FOR the next eight months we will be travelling around Australia  and are incredibly lucky to have friends staying in our home and looking after the cats.

ROAD TRIP GALLERY 

While some slept we packed and caught up with family and friends over lunches and dinners before leaving.

Farewell luncheon with Melbourne family.

 

 

Before we left I finished orders and created metal artwork for exhibitions in August and September at Stonehouse Gallery.

21st of may

Two weeks latter then planned…we left home arriving that night at friend’s place in Murrumbatem NSW, and spent a week there. It is one our favourite places.

26th of May

The Brindabella Mountains completely dominate this landscape and one is always drawn to them. A perfect topic to paint, Looking South . The next day was a view out the western side of the house through the banksia-rose home to hundreds of sparrows, Sparrow’s Home.

Looking South
Sparrow’s Home

28th of May we bid farewell to our friends after spending a wonderful week there and headed for Sydney to stay with family until the next leg of the journey.

With family in Sydney

30th of May

WOW! Where has the year gone?

With winter just around the corner. I finished this portrait of Barry the little black rooster titled Dreaming. I am really enjoying painting again. While I did this Ivan and his sister had lots of time to catch up and bought a fruit tree to plant in her garden.

31st of May

Another glorious day, perfect for planting the mandarin tree and a hair-cut.

At dusk we went to Kyle Bay for a toe-dip.

1st of June

We had lunch together at Carss Cafe & Grill which was a delightful way to spend the first day of winter.

2nd of June

After spending a relaxing few days with the family in Sydney it was time to pack up again and drive over the Blue Mountains.

Travelling along the Mitchell Highway just outside Wellington and near the Wellington Caves there is this extraordinary, wonderful 15 metre sculpture Wellington Gateway Project, that looms out of the ground. It took the artist Frances Freguson (1962-2003) and others involved in the Landmark Project (1993-1995) two years to complete. I was totally blown away by it…

Today’s drive ended in Dubbo where we have set up for the next couple of days. Here’s to a warm night’s sleep.

The Macquarie River in Dubbo

We have been here several days now just enjoying the slow pace of it all. Nights are very cold as are the mornings but turn into crisp clear days.

5th of June

We ventured further a field today and drove out to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. There we walked the 6km trail looking and learning about the animals that live there. The Meerkats being my favourites and Ivan the Cheetahs.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo

We then decided to drive to Dundullimal Homestead not far from the Zoo. Dundullimal Homestead is a 1840s pioneer homestead that was built on the traditional lands of the people of the Wiradjuri Nation. Dundullimal is a Wiradjuri word meaning “thunderstorm” or “hailstorm”. I found it a particularly beautiful place to visit which is now owned by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

Dundullimal Homestead

6th of June

Early morning rise to frosty surrounds we head down the Newell Highway passing many small towns and flat dry country.

Warrumbungles in the distance.

As the day got warmer we turned onto the Castlereagh Highway to Lightning Ridge where we would spend the long weekend.

New moon Lightning Ridge

That night it was 4.6 degrees and felt like 1.3 degrees especially in our Pop-up caravan. Lots of bedding tonight, sleep well all.

7th of June

Blue skies warm days and cold nights with bougainvilleas of all colours in flower now. Today was my birthday and we celebrated it with a pair of opal earrings and a fine dinner at Bruno’s.

9th of June

Sunday found us at the local market then exploring some the attractions around town. Namely the Bottle House and Collectables, Kangaroo Hill and the vastness beyond then to ‘A Quiet Man’s Place’ – Art Gallery. This gallery shows the artwork of local artist John Weeronga Bartoo. He no longer practices his artwork but the gallery is run by his wife for all us to see. The scarf you see in the photo below is one of his designs.

10th of June

Monday was a glorious sunny day. The first of the scandal weather. We followed the map above out the this opal mining community in the scrub. One can’t but admire the tenacity of these people that life out here all year round. As you can see the Club is full of character and is a true Club so you have to sign in as you do for all Clubs. The meal was great and served by friendly people. I think that’s what I will go away with most from here as  to how friendly and easy going everyone is here and at Lightning Ridge.

Lunch at The Garwin, Club in the Scrub.

Happy Hour that night put on by our hosts at Lightning Ridge Holiday Park, is a great way to catch up with others and their recommendations for our trip we leave here. We then went to the Artesian Bore Baths for a hot dip before bed.

