5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 5, Australia

After 4 days travelling the world in my memories this fifth and final day I am back in Australia…

The year is 2005 and I am travelling on the Greyhound bus right round Australia, on my own and with only my pension, I was on a strict budget.

How I loved that challenge. The 12 month, 10,000 kilometre bus pass cost $990 and I was on my way July 23rd heading North, first on the “Sunlander Train” into the Warm Northern tropics. Then onto the Greyhound bus across the great Outback. Turning West I followed the magnificent wild flower trail south along the coast of Western Australia. Discovering the incredible history of the gold mining era of Kalgoorlie. Then on the mighty “Indian Pacific” train across the Nullabor. Through the capital city of Adelaide and on to Melbourne where I timed it to be there for the “Melbourne Cup” that great horse race that stops a nation and cheered myself hoarse along with thousands of others as we watched that magnificent mare Makybe Diva  win the cup for the third time in a row. 

For 4 months I hopped on and off the bus. Sometimes just me and the driver travelling through the night to the next destination curled up with my sleeping bag draped over me and trying to sleep. Other times it was staying in back packer or YHA dorms for a day or two with a variety of nationalities, male and female. While I roamed around all the fascinating places that make up this huge country. 

For a change I also Wwoofed (willing workers on organic farms) spending time, for free accommodation, helping on various farms. A memorable one being a seahorse sanctuary, another a warm blood horse stud. Another way to stretch my budget was using “Global Freeloaders”, a forerunner of the now popular “couch surfers”.

Many times I have been asked what was my favourite place. A very hard question I could write a book about all I saw and did. It was a continual journey of wonder.

But what I am going to pick out for this final day of the challenge is my trip into the wilderness of the Kimberley.

With a small group of 6, a charismatic Australian larrikin called Scott drove us 5 hours in his 4 wheel drive. The last 50 kilometres we bounced over corrugated, rutted tracks that twist and turn and at times is like a roller coaster, the red bull dust swirling around us as Scott takes the track at speed as he tells us this is the best way to minimise the corrugations. After 3 stops, one to change a burst tyre and twice to allow one of our group to be violently sick, we arrived at the Bungle Bungle Range. Deep in the Purnululu National Park.

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Scott carries the water and his didgeridoo

For the rest of the day we tramped among these wondrous and breath-taking formations. The red rocks towered above us catching the magic glow of the sun reflecting back.

We had this extraordinary world to ourselves.

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Scott cooks a BBQ

That night Scott cooks us a traditional and delicious BBQ, just look at those juicy steaks. What a great guy he is.

Then we roll out our swags and lay around the camp fire swapping stories before drifting to sleep under a canopy of a million stars.

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 Getting ready for bed

Next day it was more walking through this surreal landscape the azure blue of the sky accentuating the shape and colour of the domes. The final gorge Scott took us to was Cathedral Gorge.

This was to be a moment that will live with me forever and was the highlight of my trip around Australia.

Scott had carried a didgeridoo with him and when we reached the end of the gorge it was just our small group. We sat in the sand around a small crystal clear pool and Scott climbed up to an over-hanging rock and placed the end of the old Aboriginal instrument into a hollow. The haunting sound echoed and hung around us in the still air, time also seemed to stand still. The walls of the gorge towered above us and the top was a blaze of fiery red were the sun touched it. I sat entranced and awed by the majesty of the moment.

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Well that is the finish of my 5 days. I hope you have enjoyed travelling around with me back into my past journeys. I have enjoyed reliving them…

The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) Dawn of “The day after“. Dawn is a prolific blogger, her posts cover a variety of subjects, she hosts 2 challenges, “Lingering look at windows” and “Lingering look at architecture” her specialities are fiction writing and photography and I’m sure she will have many stories to tell us.  Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Dawn, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

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Categories: 5 photos 5 days, Australia, Bungle Bungle, camping, photography | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 5, Australia

  1. I love the adventure you seek and embrace in your life.

  2. That was some trip! You certainly are an adventurer – it’s in your DNA! I like my travels, but I’m not quite that dedicated or adventurous!

  3. You went on that trip on your own? Wow, PP, kudos to you! And the sound of a didgeridoo played well is so haunting, makes me get goosebumps. I have thoroughly enjoyed your travels around the world through this challenge. Well done and thank you for sharing these memories with us 😀

    • I met so many interesting people on that journey. I think when you are solo traveller it is a very different experience to being with a partner. But I did miss having Jack to share it with.

  4. What a wonderful trip you had. My husband and I have gone around Australia twice now and loved every minute of it and there is still loads of new things to find and do. But no I would never be game enough to go on my own. Although I have seen many women driving around on their own.

    • I did go round a second time with Jack, my partner, in 2010. It took us a year travelling very slowly in a Toyota Hi-ace pop top. We loved it, but like you say I don’t think you will ever see it all…

  5. I really enjoyed this day of your stories P – and while the didgeridoo echo sounds amazing – and so does that sky and the scenes (and the steaks look so juicy) but my very favorite part was picturing you trying to get settled with your sleeping bag in a bus and then thinking of the stretches with just you and the driver – and how those parts of the adventures had their own flavor. must have been some 4 months.

    • Had some great conversations with those drivers. They all were such friendly types. Apart from along the East coast mostly the buses had plenty of empty seats which was good as I could stretch out across the 2 seats. Still not very comfortable though…

  6. What a life you’ve created for yourself. I’ve never even thought of the existence of sea-horse farming. Thank you many times over for this rich series

    • I did thoroughly enjoy going back and reliving some of my journeys. Even digging into photo albums I haven’t opened for years.

  7. What a journey, respect for you going alone, an incredible experience. You don’t mention Cathedral gorge in today’s post, is it in the Bungle Bungles?

    • Yes it is and truly a magnificent place. Unfortunately when I went with Jack in 2010 and we flew in , (Scott, unfortunately, was no longer doing his tours) it was crowded and was a totally different experience, not as moving as when I was there with just the small group of people who had become friends.

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