I should have blogged this awhile back…never got around to it. I still want to talk about though. So here goes…
Back in April, I had a funny feeling wash over me…another footy season had arrived. It just felt same old, same old. Now, I love my footy but with three footy loving boys and a husband involved with the greatest football team in the world (the Collingwood Football Club), I needed a change of scenery to get me through.
I had to see and do something different…and soon…
I explained this to my husband, who looked completely dumbfounded (this is coming from a man who watches AFL 360 every night and never misses a game of footy – how can one ever get enough football?). So, my husband asked ‘What would you like to do?’
I was reading The Age Travel Section at the time and pointed to an ad for outback adventures. I couldn’t go for long…too much family stuff happening. But, here was a perfect weekend away…with Australian Air Holidays.
A flight over Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Rangers, a night in a cave in Coober Pedy (never been there), a ‘low and slow’ flight over Lake Eyre (I had been absolutely dying to see this since my parents had travelled there in 2009), Warburton Groove, Goyder Lagoon and the famous Simpson Desert, with lunch in Birdsville before flying home. Perfect!
So, this was my birthday weekend. All by myself…
I made some lovely new friends, and yes, okay, they were all over the age of 60 years, but we had a ball. I couldn’t get over how much I enjoyed the flight, everyone was so interesting and engaging and they all had wonderful stories to tell, and the…
‘Mrs. McMullin, would you like another cup of tea?’ (man, I could get used to this). ‘Don’t mind if I do, thank you.’
And as I took pics of everything, I appeared to score the best seat on the plane for every leg of the trip.
I got such a shock in Coober Pedy. The colour of the sky, the vivid red of the desert, the piles of dirt and holes everywhere. It looked so unfamiliar and lunar. And the horizon was vast, a 360 degree view. The wide openness. I loved it. I could breath out here.
When I quizzed the locals about Opal Mining (Coober Pedy produces 95% of the worlds opals), they said:
‘Nah, no opals out here, love. There’s nothing out here.’
And yet there were holes absolutely everywhere?
And there were these signs…
‘Why don’t you just fill them in?’ I asked one local.
‘Oh,’ as if they’d never thought of that? They must have been having me on.
I’d been writing a piece about ‘The Cattle King’ Sir Sydney Kidman and I’d read about how cattle thrived on ‘cotton bush’ and ‘saltbush’. I’d never seen these plants before. And from Prahran, that was kinda hard to imagine. So to be able to see these plants and to be able to touch them and smell them was fabulous (yeah, I know, I gotta get out more).
On the way to Lake Eyre we flew over Anna Creek Station (still owned by Sydney Kidman’s family) and the Anna Painted Hills. It was just beautiful, check out the colours…it’s from water run off and oxide minerals in the soil.
I was initially a little disappointed when we flew over Lake Eyre. Only two weeks before the water had completely dried up from the big fill of 2009. All the birds had gone, but as my guide pointed out, the beauty of the drying salt lake was amazing.
Patterns made by nature, algae, evaporation, wind and cracked crystalline salt were just wonderful.
And the maze of tributaries of the Goyder Lagoon was spectacular.
Lunch at Birdsville was fun, the scenery harsh but beautiful.
Anyway, I loved my outback experience…everything I saw, the people I met…all fuel for the imagination and yes, after my adventure, I happily settled back in to another footy season with my boys.