Sunday, December 18, 2011
Australian Scenery- South Australia
This post and the next few will be of scenery of wetlands and outback. These are all taken in South Australia (SA). I started with SA becasue it is really where my trip started and it finished down on the south coast a few months later. The state is known for its wine and a lot of it is desert. Lake Eyre, an ephemeral lake in SA has had water in it for the past couple of years. I didnt visit the actual lake because the roads were still impassable but I explored the waterways that feed into the Lake Eyre basin. Cooper Creek, Innamincka, SA.
Cooper Creek, SA
Innamincka, Cooper Creek. SA. This is the view from where I camped (top 3 pics).
One of the really nice things about travelling to remote inland areas is that the night sky is so clear, no sea mist, few lights, and clear air. As long is there is no cloud it is really pleasant just to look at the night sky.
Although we travelled to wetland areas there were long flat sections where there wasnt much of anything. It is like this in parts of NSW as well as SA. The flat landscape that seems to go on forever is somewhat surealistic when you come from the bush or city.Many of the roads are little more than dirt tracks that cross huge cattle stations. The gates need to be opened and closed as you cross from station to station. Im glad they are big properties! At one point on our last trip we drove for more than 7000kms without driving on a made road.
One really frightening thing when you travel in outback oz is the huge road trains that you encounter. They are semi-trailers with up to four trailers. They are very long and nothing will stop these guys in a hurry.
When you see the huge cloud of dust ahead of you, the only sane thing to do is move well off the track and stop. They stir up so much dust that the only thing you see is the front of the huge track cabin. And the worst mistake you can make is to have a window in the car open as they go by. The fine red dust of the outback gets in everything and then is almost impossible to get out. These trucks transport all sorts of things, including cattle, which must breathe in this thick awful dust for hours on their journey.
The trucks travel at a reasonable speed but a lot of wildlife is killed by them. In some places there are two or three dead cattle that have been hit by one of these roadtrains. I saw a flock of emus run across the track in front of us and two of them were hit by a truck. The truck just continued its journey and we drove past the two huge dead birds. Its very distressing seeing sights like that and it makes me wonder if we cant utilize trains more. They cause a lot of carnage and it doesnt seem very humane to me to make animals breathe the dusty air for hours on end. That is just my opinion though.
They do transport a lot of different things and we couldnt do without them. And it would be incredibly dangerous for these huge trucks to swerve suddenly to avoid wildlife, with all the trailers they have behind them.
Once we started to see pelicans flying we knew we were getting close to water. After the desolation we had passed through, arriving at the river, pictured at the top of this post was an amazing feeling. On previous trips this area had just been a dust bowl and the Cooper Creek was just a series of drying up little waterholes. This time it was worth the drive it took to get there. I have never seen a larger congregation of birds(mainly pelicans and cormorants) inland before. After being in the very dry areas you can "smell" water when you get there.
After travelling to Innamincka, we went north to the Gulf of Carpentaria and followed the Savanah Way west across to the Northern Terrritory (NT) and then back down through the centre, south to the SA coast.