Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Adelaide trip pictures

Here is a selection of the pictures and explanation of my Adelaide trip. They are in here back to front as ...well I am Linda.
The first one is when we were nearly home.Taken on the Hume highway between Gundagi and Yass, heading north. Heavy rain most of the way home for the 2 day drive. We followed the rainbow home.
The pic above is of the other extreme taken during a thick dust storm in central South Australia.The picture didn't do the dust storm justice, we had to slow right down as it was quite dangerous driving and we could not see far ahead.
This is a big tyre across the highway at a little town called Yamba in S.A. We stopped for lunch here on Saturday. We travelled across four states on our trip. Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, 3500km.
At Waikerie in S.A. we stopped at a lookout over the Mighty Murray River and there were lots of rocks about that looked like pure ochre. I couldn't resist playing with it and ground some down with this pebble. It was soft and silky and had fine sand in it. The aborigines used to use this as paint and trade it with other clans. I have some in my pottery supplies in the shed, it is a form of iron oxide.
Murray river below the lookout at Waikerie. The Murray is the biggest river system in Australia all the rivers on the eastern side of the country eventually make their way and merge into it, right from the top of Queensland down to South Australia. It drains into lake Alexandrina below Tailem bend and makes up the Coorong national park below that then into the southern ocean. Amazing. Seeing the area has always been a special wish of mine.
Murray river, same place looking downstream. It is a different colour here than it is near Albury much further upstream where it is a dark muddy green brown with steep banks and not the big cliffs you can see here. South oz is the driest state in the driest country in the world, The Murray is its main water source.
Waikerie lookout, what got us there. Our poor old ford has a worn out manifold gasket and is starting to sound like a tractor and smell worse, but there was nowhere that we could get it fixed on the ANZAC day long weekend. It got us home, slowly anyway. I reckoned Pete and I have orange livers from all the exhaust fumes we were breathing in. (When they do autopsies on people who have died from carbon monoxide poisoning they have orange livers.)
Sorry these are back to front. This picture is of an archway on Kangaroo Island. If you enlarge it you can see some New Zealand fur seals rolling around with their flippers in the air, and others resting on the rocks. Funny critters and lovely to watch. The things hanging from the ceiling are not stalactites but fossilized tree roots.
The archway again and more seals sunning themselves and resting on the rocks. above and below pics.

This is a pic I took at Kangaroo island also. The island is 155 km at its longest point and the roads there are only 15% sealed. The remainder are dirt made of stuff called laterite which is mostly iron, sourced from the island. The guide was telling us that laterite is mostly iron and when they have storms there it therefore attracts lots of lightning strikes so you get out of the way and head indoors pretty quick when there is an electrical storm around.
There were lots of these little dead, burned bushes surrounding an area called Remarkable rocks. I tried to take a picture from ground level looking through them.I thought they were like gnarly sculpted bonsai trees.
Remarkable rocks. Yes it really is called that. Peter and I. The rocks are set high at the top of a cliff and run down tom the ocean. They really are remarkable. Granite and sculpted by the wind and weather into fantastic huge shapes.The rock that they are perched on looked like it was one big rock and had been worn away by little rivers of rain into smooth shapes covered in that red algae you can see in this picture. They are reputedly very treacherous and slippery when it rains. People have died here by slipping and falling over the edge into the ocean below in such circumstances, I am pleased we had dry weather. Had to hold onto our hats as it was very windy.

