Thinking Of Visiting Australia?

blessmycottonsocks

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On my daily train commute I've been reading an anthology of weird road stories called "The End of the Road".
One, read yesterday morning, featured ghosts along the iconic Birdsville Track - a 517 km dirt road running roughly South to North through some of the most desolate and inhospitable terrain on Earth.
It really fired my imagination and I simply cannot get this out of my head. I've been watching Youtube videos of people's experiences along this amazing route (including the famous "Back of Beyond" docudrama) ever since,
Given the number of people who, ill-prepared for the heat, rough terrain and sheer distance involved, have died along this track, it would be surprising if there wasn't a ghost or two somewhere out there.
I so want to visit Australia and travel along the Birdsville Track one day (persuading the missus to join me won't be easy though!)
Any of you forumists familiar with this remote section of the Outback and have a tale to tell?
 

Lord Lucan

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On my daily train commute I've been reading an anthology of weird road stories called "The End of the Road".
One, read yesterday morning, featured ghosts along the iconic Birdsville Track - a 517 km dirt road running roughly South to North through some of the most desolate and inhospitable terrain on Earth.
It really fired my imagination and I simply cannot get this out of my head. I've been watching Youtube videos of people's experiences along this amazing route (including the famous "Back of Beyond" docudrama) ever since,
Given the number of people who, ill-prepared for the heat, rough terrain and sheer distance involved, have died along this track, it would be surprising if there wasn't a ghost or two somewhere out there.
I so want to visit Australia and travel along the Birdsville Track one day (persuading the missus to join me won't be easy though!)
Any of you forumists familiar with this remote section of the Outback and have a tale to tell?
My mother and step father drove it over 30 years ago without trouble thought you do have to be very well prepared. Take lots of water, more than you think you'll need. It's a desolate part of the World and you may not see another person for days, certainly hours.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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My mother and step father drove it over 30 years ago without trouble thought you do have to be very well prepared. Take lots of water, more than you think you'll need. It's a desolate part of the World and you may not see another person for days, certainly hours.
Was hoping to do a virtual trip along the Birdsville Track, but disappointed to see that Google Street View stops just at the Marree turn-off!

IMG_0660.JPG
 

Mungoman

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On my daily train commute I've been reading an anthology of weird road stories called "The End of the Road".
One, read yesterday morning, featured ghosts along the iconic Birdsville Track - a 517 km dirt road running roughly South to North through some of the most desolate and inhospitable terrain on Earth.
It really fired my imagination and I simply cannot get this out of my head. I've been watching Youtube videos of people's experiences along this amazing route (including the famous "Back of Beyond" docudrama) ever since,
Given the number of people who, ill-prepared for the heat, rough terrain and sheer distance involved, have died along this track, it would be surprising if there wasn't a ghost or two somewhere out there.
I so want to visit Australia and travel along the Birdsville Track one day (persuading the missus to join me won't be easy though!)
Any of you forumists familiar with this remote section of the Outback and have a tale to tell?
No BMCS. I veered left at Port Augusta...I used to deliver and pick up 72 inch drum, sheeps foot rollers when they sealed the rest of the road up through South Aus to the NT border.

The track was a built wild in those days.
 

Ladyloafer

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when i was a kid i was fascinated with outback australia. i think it stemmed from a combo of 'The flying doctors' tv show and that alan wicker programme about coober pedy- the place where its so hot everyone lives in caves dug out from opal mining.

so anyhoo in the 90's i finally got to go, as a backpacker/traveller. i had a work permit. i had wanted to go and work 'in the outback' however when it came down to it i was either too scared to go off to someplace in the actual middle of nowhere on my own, or mostly lacked the skills needed to do those jobs.

but unlike many of my fellow backpacking poms i did manage some semi-adventures.

i took a week long trip, with a tour group- maybe a dozen people?- from adelaide up the oonadatta track. i remember the crappy old bus breaking down several times, travelling accross woomera, where you weren't supposed to step of the road (so naturally we stopped the bus to do exactly that), going through the 'dingo fence' which was signposted with a painted car bonnet, staying at a place called william creek which was a 'station' (ranch) that iirc was 'the size of belgium'! that night i woke up in the wee hours and looked out my tent to see dingos running around. we also went to the aforementioned coober pedy and stayed in a cave (obviously).

