7/ Girding Australia

Leg 24 – Coasting towards the coast

A brief stopover near a creek allowed Dr Leanda and Canine Indi to see an active wombat burrow, but despite staying up very late and waking up very early, the wombat itself remained unseen.

IMG_9185

Dr Leanda drove Bowser further from Canberra through the mountain forest…

IMG_3937.jpg

… and towards the ocean, but not before stopping off in Bega. Famous for being a brand of cheese, spreads and other delicious treats.

IMG_9206.jpg

Dr Leanda could not help but visit the famous cheese factory.

IMG_9210.jpg

Where she learnt how cows were milked from an automation. Crème de la crème of informative machines.

IMG_9217.jpg

After a lac of self-control, Dr Leanda continued on to the new house of her old PhD supervisor Retiree Grant, and his wife, Retiree Angela.

Leg 27 – Mmm..erimbula

Truly excellent hosts, they took Dr Leanda and Canine Indi for many walks. Along coastal wetlands…

IMG_3946

… where many trees were admired.

IMG_3941

Along picturesque sandy beaches…

Up coastal cliffs…

… to watch the migrating birds and playful whales …

IMG_4013.jpg

… while partaking in a delightful picnic!

IMG_4006.jpg

Indeed, much yummy food was served – putting the MMmmm into Merimbula.

And fond memories made.

IMG_20191011_182541.jpg

Canine Indi was only just getting comfortable before the duo head off once again.

IMG_9233.jpg

Leg 28 – Ferals in a forest

After such civilised company, Dr Leanda decided a retreat back into wild surroundings would be good. The two were able to enjoy a patch along Nucilla River all to themselves for most of a week.

IMG_4104.jpg

There were some pollutant people that had evidently visited recently, which was disappointing. Dr Leanda collected as much as she could find in the otherwise undisturbed forest.

IMG_0045

Dr Leanda braved some local oysters, saw a lyrebird, and laughed at the frequent ‘plops’ made by fish jumping out of the water.

IMG_0043

Some much needed ‘forest bathing‘ was the botanical scrub needed for Dr Leanda’s brain before moving right along.

IMG_4112.jpg

Leg 29 – Wining at trapdoor spider hunts

A few nights were spent at a free campground near Cann River, where many walks were enjoyed.

Indi over troubled water

Even if it was hard to see Canine Indi in her camouflage.

IMG_4185

Some excellent birdlife were also enjoyed.

IMG_3918

Then Dr Leanda decided to camp overnight at Wyanga Park Winery.  She had a great yarn with the father of the family business, and was invited to have a look at the silken burrows on the property to see if they were funnel-web spiders. They were actually open-holed trapdoor spiders (Family Nemesiidae), but Dr Leanda still very much enjoyed verifying.

Dr Leanda also highly recommends the wine!

Leg 30 – Vic-torious crossings

Mindful of their impending ferry ride, Dr Leanda made her way towards Melbourne and crossing the Victorian border near the Snowy River region. Some very impressive sights were seen…

… but none more exciting to Dr Leanda than the luxiourous bathtub owned by her relatives that live near Sale; Bee-lovers Kim and Lisa.

Bath.jpg

After some good clean fun, that involved much chatting, delicious food, and the feeding of a lamb…

img_0178.jpg

… it was onwards to grubby Melbourne. After a few nights in Altona Meadows, with Canine Indi enjoying the dog park and Dr Leanda enjoying the wetlands, they crossed the Bass Strait on Spirit of Tasmania.

IMG_0219.jpg

Some relaxing beach walks in Carlton, conferences, and more adventures in Tasmania will continue until the next installment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/ Girding Australia

Leg 24 – Whales in the New South

As mentioned in the last entry Lennox Head was not particularly dog-friendly…

IMG_8849.jpg

There was one beach to the north where Canine Indi was allowed to be free of human regulations… but was also exhaustively used by 4wd vehicles.

The local crab population was tyred of the whole affair.

IMG_8855

And so, Dr Leanda decided that this was not the best place for a rest – despite seeing many whales frolicking off the coast – and instead decided they should venture slowly southward and find somewhere far more free of human expenses.

Leg 25 – Getting tyred

Dr Leanda thought that heading inland might be less expensive… But many camping places were closed inland due to recent fires or danger of more fires.

IMG_8876.jpg

Unfortunately, Dr Leanda managed to blow one of Bowser’s tyres while exploring for a campsite that was not closed.

IMG_8879.jpg

Even more unfortunately, this happened late on a Friday. Rather than risking another tyre over the weekend, Dr Leanda bunkered Bowser down next to Australia’s oldest pine plantation just outside Armidale.

