Sunday, August 1, 2010


My earlier blog posts below give good coverage of our adventure flying into the outback of South Australia and southwest Queensland last weekend.

Now, I've made a movie! I'm a novice movie-maker, but an earnest student of iMovie on my new Apple iMac. 

I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Our party of eight including friends, Andrew, Juanita, Pam and Ken, starts off in Adelaide on Saturday morning and flies north to Angorichina Station homestead in the Flinders Ranges. We fly in a brand-new Pilatus turbo-prop aircraft with Gary Williams in command.

There is no flooding rain here - just peaceful, dry creek beds and rugged mountain ranges. Its a little difficult to describe some of the sights we see as 'rugged', when really, they are of delicate and breathtaking beauty. I went expecting reds and purples, but instead I'm given a kaleidoscope of blues and yellows.

The central Flinders Ranges at sunset

. . . and of course, the oranges of the burnt outback are always there.

A 4WD trip into the little town of Blinman with a population of 28, and  BBQ lunch in a dry creek bed under the gum trees gives us a flavour of life in this remote part of the outback. Ian and Di are gracious hosts and we enjoy their company at dinner and breakfast in front of a roaring log fire in the shearers' mess.

My travelling companions, Andrew, Juanita, Pam and Ken with host Ian in the hat. Also pilot Garry with other guests, Jan and Sue.

Its 'all hands on deck' in this outback Australian family.  Ian came over to the Shearers' quarters to put wood under the 'donkey-burner' so we would have hot water for a shower (I decide to 'go dirty' of course after last night's experience in the cold), while Di stokes the log fire in the nearby shearers' mess and starts on breakfast.

This area of the Flinders Ranges is picture-perfect beautiful - eucalypts languishing in the stony, dry creek bed waiting for the occasional thunderstorm that brings rushing torrents of water and debris in its wake.

2,000 feet above sea level

Our overnight in the old shearers' quarters is an experience! My teeth didn't chatter - my whole body convulsed with the cold when I got out of the shower in the old corrugated iron shed dating back to the 1850's! Of course, Andrew was so tough, he advised Ian to change nothing! You decide!

Our rooms in the shearers' quarters on the left, and the shearers' mess on the right - simplicity itself!

Angorichina is a working sheep station with 3,000 head spread out over the 250 square kilometre property. However, these animals move like lightning and I don't get to photograph any. I did get a single shot of one of the many wild goats that roam (which get rounded up from time to time by Ian and shipped off to the south to be sold). It stood like a sentinel on a mountain top.

And it wouldn't be Australia without a kangaroo, or two. (These kangaroos are of the  'Euro' variety)

Even though Lake Eyre is the draw card for this trip, the Flinders Ranges have been absolutely captivating. 

Flying further north the following day, we make a stop at Muloorina Station on the southern edge of Lake Eyre. Donald Campbell used this as his base for the land speed record in 1963. The Lake Eyre location was chosen as it offered 450 square miles  of dried salt lake, where rain had not fallen in the previous 20 years, and the surface was as hard as concrete.

Now, we are here to witness the waters from the flooding rains of many months ago in the Channel Country of Queensland as they finally reach Lake Eyre - 65% of its surface is now covered. 

Again spectrums of blues and yellows. These are the true colours of Lake Eyre and the Warburton Groove that feeds the waters from catchment areas in three states, as seen from 2,000 feet

 Glistening waters of silver and blue creeping towards the lowest point in the basin of Lake Eyre, 16 metres below sea level.

The 'filigree' of waters in Goyder's Lagoon in Lake Eyre is simply stunning now flying at an altitude of 18,000 feet.

. . . and the greening of the desert is amazing

And for how many years have I heard about the famous Birdsville Pub in southwest corner of Queensland?

The Sturt Desert Pea, the State Flower of South Australia was elusive, but we finally find it in Birdsville.

. . . just after 'tucking-in' on a 'whopper' of a hamburger at the Birdsville Hotel - beetroot, pineapple and all.

The land formations of the Australian Outback seen on the flight back to Adelaide continue to change.

There's grasses and not much bush cover in the Sturt Stony Desert Sand ridges can be 40 feet high. 
I wonder why one body of water is blue and the other brown.

Mining is a major contributor to Australia's economic success. We fly over rigs in the middle of nowhere.

The 'Dig Tree', the tree at the depĂ´t camp that Brahe marked the location of the buried supplies still stands on the banks of Bullah Bullah Waterhole on Coopers Creek in south-west Queensland - famous in 19th century Australian history for the expedition of Burke and Wills.

. . . and at the end of our 32-hour, 2,250 kms marathon outback adventure, Pam and the ladies can still laugh.





Enjoy the pictures of our couple of hours in Birdsville where we visited the Museum, had lunch at the iconic Birdsville Hotel, and took a walk around the town.


Seldom do flooding rains reach Lake Eyre in the arid heart of the Australian continent, but it has now happened two years in a row, triggering a spectacular explosion of life in the region.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Explore the Australia you always imagined existed, but never knew how to find”

Outback Encounter has designed the ultimate flying adventure to view ‘Lake Eyre by air’. This two day/one night holiday has been created to experience the extraordinary natural phenomenon of water flowing into Lake Eyre.

Desert areas that were ravaged by dust storms just before Christmas are lush and green, with patches of brilliant wildflowers. The vast floodplains around Lake Eyre have been turned into wetlands brimming with life, and the birds have returned to breed.

Seldom do flooding rains reach Lake Eyre in the arid heart of the Australian continent, but it has now happened two years in a row, triggering a spectacular explosion of life in the region.

Departing Adelaide, aboard a Pilatus PC12 aircraft, the first leg of our flying safari, takes us to the Flinders Ranges. Here we will be greeted by our local guide for the journey, Ian Fargher. Ian and his wife Di own Angorichina Station, where we stay for one night in the rustic and comfortable ‘Shearers Quarters’ (loud protestations about the standard of accommodation already heard from the 'gruff old lawyer' in our bunch!).

We will rise early and continue our flight over diverse outback landscapes to Lake Eyre. The aerial sight of Lake Eyre is spectacular and even better viewed from the comforts of this  aircraft. Stop for lunch at the iconic Birdsville Hotel, before making our return journey to Adelaide.