Tag Archive | South Australia

From On High

An Australian Point of View #5 Mountains

One of my most vivid memories of my first year of high school is the day my geography teacher, a European immigrant, made a scathing comment about Australia’s mountains. How dare we call our main mountain range “great” when, in comparison to the European alps it was nothing. I remember, even at the tender age of 12, feeling indignant that he should feel free to criticise my country.

Since then, I’ve seen much of this land and explored many of its mountain areas. I know now that Australia, once part of the supercontinent Gondwana, is the oldest and flattest continent on Earth.

Norseman, Western Australia

Nullarbor Plain, South Australia

Tectonic movement and volcanic activity have shaped the upland areas and erosion by wind and water has worn them away; instead of the rugged craggy peaks seen in Europe and the Americas, Australia’s mountain ranges are characterised by highland plateaus and deep canyons, wide valleys and rounded peaks.

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake, Tasmania

Mount Wellington, Tasmania

Porongurups, Western Australia

Bungle Bungles, Western Australia

Katherine River and Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory

Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, reaches an elevation of just 2,228 metres above sea level.

Mount Kosciuszko, New South Wales

The Great Dividing Range, so maligned by my teacher, is the third longest land-based mountain range on Earth. It is 3,500 kilometres long and stretches from the northernmost tip of Queensland, through New South wales and into Victoria. At its widest it is more than 300 kilometres across. The range dates from the Carboniferous Period, making it more than 300 million years old. Surely the term “great” is well-deserved.

Where the mountains meet the sea, Cape Tribulation, Far North Queensland

Daintree National Park, Far North Queensland

Kroombit Tops, Central Queensland

Glasshouse Mountains, South East Queensland

Bald Rock National Park, Northern New South Wales

Alpine National Park, Eastern Victoria

Perhaps that teacher needed to study his geography!


An Australian Point of View #1 Capital Cities

Australia is the sixth largest country in the world with a land mass of 7,692,014 square kilometres. Despite its size, Australia is composed of just six states and two territories, all with their own capital city. Every capital has its own distinctive architecture; some buildings are more well-known than others, but each plays a part in the story of its city.

Brisbane, Queensland

The heritage-listed Albert Street Uniting Church, completed in 1889, is dwarfed by the surrounding city tower blocks. By the early 1900s it was the main Methodist Church in the city and is now the home of Wesley Mission Queensland. With its Victorian Gothic architecture and its inner city position, the church is a popular wedding venue.

Melbourne, Victoria

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s busiest Performing Arts complex. Construction began in 1973 and the buildings were completed in stages, the last being finished in 1984. The steel spire is 162 metres high and is surrounded at the base by a ruffle of steel mesh reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu.

Adelaide, South Australia

The scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval has been keeping track of cricket matches since 3 November, 1911. The heritage-listed Edwardian scoreboard is the only one of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and is still manually operated.  A tour of Adelaide Oval includes a visit inside the four storey scoreboard.

Perth, Western Australia

The Bell Tower in Barracks Square houses the Swan Bells, a collection of 18 change ringing bells. Twelve of the bells come from St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London and date from the 13th century. They were gifted to the city of Perth during Australia’s Bicentenary, while the Bell Tower was completed in time for Millennium celebrations.

Hobart, Tasmania

The Shot Tower at Taroona, just outside Hobart, was built in 1879 and was, for four years, Australia’s tallest building. Lead shot was produced in the tower for 35 years. Next door is the home of Joseph Moir, who constructed the tower and other landmark buildings in Hobart. The shot tower is still the tallest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Government House, on the Esplanade in Darwin, is the oldest European building in the Northern Territory. Completed in 1871, the house is the official residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The Victorian Gothic design is complemented by wide verandas, which help to cool the house in Darwin’s tropical climate.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. This is the second Parliament House and replaced Old Parliament House, which was in use from 1927 to 1988. This new building was opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II during Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms adorns the front façade, and an Australian flag the size of a half tennis court flies at the top of the 81 metre high flagpole.

Sydney, New South Wales

The Sydney Opera House, opened in 1973, overlooks Sydney Harbour at Bennelong Point. Every year, more than eight million people visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and it hosts more than 1,500 events and performances. The Opera House becomes a focal point during Sydney’s Vivid Festival each June.