And made a small friend in the outback dunny…

IMG_8935 (1)

They made tracks from Armidale on Monday.

Leg 25 – Heading further inland

And after getting some new wheels, they took a peak at Moonbi Lookout.

And enjoyed exploring the bushland.

That only had a few human-related disappointments.

Taking the inland route afforded much more freedom, with many of the showgrounds allowing donations to stay overnight (Freedom Camping Areas). Dr Leanda often spent money on pub meals and tourist souvenirs too. No doubt the in-cent-ive to accommodate nomads. There were some great tourist centres with hard-to-pronouce names, that hadn’t the foggiest idea of how to announce events…

IMG_8968.jpg

Ancient social communications technology aside, they featured some lovely bones of ancient beings.

And slightly less ancient technologies.

img_8962.jpg

The local golf club provided cheap grub, with a bingo game in full swing in the next room only added to the ambience.

IMG_8965.jpg

Which allowed Dr Leanda to reflect on how short, but great life has been so far. And to remember to enjoy it while it lasts.

IMG_3511.jpg

Leg 26 – A scenic retreat and recover

After pulling up at Ponto Falls Reserve, Canine Indi soon pulled out the nail of her dew claw. Dr Leanda tried to help, but it was still too firmly attached. Canine Indi gave her the silent treatment, and was not a happy camper…

IMG_8967

 

Luckily, a small town called Wellington had a local vet that had a more helpful form of treatment. As Canine Indi was still a bit sore and sad, Dr Leanda decided that they should head back and stay at the very scenic campsite a few more days.

IMG_9012

There were certainly worse places to be recovering from injury…

IMG_8997

Canine Indi was very brave and recovered quickly, and enjoyed just piss-farting around for the next two days.

IMG_8984

Dr Leanda enjoyed taking many photos of the local bird life.

IMG_3550

More angry looking cattle… (who knows what their beef with Canine Indi was)

IMG_3670

And some evening photos.

IMG_8981

IMG_3571.jpg

Before watching the stars by a campfire.

IMG_9029

Leg 27 – Across country

With no more claws for concern, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi ventured onwards. Looking for promised platypuses in Wellington, but finding only seven dumped shopping trolleys in the creek.

Had a brief breather in Boree.

IMG_9044

Saw some lovely artwork under a bridge in Cowra.

IMG_9049

And pulled up at another scenic spot at Tout Park Scenic View Campground.

IMG_9057

It dawned on Dr Leanda the next day how beautiful mornings can be.

IMG_3750.jpg

They left early for Wagga Wagga.

IMG_9063

Leg 28 – Wagga Wagga

Dr Leanda stayed with her friend, Postdoc Cameron and his family in Wagga Wagga. It was a lovely stopover that allowed for some much needed washing. Canine Indi enjoyed the sunshine…

IMG_9077

… and their freshly mown grass.

IMG_9080

Some walks through the botanical gardens too.

 

It was a lovely visit, and Dr Leanda was extremely grateful for their hospitality. They suggested Jugiong as a nice stopover before Canberra for the long weekend. And so, that is precisely where Dr Leanda and Canine Indi headed.

Canine Indi  shared Dr Leanda’s enormous steak for dinner at the Sir George.

 

Then on to the Australian Capital Territory.

Leg 29 – ACTing out

The capital has always been capital to Dr Leanda. She has fond memories of winning a pun-competition there once. This time, it has been capital to Canine Indi too. Starting with a dog walk around Lake Ginninderra.

Then to stay with an old friend, Politics Peter.

Canine Indi was such a tart. She redeemed herself by being very well behaved while out for dinner at Capital Brewery. Dr Leanda was a little blurry after celebrating news that her dear friend Phil and new friend Anj were to be engaged – she could not be happier for them both!

IMG_9148.jpg

Dr Leanda, Politics Peter, and Canine Indi also explored Hall markets…

… and then continued more celebrations with Phil and Anj at a delicious home cooked dinner party. Dr Leanda had the best lasagna she has ever had, delighted in a dangerously easy dessert recipe, sipped award-winning gin, played some tough Jenga and Mario Cart opponents, and marveled at such brilliant hosts. She mentioned more than once that she might just have to move to Canberra soon. Perhaps after her great adventure with Canine Indi, she will return. But for now, their journey continues as they coast back towards the coast.

 

 

 

 

5/ Girding Australia

Leg 20 – Outback Queensland

After resting at the billabong on the border for a few days, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi ventured forth into the dry, dusty outback. It was… unpleasant. Drought ridden and depressing, the country side was not welcoming to two on an adventure. Many of the townsfolk had a haunted look in their eye, or perhaps it was a weary one towards strangers. Either way, Dr Leanda was happy to pass through towns for the most part. Canine Indi was keen to stay in Bowser at all times, often dashing back after only 100 meters walk.