the thing i remember most in coober pedy was the colour of the sky. its was the bluest blue. like a deep, deep, intense blue that seemed to be so clear your could see the stars even in daylight!?!

the trip then completed with a few days at the usual haunts of kings canyon, uluru (in the rain!) and katja juta.


a few months later i traveled by car with a couple of friends up the west coast from perth to broome. this was less 'off track' being a proper sealed highway, but the very nature of the distances means its still was remote. thats one thing i still found hard to fanthom. you could look out in the distance and other than the actual road there was no signs of humans anywhere. no building, fences, aerials, watertowers, nothing for miles and miles and miles. wow.

we also diverted 'off road' a couple of times to do some touristy stuff, so there was that frisson of 'danger' but probably not really. besides, the guy who owned the car, had already driven it across the outback proper from uluru to, erm kalgoorlie? um, not sure the name of that route so i felt safe in the knowledge that he knew what he was doing, even if i was completely ignorant!

i had also wanted to travel up cape york, but i really couldn't afford it. different kind of outback. less dying of thirst, more eaten by crocodiles.
 

Ladyloafer

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but in addition i do have a vaguely fortean outback tale.

so once in darwin at the top end, i found myself running low on cash. wasn't completely broke, managed a trip to kakadu, hung out at the sunset markets, lounged around the hostel pool. also found myself amongst people i'd previously met 3 months and half a country away. this happened a lot, but was not as bizarre as it could be, as backpackers tended to travel a well trodden path.

darwin was somewhat lacking in decent jobs at that moment, and the jobs centre threw up a position as 'general assistant' at a remote roadhouse 'down the track'. after like 2 phonecalls i had the job. pretty f8cking crazy when you think about it. a young foreign woman just randomly going to the middle of nowhere after chatting to some bloke on the phone! (i'm fairly sure i told many people where i was going). but it was on the stuart highway, so if it was dreadful i could always hitch out of there (assuming i hadn't been murdered and fed to the lizards).

so a mere 8 hour bus trip away i find myself at Dunmarra Inn.

a roadhouse, restaurant, bar, a camping field, 6 motel units, a petrol station, assorted staff and owners buildings and 4 trees. all water came from tanks, all electric came from a generator.

the tv (no satelite!) had one channel, sometimes 2 if the weather was right. my radio picked up one station. a 'staff' room, had formally been a schoolroom. school was 'the school of the air', lesson by two-way radio and post.

post was picked up once a week. the nearest medical help was a nurse an hour south, the nearest police a hour north. the hospital was 4 hour drive north at Katharine. in the event of a serious emergency the nearest airstrip for the flying doctors to land was at a station at least half hour away. if neccessary the police could stop the road and a plane land on the road.

this almost happened once while i was there. a woman had been taken seriously ill in a car about a mile up the road. our chef, who was also a paramedic(!) dispatched himself, as did the nurse from Eliot. turns out she didn't need the flying doctors. me and one of my co-workers who was also a foreign backpacker were bitterly disappointed not to have the plane land in front of us, while the rest of the staff ('locals' meaning they were born within 500 miles) looked at us in abject disgust.

another time my boss took a late night phone call as part of the fire crew. the fire crew being, everyone who lived anywhere in reach. he filled up his water trailer and trundled off in the dark to whatever was on fire.

all this might seem fairly standard stuff to those who live in vast countries and remote places, but for a semi-urban english girl it was terribly exciting. which it needed to be as the job itself was terribly boring even if i did meet some interesting people. many many truckers, driving road trains- trucks with 2 or 3 trailers. they would pull up, stick the fuel nozzle in the tank, and in the time it would take to fill up a 1000 litres of fuel, they've had 3 coffees and a steak sandwich, and maybe had a shower too.

plus we had the long distance buses through twice a day, so there was busy times. most of the time i was there we also had a road crew living in mobile homes in the back field. thankfully they had their own cook and kitchen but it kept the bar busy in the evening, with fellas who called women 'sheilas' without a trace of irony and told many a tall tale. they were off 'grading' roads which as i understood it, every year non sealed roads had to be re-flattened because they would become unusable.