Rocks at Remarkable rocks. This looks like a big eagles beak to me.
Fantastic sculptured shapes, same place.
Remarkable rocks from further back.
Part of the tour we went on at Kangaroo Island included a free flight Raptor show. This is the National Parks and wildlife guide with a Wedge tailed eagle. Australia's biggest eagle and the second biggest in the world after the American bald eagle, except the wedge tailed eagle has a wider wing span. This guy was such a pet and here you can see him enjoying a scratch and cuddling up to his trainer.
The wedgie again wings outstretched. I used to watch these guys sitting on my front veranda at Junee. Circling high above rocky hill and riding the thermals while hunting. The other birds don't like them, I guess they would be pretty threatening. Anyway they try to chase them out of their area and I watched many an Aerial dogfight between the eagles and magpies. One day when I was watching the eagle got p***ed off with the maggies that were harassing it and pulled one of the magpies straight down out of the sky. It didn't get up again.
Sad to say though that farmers don't like these eagles and think they take their lambs. They don't, their diet is rabbits and small rodents, which would be of benefit to the farmers.They are not endangered as far as I know but their numbers are dwindling from farmers killing them off and from habitat loss. They have no predators and are at the top of their food chain.
This is Casper. He is a barn owl, isn't he beautiful. He was sitting on my knee when I took this picture. He was trained to hop on each knee around the front row of people at the show, and was given a little bit of meat for each one he stopped at, watching his trainer all the time to see where the next tasty morsel was coming from.
Casper again, sitting next to me.We were allowed to pat him with the backs of our hands as touching him with our fingers would take the bloom off his feathers.
This is a Kookaburra. He is the largest of the kingfisher family. This bloke came from Queensland, the Queensland ones have the blue bit on their wings. He isn't really a raptor but he is a meat eater. Otherwise known as the Laughing Jackass or Blue Winged Kookaburra. There was a pair of these in the show, we were asked to stay sitting down because they swoop down low over the crowd when they come in to land and they know we are supposed to stay seated and they can get upset when things don't look right to them.
This little guy is a kite. They are the ones you see hovering over prey along the roadsides then suddenly diving down to grab a mouse or grasshopper, they have fantastic eyesight, much better than us humans do.
These guys are Australian fur seals.We were allowed on the beach with them on the Kangaroo Island highlights tour, which is what Pete and I went on, but had to keep at least 10 metres away from them. The ones in the pic above are young teenage males, they are like teenage humans in that they like to spar with one another and try it out on the young girls. But it is the big daddy guys that get to have all the fun.
Female Aussie fur seal. This one came towards us, and quite close, and we had to be still and quiet to not upset her as they can become aggressive if threatened. The N.Z. seals are smaller and darker than these guys. There is a colony on the island of over 5000 of them. They come ashore to rest after being at sea hunting for three days at a time and their pups wait for them to return for their next meal. The females fully grown are 180kg and the males can get to 350kg in weight.
The plane we went to across to Kangaroo island was a little 10 seater. I loved it. The weather was clear and so we had a great view. The flight took 35 minutes and I enjoyed watching all the gauges sitting right behind the pilot. In this picture we were heading in to land on Kangaroo island. The tour cost a bit but it was great fun and better than having to drive miles back down the coast from Adelaide to where the ferry goes across to the island.
Above Adelaide. I think I remember seeing the population of Adelaide being 1.3 million, I am too lazy to look it up.
The plane we went to Kangaroo island on.
This is in Adelaide at the Jam factory. I always read about this place and wanted to go there. It is famous for the arts and pottery. Nowadays as pottery is less popular than glass, it is going in that direction but I did see some excellent porcelain work in the shop there. These guys are working glass. I was talking to the artist, whose name is Michael Moore, he said they were making a centre piece for a corporate customer. Interesting stuff, he had an exhibition of weird and wonderful critters made out of glass and gave me a book / pamphlet about his pieces. My teacher at Canberra Potters society used to work at the Jam factory and many great Aussie potters had their start there too.
This is Lacepede bay near Kingston east of Adelaide. I lashed out here and bought a half lobster and prawns and oysters for our tea, but OH YUM!
Big lobster at Kingston. He is for sale as is the cafe/ touristy thing behind him, can you afford him? He might be a bit tough to chew on though.
Now we come to the Coorong, which is where we stared the adventure. The Coorong is a spit of land and sand dunes that seals off lake Alexandrina from the sea. The Murray river drains into Lake Alexandrina and they have it sealed off to stop the salt water coming back into the lakes.We couldn't get across to the spit because we couldn't drive over there without a 4x4 and we didn't have a canoe, but we had a good look on the other side anyway. The spit runs for over a hundred km along the coast. The pic above is of some plants that I though were pretty. They were on a sand dune and had succulent type leaves, obviously adapted to salty soil conditions. Don't know what they were called.
The Coorong fish nursery. Looking into the water below a little wharf we could see thousands and thousands of tiny fish. We did throw a line in, but being amateur fishermen and so many tiny fish to prey on, the fish were not hungry.
The little wharf at long point in the coorong national park. we had the whole place to ourselves, lovely.
The main reason I wanted to visit the coorong was the birdlife there. The area is famous for it. Sorry this is a bit blurry but you can still read it if you enlarge it. It is a very environmentally sensitive area due to the decline in the quantity and quality of the Murray river waters which feed it and from human intervention. It is like a giant bird and fish nursery.
We stayed at Meningie for 2 nights in the caravan park and there is a pelican colony there. Here I tried to get a pic of them but they took off to the safety of the water again. This is only a few of the number that were there. It looked to me like they were a group of youngsters with a few older ones to guard them. The younger ones were more grey coloured and the older ones had their full black and white colouring.
Silver gulls on the shore at Lake Albert. Lake Albert joins up with lake Alexandrina.The caravan park at Meningie is right on the banks here.There was a few other bird species amongst them but I don't know what they were called. Might have been avocets.
Oh! this was in the Coorong national park. Just look at this! A breeding colony of black swans, hundreds of them. My photos can not do this place justice. You can hear the surf thundering in just across the spit from here.
This was the first place we stopped on the Coorong. I was amazed to find that all of those rocks you can see in this picture are made up of millions of shells concreted together over millennium. I actually bought a bit of it home with me as a souvenir.
Here I am at the caravan park enjoying a bottle of Brown Brothers Moscato and oysters and prawns for an entree that I got in Kingston. Very laid back.
These little guys were at the caravan park at Meningie too. Loving having some green grass to chew on.
Part of the pelican and silver gull colony living on the shores of Lake Albert. Pelicans are so big and ungainly it looks like it is a real effort for them to get off the ground.
A fisherman came along the beach and dumped some fish heads for the birds, so I got a bit closer to them to take pictures.
Reminds me of a silly tune that my kids used to sing when they were little.
"Fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly fish heads, Fish heads fish heads eat em' up, yum!"
I was fascinated by this. Yes the lake really is pink. I have never got to walk on a salt lake before.
I took heaps of pics of the patterns that the salt crystals made as they dried and lifted up in big sheets.
A hand full of salt. Crust and crystals.
Pink salt lake between Tailem bend and Meningie. Like I said my pics don't do it justice. You can see where someone in a 4 wheel drive tried to drive along it and got bogged. Hah serves them right. Silly buggers.
Last picture is on the way south across the Hay plains. This area is amazing. As flat as a table top for miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. No trees except to mark the progress of a water course.The vegetation consists of tussock grasses, salt bush and spinifex otherwise and big bindies which stuck in my shoes and tried to transport themselves in my car to kinder places. The pic is meant to be a bit of a joke, I took it to show the highlight of the Hay plains. And... that is a man made bit of dirt. Some of the land out at Urana is like that , where I lived for 6 years. There are lots of Emus and Kangaroos out here, so not a good place to travel the roads at dusk and dawn, of any time of night for that matter. As we were traveling along here I had an old Aussie bush ballad going on in my head. Flash Jack from Gundagi, it is about a bloke telling of his shearing travels and prowess in the area.

