Sivu on muuttanut uuteen osoitteeseen


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oasis of the Outback

After a 3-4 hour drive from Mt Isa, for a moment it looked like we would have to turn back because of a deep, strong water crossings on the road. 

We decided to take the risk and went for it. 

Lawn Hill National Park is one of Queensland's most scenic national parks with lush vegetation, spectacular gorges, sandstone ranges and gorgeous views. We were very happy that we took the detour. We camped beside the creek and hired a canoe. 

Around the gorge there are small waterfalls that form an amazing natural spa pool. 

After hours of paddling we did a short walk to see Aboriginal rock art. The national park is an important Aboriginal site. They have been occupying the area for over 35,000 years. The Aboriginal name of the place, Boodjamulla, means the rainbow serpent that created the gorge.

More photos coming up!

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Mining town of Mt Isa

The next morning we stopped a tiny Outback town, Cloncurry. We found a small lake close by and went for a dip. After that we FINALLY arrived in a real town, Mt Isa, in North-West Queensland. Smaller than Imatra, with around 20,000 people, it seemed like a big city after all the Outback towns, with McDonald's, supermarkets and bottle shops. 

Helsinki 13,344 km. Long way from home!

We went to see the sunset at a lookout, and camped right in front of Coles supermarket.

Mt Isa

Next morning it was time to stock up and say goodbye to civilization again. We headed towards Lawn Hill National Park. It was a 6-hour detour but we decided to take the risk and hope that it is worth it. After a  long drive on a gravel road we camped close to the National Park.

 Next: The spectacular oasis of Lawn Hill National Park!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Burke & Wills

After we had seen the Gulf of Carpentaria in a small town of Karumba, it was time to turn back and head towards the centre of Australia. On our way we were following some of the footsteps of the Australian explorers Burke and Wills. On my first trip to the Outback I read a book about their ill-fated expedition and I found it really fascinating.

Gulf of Carpenteria, Karumba

In 1860 Burke and Wills led an expedition aiming to cross the Australian continent from the south (Melbourne) to the north (Gulf of Carpentaria). At the time the inland of Australia was completely unknown and not yet discovered by European settlers. They travelled with 18 men, 25 camels, 22 horses and 20 tonnes of equipment. 

In Coopers Creek they had to set up a base camp and wait for additional supplies. At this point things started to go wrong. Burke was impatient because he wanted to be the first person to reach the north.  He decided to keep going only with 3 other men, Wills, Gray and King, 3 camels, and food for only 3 months. Burke left a man called Brahe in charge in Coopers Creek, and told them to wait for their return for 3 months. 

After an exhausting journey in the summer heat, they reached the Gulf of Carpenteria. They turned back with not much food supplies left. Animals were killed and eaten. Gray was sick, and some time later he died, although there is debate of what really happened to Gray.

Exhausted they finally reached Coopers Creek, only to find it abandoned. The rest of the men had waited for more than 4 months, but decided they have to head back because of illnesses and lack of food. They had left only 9 hours earlier. They had buried some food for Burke and the men underground, and left a message on a tree telling them to dig. This tree is now called the Dig Tree and it is a popular tourist destination. 

Burke and his men were exhausted and as they had no hope of catching up with the rest of the group, they decided to rest a bit and then head to another direction. In case Brahe would come back to search for them, they wrote a letter explaining their intentions and buried it in the same place. 

Burke & Wills statue in Melbourne

After Burke, Wills and King had taken off again towards Mt Hopeless, Brahe decided he has to go back to check if they have reached the camp. When he rode his horse to the camp, he saw that somebody had been there, but assumed it was aboriginals. As the message on the tree was unchanged, he didn't dig to see if the supplies were still there. Burke was only 56 km away. 

Burke, Wills and Gray were soon too weak to continue. Wills died and Burke soon after. King only survived with the help of a friendly aboriginal tribe. He was found a few months later. 

The story is full of irony, incredibly bad luck and mysteries. 

That night we stayed at Burke & Wills roadhouse, in the middle of nowhere and spent the evening looking at the millions of stars in the sky.

Read more:

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eaten alive by mozzies

No more rainforests, or rain for that matter. The scenery had changed to dry countryside with lots of grass and scattered trees, termite mounds and road trains up to 50m long. We stopped for lunch in a tiny little country town of Georgetown, which turned out to be a 'bit' smaller than we expected. On the map it looked bigger. We were running low in our food supplies and we realised that we should have stocked up back in Cairns. There would be a lot of driving before the next town. 

Around sunset we arrived in another tiny little cattle town, Normanton, mostly populated by indigenous Australians. It is also home to Krys the Savannah King, largest salt water crocodile captured in the world, 8,63m.

We camped by Norman River. Gigantic locusts were everywhere. Also, by the river there were millions and millions of mozzies trying to suck us dry. I'm not exaggerating! I have never seen so many mosquitoes in my life. After some desperate battling against the mosquitoes in the van we put up a tent and slept in there. No mozzies in the tent, however I was a bit worried about crocodiles. 

The battlefield.

In the morning we kept driving towards the Gulf of Carpentaria

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waterfall Way

The trip towards the centre of Australia had begun. I felt a little bit alone without the support of my girls. Southwest from Cairns lies Atherton Tablelands, which is a part of the Tropical Tablelands region. World heritage listed rainforests, mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and charming little towns. We had breakfast in the small town of Atherton. After that we took a really winding but scenic drive through the beautiful Misty Mountains. On Waterfall Way we found four big waterfalls within a walking distance from each other. 

Millaa Millaa Falls.

Millaa Millaa Falls is Australia's most photographed. Of course we had to go for a dip, too, after all, it's not often that you get to swim under a waterfall! But the water was freezing. 

Zillie Falls

Ellinjaa Falls

We had lunch in another small town, Ravenshoe, which is the highest town in Queensland. There had been a big change in weather since we left Cairns. Up in the mountains the temperatures were much cooler. 

On the way to our campsite we stopped to check out Australia's widest waterfalls, Millstream Falls. I thought we had seen nicer ones before, but I can imagine that after some heavy rain it would be more impressive. 

We stayed at Innot Hot Springs for the night. We had great expectations of these natural hot springs, but they ended up being just pools. But still, it was a relaxing way of spending an afternoon, hopping from a hot pool to a cooler pool and then into a spa, and then do it all over again. 

The good life. :)

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