the turn off to one of the long distance 'tracks' was only a short way north of us. i think it was called the buchanan highway?

so all this was very different to me but there is a story that brought home the real remoteness to me.

about 2 years before i was there, my boss steve, lived there and ran the place with his then wife and their 2 kids. they were outback kids. they knew the score. where they could and couldn't go. what they could and couldn't do. they attended the school of the air. one day it was super busy at the roadhouse because they were having some big equipment delivered. to get them out the way steve took the boys off on their scramble bikes, up the road to 'the dump'. but the younger one didn't want to go. so he stayed behind. then he changed his mind and followed them. mum assumed he was with his dad, dad assumed he was home with mum.

it wasn't till a few hours later they realised he was missing.

they went looking. followed the expected track. then the nearby tracks.

no sign. the police were alerted. a full scale search began for an 8 years old boy missing in the outback. for those who don't know, this is not just sand dunes or dirt, but low scrubby trees and bushes everywhere. plus although the landscape looked pretty flat there, theres dips, gullys, ditches, holes, rocks.

his bike was found, out of fuel and in a place where clint should not have been. he could be hurt, was definately lost. its cold at night, hot in the day. he had no water or food.

the army joined the search. the air force. people came from all over the country to help search for him. 1200 people volunteered!

the aboriginal community sent people with tracking skills. the aboriginal women sat with clints mum and said wherever he was the ancestors would be watching him, looking after him.

after a few days it was fairly obvious they were now likely looking for a body. but there were no scavengers in the air. no usual signs.

his body was found 10 days after he'd been missing. not that far from where he was lost. and despite likely having been dead a week, there were no marks on him. no creature or insects had been scavenging.

the only explanation anyone could give was, the ancestors. the spirits of the land, had as the women said, watched over him.
 

Mungoman

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but in addition i do have a vaguely fortean outback tale.

so once in darwin at the top end, i found myself running low on cash. wasn't completely broke, managed a trip to kakadu, hung out at the sunset markets, lounged around the hostel pool. also found myself amongst people i'd previously met 3 months and half a country away. this happened a lot, but was not as bizarre as it could be, as backpackers tended to travel a well trodden path.

darwin was somewhat lacking in decent jobs at that moment, and the jobs centre threw up a position as 'general assistant' at a remote roadhouse 'down the track'. after like 2 phonecalls i had the job. pretty f8cking crazy when you think about it. a young foreign woman just randomly going to the middle of nowhere after chatting to some bloke on the phone! (i'm fairly sure i told many people where i was going). but it was on the stuart highway, so if it was dreadful i could always hitch out of there (assuming i hadn't been murdered and fed to the lizards).

so a mere 8 hour bus trip away i find myself at Dunmarra Inn.

a roadhouse, restaurant, bar, a camping field, 6 motel units, a petrol station, assorted staff and owners buildings and 4 trees. all water came from tanks, all electric came from a generator.

the tv (no satelite!) had one channel, sometimes 2 if the weather was right. my radio picked up one station. a 'staff' room, had formally been a schoolroom. school was 'the school of the air', lesson by two-way radio and post.

post was picked up once a week. the nearest medical help was a nurse an hour south, the nearest police a hour north. the hospital was 4 hour drive north at Katharine. in the event of a serious emergency the nearest airstrip for the flying doctors to land was at a station at least half hour away. if neccessary the police could stop the road and a plane land on the road.

this almost happened once while i was there. a woman had been taken seriously ill in a car about a mile up the road. our chef, who was also a paramedic(!) dispatched himself, as did the nurse from Eliot. turns out she didn't need the flying doctors. me and one of my co-workers who was also a foreign backpacker were bitterly disappointed not to have the plane land in front of us, while the rest of the staff ('locals' meaning they were born within 500 miles) looked at us in abject disgust.

another time my boss took a late night phone call as part of the fire crew. the fire crew being, everyone who lived anywhere in reach. he filled up his water trailer and trundled off in the dark to whatever was on fire.