Participating in Becky’s #RoofSquares Challenge

Things I Learned

Round Australia Road Trip #33

When doing something completely different from your usual way of life, there are certain to be some moments of self-discovery; travelling vast distances with a caravan for seven weeks around our amazing country revealed some new aspects of my character. Here are ten things I learned about myself on the Round Australia Road Trip.

1. I enjoy flying – but only in big planes. Our flight over the Bungle Bungles was in a 6 seater Cessna C10 and our very enthusiastic pilot Sam made sure we all got the best possible view, by tipping the plane in all directions. I didn’t actually see everything because some of the time my eyes were closed, and by the time we landed I felt decidedly queer.



2. Animals are not really my thing, especially when they are watching me. Finding evidence they’re around also gives me the creeps. (I knew this already, but seeing these creatures reinforced my lack of enthusiasm for living things other than humans.)

3. I can take great photos which look like I was much closer than I really was, because my camera has a fantastic zoom. Also, after taking many fuzzy photos, I finally mastered the macro setting on my camera.

4. I can drive a boat. I was being supervised, but the steering was all me!


5. I can also tow a caravan. However, I cannot park it or reverse it and I will definitely never overtake one of these while towing it.



6. I loved visiting the outback but I do not want to live there.


7. I need to keep my day job because there are many jobs I don’t want to do. I would make a terrible deep sea diver or pioneering explorer. I like being comfortable far too much.

8. I am irresistible to flies. I am not unique in this, because flies aren’t fussy. (I know you have seen this photo before, but it is my best fly photo!)


9. I can run faster than a sting ray can swim. I discovered this skill when a sting ray came past me in the water at Monkey Mia. I was out of there in no time. I don’t know if the sting ray even noticed me, but I did not go back in.


10. I do not want to ride a bike across Australia. Many other people take on the challenge, but I don’t see the attraction. (Do you see this cyclist’s fly net? He’s irresistible to flies too.)



While most of these revelations will probably not ever again be useful, some might come in handy one day. You never know when I might be called upon to race a stingray!

And so, after more than 14 ooo km, nine weeks on the road for Mr ET and seven weeks for me, the Round Australia Road Trip comes to an end. But stay tuned, because another adventure is just around the corner!

A Loo with a View – The Road Trip Edition

Round Australia Road Trip#32

Bush loos, city loos,

Practical or pretty loos,

Loos with info,

Loos with style,

With views like this,

you’ll take a while!



Victoria River, Northern Territory


Lake Argyle, Western Australia

Lake Argyle, Western Australia


Marlgu Billabong, Western Australia

Marlgu Billabong, Western Australia


Bungle Bungles, Western Australia

Bungle Bungles, Western Australia



Geikie Gorge, Western Australia


Windjana Gorge, Western Australia

Windjana Gorge, Western Australia


Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia

Shell Beach, Shark Bay, Western Australia


Port Denison Fishing Fleet, Western Australia

Fishing Fleet, Port Denison, Western Australia


Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia


Cape Bauer, Great Australian Bight, South Australia

Cape Bauer, Great Australian Bight, South Australia


Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Sometimes the view is on the loo.


Kununurra, Western Australia

And when there’s no loo

A tree will do!


De Grey River Free Camp, Great Northern Highway, Western Australia

Looking Out

Round Australia Road Trip #31

Mr ET tells me the optimum speed for best fuel consumption when towing our caravan is 100 km/hour. But 100km/hour is not great for taking photographs, and there’s no point in saying, “Stop! I want to take a photo of that!” because by the time we stop the subject of the photo is way back down the road.

So when we are travelling, I set my camera to sports mode. If I see something amazing, I point and shoot through the windscreen and hope for the best. Often the photos are blurred or crooked or I miss the subject altogether, but every now and then, I manage to get a decent photo.

Here are my favourite “Through the Windscreen” photos from our Round Australia Road Trip.