Mount Isa was the first town they passed (almost straight) through. Not before taking a quick photo of the local member office.

IMG_8471.jpg

A second billabong was available with donation at Julia Creek, but only for fully contained vehicles. Perhaps to keep it grey-nomads exclusive? Dr Leanda let her greying hair fly free, and managed to talk her way into a place for the night. Canine Indi was still not keen to leave Bowser’s side.

IMG_3266.jpg

There were a few sights to see along the way. Some cows, for example.

IMG-8481.jpg

Some truly excellent play equipment.

img-8487.jpg

The pub in which Crocodile Dundee apparently features.

IMG-8495.JPG

Canine Indi was barred entry. So the two opted to sit outside, as to not bother the crowds busting to get into the popular establishment.

IMG-8499.JPG

In great need of a warm shower at this point, and to rid her clothes of dust caked seams (unseemly as it sounds), Dr Leanda coughed up a hefty overnight fee for a spot in Tattersalls Hotel caravan park of Winton. The first caravan that had very interesting smelling water for showers and laundry, Dr Leanda was actually unsure if it helped in her quest for cleanliness. She drowned her sorrows at the hotel, and ordered some local cuisine: lambs brain, liver and bacon. It was very yummy.

img_8509.jpg

They explored Winton the next morning, home of Waltzing Matilda…

IMG_8523.JPG

Spending far too much on Christmas gifts at the museum…

… and (one of) the (many) opal shop(s). Dr Leanda was not sure about the visual pun.

There were also bins made of dinosaur feet. To honour the regions claim to many fossils no doubt.

IMG-8537.JPG

Leg 21 – Still getting out of the outback

After leaving Winton, Dr Leanda found out in Longreach that the Muttaburra-saurus was probably named after the place it was found… before then she just thought it was a cool name someone had thought up for a dinosaur. She supposes that it is still a cool name someone thought up for a town.

IMG-8546.JPG

They spotted Bowsers mate.

IMG-8545.JPG

Somewhat rooted by this point, they stumbled upon the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ where the organisation formed in 1891 there later became The Australian Labour Party.

IMG-8560.JPG

Canine Indi liked the art installation featuring a dog.

IMG-8578.JPG

Even though it apparently had nothing to do with dogs.

img-8580.jpg

The next camping spot was very nice and secluded, despite being near the dead centre of the town (just on the other side of the cemetery for those who do not know that *classic* of a joke). Canine Indi was still not keen to go for walks.

But Dr Leanda found some friendly horses.IMG-8592.JPG

And had a healthy meal of kanga bangas with salad drowning mayo (the only palatable way to ingest salad really), next to the last fire she would light for some time…

IMG-8595.JPG

Even though there was some excellent looking firewood just on the other side of the fence the very next night. Bit mean to have it on private property just behind a barbed wire fence next to a showground/camping ground. IMG-8639

They stopped in at Blackall, which is apparently where the expression ‘beyond the black stump’ was derived from. But who knows? It is beyond Canine Indi, and had Dr Leanda stumped.

But Blackall dose host a lovely, anatomically correct ram…

Leg 22 – Civilization on the horizon

Two nights were had at a river camping spot just outside of Brisbane.

IMG-8679.JPG

Canine Indi was gobsmacked by the beauty.

IMG-8657.JPG

Flies were very friendly, despite the 80 km winds blowing. A possums was friendly too, and even though they went unseen in the night, they were nice enough to leave little presents on top of Bowser for Dr Leanda to find.

IMG_8673

Preparing for the civility of Brisbane, and in light of the presents, Dr Leanda treated Bowser to a clean. Which means that as much outback dust as humanly possible was removed. There was a lot, and Dr Leanda wondered if she had developed dust-coloured (or covered?) glasses having not seen the thin film over the entire interior of Bowser before her thorough clean… either way Bowser was ready for Brisbane the next day. And had a gleam in her eye.

IMG-8685.JPG

Through a small mix up, Dr Leanda ended up at a holiday house on North Stradbroke Island to meet Spider expert Robert Whyte, but he was not there when they arrived. Luckily, Bird-lover Maya had accompanied Dr Leanda and Canine across the channel, so they enjoyed the very large house for the night. Bowser enjoyed the night-off.

