Central Australia

A few images from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon – I have been challenged by one of my daughters to show her only my BEST 10 PHOTOS when I get home – this is out of around 3000 that I have taken during the last 3 months of my rambles! So I will eventually be posting the ones I’ve chosen but it will take me several weeks to sort through them!

Meantime here are a few images from the last couple of weeks in the heart of Australia (you can click on the image to enlarge them) – It is truly magnificent country and I hope to return one day to ramble further north in Broome, Darwin and Cairns – so much to see here and the distances are huge!


First stop from Alice Springs was the Camel Farm!


I was getting excited but NO it’s not Ayers Rock/Uluru but Mount Conner. It’s a long and lonely road – just under 500 kilometres!


Sunset at Uluru – I took a series of about 30 photos while the sun was setting!


It’s a very spiritual place and difficult to do it justice with photographs


Around the base walk of the rock I came across this marvellous piece of burn wood! I thought it was a sculpture at first but it was completely natural.


The Olgas or Kata Tjuta (the aborginal name) are every bit as awe inspiring as Uluru


Finally a 6 kilometre walk around the rim of Kings Canyon – this is where they filmed the final desert scene in the movie ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ – and yes I climbed all those steps and stood on the top shouting into the canyon below – a fantastic echo!


Now I’m back in Sydney for my last few days here in Australia – I fly back to the UK on Monday – I’m really looking forward to being back home again now!


Shadows and cracks

It can’t always be awe inspiring, beautiful and wonderful when travelling in our own and other countries - sometimes we see the shadows and cracks - the darker side of humanity! DSC00224

The interior of Australia is a harsh and fragile environment and I would not want to make any judgments in terms of how it is to live out here. However one incident really did enrage me and I feel guilty for not saying anything! I was sitting outside a cafe in the early evening – it was quiet – hardly anyone around in the centre of Alice Springs – a couple approached in one direction and an elderly Aboriginal woman in the other (she had been wandering up and down trying to sell her husband’s painting to the few people around and I had briefly spoken to her). The Aboriginal woman asked the woman in the couple, who was smoking as she walked across the road towards the cafe, for a cigarette – the woman replied “there are shops that sell cigarettes you know, you could buy some” and dropped her half cigarette on the ground – the elderly Aboriginal woman of course bent down and picked it up. The couple just sniggered to each other and went into the cafe. I sat there in disbelief at such rudeness and racist behavior – I could have followed the woman into the cafe and confronted her but I didn’t, maybe it was because there were 2 of them and only 1 of me but nevertheless I feel like a coward now! What would you have done?


I have only witnessed one other sign of disrespect for the Aboriginal culture during my time up here (thank goodness!!) - a man in his 60’s continued taking photographs when an Aboriginal Elder had requested that he did not! He was a white European of course! Sometimes I feel ashamed of being white!!

Coincidently they showed the Australian aboriginal film ‘Samson and Delilah’ last night at the YHA where I am staying – you can see a review and clip from the movie HERE – the film is partly filmed in Alice Springs and explores issues of survival for two ostracised teenagers from a remote indigenous community in Central Australia. It is dark and sad and almost without dialogue with extraordinary acting

I must say that once I looked in-between the cracks, the issues that tourism glosses over, are quite evident! There is a population of 28,000 in Alice Springs and 33% are indigenous Aboriginal people. Throughout the rest of Australia this percentage drops to around 6% so it’s not surprising that the issues are most evident here – previously in my travels from Sydney down to Melbourne I hardly saw any Aborigines!

On my walk this morning I found this bird’s nest….


A small and poignant reminder of HOME (in 1 week!) ?


From Alice Springs to the Western MacDonald range and gorges

I continue to be fascinated with the trees and rocks in Australia and they just seem to get more magnificent  each place I visit – on the advice of my Melbourne friend Kate I took this trip out to the Western MacDonald ranges and here are some of the images I took – i have had no time to edit the photographs in anyway so they are straight from the camera. This is where I was heading


the first stop was at Simpson’s gap – a waterhole several kilometres out of Alice Springs then on to Stanley Chasm



Yes the sky is really this blue!


Tree bark- the river gum tree

The ochre pits below are a sacred Aboriginal site where they obtain the red, yellow and white pigments for skin decoration – the pigments are mixed with fat to intensify the colour.



I love the way the pure white bark of this tree protrudes from the red rock face


Heavy rains a few weeks ago have caused the waterholes to be unusually full and rivers to flow – a rare event in this part of the world! This is Glen Helen Gorge below.


And finally some tree images of course!



Can you believe the bark on this tree – I thought it looked clothed!


Money, money, money!!!

