Up North

Without any further ado, here’s some images from my week in the Flinders Ranges SA.  I’m back in the Mid North for now, but plan on returning northwards soon.   I have until perhaps October to explore there – after that the temperatures may start getting a bit high for us all.

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This is Sturt’s Desert Pea, the floral emblem of South Australia, and a personal favourite.  In a good season, out bush the ground is carpeted with them.  And there are natural variants with white ones even occasionally being found. These images however were taken in a town.

The landscape up north can vary considerably, but there are certain commonalities of the area, and of the flora.  My first campout was at Carrieton, a sweet little community run campsite on the edge of town.  Quiet and peaceful, I spent two nights there so I could explore the town in a relaxing manner.  Mind you, it did get frosty overnight!

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It’s the open spaces which help my heart to swell……………..

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I first came through here back in the late 70’s when I left the city to take up a job out bush.  In those days the road was dirt – and there was no bushfire refuge!  Which incidentally is on the town oval.

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An old house on the edge of town, sadly now in disrepair.  What a backdrop view though!  And what I wonder, stories does it hold…..

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Like most towns the world over, the population has dropped since this plaque was unveiled, as the cities have grown into sprawling messes.

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Speaks for itself 🙂

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On to Hawker.  Regarded as the Gateway to the real North.  🙂  Now I’m really starting to feel at home.  Lived at Lyndhurst at one stage in my life and visited the others on the top sign at various times.

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The colours of sunset.  Like no other areas I’ve lived in.  Do I sound like I’m in love? Yes, I am.  🙂

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After leaving Hawker, I really began meandering. Bush time…. slowly does it…..                      Creeks in this world can be large, and mostly dry, but when they flow, watch out!  Never camp in these creek beds, as even if there’s no rain locally the water can flow down from elsewhere and arrive with a roar!  But what a wonder world it can be to stroll down looking at the rocks.  This is an ancient landscape with treasures for those with eyes to see it.

 

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Elder Range.

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Chace Range in the background.

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Perfect spot for a coffee……  just soaking up the view ……..

The next step of the journey took us into a slightly different country so I’ll leave that for next time.

Safe Harbours

In a world that seems to be getting crazier and crazier, it seems we’re all at some time looking for a safe harbour, and sometimes some guidance to find it.

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Took these shots this morning while in Portland.  It’s time for me to leave Victoria.  I’m being drawn to what feels a safe harbour in my home state of South Australia.  It’s tricky planning the trip, as it’s co-inciding with school holidays in both states, and I’d like to catch up with someone who’s not back into Adelaide until the 15th.  So not sure yet how it will pan out, just take one step at a time.  Eventually I’m heading to the region of the Southern Flinders Ranges.  That’s where my Spirit comes truly alive.

In the meantime, we’ll keep adventuring through life as best we can.  🙂

Preparations

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Days then weeks go by, and still I haven’t posted any updates….. sorry.  So here’s a very brief one.  Things are progressing on all fronts.  Slower than I’d have liked, but still, progressing.  Going through all my personal things, deciding what to keep, what to dispose of, it all takes time to do it thoroughly and with care.  But I’m getting there…. where-ever “there” is!

Changes happening to the van also.  Some cannot take place until January, but at least they are in the pipeline now.  Other small jobs done today and more on Sunday planned.  Once some basic refits are done, I want to do short trips to trial it and then adjust as necessary.

I’m beginning to dream of getting back into taking my photos again – so I can once more share with you the magic of the natural world and all its bounty.  🙂

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Restless

For the past year, I’ve been suffering from a syndrome called ‘restlessness’.  Despite my attempts to quell it, or to transform it, it has occupied most of my waking hours – and disturbed my sleep…….

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve moved house – and yes, it has been literal a couple of times also!  Not this house though, which I encountered on a recent trip away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMuch of my life has been spent living in the countryside or the bush, and I’ve relished it most of the time, so it comes as a great surprise to me, that it no longer does.  In fact, what used to sustain me in my quiet life, no longer is sufficient.  I want more…..

Over ten years ago I became quite ill, and life changed forever.  I lived more or less as a hermit for many of those years, and that was part of my healing.  Time alone will always be necessary for my well-being, but now it seems it’s time for me to rejoin society to some degree.  It’s always going to be a juggling act, although I feel I’m better prepared for it now – time will tell of course.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cleaner air of the coast plays a great part also in my well-being, the question is – which coast?

Last November a friend and I took a brief holiday to South West Victoria, and quite unexpectedly, my friend bought a property on the outskirts of Port Fairy, where he’ll be able to pursue his artistic life with more freedom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat a wonderful welcoming sign to the area!  Need I add, that this area was settled by the Irish, and that influence remains strong today.  I’ve got strong Irish heritage and so feel right at home here.

