Travelling – From tropical coast to dry inland

Outback drought 1

Thousands of mangled kangaroo carcasses litter the roadside – some desiccated fur and bleached bones, others fresh and being devoured by ravens and raptors. A ghastly sight, but not much is wasted.

Mobs of kangaroos suffer the midday sun, searching out a morsel of grass worth eating. As brutal as it might sound, motorists unintentionally running the roos down are doing them and their kind a favour. The drought is harsh.

Creeks are bone-dry, rivers reduced to chains of stagnant puddles, farm dams are not much better. Emus wander aimlessly across abandoned paddocks, camouflaged against the grey bushland.

Outback drought 2

Acacias are beginning to bloom – today is national Wattle Day. Occasional thickets of cypress and weeping wilga share the landscape with the wattle and eucalypts. Hundreds of kilometres of the grey semi-arid vegetation and dusty earth becomes monotonous, so we pull over to rest and watch the birdlife. It’s only when you stop and take the time to observe the land that the birds reveal themselves.

Bowra 03 Varied Sittella
Varied Sittella
Bowra 14 White-plumed HE
White-plumed Honeyeaters

We left the tropical Queensland coast and mountains behind a few days ago. Instead of sandy beaches lined with palms, we now have sandy plains, bull dust swirling as a willy-willy whips up the bare ground, and scrub struggling to survive.

The further west we travel, the less traffic we encounter. An occasional caravanner dodging road-kill, like us, and road trains ploughing through them. Australia is a vast and diverse country and I feel fortunate to travel in comfort and safety, and although the scenery is dull in colour and sparse in density, there is beauty all around for those who appreciate the details of nature.

Outback drought 3

The Magic of the first frost of winter

Blog frost 3

I stepped outside of the caravan. Mother Nature was waking up ever so slowly, taking her time rousing from a deep slumber. Not a wisp of breeze. Not a puff of cloud. The rising sun laid its lukewarm fingers on the earth, and the earth responded with thousands of sparkling points of light.

Dew drops, frozen in the depth of night, are now twinkling prisms of coloured light. They melt to liquid sunshine, dripping, pooling to form trickling streams hidden in the undergrowth. Shards of glass dissolve. Tall grasses droop under the weight of glistening icicles, and the fallen autumn leaves are no longer red, but frosty white.

Earth’s creatures stir, turning heads to face the sun, soaking up its vitality.

Ribbons of fog float beneath the mountains, drifting to the rhythm of Mother Nature’s breath. And steam wafts from the swamps and dams, dissipating, evaporating, until mirrors reveal themselves in roadside paddocks.

Mother Earth shudders, shaking the moisture from her back, offering her animals and plants a drink of the purest water, and gets on with her day.

Blog frost 2

So frozen is the lawn, that my footsteps don’t disturb the crisp white sheet I walk upon. A gleaming, twinkling wonderland of white and muted shades of Earth’s clothes greet me at every turn in the road.

Magical moment after breathtaking moment. Gratitude consumes me. I feel so blessed to experience and appreciate the wonder of nature’s artistry.

Blog frost 1