No photos but an interesting life lesson, and an adventure I could have done without, causing me to ruminate and reflect on the experience and write it down here – it might also be useful to any of you reading this and thinking of travelling! I am in Central Australia now, Alice Springs to be precise, and in the final few weeks of my rambling down under! For 2 days I have been without money! not entirely true as I did have about 80 dollars on me but that doesn’t go far in terms of moving on! I had a 5 day trip planned and paid for up to Ayers Rock and King’s Canyon and likewise a flight to Sydney next week – but no money for 5 nights accommodation and food – how did this come about! I will try and explain simply a rather complex situation – I always travel with travelers cheques (finished now!!!) a debit bank account card (the subject of bank fraud late December so the bank issued a new card which sits with my daughter in the UK) and a credit card which to my dismay reached it’s limit and refused to give me any more money!! I had tried to send them a payment twice at the end of January and was unaware that the second time the payment had still not gone through- so of course rang them immediately 3 days ago and discovered this was my own stupid fault as I had written down one of the sort code digits wrong so of course it bounced back again the second time – the payment I then made takes 3/4 working days (and remember this was Friday!) so the card really was going to be no good until the end of the following week and I was moving on at the beginning of the week – the credit card help desk suggested that the bank could make a fast payment but to cut a long story short they couldn’t! a further telephone call to the bank who then suggested a payment to me through my (unactivated) debit card that my daughter was keeping for me didn’t help as my daughter had left on holiday to the USA the previous night! Talk about the timing of all this! I think I got an anxiety panic attack at that point! I really was meant to learn this lesson wasn’t I! After several phone calls an enlightened young man at my bank talked to his manager and said to ring Visa International for an emergency payment! I did but even this was not straightforward – everything in my life seemed blocked – I started doing affirmations ( why do I forget - but better late than never!) GUESS WHAT - last night a lovely woman called Benel in Maryland USA pulled out the stops and solved the reason for the delay (which turned out to be lack of my passport no for the bank to release my details to them) – I have just been to the post office and received the emergency payment which is enough to cover all my expenses until I get home – life is good, bright and beautiful again today and I am sitting in a lovely cafe in Alice Springs with a delicious latte and 2 pieces of raison toast!!

So what happened in those 2 days – my world turned negative along with my thoughts – people seemed unfriendly, the place dirty, it even rained (quite rare in Alice) - I will leave the rest up to your imaginations albeit to say that my security was well and truly tested! and in terms of the majority of the world’s population I am one of the lucky ones! I have money sitting in my bank account from the sale of my house – all that money and could I get my hands on it – well NO!! It has made me think so much about refugees and alyssum seekers and the anxiety they must face on a daily basis! When I get home I will find a way of offering some support to these people. I just want to add that 98 percent of the people I have met while travelling including those trying to help on the other end of the phone have been truly supportive and great people to know – I have made several friends here in Australia that I know I will stay in touch with and hopefully meet again!

SO WHAT HAVE I LEARNT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE SO FAR!! (and I’m sure there will be more!)

1. Never to rely on a bank/credit card or even 2 cards when not in your own country!

2. Always to have enough cash to pay for everything for at least a week when travelling!

3. Negative thoughts create a negative world around you (I knew this but needed to be reminded)

4. There is always someone willing to go the extra mile and it’s just a matter of finding them ( positive thoughts needed)

5. Affirmations really do work and why do I forget this!


7. Remember that I am blessed and that I have an abundant, creative and rich life!

8. Money is actually quite important if you haven’t got any!!

9. That actually in the scheme of things it was not all that bad because the worst that could happen was that I would have had to cancel my trip (and lose the cost of it) as I am sure the YHA would have let me stay here for a few more nights until the card payment went through! But I really didn’t want to miss seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock) And of course I would have lost a few more pounds (in weight) too!!

I would love to hear your comments! The next post will have some photos I promise!



I’m just back from Wilson’s Prom



and a Night photography and Light painting workshop with Lloyd Godman of Baldessin Press – we camped for 4 days and I must say I was very glad to get back to a comfy bed last night! No wombats searching for a morsel or other delightful species of Australian wildlife wanting to share my tent!

I have had fun with my camera and here are a few of the images that I picked for the show and tell at the end of the workshop! (You can click on the image to see a larger version)

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All the photography took place at sunrise (yes we had to get up at 5.30am!) or at dusk - it was the full moon and we went off down to Squeaky Beach see above 2nd image (yes the sand squeaks underfoot hence the original name!) to do the light painting – it was very experimental and I only came out with a couple of worthwhile images but I loved the process and will definitely be out there (wherever I am) at night with my torch and camera! (keeping the mossies company and providing them with food!!!!). It does help if it's full moon as you can see what you're doing!!

If you want to try this it is pretty simple but you need a tripod and a camera that lets you set the exposure to at least 15secs and preferably much longer – my camera lets me go to 30 secs and I managed to get some interesting results – you then set the self timer pick up your torch and run around in front of the camera making a drawing with your torch –DSC09249

As I said it’s all very experimental and you never know what kind of result you’ll get – here someone was running along the side of the river with a torch


you can also use a torch and coloured gels to paint areas of the scene in front of you as in this one – as you can see I’ve got a lot of practising to do!


the last ingredient is a beautiful place because if all fails it is just wonderful to be out in the wild!

if anything about this process doesn’t make sense then please ask me anything you want to know and if you are in Australia then I highly recommend Lloyd’s workshop - go HERE for info

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to meeting up with Jo from Mystory – we are going to visit the TarraWarra Museum of Art together