Brumbies in the bush, Bullita Stock Route, Northern Territory


Fire over the range, Old Telegraph Station, Parry’s Creek Road, Western Australia

Mirage, Great Northern Highway, Western Australia

Mirage, Great Northern Highway, Western Australia


Peak Hour, North West Coastal Highway, Western Australia

Landing, Karratha, Western Australia

Smooth landing, Karratha, Western Australia

Solar powered street lights, North West Coastal Highway, Western Australia

Solar powered street lights, North West Coastal Highway, Western Australia

Which way? North West Coastal Highway, Western Australia

Which way? North West Coastal Highway, Western Australia

Windblown trees, Greenough, Western Australia

Windblown trees, Greenough, Western Australia

Renovator's Delight, New Norcia, Western Australia

Renovator’s Delight, New Norcia, Western Australia

Outback telecommunications powered by the sun, Eyre Highway, Western Australia

Outback telecommunications, powered by the sun, Eyre Highway, Western Australia

Someone has a sense of humour, Eyre Highway, Western Australia

A sense of humour, Eyre Highway, Western Australia

Overtaken on the Nullarbor, Eyre Highway, South Australia

Overtaken on the Nullarbor, Eyre Highway, South Australia

Travelling in style, Eyre Highway, South Australia

Travelling in style, Eyre Highway, South Australia

Been there, done that! Port Augusta, South Australia

Been there, done that! Port Augusta, South Australia


Leave the mail at the front gate, Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Emu crossing, Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Emu crossing, Barrier Highway, New South Wales

Wide Load, Newell Highway, New South Wales

Wide Load, Newell Highway, New South Wales

Take a Seat

Round Australia Road Trip #27

Jude’s Bench Series – The Road Trip Collection

This year Jude, writer and photographer at Travel Words, set a challenge to photograph benches, with a different theme each month. While I enjoyed seeing the beautiful benches that appeared on participating blogs, I didn’t ever post any photos myself. When we set off on our road trip I started taking bench photos, especially with Jude in mind. The result is a year’s worth of bench challenge photos – The Road Trip Collection.

January – In the Garden

A shady spot in the heat of summer when the temperature soars into the high 30s

Fraser Range Sheep Station, on the edge of the Nullarbor Plain


February  – Benches processed in Black and White

Old school benches at this historic school building from 1865

Central Greenough Historic Village, Western Australia


March – Wooden Benches

Resting place, at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden

Port Augusta, South Australia


April – Benches with a View

Big rocks, a big view and a big sky

Murphy’s Haystacks, South Australia


May – At the Beach

High tide

Streaky Bay, South Australia


June – Benches with Art Effects

Original colonial features at the Kalgoorlie City Market

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia


July – Unusual Details

A Lone Pine, descended from the Gallipoli Lone Pine, in the garden of the Northampton RSL

Northampton, Western Australia


August – Colourful Benches

Weather worn benches at Red Cliffs

Port Augusta, South Australia


September – Metal Benches

Metal benches watching over an iron ore carrier – metal carrying metal

Port Hedland, Western Australia


October – People on Benches

An over-sized bench at the Line of Lode Miners’ Memorial

Broken Hill, New South Wales


November – Benches with Messages

It’s a long way to anywhere from Willare Bridge (bench almost hidden behind the railing)

Willare Bridge Roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway, Western Australia


December – Free Choice

Sunset over Shark Bay – the bench ignored in favour of comfortable camp chairs

Denham, Shark Bay, Western Australia


And my favourite bench photo – a place to rest in case there’s a queue for the phone box

South Australia/New South Wales State Border


Dry But Not Desolate

Round Australia Road Trip #25

The arid outback of Australia looks desolate and uninhabitable but it’s far from empty. Flora and fauna are plentiful if you know what to look for. We learned about what grows in the desert at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden at Port Augusta.


The garden, established in 1993, promotes the research and conservation of Australia’s arid zone plants and animals. The eco-friendly Visitor Centre, made of rammed earth and powered by solar panels, sits comfortably in its surroundings. Water harvested from the roof is recycled for use in the building and the gardens.


There are several walking paths around the garden, ranging from the 200 metre Children’s Walk to the 4.5 km Red Cliff Walk, which passes the place where the explorer Matthew Flinders landed on 11 March, 1802.


The Eremophila Garden features an astounding variety of plants all belonging to the same family. While some eremophilas are prostrate ground covers and others are shrubs and small trees, they all bear brightly coloured flowers and fruit. The common name for some eremophilas is emu bush because emus feast on the fruit as it ripens.