Dr Leanda stayed a few more nights in a small rest stop on the outskirts of Brisbane called Hugh Muntz park. Then moved on to Surfers Paradise. Having had her fill of city-life in a campervan though, Dr Leanda took Canine Indi for a quick walk through the canals…

had the Guinness burger at the Hard Rock Cafe… (only the aftermath photo available)

and crossed the QLD-NSW border! If she had blinked, then she probably would have missed the sign on the freeway southbound. A photo off the internet:

dea7f5e054b7e1a5c3937439f3948703

Leg 23 – Now in NSW

She camped overnight a bit further down the coast to watch the sun go down with Canine Indi.

IMG_8792.jpg

Fingal Head was stunningly beautiful, and Dr Leanda was glad she pulled over if only because she was too tired to keep driving.

IMG-8829.JPG

Unfortunately, a very fat and disobedient husky attacked Canine Indi and had nicked her ear at the off-lead dog area at Dreamtime Beach.

IMG-8817.JPG

There was a lot of blood, but Vet Nurse Liina – who they met shortly afterwards on their way back to Bowser – assured Dr Leanda that it was nothing serious. Vet Nurse Liina offered Dr Leanda a drink (which turned into a few), and they got into chatting about all kinds of things. Mostly dogs though. In fact, they found out each others dogs names before sharing their own. Such priorities matter in new friendships. Canine Indi calmed down very quickly after her traumatic event, thanks to Vet Nurse Liina, Canine Tinkerbell, Canine Alan, and Jack-of-all-trades Dan (who joined them for beers after his fishing). Dr Leanda was pleased to meet such a lovely family, and hopes they visit Perth once they complete transforming their camper-bus.

IMG-8819.JPG

Dr Leanda decided to take their suggestion of the local fish and chip shop for dinner, and enjoyed it with Canine Indi while an illuminating and thunderous storm passed over.

IMG_8820.jpg

After staying another night a bit further up the same penisula, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi had a nice walk before heading southbound on the freeway again.

IMG-8824

Dr Leanda pulled over at Castle Macadamia, more out of curiosity than anything. Then spent too much on macadamias…

img-8837.jpg

 

 

… and pancakes (which she shared with Canine Indi).

IMG-8843.JPG

Feeling the need to slow down, Dr Leanda booked them in for a week at Lennox Head, thinking it would be very dog friendly. It is not really, and very expensive after so much free camping, but too late! At least it has lots of amusing brush-turkeys being turkeys.

IMG_3407

IMG_8847

And they can relax for a bit until the adventure continues.

 

 

 

 

4/ Girding Australia

Dr Leanda and Canine Indi quickly discovered that the wild north, is well… wild. Despite buffel grass being the dominant plant species, there are still many patches of native bush stuffed to the brim (of yer cowboy hat) with wildlife. Also, that some experiences are greatly enhanced by company.

Leg 16 – DarWIN

Darwin is a hot, and humid city that Dr Leanda loved for the friendliness of the locals. Very relaxed and easy-going was the general vibe, perhaps because it is too hot and muggy to rush.

Dr Leanda – complete with all-over-her-body sunburn – dashed to picked up her friend Lichen-lover Lee Ping from the Darwin airport in the middle of the night. The two had met two years ago, in the wild rainforests of Borneo during a scientific expedition where Dr Leanda searched for trapdoor spiders, and Lichen-lover Lee Ping searched for lichen. The expedition was as insanely awesome as it sounds, with the two taking a lichen to each other, remaining friends ever since. However, Lichen-lover Lee Ping was not staying in Darwin long, and so the two tried to see as much as possible by going to a crocodile park.

There were many crocodiles.

As well as some other charismatic creatures…

Even a very pretty kingfisher, the photo of which is a great candidate for ‘Crap bird photography’.

DSCN2842.jpg

Dr Leanda was less than impressed when one such creature decided to relieve itself on her hands…

DSCN2855

They also indulged in some very Aussie tucker – crocodile kebab sticks and kangaroo snags.

IMG_8201

 

Then they visited the famous Mindil Beach Markets, where many peculiar treasures were found.

Canine Indi was unimpressed by being left out of the fun all day, so Dr Leanda took her for a very long walk along the beach that evening.

They also found hermit crabs. One of them had lost a shell…

IMG_8230

Luckily the duo were able to find some new real estate easily enough.

IMG_8226

Very, very early the next morning, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi said farewell to Lichen-lover Lee Ping. And then had a big sleep in to try recover from all the lost sleep.

Leg 17/ Still DarWINNING

Dr Leanda and Canine Indi visited a fish and chip shop called Frying Nemo that evening. The Barra burger was exceptional, and the icy cold beer a real treat. They slept well at the marina that night.