11th of June

Blue faced honeyeater seen in camp.

Spent the last day in camp painting then a late night at dip under the Milky-way.

12th of June

Packed and ready by 10.00am we headed for St George. A town we had spent a week at waiting for parts to come from Brisbane and Sydney for my car. This thankfully it was only a lunch stop. The country is so dry between Lightning Ridge and Roma as is much of what we have already seen since crossing the Blue Mountains. And the road-kill is horrifying so many dead kangaroos and even an emu.

13th of June

Home is now Roma with delightfully weather and cool nights. Today we set out to explore Roma’s sights first stopping at Roma’s Largest Bottle-tree which towered over Ivan. Possibly originating from the 19th century. It was relocated from a property to its present place 1927. With a girth of 9.5m a height of 6m and a crown of 20m it certainly is an impressive tree.

Highlights of our walk around Roma.

The architecture of old Queenslanders always impresses me and that afternoon I spent painting one.

17th of June

Some of the country we saw while traveling along the Landsborough Highway to Blackall.

We have been in Blackall Caravan Park for the last three nights. It comes up out of nowhere this green oasis only because of the Great Artesian Basin that the town has drilled into for its regular water supply. On Sunday we went out to Blackall Woolscour which is now heritage-listed. It was built 1908 and operating until 1978. It was left derelict and twenty years later was restored to what it is now the last remaining steam driven wool washing plant which is open to the public.

Blackall Woolscour
Another lone bottle-tree. Our Camp kitchen at Blackall Caravan Park.
A Queenslander that needs some renovating. The first Masonic Lodge was established in 1887 and the building on the left was built in 1908. currently it is a Cafe, Antique and Art Gallery where we had lunch the day before.

19th to 26th June LARA HOMESTEAD WETLANDS

We spent over week at Lara Wetlands Bush Camping Grounds. The property is a 15,000 acre station-stay 28 kms south of Barcaldine and 78 kms north of Blackall in Queensland. It was an idyllic bush camp-spot for relaxing, painting, walking, bathing in the artesian spa pool that fed the wetlands and watching the birdlife of the surrounding area. The video shows…hundreds of budgerigars and cockatiels that flew together while a family of noisy plovers cared for their chicks below.

Home for the next week.

The Homestead Tour of the 1912 six bedroom is a great insight into the history of this beautiful property if not tragic story.

Campfires and night skies were a very special part of this stay.

It was also the perfect place to paint and draw for there was inspiration where you looked and a time to reflect over the last year gone.

Peaceful place to set up a table to draw or paint.

28th of June

1,843.6kms found us in Barcaldine the ‘Garden City of the West’ or perhaps better known for the Great Shearers Strike in 1891 and the ghost gum they met under, which is now known as the Tree of Knowledge. It was here that many of the shearers leaders were arrested but their efforts laid the foundation of the Australian labor Party.

29th of June

Some of the highlights from our drive to Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail. All the sculptures have been created by local artist Milynda Rogers. There are approximately 35 metal sculptures along the 200kms of country roads.

1st and 2nd of July in Longreach

Spent the first morning learning about the history of QANTAS that was established in in Longreach in 1920 then the next day at the Australian Stockman’s hall of Fame, both fascinating and well presented.

3rd of July

Caravan convoy heading North to Winton.

We had early an lunch here at Australian Age of Dinosaurs then found the lucky last caravan spot in Winton.

4th of July

We left Winton for Cloncurry Thursday morning.

 

Stopping for lunch at the Blue Heeler Hotel and there was a very friendly blue-heeler but I didn’t get her name.

After lunch we drove through the vast plateaus past mountain outcrops and over water-channels to the mining town of Cloncurry. It was 8km from there that our car over heated and a mechanic could not be found as they were all booked out for two weeks and the car, truck out here is a TOYATA…easy to get to parts when needed. We were advised we could drive to Mt Isa as that was only an hour and half away but we didn’t find this out until Monday.

That weekend we checked out some of the local places and I did some more paintings.

8th of July

Driving out of Cloncurry bound for Mt Isa to have the thermostat replaced. When arriving there we found out the replacement would have to come from Townsville…thank goodness for RACV cover. The part arrived late Thursday which gave us time to explore Mt Isa and paint some more.

