Guyra, Glen Innes, Deepwater, Glencoe, Sandy Flat, Boonah…names of small Australian towns we’d rolled through in the last week.  I couldn’t conjure up an image of a single one.  Just as package tourists on 10 day/ 14 country European vacations, all the places had blended into one.

 

A pit stop at the tiny community of Legume, just before the last big climb of the day up to Queen Mary falls.

 

The simple life.

There were tumble-down general stores and tidy parks.  Grey nomads pulling caravans and weathered cowboys working the range.

There were leisurely mid-day picnics and long, cold nights huddled in the tent.  There were misty mornings of impossible beauty and successive hills of minimal merit.

 

This part of Australia looks so much like the American West! True cowboy country.
Getting up early in spite of the bitter cold usually pays off. Misty mornings and soft sunlight make for a great start to the day.

 

Bumpety, bump much of the day as we trundle along the backroads.

 

Horses, cows and the occasional sheep--fun to shout at and greet as we pass.

 

At day’s end there was the usual hunt for a safe place to sleep.  A nearby creek meant water for washing up.  A bush camp meant a silvery moon and a million stars.

A night in the town park meant a sturdy picnic table and real toilet facilities.  Locals never complained, not like in New Zealand where freedom camping is frowned upon.   Or in the US where the local sheriff might pay you a visit if you pitch up behind the local ballpark.  Nope, Australians are down with wild camping.

 

Camping in small town parks has two clear advantages over pitching up at an official campsite--1) It's free and 2) It's a whole lot quieter--you've got the whole place to yourself.

This is not the Australia of postcards and travel brochures.   Kangaroos bouncing along or, more commonly, flattened as road kill, were the only sign of Down Under.

We are, in fact, making our way up the Great Dividing Range.  What Australia’s mountains lack in elevation, they make up for in length.  The range stretches more than 3,500 kilometers from the northeastern tip of Queensland, runs the entire length of New South Wales and into Victoria before it peters out into the plains.

Sure, it isn’t the Rockies or the Andes.  We topped out at an elevation of around 1,200 meters.  But after week of rough gravel roads, we’re ready for some rest.

Life’s become one big blur and that’s a sign to skid to a halt.  For awhile, at least.

 

Making our way towards Ipswich and a day of rest. We'd planned on taking a paved road, but it was closed due to bush fires and a landslide--we ended up taking this beautiful road and didn't regret the extra time and effort

 

We are always grateful to our many hosts from Warmshowers.org and Couchsurfing who have kindly opened their homes up to us. After a week or so in the tent, nothing beats a roof over our heads and a comfy bed for the night.

 

After a good rest in ipswich with Maria and Ian, we'll be ready to hit the road for the final push to Cairns. No time to waste as our flight to Japan is in early June--still around 2,000 kilometers to tackle.

 

 

 

The Big Blur
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One thought on “The Big Blur

  • May 13, 2013 at 3:11 PM
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    Wonderful adventures and beautiful photos. Thanks for taking me along. Kat

    Reply

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