all this might seem fairly standard stuff to those who live in vast countries and remote places, but for a semi-urban english girl it was terribly exciting. which it needed to be as the job itself was terribly boring even if i did meet some interesting people. many many truckers, driving road trains- trucks with 2 or 3 trailers. they would pull up, stick the fuel nozzle in the tank, and in the time it would take to fill up a 1000 litres of fuel, they've had 3 coffees and a steak sandwich, and maybe had a shower too.

plus we had the long distance buses through twice a day, so there was busy times. most of the time i was there we also had a road crew living in mobile homes in the back field. thankfully they had their own cook and kitchen but it kept the bar busy in the evening, with fellas who called women 'sheilas' without a trace of irony and told many a tall tale. they were off 'grading' roads which as i understood it, every year non sealed roads had to be re-flattened because they would become unusable.

the turn off to one of the long distance 'tracks' was only a short way north of us. i think it was called the buchanan highway?

so all this was very different to me but there is a story that brought home the real remoteness to me.

about 2 years before i was there, my boss steve, lived there and ran the place with his then wife and their 2 kids. they were outback kids. they knew the score. where they could and couldn't go. what they could and couldn't do. they attended the school of the air. one day it was super busy at the roadhouse because they were having some big equipment delivered. to get them out the way steve took the boys off on their scramble bikes, up the road to 'the dump'. but the younger one didn't want to go. so he stayed behind. then he changed his mind and followed them. mum assumed he was with his dad, dad assumed he was home with mum.

it wasn't till a few hours later they realised he was missing.

they went looking. followed the expected track. then the nearby tracks.

no sign. the police were alerted. a full scale search began for an 8 years old boy missing in the outback. for those who don't know, this is not just sand dunes or dirt, but low scrubby trees and bushes everywhere. plus although the landscape looked pretty flat there, theres dips, gullys, ditches, holes, rocks.

his bike was found, out of fuel and in a place where clint should not have been. he could be hurt, was definately lost. its cold at night, hot in the day. he had no water or food.

the army joined the search. the air force. people came from all over the country to help search for him. 1200 people volunteered!

the aboriginal community sent people with tracking skills. the aboriginal women sat with clints mum and said wherever he was the ancestors would be watching him, looking after him.

after a few days it was fairly obvious they were now likely looking for a body. but there were no scavengers in the air. no usual signs.

his body was found 10 days after he'd been missing. not that far from where he was lost. and despite likely having been dead a week, there were no marks on him. no creature or insects had been scavenging.

the only explanation anyone could give was, the ancestors. the spirits of the land, had as the women said, watched over him.

You've experienced the real Australia and real Australians LL - not many people (Australians too) get the chance.

Terrible about Clint.
 

Lord Lucan

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when i was a kid i was fascinated with outback australia. i think it stemmed from a combo of 'The flying doctors' tv show and that alan wicker programme about coober pedy- the place where its so hot everyone lives in caves dug out from opal mining.

so anyhoo in the 90's i finally got to go, as a backpacker/traveller. i had a work permit. i had wanted to go and work 'in the outback' however when it came down to it i was either too scared to go off to someplace in the actual middle of nowhere on my own, or mostly lacked the skills needed to do those jobs.

but unlike many of my fellow backpacking poms i did manage some semi-adventures.

i took a week long trip, with a tour group- maybe a dozen people?- from adelaide up the oonadatta track. i remember the crappy old bus breaking down several times, travelling accross woomera, where you weren't supposed to step of the road (so naturally we stopped the bus to do exactly that), going through the 'dingo fence' which was signposted with a painted car bonnet, staying at a place called william creek which was a 'station' (ranch) that iirc was 'the size of belgium'! that night i woke up in the wee hours and looked out my tent to see dingos running around. we also went to the aforementioned coober pedy and stayed in a cave (obviously).

the thing i remember most in coober pedy was the colour of the sky. its was the bluest blue. like a deep, deep, intense blue that seemed to be so clear your could see the stars even in daylight!?!

the trip then completed with a few days at the usual haunts of kings canyon, uluru (in the rain!) and katja juta.


a few months later i traveled by car with a couple of friends up the west coast from perth to broome. this was less 'off track' being a proper sealed highway, but the very nature of the distances means its still was remote. thats one thing i still found hard to fanthom. you could look out in the distance and other than the actual road there was no signs of humans anywhere. no building, fences, aerials, watertowers, nothing for miles and miles and miles. wow.

