No luck at Wilpena so I thought I would ride the extra 200 k to Marree. I rang the General Store that handles everything at Marree and was assured I could get a flight, so off I go.

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Marree is a literally a one horse town! It was once on the Ghan railway line but no more. There is really nothing but tourism now at Marree. There is a pub and a general store. I expect there’s a church but I didn’t see it.

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I met Jenny the Manager of the “Oasis” ( General Store/ Post Office/ Petrol Station/Caravan Park/ Café/ bottle shop) She was a breath of fresh air. I thought she was a Pom as she has an English accent but she said she had been brought up in Whyalla which was “full of Poms” hence the accent.

She showed me to my “Luxury Cabin” which I must say was very comfortable.

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Dinner was at 6.30pm. It was “roast night”. Boy did I get a feed… three couses, lots of everything, beef, pork, lamb and to cap it off a bread and butter pudding, all for $15.00. The cracking on the pork was the best I’ve had in years ( even a match for yours, Doug!)

The next day I waited to get a flight. There isn’t much to do in Marree except chat to the locals and the few other visitors. Everybody is very friendly and a conversation that takes two minutes at home lasts for hours.

I met “Bill”, an 83 year old German from Brisbane. He had recently lost his wife and wanted to talk. He left me some “Minties” this morning as he left. I found them on Azulo. Isn’t that sweet. He came to Australia in the 50’s. He called himself a “10 Pound Krout” He had been in Bonegilla Refugee Camp in Victoria (Merry and I and our friends visited Bonegilla at Easter… It’s a fascinating place. Many non-UK  Migrants passed through Bonegilla when they first arrived in Australia)

Jenny and Lyle, the owner of the Oasis and Chef extraordinaire  became good friends! Lyle is a typical country Aussie… gruff, loud and friendly. He has lived his whole life in Marred.

The “Oasis team” also included Laurie the Caravan Park cleaner who sat chatting  with me over dinner and Avail, a 22 year old Queensland girl who answered an advert in Gumtree and drove all the way from Rockhampton to get the job.

She said she needs a job and this was going. There’s a lesson for other unemployed people isn’t there. A little effort and flexibility go along way.
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I made a video of Marree but can’t load it onto YouTube which should be easy but won’t work. Very frustrating. If you think you can help me… email me on gbransbury@gmail.com…maybe you can sort out my problem.

I eventually managed to get a flight over Lake Eyre. There isn’t much water in it now so there were no birds, but it is very special.

I’m sorry , the photos don’t do it justice.

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Now, back to Marree Man.

He was discovered 20 years ago. Nobody has owned up to doing it. It is controversial because it was done on Aboriginal land without any permission or permits.

Recently, a group of Publicans keen to encourage tourism in the area set about restoring Marree Man and took their tractors and graders onto the site to renovate it.

The Aboriginals are furious and the State Government has imposed bans and Law suits are pending.

Whatever the rights or wrongs, Marree man is an impressive sight and rivals, visually, anything I saw in Peru at the Nazca Lines. (Mind you, the Nazca Lines are a little older …they were created between 500 BC and 500 AD)

 

 

 

 

33 thoughts on “Journey to the Outback

  1. Hi Geoff,

    Australia’s a big country!

    Thought Lake Eyre would have more water after the recent big wet.

    Unbelievable report-looking forward to the next one.

    Kindest regards,

    • Hi Peter
      Thanks for your message. I thought Lake Eyre would have more water too but it takes months for the Queensland rains to work their way down. Need to go back around Xmas!

  2. Great journey Geoff.
    Please do not “dispense with care”!!
    Looking forward to hearing/seeing more.
    Safe travels & best wishes,

    Simon & Barbara Appel

  3. Hi Geoff, so glad you are not the disappearing man and great to get your blog and the super photos. Like Bill I nearly rang Merry to ask! Wi-Fi use out in those vast empty spaces must be quite a problem. Perhaps you do need a dongle whatever that is! Valx

  4. As interesting as usual. We really do look forward to receiving the latest news.
    What interesting people you find!
    Don’t forget to say something really English when you leave; like “toodle pip” !
    Vic & Gill

  5. Great pihotos Geoff, the Flinders Ranges are spectacular. You will be acclimatised now for the cold nights in the desert. Stay well and safe. Ken & Margie

  6. Great pictures Geoff. Is Lake Eyre salty? I assume so because there seems to be no vegetation round it. Keep trucking on! love J.

    • Hi Juliet
      Thanks. We’re looking forward to seeing Alex and Rachel on 15th. Seems so far away from where I am now though!

  7. Wow, more great pics…….some remind me of Albert Namatjira ‘s paintings years ago (not sure of
    correct spelling).
    All sounds fabulous, keep enjoying and safe travelling.

  8. Thanks for the great photos Geoff. Hanife and I love the outback and get a great kick out of reliving our trips through your blog. Take care and continue to have a grand adventure around OZ. John and Hanife B.

  9. Hi, didn’t get another blog so had to ring Merry to hear how you were. She said you were having trouble getting the internet and you were OK. Glad you managed to get to the Flinders Ranges as had a wonderful week there a few years ago. Keep blogging !!! Bill

  10. We loved reading your latest installment, Bill sounds like he has had a colourful life. Alex particularly likes the photos from Lake Eyre, and says the red one looks like volcanic rock! (his favourite thing).
    I hope the weather (and wifi) improve for you too.
    Karen and Alex
    PS – we went to Bunnings at the weekend and met an Aussie who was visiting relatives up North but came down here purely to see Bunnings!

    • Alex is right it does look like volcanic rock. What do think of Bunnings? Glad you like the blog… it was a long time coming.

      • I loved it! Phil wasn’t too sure the first time he went (I’ve not forgiven him yet for going without me!) as he said the aisles are narrower and as its a warehouse the shelves are stacked to the ceiling, which is unlike our DIY stores. However, they had a HUGE range of products, all really good prices, and a lot said they were from Australia too! Their customer service was absolutely excellent, and not what we’re used to in a DIY store! And the sausages were good……

  11. Good to have you back in touch with us all again, Geoff, very frustrating for a champion Blogger not to be able to share his adventures!!! We are so pleased you were able to fly over Lake Eyre after making your big detour,
    wonderful photos as usual.
    Love,
    Wendy and Rod.

  12. Nice to see the photos. Flinders Ranges sure are spectacular. Did you go to the MCG. (Maree Cricket Ground)

  13. Great pics. Glad you have managed to get wi-fi, even if you had to travel as far as Ceduna to get it. The Siberians and South Americans need to give the Aussie govt. a few lessons in up to date wi-fi coverage! Safe (and dry) travels. Watch out for the roos and road trains. Xxx

    • Thanks Merry. I probably should have bought a dongle… can you ask Stu what he thinks… I could get one in Esperance maybe?

  14. I was just thinking last night ” i wonder where Geoff is at, hope nothing bad has happened” Good to hear you’re ok mate and thanks for the great pics.

    Moon

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