IMG_8284.jpg

While in Darwin, Dr Leanda was curious to meet the famous Arachnovangelist Caitlin she had corresponded with via Twitter. Keen to see all the spider specimens Arachnovangelist Caitlin had collected, they organised to meet. Perhaps sharing a love of spiders made them fast friends. Dr Leanda particularly loved all the live St Andrew Cross spiders that shared Arachnovangelist Caitlin’s apartment in large webs on structures built especially for them. How altruistic! Seeing Dr Leanda’s enthusiasm, Arachnovangelist Caitlin arranged for a night-time tour of East Point. They saw many interesting critters, but few were photogenic.

IMG_8463.jpg

Unfortunately, Canine Indi was not allowed into the area (despite horses seemingly encouraged?!), so Dr Leanda made it up to her the next day with another beach walk featuring even more hermit crabs.

IMG_8339

The next day Dr Leanda visted the museum at which Arachnovangelist Caitlin worked – the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. It was one of the best museums Dr Leanda has ever visited. The resident taxidermists obviously knew how to do their stuff(ing)!

Dr Leanda even got a special behind-the-scenes look at their trapdoor spider collection.

IMG_8361

She felt very special.

 

Leg 18/ Termite country

After a few minor repairs on Bowser, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi were on the road again, heading down towards Tennant Creek and then east towards Mt Isa in Queensland.

IMG_8382

There were many termites.

Many, many termites.

DSCN3043.jpg

But Dr Leanda also found a trapdoor spider colony, and dug up a specimen to send to Arachnovangelist Caitlin.

Although there were not many places to stop, the friendly people made the journey much more enjoyable. There were some real characters on the road… Motorcyclists Barry was kind enough to pose for a photo next to his Harley Davidson. The Centrelink bumper sticker is one Dr Leanda found highly amusing.

IMG_8387

Around a campfire Dr Leanda learnt from Ex-trucker John that Canine Indi should get a tick wash before going to Queensland, some good spots to visit, and that she should *never ever* sell Bowser because she will regret it. Ex-trucker John also suggested some wider tyres to help avoid getting bogged (again).

Around a different campfire, Dr Leanda and Canine Indi met Kiwis Pat and Peter. Dr Leanda very much wants to visit Coober Pedi after talking to them about the underground movements in which they took apart. They were very interested in the local trapdoor spiders… Dr Leanda had a top end laugh.

DSCN3125.jpg

Dr Leanda and Canine Indi moved rather quickly through the very remote region of Australia, noting the vast wild landscapes often giving way to sad monocultures of buffel grass. Low-lying invasive vegetation such as buffel grass provides little shade or wind-breaking allowed for extreme heat and dangerous headwinds.

DSCN3168.jpg

After crossing the border though, a small paradise in the form of a billabong appeared. It was here that they settled in for an extra night to recover, and enjoy watching the native wildlife drinking their fill at the desert oasis.

Dr Leanda had fun playing with a swish camera and taking out-of-focus photos of birds.

Canine Indi enjoyed the smells.

IMG_8419.jpg

More adventures on the horizon soon.

IMG_8437.jpg

3/ Girding Australia

Leg 8: A fiery rant, followed by Sandfire

Dr Leanda has been disappointed at the prolific number of introduced species she has encountered on her travels thus far. Tallies for goats, cattle, cats and foxes far exceed that of native species… but far be it for Dr Leanda to focus just on the cute and fluffy animals. Buffel grass muffles the otherwise majestic landscape of the Pilbara. Attitudes vary heavily based on whether one is sitting in the pastoral side, or the conservation reserved side of the barbed wire fence. Dr Leanda hates all invasive weeds with fiery passion, as it tends to anguish and/or extinguish her trapdoor spider compatriots.

ANYWAY, Sandfire was a good place to stop – cheap and easy. The roadhouse hosted a mango tree orchard that hosted screeching flying foxes that hosted much guano (A video that fully captures their screeching may be uploaded in the future).

Canine Indi cannot usually jump onto the bed herself, but was highly successful just after recovering a large amount of guano on the ground and transferring it to herself. What an achievement.

To be fair, it could have been peacock poop too. They were proudly strutting their stuff, while begging for food stuffs.

IMG_8063.jpg

Certainly was not camel poop. Though, they were around. On the pastoral side of the fence.

IMG_8059.jpg

Canine Indi was too tired to drive after being thoroughly washed and dried, and fell asleep at the wheel.

58752284831__F79E2992-923C-4413-AF63-60E81A8A4100.jpg

Leg 9: Left little Broome to be bogged

A very scary thing happened to Dr Leanda when she entered Broome. She realised she had no internet AND no phone reception. Telstra was down in all of the Kimberley according the petrol station lady. The horror.

