Lyn and Jennie, who won a competition to spend 30 days travelling from Brisbane to Alice Springs, hosted by About Seniors and using BigPond Wireless Broadband and a Telstra Next G phone to record their adventure. This is a little of their story.
?Blogs? are online diaries that anyone can create, thanks to services like BigPond?s www.bigblog.com.au ? a service that offers all you need to start blogging.
The open road, that?s for me! The delightfully liquid calls of flocks of birds drowned out some of the constant motorway noise. Road trains 53 metres long, brolgas dancing by the roadside, a young emu chick and a late-rising kangaroo were spotted along the way.
The wonders of Kakadu
Our next stop was Kakadu and first on our list was the Yellow Waters wetland. You may see an occasional crocodile floating like a log, until a snap of its jaws gives the game away. There are masses of floating water lilies where jacana birds can be seen stepping daintily from one lily pad to another. Dancing brolgas, flocks of magpie geese and many smaller birds flit in and out of the low lying mist. It is truly a magical place. As one of the traditional owners has said, ?If you respect the land, then you will feel the land. Your experience will be one that you cannot get anywhere else in the world.?
Lazing at Litchfield
With all the magnificent scenery of Kakadu fresh in our minds, and with plans to return and explore more fully, we set off for the water wonderland of Litchfield. The stream by which we were walking trickled and grew and by the time it reached the precipice at the top of the falls it was flowing swiftly. Several boardwalks made for easy access and further down the track the woodland slid into a beautiful patch of monsoon forest under the shelter of the tall cliff face. Walks like this one make one realise the fragility of the environment and how special areas like this are. Back at the lower area the sun was lighting up the pool area and it looked much more inviting. Swimmers were now enjoying the cool water in the relative warmth of the day.
Darwin: magnificent markets and more
Darwin, the city of leisure and sunshine, is also the city of markets. As the sun slowly sinks to the horizon hundreds of people flock to the Mindil beach market, chairs and eskies in tow. Waiting, watching for those minutes of glory and the brilliant burst of pink and orange, the marvel of a Darwin sunset.
The market is huge and the multitude of food stalls is indicative of the multicultural nature of Darwin; all varieties of Asian delicacies, plus the unique humour of the north advising ?Road kill: you kill, we grill?. Shudder! Though if camel, crocodile, possum, buffalo or kangaroo were on the sampling list that would be the place to experience it.
On to Mataranka
Mataranka and the thermal pools are calling and we continue on down the highway. Visitors are lured to Mataranka by the warm turquoise waters of the thermal springs which flow from Rainbow Springs at a constant 34 degrees Celsius. Imagine relaxing in a gently flowing warm pool which is fringed by tall cabbage tree palms with the bluest of blue skies above. What absolute bliss!
Around Tennant Creek
Tennant Creek has the reputation of being a friendly outback town with ?a heart of gold?. In the last great gold rush many came to seek their fortune. Not far south of Tennant Creek are the magnificent and much photographed Devil?s Marbles. These gigantic rounded granite boulders are scattered over the small valley, many balanced most precariously one on top of the other so that one wonders how they remain in position.
And so our journey comes to an end in the heart of Australia.
Alice Springs: this Mecca of tourists from far and wide, home of the Camel Cup, the unique Henley on Todd regatta and the Finke Desert race. Magnificent, unique, awe inspiring, mystical. Alice Springs is this and more besides. I have lasting memories of rich red desert sands, of spinifex and mulga, of clear starry nights and of hills that glow a vibrant pink, turning to orange-red and then to deep purple. The Centre calls, we will surely return!
All images are copyright and appear courtesy of Tourism NT