Sunsets and Sandflies of Salmon Creek
The road to Townsville is quite uneventful, and only a few isolated mountains here and there provide some scenery. The number of mango stalls increases proportionally as I drive further north, as does the number of sugarcane fields. I most certainly have been here back in 2016
, but I'll be damned if I remember any of all this. The region is probably worth taking a closer look... unfortunately, I can't spare the time. Some other day (or some other year, more likely).
Sunsets, Fires, and Cows of Mackay
Ah, the tropical Queensland! All the heat, and humidity, and the blazing sun that is so ridiculously high up in the sky. It's not that bad at this latitude and at this time of the year, though, and being so close to the sea also helps. Not that I can swim in it, though: apparently, saltwater crocodiles are known to visit this area from time to time, because there's more than a few warning signs installed nearby. However, the very first thing I see on my very first night here is the young couple with a kid, splashing around merrily in the shallow waters. Either they don't know something about the crocs, or I.
Hey, Hay! Bye, Hay!
Camping near Hay turns out to be quite a pleasant experience. The weather's nice (not too hot, not too cold); the flies are there, but not excessively so; and the scenery is definitely worth going out on a sunset or sunrise to take a photograph or two. Thanks to the recent drought, the water levels are quite low (about two meters lower than usual, in fact), but there's still enough for all the pretty reflections and the overall serenity. And the wildlife, of course. My neighbour Robert even says that there are wild pigs somewhere around, but, unfortunately, I fail to spot any.
So with my broken laptop
, I hurry off to Adelaide on a Thursday morning: to hand it over to the repairs, and also to catch up with a few people and do another resupply run. I also finally get my hands on the portable gas shower, which I had ordered weeks ago. Let's see if it amps up my comfort further on!
On the Murray River
Murray is the biggest river in Australia, and on its way it passes through New South Wales and Victoria (acting as a border between the two) before reaching the ocean in South Australia. On its way it makes great many twists and turns across the country, and one bend in particular is so large that it even has a name: Big Bend! Unimaginative, but descriptive enough; and, more importantly, it has an excellent, free to use camping area down the eastern bank, which is exactly where I'm going to stay for a while.
So here I am now, at the other side of the Spencer Gulf. It wouldn't probably be my first choice, as far as campsites go; but I'm expecting a few items that I bought online and directed to Adelaide, so I don't want to move too far away from the city. This place will do for now, even though it takes a certain effort for me to get there along a few very poorly maintained dirt tracks.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
On my way between Whyalla and Port Augusta, I notice that the clouds began to thicken on the horizon, and rain curtains begin to appear. There's nothing more scenic than a distant rain curtain, especially on these large ochre plains, where you can see far and wide!
Looks like a nice place, I think as I get up in the morning and take a good look around my new domain. Weather's nice and sunny, not a single soul around, the sky is blue, the sea even bluer... especially after a couple of weeks of living on the red dirt. This area couldn't look and feel more different, and the only dirt here is that on the track which got me here, and the only trees here are ten little mangroves a few steps away, struggling for their dear life among the bare rocks and shallow sea waters.
Back to the Land of Twisty Trees
After a quick visit to Lake Eyre
, and an equally wonderful drive through Flinders Ranges
, I return to the same camping spot
that I left yesterday. Still intact and still completely isolated. Exactly what you need for yet another week of good work and good photography. The place almost feels like home now.
It's Cloudy at the Flinders Ranges
I have visited the Flinders Range National Park (and surrounding areas) a few times before; in fact, this is exactly where my first ever Australian camping trip happened some five or six years ago. It is also interesting to realise that I have negotiated this stretch road (Hawker to Lyndhurst) a number of times from south to north, but never from north to south, because I was always taking a different route to go back. It's about time I should fix that, I believe.