So she went and did some washing and took Canine Indi for a quick walk.

IMG_8079.JPG

Dr Leanda wanted to attend the Thursday night markets, but since Canine Indi was not allowed to come, they decided to push on to Willie Creek Pearl Farm.

Now, this place was recommended to Dr Leanda, but it was a highly regrettable decision.

Not to get too bogged down in the details just yet, but as it turns out, Dr Leanda’s beloved Bowser despises even the most shallow of loose sand… Or loves it so much she drowns herself in it?

Knowing this, Dr Leanda was ever so careful on the 35 minute drive down corregated road. Upon arrival, while looking for a place to set up, they got stuck for two nights.

DSCN2593.jpg

Dr Leanda decided to settle in for a bit.

DSCN2588.jpg

After a whole day of digging, on the second night, after managing to mangle a hose to one of Bowser’s water tanks with the jack, she decided to seek help the next morning.

IMG_8086.JPG

Luckily, it was a pleasant morning walk to the closest 4wd. With many other tracks along the track. How meta.

And a sunrise.

IMG_8095

A lovely couple freed Bowser within 5 minutes.

IMG_8099.jpg

Dr Leanda learnt that asking for help early, may save much stress, time and effort in future.

Leg 10: Walla-by for dinner tonight?

Fitzroy Crossing Lodge was a truly lovely place to stay. Reception. Internet. Many people with 4wds around. Lots of water. Toilets. Showers. A bar. Wallabies. No sandy patches (Dr Leanda may have been a little scarred by the bogging).

Canine Indi moved on pretty quick after spotting a wallaby.

DSCN2598

There was a stand off.

IMG_8112.JPG

Dinner was fish and chips + ice cold beer from the tap… and the taste of freedom.

Leg 11:

Back on the road again, fully revived. Dr Leanda and Canine Indi were in high spirits.

Dr Leanda especially loved all the termite mounds.

img_8118.jpg

They met a 82 year old cyclist called Paul Davenport. Cyclist Paul has cycled around Budapest, Africa, New Zealand and is now doing Australia.

DSCN2612.jpg

And took in the (other) ancient scenery.

Then they stayed the night near Ord River. No ord-inary river perhaps. They explored.

DSCN2633.jpg

Shortly after em-bark-ing, Dr Leanda found some former insect enclosures.

DSCN2637.jpg

There were many cool rocks in laying in bed.

Indi found a rock that blocked what probably used to be the road across the river.

DSCN2669

Along the road they traveled, until… a cane(d) toad!

DSCN2687.jpg

After much morbid fascination, they traveled back to Bowser with the ghost current.

DSCN2678.jpg

Leg 12: Some gorge-ous scenery

Getting an early start, for a truly long haul of driving, through Kununurra…

img_8140.jpg

While re-fueling, Dr Leanda found herself agreeing with some postcards…

img_8146.jpg

But not others…

img_8145.jpg

Then over the border.

IMG_8147.JPG

Canine Indi suggested to Dr Leanda that they pull over at a scenic spot for lunch.

img_8148.jpg

Thinking that she must be hallucinating to hear Canine Indi speak, Dr Leanda quickly agreed.

IMG_8150.JPG

The spot for lunch was at Judbarra/Gregory National Park. Later that night, Grey Nomad Doris told Dr Leanda later that the native tree in the foreground can be harvested for cotton and her grandmother used to make pillows from it.

DSCN2693.jpg

Dr Leanda had zero reception that night, but received the starry night very well indeed.

Leg 13: Choose campsites wisely

After a long drive, with little rest, Dr Leanda stayed at a caravan park near Katherine the next night. In between two young families, and a visiting school group. She missed the grey nomads immensely.

Leg 14: The ter-mighty

Luckily, the next day was filled with awesome termite mounds. Dr Leanda’s mood immediately improved.

DSCN2746.jpg

Which seemed to have formed by slowly eating the trees.

DSCN2750.jpg

Canine Indi did not approve of the ones dressed like humans.

DSCN2720.jpg

Leg 15: Dr Leanda reveals all too much about herself

Some may not know this about Dr Leanda, but she has a distinct dislike of tan lines. As such, she often forgoes clothing when catching rays. After a distinctly terrible caravan park experience the night before, Dr Leanda decided to see if a nudist retreat would be any better. Plus they had free laundry facilities, ironically enough.

It was so much better. Socialising was encouraged, with darts every night, pool aerobics every morning and frequent pub outings.