Home.  Hmmm…. such a word can conjure many thoughts, feelings and impressions.  Now after helping my friend pack and move to his new home, I’m on the search for my new…. my new what?  Place of being perhaps…..   Travel and adventure call to me, as does having a safe place to return to and rest my head. I want – no NEED to go ‘Walkabout’ from time to time and this was brought squarely to my attention when I met two fabulous young women recently who were travelling.  It wasn’t envy but longing that I felt when I saw them depart after a couple of days of great times together.  I wanted to be on that highway also……

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s time to go dancing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh yes, my Olympus EM5 needs to go away for some minor attention soon, and as I cannot bear to be without a trusty companion, I have purchased another Oly, this time a TG 850, a small fun camera with lots of great features.  We’re still getting to know each other, and it will never replace the EM5, but be more as a support act 🙂

I’ve given notice of intention to depart to my landlords, and they couldn’t be more helpful and supportive, given I’ve got no date of departure at this stage.  Already I’ve sorted through my ‘stuff’ and sold/given away/disposed of a great deal, with larger pieces of furniture next to deal with, as I reduce, reduce, reduce…..

After all, it’s just stuff!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need to follow Fred’s example and live in the moment.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFootloose and fancy free

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, as much as an old chook like me can be, with my fourlegged companions….. who are getting quite accustomed to our comings and goings……..

So there’s the picture of what’s been happening lately, and why I’ve not been posting as much.  It’s all a bit fragmented….   🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just have to keep faith and trust.

Find the thing that stirs your heart and make room for it. Life is about the development of self to the point of unbridled joy.
Joan Chittister
Monasteries of the Heart Newsletter

A little adventuring – Part 2

One of the mid-north towns we stopped at on the trip was Wirrabara.  It’s a favourite little town of mine, mostly because it has a great produce market once a month – and I timed the visit to co-incide with one.  Sorry, didn’t take any photos of the market, as I was too busy catching up with old friends, and buying yummy food 🙂

The following morning though, I took a quiet walk around the town, and on a Monday morning in winter, it was very quiet.  The locals I did see, were friendly in their greetings.  There’s a saying in South Australia, that the further north one travels, the friendlier the people get, and I have to agree that its been my experience also.  Perhaps it’s to do with the climate – further south where its colder, people tend to stay in the their homes more…….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The town park is well set up for visitors, with toilets, and shelters and BBQ facilities.  A lovely creek flows through it in winter, and there are plenty of frogs and birds to listen to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis mural in the park was constructed as part of the Centenary of Federation Celebrations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the pieces of playground equipment.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany towns have paintings on the electricity poles, and the theme for this one appears to be birds.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis church was built during the Great Depression, which I think quite an incredible effort.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s obvious it’s a farming area.  During last summer, bush fires came very close to the town, and it was a very concerning time for all.  Thankfully, it survived.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe local craft shop is well worth a visit, with a wide selection of local produce, such as jams and honey etc, and woollen garments, fleeces, timber carvings, and stunning fibre work by a local artist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the site of the monthly market, and the verandah and decking is a recent addition.  The market is a real meeting place, and great tea, coffee and cakes make it a perfect place to catch up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARoses roses and roses were everywhere, and really enjoying the season.  Yes, it’s midwinter and the roses are in full leaf and bloom!

For more on the history of this area, please follow this link.

 

The Grampians Part 7 – People and places

Pomonal is a village in the Eastern Grampians, 15kms to the east of Halls Gap, and the General Store is just that – in the best of the old-fashioned tradition.  I was in need of refreshment one day, and dropped in for a coffee and cake – home baked of course!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was an ENORMOUS slice of cake, and I was offered a doggie bag if I felt I was unable to eat it all in one sitting…. but as you can see, I managed 🙂  It was utterly decadently delicious and coffee was perfect – make sure you drop in if you’re ever in the area and say I sent you 🙂

Interesting local arts and crafts are displayed for sale and how nice it was to see the creative efforts of the community.

I loved the little community church, with its delightfully welcoming garden out the front of the building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPomonal holds a market on the last Sunday of each month, an annual art show, and an annual wildflower show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may even be lucky enough to see a vintage vehicle traveling through the town.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOr watch the locals playing cricket on the town oval in the main street.

A short distance from the village is the Glass Blowing Studio and Gallery of James McMurtrie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe outdoor sculptures are wonderful, and a taste of things to come inside the building…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy eye was really taken by this bowl….utterly gorgeous and hard to resist… but I did. It seemed to capture the essence of the local environment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also loved some of his more unusual pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I’d been there a day earlier, I could have watched the glass blowing process.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was made to feel most welcome by his partner and assistant glass blower – and dog!

Closer to Halls Gap is the Halls Gap Zoo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t have time to visit the zoo, although I’ve heard it’s well worth a visit, even if just for the experience in interacting with the meerkats! For the more adventurous, you could even feed the dingoes, or hold an alligator, or a snake…..  Personally, I’d love to see first hand a Tasmanian Devil – particularly as their existence is hanging in the balance, due to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease  

Of course, if I bought this lovely home in the district, I’d be able to visit all these places on a regular basis 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI fell in love with this old home, who simply needs a bit of TLC…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThose are lilac bushes along the fence…. and I LOVE lilacs!

Home3Well, I can but dream, and dream.  From my back door, I’d see a wonderful view of the Ranges…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho knows what Fate may have in store?  🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my little visit to the Grampians/Gariwerd, and perhaps one day, you may even experience its sights and sounds for yourself.  It’s a pretty special part of Australia. 🙂