Out in the Outback

Just because we’ve seen the Rock doesn’t mean the Outback is over. Far from it. After leaving Kings Canyon, we drove to Alice Springs, which at any other time would’ve seemed like a small, dusty town, but after a week in the Outback was just as exciting as driving into New York City. After two days back in civilization (and two nights in beds!), we drove off again into the vast nothingness that is central Australia. Our first stop was the Devils Marbles. These rocks were formed naturally by erosion, and are sometimes balanced so precariously that you have to wonder how they stay up.

Me at the top of the Devil's Marbles

The wonderful thing about traveling in the Outback is that you almost never have to share space with anyone. When we went to the Devils Marbles, there were only two other people there.

Bob tries to move a marble

 Driving in the Outback sounds like it would be monotonous, but it is far from it. The landscape changes drastically. In some parts of outback Queensland, the grass is as white as a cloud. It’s called Mitchell grass and in the whole world, it is only found out here.

Mitchell grass

We also saw lots of little mounds. We wondered for a while if these were created by erosion, animals, or goodness knows what. After awhile I remembered something I had seen on another travel blog. Out here, I suppose the termites have no houses to infest (there aren’t any,) so they turn their attention to building mounds instead. They’re made of saliva and termite poo. The ones we saw were only a foot or two high, but I’ve seen photos of some six feet tall or more. I apologize for the blurriness of the picture; I took it from a moving car.

Termite mounds

Then it was on to the town of Tennant Creek to spend the night. We stayed at a campsite that charged us a $3 per head water levy… we paid it, then when we asked where the drinking water was, we were informed that there was none. (Actually, the woman working there gave us a surprised look and said, “I don’t drink the water here. We sell bottled right over there.”) So we basically paid $12 for enough water to take a shower, brush our teeth, and flush the toilets. But what Tennant Creek lacks in water, it makes up for in sunsets.

Sunset, Tennant Creek

The next day, we plodded on to Julia Creek. Isn’t it funny how all these places in the Outback have “creek” in the name? It’s so misleading. We didn’t see any creeks in Julia Creek, but we did see another amazing sunset (followed later that night by an amazing electrical storm that forced us out of our tents and into the car. Bob declared that he would not be camping any more.)

Sunset, Julia Creek

Our car was a little worse for the wear after so many miles. There was sand eveywhere, inside and out, and a veritable insect cemetery on the front grill. Luckily, we avoided hitting anything larger (though we did have a close call with a kangaroo!)

The sorry state of our car after about 4000 miles


2 thoughts on “Out in the Outback

  1. Actually, at one point while we were driving, lightning struck close to us that we all felt a very strong vibration. We all looked at each other and asked “Did lightning just strike our car?” It was very, very weird and no one is sure whether the car was struck or if it was just the ground nearby.

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