All other caravan park experiences paled by comparison. Dr Leanda also paled by comparison amongst the nudists. She tried to fix this, but got burnt from too much sun during pool aerobics.

She can reveal that there was green ant nest was near her camp site.

IMG_8160.JPG

But the site itself was somewhere secret, that cannot be revealed.

IMG_8163

2/ Girding Australia

Dr Leanda is mindful of mindless scrolling through previous posts, so with this in mind, she has mindfully started a separate thread. Dr Leanda feels like she has already lost her mind, and is perhaps writing ‘mind’ overly much to try find some piece of mind.

Leg 2 – Blue seas and trees

Sandy Cape evoked strong feelings of nostalgia, but northward Canine Indi and Dr Leanda trekked to make new memories. There were a few brilliant sights along the way, and a big favourite was the large crayfish guarding Dongara – any invertebrate statues would likely catch Dr Leanda’s eye stalks.

Crayfish dongara

Mind was blown away by leaning trees, and someone intentionally blue it.

blue trees

They were painted blue to hightlight blue days apparently – which is excellent, but also excellent that writer of an article reporting this did not shy away from puns.

Dr Leanda had never visited Geraldton before, and was looking forward to seeing a place she had heard so much about… however after seeing a ‘God will save your soul’ banner near the entrance to the town… and then another four Christian crosses before reaching a petrol station, she nearly drove right on through. While respectful and accepting of others beliefs, Dr Leanda also has a slight aversion to Christianity due to a misspent youth at a religious school. *Queerly* they put her on the ‘right’ track.

At any rate, Dr Leanda repented – being aware of her own biases and discrimination – and stayed at Sunset Beach.

DSCN2292.jpg

Sunset beach was lovely, and Canine Indi was particularly glad they disem-barked.

 

Leg 3 – Strolling among stromatolites

The next stop was Hamlin Station and what are essentially living fossils. These sound scarier and more menacing that they actually are, but Dr Leanda nerded out because she is a scientist. She was also so excited that she forgot to bring her camera, and her phone died. So below is an image by Lochman Transparencies, that can be found on the website by Bush Heritage that explain why stromatolites are so cool (Dr Leanda met the stromatolite expert mentioned in the article, and was thrilled to meet someone more nerdy than herself).

 

12158-stromatolites-close.jpg

Dr Leanda undrstands if you do not nerd out about stromatolites, Canine Indi did not understand what all the fuss was about either, and probably would have preferred to stay in bed.

IMG_7963.jpg

 

To feel more accepted in her nerdy ways, Dr Leanda decided to attend the science fair organised by Bush Heritage at Hamlin Station Stay. The fair opened with a welcome to country, and interspersed were talks related to aboriginal heritage. Dr Leanda even learnt some Malgana words for the local critters, but regrets not asking if there was a word for spider. There were many different nerdy (western) science talks to enjoy, and she learnt much about the local seagrasses, sandalwood projects and other conservation initiatives – including a catchy tune about Dirk Hartog Island (Wirruwana). Above is an absurdly brief recount, but Richard McLennan, a Bush Heritage employee, PhD student (an excellent retirement venture if you ask me!), and all-round top Aussie bushie, said it best in his blog.

 

Leg 4 – A brief stopover

Dr Leanda had high hopes of reaching Carnarvon on the evening of the science fair. However, she responsibly pulled over and slept somewhere on the side of the road. It was not a good sleep mind, as what could have only been a goat kept her awake until she realised it was, in fact, a goat. She was more scared it was a human. Funny world we live in where we are more scared of our own species… anyway not all was lost (though much sleep certainly was), as she took a nice piccy of a nest. At some point she plans to crop it and photoshop to make it look even nicer.

 

 

DSCN2321.jpg

Leg 5 – Car? nar, van

So far so good driving in Bowser – she was particularly protective of occupants from goats, or so Dr Leanda herd. But because of her bulk, she cannot squeeze through drive-ins. Having had a craving for a hot chook since Geraldton, Dr Leanda decided to Chicken Treat herself and Canine Indi. They did, after all, a great deal of time just walking around Carnarvan taking in the sights. Including The famous Dish (not Dr Leanda’s photo).

images.jpg

Dr Leanda’s favourite part was an art installation in the middle of the main strip, that was an iron silhouette of a man drinking a beer. At least, she assumed it was a beer and not something less manly… otherwise he might’ve been *cast* out. Dr Leanda somewhat Fe-verishly made many more puns on the subject, but deleted them, being ever so mine-ful of her audience.