we also diverted 'off road' a couple of times to do some touristy stuff, so there was that frisson of 'danger' but probably not really. besides, the guy who owned the car, had already driven it across the outback proper from uluru to, erm kalgoorlie? um, not sure the name of that route so i felt safe in the knowledge that he knew what he was doing, even if i was completely ignorant!

i had also wanted to travel up cape york, but i really couldn't afford it. different kind of outback. less dying of thirst, more eaten by crocodiles.
It's remote isn't it? Often flying back from Europe or Asia your aircraft will pass directly over Broome. Look out the window from 35,000 feet and there are no other lights up or down the coast aside from ships out at sea. That's a long way from anywhere.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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Don't just visit - Work, you lazy sods!

Dream job alert: How you could score a plum role running one of the most picturesque islands on the Great Barrier Reef - but there's a catch

The job is on offer at Low Isles - a 1.6ha coral cay famous for its snorkelling tours just 15km off the coast of Port Douglas.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority are on the hunt for new caretakers, but applicants should be warned the job involves more than just swimming and sun baking.

The authority's project manager Stephanie Lemm said the role of a caretaker is very important in protecting the island, and takes a bit of elbow grease.

'On face value, this looks like a dream job in paradise, but maintaining an island is hard work and island living means limiting electricity and water use which may not suit everyone,' she told The Cairns Post.

'The caretakers are involved in everything from maintaining the light station buildings, liaising with tourist operators, cleaning compost toilets, managing weeds, and counting pied imperial pigeons.'

She said people willing to get their hands dirty would be ideal applicants for the role.

'For this reason, we're seeking people with experience in infrastructure maintenance and an ability to maintain the natural and heritage values of the island,' Ms Lamm said.

One of the oldest lighthouses in Queensland sits atop the leafy island, which is visited everyday by tour companies offering snorkelling and diving tours.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ar...ier-Reef-island-comes-FREE-accommodation.html
 

Anome

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Of course you can't have a Gaytime on your own. If you're on your own, it's not gay.

These days you can get Gaytimes in all sorts of flavours, not just the Golden Gaytime. And you can get Golden Gaytime ice cream in 2 litre tubs, and even Golden Gaytime Cornettos.

Don't care much for them, myself. Don't really like toffee.
 
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Strewth! I thought a JRT could handle a lizard.

An elderly couple has been attacked in Australia by a goanna (a large lizard), as they tried to stop it from savaging their dog, emergency officials say.

The man, in his 70s, was said to have sustained significant injuries and was airlifted to hospital after the incident in north-eastern Queensland.

The woman, in her 60s, was also taken to hospital with an injury to her foot.

The couple's dog, a long-haired Jack Russell cross, was seriously injured.

Goannas can grow up to 2m (6.5ft) in length, though most varieties are under 1m, and rarely attack humans.

The rescue service described the attack which took place in Flametree near Airlie Beach, as "a horrific and freak ordeal".

"The man suffered a very serious laceration and possible fracture of his right forearm as well as severe bleeding from his leg wound. He was in considerable pain," ABC News quotes an ambulance worker as saying.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-49368886
 

Lord Lucan

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Strewth! I thought a JRT could handle a lizard.

An elderly couple has been attacked in Australia by a goanna (a large lizard), as they tried to stop it from savaging their dog, emergency officials say.

The man, in his 70s, was said to have sustained significant injuries and was airlifted to hospital after the incident in north-eastern Queensland.

The woman, in her 60s, was also taken to hospital with an injury to her foot.

The couple's dog, a long-haired Jack Russell cross, was seriously injured.

Goannas can grow up to 2m (6.5ft) in length, though most varieties are under 1m, and rarely attack humans.

The rescue service described the attack which took place in Flametree near Airlie Beach, as "a horrific and freak ordeal".

"The man suffered a very serious laceration and possible fracture of his right forearm as well as severe bleeding from his leg wound. He was in considerable pain," ABC News quotes an ambulance worker as saying.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-49368886
Have you ever seen the claws on a goanna? They are fearsome.
goanna.jpg
 
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