 

 

12th of July

After our spell in Mt Isa we continued the trip heading in a Northerly West direction to Camooweal for a much needed petrol stop along with many others.

It was while crossing the Barkly Table Lands of the Northern Territory we ran into trouble as the wind caught our awning and partly tore it. While in camp at Barkly Homestead, Roadhouse we made temporary repairs.

14th of July

After leaving Barkly Homestead we drove until we met the Stuart Highway at Three-ways and turned North for a night at Elloitt, Midland Caravan Park.

15th of July

After lunch at Mataranka Pub, fresh supplies and petrol we drove out to Elsy National Park for a few days. While there we visited Mataranka Thermal Pool for a dip. Even though this is the height of the tourist season we didn’t feel crowded. The thing that is overwhelming at this time of the year are the huge controlled grass fires that are in full swing. As a local said “it is either raining or burning out here.”

Mataranka Thermal Pool
Control burning of grasslands

 

Photos of a walk along the Roper River

 

Peaceful painting in camp.

19th to 21st of July

After leaving smokey Elsy National Park we had a beautiful morning at Biiter Springs, Mataranka. From there we travelled another 140kms to hot Katherine. It is in the regular high 30s here. We bought our pass and a tour for Kakadu as we are spending a week there as of tomorrow. In the meantime we have been staying at Manbulloo Homestead catching up on washing and restocking for Kakadu as well as updating this journal.

Biiter Springs, another thermal spring at Mataranka.

Manbulloo Homestead a place to relax, clean, restock and plan for the next chapter…

It has been awhile since I updated this journal and so much has happened.

21st – 29th JULY

We left Katherine for a week stay at Kakadu Lodge in Jabiru. This was base for us to explore Kakadu and Arnhem Land from. While there we booked two guided tours and a scenic flight over Kakadu and parts of Arnhem Land.

Kakadu covers an area of 20,000 square kilometres and is divided into seven regions and we only saw a fraction of it. One day we hope to go back.

The map above shows Kakadu National Park and the vastness of Arnhem Land.

25th JULY

This was a fabulous day with only a glimpse into the Arnhem Land Culture and Heritage.

26th JULY

Self tour to Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Aboriginal rock art site.

27th JULY

Sunset flight over Kakadu and Northern Arnhem Land.

28th JULY

Self tour of Ubirr Aboriginal rock art site.

Then in the afternoon a fabulous boat cruise with a local guide.

29th of JULY – 5th of AUGUST

Finds us in hot Darwin taking in more sights and chilling out.

Tomorrow we drive back to Katherine for a couple of days for the next leg of our trip heading to Western Australia border, Kununurra for a week.

11th of August

Time to update this page this morning by the pool at Kununurra. We have been here almost a week with everyday sunny and in the mid 30s.

The distance between major towns is huge out here. Katherine to Kununurra takes seven hours and is 535.3km down the National Highway1. We travelled through the extraordinary country of the Fitzroy Ranges, past Victoria Roadhouse, fuelled up in smokey Timber Creek. Travelling through Gregory National Park. Here stopped and did the Nawulbinbin Walk at Joe Creek Picnic Area. The walk is up a steep rocky path to the escarpment rock-face where Aboriginal rock art depicting frogs among other images then down the steep slope to walk back along the rocky creek surround by tall grass. Then over the state border and to hand over honey, fruit and vegetables if we hadn’t already given it to other travellers going East.  Here is a taste of what we saw on that leg.

7th – 14th August

Since arriving in Kununurra we had a couple of days in camp and yesterday we went out to Wyndham for the day. One the highlights was the Five River Lookout with the panoramic views of the area. We also went to The Grotto just off Northern Highway one of the many creeks that feed the King River.

As the road sign depicts we drove down the Gibb River Road to Emma Gorge just to say we had been on the “Gibb”…silly but again spectacular country especially as it was late afternoon and the escarpments and surrounding slopes were light up in all their glory.

 

                                                          16th – 30th of August

Updating in Cable Beach Caravan Park

12th of August

Not having a 4WD, the next best thing for us is to take chartered flights to places we couldn’t get to. This was one such flight out to the Purnululu National Park as it is known now or the Bungle Bungles. It was an exceptional time. Next time we will choose to land and stay over night so we can walk amongst the towering ‘beehive’ hills. The origins of the name lie with the Bungle Bungle Station, a pastoral lease established in the 1940s. They have been a major tourist attraction since they were featured in a documentary in early 1980. On the other hand they have been a significant place to the Gija traditional owners for tens of thousands of years and are known as Purnululu.

