The morning of the Christmas Eve finds me deep in the mallee that surrounds our camping spot, where I try to find interesting compositions with the outback vegetation and the rising sun. Nothing particularly interesting eventuates, but that's fine: you win some, you lose some.
The morning at the Kosciuszko is just beautiful. The rising sun coaxes a few strands of mists out of the ground, which travel far and wide along the grass-covered plain between the mountains and the river. With the sun come the kangaroos: a whole herd of them scatters around, foraging for breakfast. A couple of them stops right next to my vehicle, apparently very interested in what I'm having for a brekkie myself. It's the middle of the summer, but the air feels quite shivery: 10 or 12 degrees, maybe? Must be very frosty here, come June or July.
It's kind of pointless to stay home during Christmas and New Year: too many days off, too many destinations to visit. Also, I need to test out a few more items of camping gear that I purchased recently. Time to hit the road again, I think!
The sunrise is as spectacular as the sunset before it; but when I check the coolant level, I barely find any. Looks like the bone-shaking corrugations of the Rainbow Valley did their nasty job, so I use my last remaining bottle of coolant to top it up. I'm almost home now anyway, aren't I?
When I wake up and eat my breakfast, I still have no idea whether the mouse is still in the car or not. Just in case, I decide to visit a Bunnings in Alice Springs and buy a mouse trap or two – which is where I'm going anyway.
The morning in the Wolfe Creek is warm, quiet and sunny. It's “summer” up here in the North, after all, and it's going to stay like this for the next few months. Not for me, though; my journey takes me away from these lands of spinifex and boabs and back to the winterlands.
With the Mornington now out of the way, I’m quickly approaching the other end of the Gibb River Road, and the last major stop on the way is the Windjana Gorge. On my way there I, as everyone else who travels these parts, notice a giant cliff next to the road shaped like a giant head: Queen Victoria’s, as the its name suggests. I’m not very familiar with the lady herself, though, so I can’t appreciate the similarity, if it does indeed exist.
After a chat with the mechanic, I’m slightly more relaxed about the leak, so I decide not to cut my trip too short and visit the nearby Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary as well. Galvans Gorge is just a quick stop on my way there, and it’s very pretty, too.
Before going to bed, I cut the top off a plastic bottle and put it under the car, where the coolant keeps dripping. In the morning, the bottle is already half full. Damn. Well, at least I get to put back in what's already out. Can't do that while I'm driving, though.