The Outback

Kilcowera Station

If you are looking for somewhere off the beaten track for a holiday then think about heading to Kilcowera Station which is located along the Darling Track between Hungerford and Thargomindah, Qld.

It is a 120,000 acres cattle station owned and operated by Greg and Toni Sherwin (you couldn’t ask for nicer hosts).  We camped beside the Cardenyabba lagoon for 10 stunning nights (we had only planned to stay for 4 nights).

There are plenty of things to see and explore on the property which also has accommodation in the shearer’s quarters.

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Trees with Character

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Sunset View from Campsite

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Male Roos in the Morning Sun

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Remnants of a Fence in the Goat Paddock

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My Favourite Lagoon at Kilcowera Station

There is a lot of bird life to be found on Kilcowera Station.  We spotted and photographed quite a few as you can see below:

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White-Plumed Honeyeater

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Major Mitchell

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Hawk

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Galahs

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Galah

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Black Fronted Dotterel

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Singing Honeyeater

We had an amazing campsite beside the lagoon.

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Aerial View of our Campsite

Morning View from our Campsite

Morning View from our Campsite

Amazing clouds nearly every day!

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The Afternoon Sun Lights the Scrub

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Amazing Clouds

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More Clouds and with a Reflection

What is a cattle station without cows??

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One of the fine specimens on Kilcowera Station

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All the cattle looked very healthy

During periods of heavy rainfall Kilcowera becomes home to some ancient shrimps!

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Ancient Shrimp at Kilcowera

 

And it’s really camping unless you have a campfire!

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Campfire

 

If you are interested in staying at Kilcowera Station you can contact Toni or Greg through their Website or on Facebook.

 

Cameron Corner – There and Back (Part 2)

The road to Tibooburra took us through flat and an often desolate landscape without many features to break the horizon.  There were some distant hills and very few trees.  Despite the barren landscape we still enjoyed the drive as the combination of the red dirt roads and deep blue skies is something that we never tire of seeing.

Plenty of road kill along the way meant that we spotted a lot of Wedge Tailed Eagles and I did my best to capture a few photos of them.

These birds of prey are magnificent creatures and I wanted to stop every time that we saw some but Danni had other ideas. Despite the protests I still managed to stop quite a few times but the eagles didn’t seem to like having their photos taken.  I would fearlessly walk as slowly as possible towards them shooting as I walked and every time they felt I was too close they would fly further away.  I would then keep stalking them until I realised how far I had ventured from the car.

 

 

All day during the drive the clouds were looking fantastic and I was keeping an eye out for a lone tree or some other feature that I could use as a focal point.  I finally spotted a lone tree in the distance to use so I left Danni in the car on the side of the road whilst I headed off towards the tree. By positioning myself in the right position I was able to compose the photo so the clouds were streaking out from behind the tree. There was also a cattle track to use as a lead in line to the tree.

The Lone Tree

We had planned our arrival in Tibooburra to coincide with the State of Origin game as we couldn’t miss the decider.  How was I to know that NSW would lose again and that I would be only of the two people in Tibooburra supporting the Blues!.

Tibooburra is quite an unusual landscape and has a lot of granite outcrops dotted around the area and even in the middle of town.

Billy Goat Hill

Wild goats were plentiful in the area and have adapted well to harsh climate and sparse vegetation.

We left Tibooburra the day after we lost the State of Origin and headed towards Cameron Corner – I couldn’t up with all the Queenslanders walking around looking superior!

It was interesting drive and we saw our first ever clay pan.

Clay Pan

 

We couldn’t visit corner country without having a look at the Dingo Fence.  At over 5,000 kms long it is the longest fence in the world and is still used to keep the dingoes away from the sheep in the South East part of Australia.

Dingo Fence

After a quick visit to Cameron Corner for a beer and a chat to the owners of the store we decided to head back to Fort Grey Campground to camp for a few days.  We were very surprised to find that we were the only ones staying there and it was nearly two days before anyone else arrived.  We had the choice of all the prime camp spots so we set up right next to one of the shelters to provide a bit of protection in case it rained.

Our Campsite

The shelter included fresh water and free gas BBQ’s which was totally unexpected.  As we were the only ones around we didn’t feel the need to pack everything away when we went exploring.

The only problem with this was the birds stealing our food – they ate nearly a full packet of chips and I caught one flying off with half a packet of Nice biscuits.

On one of our walks we were surprised to find Lake Pinaroo and even more surprised that it is was full of water!  A lot of the lakes that we have visited on our travels have been empty but this was one wasn’t.  It was a haven for the bird life of the area and in the evening thousands of Corellas literally covered all the trees on the opposite side of the lake.  It’s hard to explain the sight and sound of so many birds in one place and it needs to be experienced personally.

Until you get away from the city lights you do not realise how many stars there really are in the sky.  While I was waiting for Danni to wake up (I had convinced her that she should watch the sunrise with me and witness the Golden Hour) I took a few shots of the starry sky.