Being quite attached to sleeping in fully-equipped Bowser and not having to pay dues, Dr Leanda camped the night at Yalabia Rest Area. Nestled in amongst the grey nomads, no goats bothered her and Canine Indi that night – they even got some nice photos of the dry river bed before sleeping off all that hot chook!

DSCN2341.jpg

Very dry.

DSCN2354.jpg

Leg 6 – A very muddy dog

Canine Indi is always true to her nature. No sooner had the pair stopped for lunch at a rest area near a nice looking river, that Dr Leanda realised her mistake. It was hot, Canine Indi was a dog, and there was an inviting water body to cool off in nearby. She sighed deeply, knowing the inevitable, and got changed into an old pair of shorts.

Shore enough.

DSCN2373.jpg

They continued to explore.

DSCN2374.jpg

There were some flying insects. A parasitic wasp with spider prey in tow was videoed, but not (yet) uploaded. Dragonflies were mating on the fly too. They found one taking a breather.

DSCN2434.jpg

Then they found some interesting structures underneath a rocky overhang.

DSCN2419

‘Bird nests!’ Dr Leanda informed Canine Indi with great authority. But, she was not at all certain what kind, and actually had little authority on the subject. Canine Indi was not listening anyway. She was too busy getting even muddier.

DSCN2390.jpg

Luckily, they were staying at Peedamulla Camp that night where Canine Indi had a hot, soapy shower. She didn’t want to come out of the freshly cleaned Bowser after that either…

Leg 7 – Yule love it ‘ere

Yule River was an excellent place to camp. Dr Leanda loved it because she could almost fully embrace her inner hermit… unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), she could not do so as grey nomads were beyond eye-sight but still too close to feel completely alone in the wild.

DSCN2534.jpg

Canine Indi loved it because there was much walking and sniffing of interesting smells.

DSCN2586.jpg

Perhaps all the animal tracks?

DSCN2542.jpg

There were many birds. Dr Leanda tried to take photos, but blurry feather balls were the results.

The sunsets were nice though.

And just landscape generally.

DSCN2549.jpg

DSCN2555.jpg

Yule love the next installment for sure!

 

 

 

 

Girding Australia

Introduction

Brace yourself readers, Dr Leanda is attempting to ‘blog’. To clarify any younger audiences, a ‘blog’ is usually a series of ramblings about the author, their interests or areas of expertise. In Dr Leanda’s case, she is documenting a trip she is taking around the edges of Australia.

Her trip arose for multiple reasons, but has been in the planning since late 2018. After buying a converted Mercedes Sprinter – of whom she has lovingly dubbed “Bowser” as the enormous size reminds her of slowly barging bulkly through traffic in MarioKart 64 – Dr Leanda spent about four months readying Bowser for a trip around Australia. She is pretty luxurious.

IMG_6869

Dr Leanda is not traveling the red/yellow/brown/white dirt tracks alone though!

and your little dog

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana Jones (aka Indi) is coming with her.

IMG_7946.jpg

Her cat Chester (aka Jabba) was meant to come as well, but threw up on her pillow a few days prior to disembarking, and so, it was decided he be left in the care of others who will clean up his spew until she returns. He does not mind being left behind.

img_7151.jpg

Indi, on the other paw, will have quite a ball on the road. Especially when she is bought a ball, and there are roads present.

Leg 1

After a somewhat late departure from Perth, Dr Leanda legged it to her childhood holiday haunt Sandy Cape. Her father, Mr Mason, also accompanied her on this first leg.

There was much reminiscing on family memories. A plaque was planted in 2014 at the site of the family shack to commemorate.

IMG_7876

Walking dogs along the beaches was a lot of time well spent. Indi and Evie (Mr Mason’s dog) are old friends.

IMG_7920.jpg

They both learnt to sing from Dr Mason’s first dog Fitz. A much more refined form of communicating as opposed to barking. He was an excellent pooch too; very gentle, loving, and friendly to all. Dr Mason loved him very dearly, and spread his ashes at what she thought might be his favourite beach.

IMG_7877.jpg

A sea-hare was found washed up on the shore. Dr Leanda tried to play doctor by putting it into a red bucket of sea water. The sea-hare seemed to be alive, and was released when the tide was going out. Only after much observation…

IMG_7890.jpg

Losing fishing sinkers to seasweed, then using rocks for sinkers. No photos available (because phones and stinky fish-hands do not mix well… ). In the wild hopes of nabbing a whiting fish, worms were dug for in the thick, stinking seaweed. Worms were obtained, but not whiting.

IMG_7930.jpg

Winning at scrabble, sipping whiskey near a fire on a ledge overlooking the bay, while the sun goes down was a good way to end the first leg.

DSCN2268

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