An epic journey across five states visiting some truly famous landmarks, as well as the tracks less travelled...
We began our trip heading north to Bourke (NSW) - where the outback (back of Bourke) begins. Heavy rains and a river already prone to flooding hurried us north and across the border into Queensland. Our first stop was Charleville, where we had an unexpected extended stay due to road closures (flooding)! Thankfully, with roads reopening the next morning, we headed north, only to find that the highway to Barcaldine was closed indefinitely at Blackall due to flooding.
We had a long time to relax, read our books and wait for the road to reopen. That came the following evening, when the road was opened for an hour to high clearance vehicles only. We grabbed the opportunity and in our trusty 4WD were ready to go in record time! Fording the flooded river (under police supervision) we were able to continue our journey. It was a non-stop drive until we were well and truly out of the flood prone areas! Unfortunately, this meant missing seeing the QANTAS museum at Longreach and the home of Banjo Paterson's famous song, Waltzing Matilda, at Winton.
Leaving Mt Isa (QLD), we crossed the border into the Northern Territory where we headed west to the Stuart Highway. Heading south, we marvelled at the Devil's Marbles, Tenant Creek telegraph station and the desert town of Alice Springs. After a night of luxury (to meet the New Year) at Alice Springs, we ventured into the beautiful West MacDonnell Ranges, then followed Larapinta Drive to King's Canyon. Next stop was world famous Uluru (Ayres Rock) and Kutja Tjuta (The Olgas). We braved the 42 degree heat to explore the walks at Uluru, but took our longer walk in the Valley of the Winds during the cool dawn period.
Unfortunately, it was time to leave this beautiful and remarkable area, and so we headed south across the border into South Australia. We explored the underground museum and churches at Cooper Pedy, read about the history of Australia's rocket testing at Woomera and strolled the streets of Adelaide. From here it was homeward bound, but not before the opportunity to camp out in the Grampians (VIC) and taste the natural spring waters at Daylesford (VIC). 8,000 km later, we were back home with many wonderful memories and photos!