Stars of the Outback

 

The morning’s sunrise wasn’t a spectacular one but it give me the opportunity to show Danni why I get up so early for my photography.  The rising sun just lit the trees a beautiful golden colour.

The Golden Hour

We would have both been happy to spend the rest of the holiday camped right here as it was so peaceful (forgetting the thousands of Corellas that is) but we had accommodation booked at Silverton and we needed to leave after two nights.  At least it gave me time to shoot the sunrise and the sunset.

This was my favourite photo from Lake Pinaroo and was taken late in the afternoon as I was waiting for the sun to set.

The Cloud Makers

The next stage of the trip was to the historic town of Silverton which will be included in the next update.

If you would like to see more photos from the trip then head over to my Facebook page or my Flickr set.

Cameron Corner – There and Back (Part 1)

As soon as we arrived back from our last trip to the outback regions of NSW my wife, Danni and I couldn’t wait to plan another trip to explore more locations.  After looking at a map of NSW and googling various locations of interest we decided upon a route that was a big loop around the NSW outback.

The Route

We had planned to leave bright and early on the Sunday morning and drive straight to Lightning Ridge but we are both impatient and as soon as the car was packed on the Saturday night we headed off.  We made it to Dubbo and caught a few hours sleep before continuing on to Lightning Ridge.  For those that haven’t been to Lightning Ridge it is an opal mining town and is dotted with mounds of opal dirt.  There are self guided tours that you can take by following the colour coded car doors.

Some of the locals seem very protective of their opal mines.

They Don’t Muck Around Out Here

A popular place in Lightning Ridge is the hot artesian baths which are a constant 41.5 C and is a very relaxing way to end the day.

There are quite a few odd looking “dwellings” around the town including houses made out of glass bottles, sheets of iron around caravans and a church that was built for the movie “The Goddess of 1967”.

Church built for the Goddess of 1967 movie

In the background of the church photo you can see all the mounds of opal dirt.  We hadn’t seen enough mounds of opal dirt at this stage so we decided to pay a visit to the Club in the Scrub and the Hilton Hotel at Grawin.  These are both very interesting places to visit and you are bound to see a few unusual locals around the area.  Make sure that you pack your golf clubs as the Club in the Scrub has it’s very own golf course!

Outback Golf Course

After spending a pleasant two nights at the Opal Cottage we packed the car up again and headed west towards Wanaaring where we had booked a nights accommodation in the pub at the bargain price of $65!.  I must admit that you get what you pay for but the bed was comfortable and the shower was awesome (hot and powerful).

Only the way we passed through a lot of wide open spaces and some scary towns.  You don’t feel very safe when you towns with every window and door barred.

Wide Open Spaces

We had planned to drive directly from Bourke to Wanaaring but a road train had become stuck on the dirt road and the road was blocked to traffic.  A quick look at the map and we found that if we headed north through Fords Bridge and further towards the Qld border that we could cut across and then drive back down to Wanaaring.  Fords Bridge is basically a pub on the side of the road but we stopped and had a few beers and lots of laughs with a few locals.  We don’t know how it happened but the quick visit turned into a longer one and we ended up playing a TV quiz type game on the front verandah of the pub.

Time for a Detour

Despite having a great time at the pub we had to head off again before it got too late as it is not safe to drive on the outback roads at dusk due to the wild pigs, emus and kangaroos that often cross the road without warning.  We nearly did get hit by a black pig that was was wide as it was tall and it came barrelling out from the scrub on the side and we narrowly avoiding colliding with it.

We drove for hours on the detour and didn’t see any other cars or people.  There was a scary moment for Danni (she said something like Oh Shit) when the car slid off the wet road and into a boggy patch and stopped.  It wasn’t a problem as I put the Navara into low range and drove it back onto the dry surface without any trouble at all.

If you look at this photo of the typical road you will understand how just a small amount of rain can turn it into a problem.

 

Road to Wanaaring

People of the outback seem to be having a competition to see who can have the most unusual mail boxes and this one was one of the most unusual ones that we come across.

Unusual Mail Box

Wanaaring is not a very big town and we didn’t stray far away from the pub while we were there.  We were lucky to score the honeymoon suite out near the clothes line.

Wanaaring Honeymoon Suite

We woke to a foggy morning and did a quick tour of the town, from memory I think that only 3 families live in the town and they were all related!  We had some time to kill as we needed fuel and the general store wasn’t yet open so we headed down to the Paroo River to cook some breakfast.

The fog still hadn’t lifted by the time that breakfast was finished but the general store was now open and we could fuel up for the drive to Tibooburra which is known as the most remote town in NSW.

Wanaaring General Store

 

Look out for the next instalment of Cameron Corner – There and Back, which will include Tibooburra and Cameron Corner.

Beyond the Great Dividing Range

Little Topar

While we are planning on a new trip to outback NSW I thought that I would share some of the images taken on our last trip.  Our last trip in the middle of summer in January, 2012 and we ventured from home to Hay the first day.  Not a lot of photo opportunities as the Hay Plains are a bit boring to drive along as there was not much to see.