For more variety, the Regional Walk displays plants from the arid regions of South Australia, including the Flinders Ranges, West Coast Mallee and the Great Victoria Desert. In October, eucalypts laden with delicate blossoms attract Singing Honeyeaters.


It’s also wildflower season. Everlastings show off their vibrant colours while Poached Egg Daisies nod gently in the breeze coming off the waters of Spencer Gulf.



Yaccas, also known as grass trees, send up long flower spikes which local indigenous people once used for fishing spears.


There’s life aplenty in the arid lands of Australia.

The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is open 7 days from 7.30am to sundown. The Visitor Centre is open week days 9am to 5pm, weekends and public holidays 10am to 4pm. Admission is free. Guided walking tours are available daily.

A Big Day

Round Australia Road Trip #24

When Elaine commented on my Longest Trains in the World post about the size of everything in Australia, I made it my mission to find as many big things as I could on the rest of our road trip. Australia is well known for its “big things”, both natural and man made, and the drive east from Streaky Bay to Port Augusta revealed a surprising number of over-sized objects.

Not far from Streaky Bay is an outcrop of large granite boulders at least 1 500 million years old, which have been exposed in their current form for around 100 000 years.



Known as Murphy’s Haystacks, their name came about after an agricultural expert saw the rocks on Murphy’s farm from a distance and mistook them for haystacks.



There are more granite outcrops at Wudinna. Mount Wudinna is the second largest monolith in Australia; only Uluru in the Northern Territory is larger. It rises out of the wheat fields like a sentinel.


A walking track through the bush leads to the base of the rock and from there signposts mark the easiest way to the top.



It’s not just the rock that is large; the 360 degree view from the top of the mountain is expansive. Turtle Rock, another granite outcrop, can be seen nearby.



The swarms of flies at Mount Wudinna are large too. We spent most of our time waving them away and trying not to swallow them.


Wudinna is also the home of the Australian Farmers’ Memorial, an eight metre high statue made of local pink granite which celebrates the spirit of the Australian farmer.


The town of Kimba may be tiny but it is renowned for two big things. It is geographically located halfway across the continent as the crow flies and it is the home of The Big Galah.


The last stop on this part of the drive commemorates a big journey – the circumnavigation of Australia by Matthew Flinders between 1801 and 1803. On 11 March 1802, Flinders and his crew sailed into Spencer Gulf in their ship Investigator. They landed close to where the city of Port Augusta is now located and climbed up these red cliffs. Matthew Flinders was the first person to use the name “Australia” for this vast continent. What would he think of the Big Galah?




The Nullarbor and Beyond Day Three

Round Australia Road Trip #23

On day three there’s not much more to go before we reach Ceduna, at the eastern end of the crossing of the Nullarbor. The landscape changes dramatically as the saltbush is replaced by broad fields of wheat ready for harvesting.


The little town of Penong, known as the Town of 100 Windmills, relies on the windmills on its outskirts to draw water from deep underground.



After Penong it’s only another 75 kilometres to Ceduna and we’ve achieved our goal. We’ve crossed the Nullarbor Plain from west to east, a distance of 1194 kilometres. Our first stop in Ceduna is the Visitor Centre, where we claim our “Across the Nullarbor” certificate.


Ceduna is the main town of the north west Eyre Peninsula, in South Australia. Located on Murat Bay, Ceduna’s main industry is fishing. A memorial to local sailors who’ve been lost at sea overlooks the coast at Thevenard Port.



The name Ceduna comes from the Aboriginal word “chedoona” which means “resting place”. There’s no time for us to rest though, as we leave Ceduna and head south on the Flinders Highway to Streaky Bay, a seaside town at the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight.

For one last look at the Bight we drive round the Cape Bauer Loop, past towering cliffs, wide sandy beaches and rock formations carved out by the pounding seas of the Southern Ocean.



Boardwalks through the dunes lead to lookouts over the coast. Where seawater has reacted with the limestone, shafts have formed in the rock platforms, creating spectacular blowholes.





From the Indian Ocean to the Southern Ocean, from Western Australia to South Australia, from Norseman to Ceduna – our crossing of the Nullarbor is complete.