13th of August

We drove out to Lake Arygle for the day. It is immense it can a surface area of about 1,000 square kilometres and a storage capacity 10.7 billion cubic metres of water when full. It is known as an inland sea that supplies fresh water to the Ord River Irrigation Scheme, pastoralists, towns as well as being home to the largest population of Johnston River Freshwater Crocodiles. We had a wonderful day but forgot our bathers so no swimming in the infinity pool but had a delicious lunch at The Lake Argyle Restaurant/Cafe.

Collage of our day at Lake Arygle

14th of August

After a weeks stay at Kununarra we headed for our next camp site.

Turning onto the Great Northern Highway we drove in a westerly direction stopping for lunch and petrol at Warrum Roadhouse, once known as Turkey Creek.

One of our follow travellers over a cuppa there said “If I see another rock…..!” to which his wife said “That’s what we came to see”…

That evening we spent at Bungle Bungle Caravan Park which is on a working cattle station and another way to access by 4WD Purnululu National Park.

15th – 18th August

Next morning we drove to Halls Gap for much needed petrol then onto Fitzroy Crossing for our next camp-site at Fitzroy River Lodge, Caravan Park.

Fitzroy was a great stay…

Another sunset boat cruise in the Danggu Gorge near Fitzroy Crossing. As lots of places in the Kimberly and Pilbara are being returned to their original names. Geike Gorge in now know Danggu Gorge the ancestral land of the Bunuba people.

19th – 26th of August

Next town was Derby on the small town located on the edge the King South. It has the highest tides of any Australian port. It was also where we flew from to stay over night at Horizontal Falls in the Buccaneer Archipelago.

Derby Jetty with high and low tide

Next town was Derby on the small town located on the edge the King South. It has the highest tides of any Australian port. It was also where we flew from to stay over night at Horizontal Falls in the Buccaneer Archipelago.

We really enjoyed our stay here. A place to stop for awhile. The Horizontal Falls was a wonderful experience.

We also visited a great working gallery, Norval Art Gallery run by Kimberley artist and wife team Mark and Mary Norval. This gallery offers local artists a meeting place to create their work, be mentored, exhibit and sell to the public. An inspiring art space

Mark Norval’s sculpture in the afternoon heat and as the sunsets

Derby to me was the turning point of our road trip as we were turning South to travel down the Western Australian coast stopping wherever we choose.

26th of August – 23rd of September

Now in Broome and will be here for a month as it is idyllic.

Cable Beach
Some of our caravan neighbours
Gantheaume Point
Morning walk along Cable Beach
Sunset drinks at Broome Surf Lifesaving Club
Broome Bird Observatory at 12 Mile
The Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park established in 1983 as a centre and open to public all year round.

A day in Broome…..

A DAY BUS TRIP TO THE COMMUNITIES ON THE DAMPIER PENINSULA

Beagle Bay Community Home to the Nyul Nyul people who are traditional owners of the area. The Scared Heart Church that was built by the local Indigenous people and the altar by the Pallottine monks in 1917.
Ardyaloon is located at the tip of the Dampier Peninsula and home to the Bardi Jawi people. It was here that we visted the Ardyaloon Hatchery.
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Is owned and run by the Brown Family. With over 70 years of pearling experience and now in their 3rd generation, they have created a community and home for their employees since the beginning. It was here we had lunch in their restaurant over looking the bay. Then off to the original community classroom where they now teach you how cultured pearls are grown. The South Sea pearl is grown in the world’s largest mother-of-pearl oyster, Pinctada Maxima ‘s The oyster is seeded with a tiny shell bead in it’s organ, called a mantle. It takes two years for a pearl to form and you never know what size, grade or quality will be formed. An oyster can be seeded three times then half seeds are placed to create half pearls. It is always fascinating to learn something of the process and how complicated it can be to create something new. The pearl you can see is what was taken out of this oyster and is now valued at $200.00
Kooljaman at Cape Leveque we were able to swim in the turquoise waters of King Sound and on the other side watch whales with their calves pass by in the Indian Ocean.

 

Glorious Broome sunset.