As I mentioned last week
, we took a brief trip into the centre of this country, mostly to visit my sister and her husband. I loved Tucson when we visited
and thought that I should pay some mind to Australia's own desert landscape too. Firstly, it was a good call heading there in winter. It was stinking hot. I hate to imagine losing my will to live there in the middle of summer. As it was, I was applying moisturiser 3-4 times a day, lolling in the shade during the daylight hours and frequently having bleed-y nose issues, due to the constant dry winds and searing sun. Despite the harsh conditions, I'd rather experience weather than live in an air-conditioned bubble any day. I'll also add, this post has nothing to do with my outfit, just the spot where the photos were taken!
It's hard to describe the outback unless you've been there. It's tough. Aside from the heat, there is the isolation, lack of services and many social issues, mostly related to the clashing of traditional indigenous and modern day Australian culture. We arrived at Alice Springs airport and commenced the 5 hour drive to the 5th largest town in the Northern Territory. There's only 3,500 people, so it's not exactly a city. The drive is tedious and boring, made worse by the fact that we had no working source of music in the car and there are barely any radio stations along this lonely highway. We catch a five minute respite, an American woman reading poetry, but she is soon swallowed up by the the static. I have visions of Wolf Creek as we drive past the spot where a British backpacker tragically lost his life, in one of the crimes that inspired the film. This place is like Wolf Creek, and Mad Max in equal measure.
The highway is not busy, but there are some fellow travellers, mainly "Grey Nomads", retired folk criss-crossing their caravans across the country, road trains - 50 metre long triple carriage trucks carrying livestock, fuel and supplies between Darwin and Adelaide, and the occasional beat-up old car, stopped under a tree, waiting to pick up a family member or friend from one of the invisible (to me) indigenous 'camps' scattered throughout the landscape. There seems to be a constant puff of smoke on the horizon, something burning, never anything big, maybe a campfire. At some point we discover the source of one of the columns of smoke, a car, still alight, amongst scrub on the side of the road. A little further along, a big red kangaroo, having a lost a battle with one of the large vehicles, being fed upon by an enormous Wedge-Tailed Eagle, poised on the carcass like a great vulture.
I see a cow standing by the side of the road, belly swollen, it has eaten a native plant that is poisonous. It gazes over it's shoulder at our passing car with this look
, why? I wonder the same thing. I don't want to dismiss the beauty, the red dirt is striking, and every so often, an incredible rock formation juts toward the sky. This is some of the oldest land mass on the planet. It is worn down and tired from millions of years of weather beating down upon it. It is dry, hard and flat. With little volcanic activity to stir the ground, it slowly becomes dust and humps. Miraculously, life still thrives here, squat Acacia plants, tiny mammals and of course, the traditional owners of this land. There is quite an amazing eco-system, if you know how to see it.
I might leave you with that for now, I'll share a little about outback living in my next post. C and I did our bit and spent some time working on our holiday, we baked a spiderman cake for a little kid's birthday and did our best impression of postal workers.
Have you ever been to the outback? I wonder what other people think, and if you had the same impression as I did? My feelings may be coloured from films such as Wake In Fright
and Bad Boy Bubby
(which is set in Adelaide, but captures the spirit of the outback for me, in some way), and the documentary Cunnamulla
. It feels more like those to me than The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of The Desert
*All photos by C, taken in town.
Scarf // Handmade (gift)
Pink Cherry Earrings // Tokyo, Japan
Charm Necklace // Made by C :)