All among the wool boys, all among the wool,
Keep your blades full boys, keep your blades full,
I can do a respectable tally myself
whenever like to try
and they know me round the back blocks as
flash Jack from Gundagi.

That is the chorus anyway. The station names in the other verses of the song include some of the ones in the Hay area.Willandra, Toganmain, Tubbo stations are some of the big famous ones out there.
Out here there are huge sheep stations, nowadays owned by big corporations who have been buying up all the water allocations in the area. My dear old beloved Murrumbidgee river winds its way through the plains nearby, it runs into the Murray river between Euston and Balranald south of Hay.
Well what a long post that was eh! It was fun doing the trip and I hope you enjoy my sharing it with you.
Love Linda.


Bimbimbie said...

Hi Linda, my connection is really slow and not loading your photos too well this evening ... I will be back in the morning to try again. Smiles*!*

Bimbimbie said...

I'm back*!* Looks like you had a wonderful time, apart from the car trouble of course. I've heard about the Jam Factory and the Pink Salt Lake. You managed to get up close to a few feathered stars too lucky you with the gorgeous Barn Owl*!*

Nana said...

Seems like fun times!!! Love the pictures, I think it's important to doccument our good times in photos...

Jen said...

Oh, wow, Miss Linda! Those are amazing photos! That dust storm was something to behold.

I have been lax in checking your blog for such a long time. It is good that you are still "painting the world".

Best tidings!

Merle said...

Dear Linda ~~ I really enjoyed hearing all about your trip to Adelaide. And the photos were all good too. I am glad you had that trip with Pete.I hope all is better between you and him. I am fine.
Take great care, my friend,Much love

miss*R said...

we travelled the Hay plains in January on the bike.. amazing land. it looks like you had a fantastic trip !