Turlee Station

The next day we drove to Turlee Sheep Station where we would be staying for the next four nights.  With a few days of temperatures around 40 degrees, the air-conditioned cabin was a great place to be in the middle of the night.

The reason that we chose to stay at this location was because it was a short drive down the road from Mungo National Park.

Mungo National Park has a lot of historical significance as it was the location for the oldest human remains in Australia which were dated as being 42,000 years old.  Outside of Africa these are the oldest modern human remains discovered.

The highlight to me of Mungo National Park was the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

The road from Turlee to Mungo was not without its hazards.  We always had to be on the lookout for emus and kangaroos as there were plenty of them around.  Our way was often blocked by a ram that we nicknamed Nigel.  No matter what time of day or which direction we were driving from we would come across Nigel standing in the middle of the road!

Nigel the Ram

Nigel from behind!

When we drove up to Nigel he would just turn around and run along the middle of the road for a few hundred metres in the same direction that we were heading.

 

 

 

 

Mungo National Park is a great place to visit and not just because I am a photographer.  The tour guides were excellent and explained so much of the history of the location.  It was easy to see why it has so much historical significance to the Aborigines.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the classic windmill scene while at Mungo

Windmill of Mungo

While staying at Turlee Station we took a day trip to Mildura and shredded a tyre along the way.  We discovered that tyres do not last long when the wall is pierced by sharp stones!  We were lucky to find a tyre shop open and were able to buy a new tyre for the Navara.

Perry Sandhills

We made a slight detour on the way back to Turlee by visiting Perry Sandhills. The sandhills are slowly moving and covering the huge gum trees in the area.  Much to the amusement of my wife Danni, I did try my hand at sliding down the sand dune on a piece of cardboard and failed miserably!

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back from Perry Sandhills we spotted another iconic Australian scene, the rusted old car on the side of the road.

Outback Wreck

 

The lovely hosts of Turlee, Nathen and Sophie Wakefield, invited us to spend some time photographing them while they worked with their sheep.  Being a working sheep station in an isolated area, the whole family gets involved including the children.

Everybody has a job to do!

Their young daughter took it upon herself to rescue any lambs that had been separated from their mother.  She showed no fear walking through a herd of sheep that were nearly as tall as she was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next town on the itinerary was Menindee and Kinchega National Park.  The stunning lakes of Menindee are often empty due to the droughts that we have experienced in NSW, however when we visited them they were overflowing to the extent that they were being pumped out into the river system.  This was the first time in over 10 years that the lakes had been full. I am not sure what it is but myself and other photographers seem to have a fascination for dead trees and there are plenty of them located in the Menindee Lakes.

Sunset at Menindee

 

Menindee Magic

 

The serenity at the lake was amazing and was only shattered when Danni decided that she wished to catch up with her friends on the mobile phone (unfortunately, there was full mobile service out there)

 

 

We stayed at a lovely Red Earth Motel at Broken Hill and used it as a base for trips to one of the most interesting and quirky little towns that you could visit, Silverton.  The hotel at Silverton has been used for many movies including Mission Impossible II, Razorback and Madmax.

Relic of the Past

Mundi Mundi Plains

Silverton Church

 

Silverton is full of history and people with character.  It is a haven for artists due to the beautiful and unusual subjects available to them.

 

Amazing sunset at Whitecliffs

We will definitely be returning to Silverton the next trip and will use it as a base a for a few days while we explore the area.  The next town that we were visiting was White Cliffs which is famous for its opals and underground houses.  We had planned to spend one day there and travel further north but the roads were closed due to flooding so we spent two days days in White Cliffs.  The first night was at the White Cliffs Hotel which had some of the portable rooms used to accommodate the Olympic competitors at the 2000 Olympics available for use motel rooms.  We witnessed the most amazing sunset while at Whitecliffs.

 

 

You can’t visit White Cliffs without staying at the Underground Motel as it is quite an experience to sleep in what is basically a hole in the ground.  They have a plenty of rooms, a dining area, a pool and bar.

Handy to know!

The Cullens

There were some wonderful sights and photo opportunities around the area and you can even try your hand at noodling for opals while you are there but make sure that you have a fossicking licence. We did find it interesting that the local council felt it necessary to have a big sign advising that you need a permit to bury someone in the cemetery.  I would not have thought that there were too many people running around burying bodies without a permit.  For fans of the Twlight series you will be pleased to know that I have found where the Cullens are staying for their holidays.

Welcome to White Cliffs

Some of the signs are confusing though, you have the huge welcome sign and then you have one like this which clearly indicates that they do not like tourists.

I think they are serious

Welcome to Cobar

After 9 days of driving and enjoying the sights it was time to make our way back home.  We decided to visit the home of Elvis at Parkes for a night to break the trip up as it was quite a long drive from White Cliffs.  The trip home was via Cobar which is famous for its mining history.

Elvis!

All in all we travelled 3,800 kms in 10 days  and can’t wait to do it again!!

 

 

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