Monday’s Blog, Rain on the Plain

A given; travel and surprises go hand in hand. Those surprises become memorable adventures, many that go beyond any imagination. Today’s location in point; Australia’s vast and infectious Outback.

The forecast upon our arrival in Alice Springs was already counter to expectations, having long anticipated the famous or infamous conditions that usually prevail. That is very hot and dry weather. It was not to be. We arrived under cool temperatures 50’s and low 60’s F with 100% promise of rain. The locals confirmed that this was notable, newsworthy and very welcome. Rain it did as we donned our rain wear and umbrellas. After a day or two of seeing the prevalent Todd River basin dry and parched, sizable puddles, be it small ponds appeared.

The weather did not stop us from enjoying the amazing community that is the Outback with an exception in Uluru where a couple of programs had to be canceled due to the heavy rain and a great deal of flooding. A long history and devoted residents have created a community of caring, support and dedication to education and well being of its citizens. They residents also enjoy food, drink, music, art, and all aspects of life, the good as well as the difficult. Caring and unique agencies have sprouted in the area dedicated to good causes. But our visits to these places waited until after our bus ride to Uluru (Ayres Rock) a sacred and beautiful hunk of mountain in the middle of the vast flat and dry landscape. 

The drive took 4 1/2 hours to go the 450km/270mi from Alice Springs. The purpose of the drive was to give us the true distances in vast space that is the Outback. The rivers and the roads were flooded, rain was falling and the road was mostly empty. We did encounter the monstrous “truck trains” made up of 3-5 truck trailers pulled by various types of trailers. The flooded roads did make the trip slow going but we were able to visit the red sand beach, the camel farm other attractions along the way.

Saving time and having already survived the grueling drive in reverse, we flew back to Alice Springs a 30 minute flight where we enjoyed visits to the agencies I referred to,  The Royal Flying Doctors home base and School of the air. 

Since early days of flying, The Royal Flying Doctors have saved many lives reaching injured patients in far away locations.  The School of the Air is an incredible concept and is just that. School first via Morse code and updated to modern electronics to aid students in their school work on their remote homesteads and farms. Books and supplies are mailed to their homes along with assignments and frequent conversations between teachers and the student are scheduled. 

Desert park, a remarkable nature reserve is devoted to protecting and educating the public about the flora, fauna, forests and jungles of the area. Somehow, Australia harbors the most poisonous species of snakes, spiders and other creatures in the world. We of course, saw kangaroos, small and large birds, crocodiles, eels and a vast number of other species both familiar and unfamiliar to travelers. 

We learned first hand about the long history and trials of survival that hae faced the Aboriginal People.  We interacted with the modern and vibrant community of the Aboriginal people and observed and interacted with them to learn about their arts, crafts, history and cultural development and achievements. 

Didgeridoo                                                           Truck train monster

This blog entry is but a very brief summary of what we learned and observed. The outback must be experienced first hand to really have an inkling of what life involves in the vast area of Australia. We also must return for more adventure in the vibrant, rough, beautiful country of Australia. 



                                 Aboriginal Artwork

 Roos of course                                             Demo Fire making 

Red Rock Beach

          Royal Flying Doctors service locations

Monday’s Blog; Where to Begin?

With a head filled with the riches of our latest RV travel adventure to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii, that answering so many requests to share stories and photos is a challenge. So many stories, where do I begin: especially after a long hiatus from blogging. I was just too busy “adventuring” to sit down and write.  It will take weeks to process and share the memories, so I will start at the beginning. 

First stop, South Island, New Zealand, the land of the Kiwis. Not the delicious fruit variety but the country’s national bird and the loving term New Zealanders have chosen to refer to their nationhood. Kiwis are a loving, friendly, and enthusiastic people with a remarkable sense of humor and an expressed sense of isolation from the world outside. The Kiwi (bird) is a comedian in looks and behavior, elusive being nocturnal, bold and territorial, small chicken sized, with a tremendously long beak complete with an unusual presence of nostrils at the tip, sporting “furry” feathers, and have wings but cannot fly. Their sense of smell and acute hearing excel, their eyesight however, leaves lots to be desired. They forage in the night for food and actively defend their territory. They sleep by day and are very hard to find in the wild. 

The Kiwi indeed made an impression on me but to see one in the wild, at night, defies the traveler on a schedule. A visit to the Rainbow Springs Conservation center casts attention on Kiwis and many other Zealand critters to protect, rescue and display the less nocturnal among us. Hence this troublesome attempt in trying to photograph the creature under special nocturnal lighting, keeping the birds awake. 

Failing that attempt, I include two Kiwi posters from rainbow springs, the brown feathered and the white feathered birds. 

Visit my source for more Kiwi facts and stories;

Just for fun and to satisfy my desire to share soon, I offer a couple more critter images and some advice. If you are planning to visit New Zealand, do it via motor home, rent on your own (the campgrounds are wonderful) but better yet, sign up for an RV tour and see and learn more of this land than you can possibly find on your own. (you will also transfer your driving skills to the left side of the road.)  Both South and North Island are great destinations. South Island is among the top ten on my list of spectacular mountain scenery and North Island’s Blue Mountains are not far behind. 

Now, back to the sorting of my 2500 images (after deleting reams of them plus my cell photos). I did try on purpose to shoot fewer images and remembered to cherish the visual images that remain in my head. It is hard, the shutter finger twitches. You know where my focus should be for the next few weeks.