Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kangaroo Island, South Australia - March 2011

Remarkable Rocks

The Tour was a 3 day 4WD tour with Kangaroo Island Odysseys which involved taking a bus from Adelaide and a ferry to KI and then flying back to Adelaide. You can also bus/ferry both ways or fly both ways. I can highly recommend KI Odysseys and definitely recommend doing more than a day trip to the island.
Pennington Bay

Kangaroo Island is 110 km south of Adelaide, the most significant island off the South Australian coast and the third largest island off the Australian coast.

Emu Bay
The size of the island (approx. 155 km in length and approx. 50 km at its widest, and 4350 square km in area) surprises many visitors. The population is approx. 4500, with Kingscote being the largest town.

The greatest attraction is its wildlife and the variety of coastal scenery, which is largely unspoilt by any development. There are sheer cliffs, rocky headlands, sheltered coves, long sandy beaches and massive sculpture like boulders at Remarkable Rocks.

Admirals Arch

To see more photos of Kangaroo Island please have a look at the Slideshow or Album.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lake Eyre Trip - July/August 2010

For a lot more photos of the outback and Lake Eyre, please visit my Slideshow or Album.

The Tour
The trip was a 6 day, 4WD trip to William Creek and Lake Eyre from Broken Hill by way of the Flinders Ranges and returning through Coober Pedy. At least that was the idea. It didn’t quite work out that way, but more of that later. I flew up early and spent a few days in Broken Hill first.

The tour operator was Tri State who specialise in small group 4WD tours of Corner Country (the area around the borders of NSW, Queensland and South Australia) and the desert such as the Birdsville and Strezlecki Tracks and Simpson Desert.

We travelled in “The Warrier” which carried 12 people including the driver and pulled a trailer containing luggage etc – not such a good idea as it turned out. The truck was fine, the trailer was more of a problem.

"The Warrier" at Waukeringa Station shearers' quarters
While I would recommend the company I am not a fan of vehicles hauling trailers. Tri State also use standard 4WD vehicles but have the one truck for larger groups to popular destinations. Right now everyone wants to go to Lake Eyre because of the amount of water out there.

The Accommodation

The accommodation on the tour was variable but mostly fine. Unfortunately we didn’t get to stay in what would have been the most interesting as we didn’t get to William Creek or Coober Pedy. It was a mix of share facilities and ensuite and we had more share facilities than would normally be the case because of the change of itinerary due to weather conditions.

The only gripe I have with the accommodation is that the shearers’ quarters on Wirrealpa Station, while interesting and atmospheric, were in no way comfortable - although this was no doubt coloured by the fact that it was absolutely freezing, there was no extra bedding, and the blokes managed to overstoke the boiler to the extent that all that came out of the communal showers was boiling water from one tap and steam from the other. I’m sure it would be more enjoyable under different conditions. The owners were welcoming and the food good.

The rest of the accommodation was either cabins attached to pubs or in caravan parks, or in motels.

Broken Hill to Wirrealpa


Waukeringa Historic Site
Waukeringa Historic Site

Wirrealpa to Marree

Shearing Shed, Wirrealpa Station
 Shearing Shed, Wirrealpa Station
 Dawn, Wirrealpa Station
 Heysen country - Flinders Ranges
 Leigh Creek Coalfield
 Farina Historic Site
 Farina Historic Site
Marree, sunset
Marree, sunset

Marree to William Creek – or more accurately back to Lyndhurst

Lake Eyre Yacht Club, Marree

This is where it all fell apart. We came out here to see water but not as much as we ended up seeing and not all over the track. The problem was that there had been a lot of rain in the recent past and more rain overnight. We waited in Marree until late morning to give the track a chance to dry out but, as you can see from the shots below, although 4WDs were getting through, it was still too much for the truck, especially with the trailer which picked up so much mud on its tyres that they stopped turning and the whole thing became a dead weight. We may have been able to get through if we didn’t have the trailer, who knows. We ended up unhitching the trailer, leaving it on the side of the track and returning to Marree where we were unable to get accommodation.

After hanging around for a couple more hours we drove several hours back the way we came to spend the night at the Lyndhurst pub.
Not where we were supposed to be 
Even a truckstop can look good in the right light

Lake Eyre and back to Wirrealpa (again)

Back to Marree, as you can see we spent most of the trip in this little town in the middle of nowhere. The itinerary had us flying over Lake Eyre early in the morning from William Creek which would have been much better light for photography than flying from Marree late in the morning with haze and sun glare. I was very disappointed with the Lake Eyre shots and had to do a lot more work in post than I would like to bring up the colours and try and reduce the haze. Still, I’m only griping from a photography point of view, flying over the lake was a great experience, particularly with so much water in and around it.

Coopers Creek
Flooding from Coopers Creek

 Lake Eyre

Lake Eyre
Lake Eyre

Back to Wirrealpa – again – but this time it wasn’t raining so we could see the Flinders Ranges, I managed to get another quilt and we managed to get a shower.

Wirrealpa to Port Augusta

Wonderful morning light for a change, but unfortunately it was blowing a gale and bitterly cold all day.
 Wirrealpa Station shearer's quarters
 Wirrealpa Station shearing shed
 Wirrealpa Station

Headed down to Port Augusta through the lower Flinders Ranges which is a beautiful area of quaint railway towns. The whole of the Flinders is uncharacteristically green due to the unusually high rainfall.

 Wilpena Pound


Port August to Broken Hill
A quick look around Port Augusta then a full day on the road back to Broken Hill.
Port Augusta
Port Augusta
Back to Broken Hill on the Barrier Highway

Would I recommend Tri State – yes, the problems were weather related and beyond their control. Would I recommend this trip – yes, but a little later in the year (I went late July/early August).

For a lot more photos of the outback and Lake Eyre, please visit my Slideshow or Album.

Broken Hill - July 2010

For more shots of Broken Hill and surrounds see my Broken Hill Slideshow or Album.

In Broken Hill I stayed at the Caledonian B and B, a small, friendly place in a converted pub (a lot of old pubs have been converted to accommodation). It was inexpensive and well located in easy walking distance to the city centre with a couple of pubs with good bistros within one or two blocks. I also spent one night at the Lodge Outback Motel which is across the road from the Caledonian, slightly dearer as it is ensuite, and perfectly acceptable but lacks the atmosphere of the B and B.

 The Caledonian
Barb and Hugh, the managers

I thoroughly enjoyed Broken Hill with its mix of mining history, outback desert scenery and art of various types. The range of architecture is fascinating as are the mining relics.

Broken Hill with Line of Lode
Mario's Palace Hotel (as seen in Priscilla Queen of the Desert)
 Line of Lode
 Miner's Tinnie
Sculpture Symposium at sunset
Sculpture Symposium at sunset
Sculpture Symposium at sunset

For more shots of Broken Hill and surrounds see my Broken Hill Slideshow or Album.