Archive for the 'Outback' Category

by Squage
on Mar 29th, 2007

Heading Bush

(Warning! This is something of an essay. Squage got a bit carried away with detail, so you’d best make sure you’ve got at least 20 minutes free to have a read of this. I suggest waiting until your boss / supervisor is in a meeting before starting. I mean, er, read it over lunch. No, er, at home. On your own PC. Yes! – Pat)

Er… yes. This is quite a long update. But hey, lots happened on Pat’s 10 Day Tour through the bush and it’s probably the highlight of the trips so far! Below is a list of the folk who were on the trip, a summary of a typical Heading Bush day, and then a daily diary of some of the cool things done and seen.

It’s taken me long enough to write this, so you’d better enjoy it :-)

Here goes then:


  • Hugh – Our driver and tour guide (although he’d hate that term). Very down to Earth – and knows his stuff when it comes to living out in the bush. When not telling us about his experiences and views on life, he’s doing impressions of Tim (but with a bad German accent) and asking “What’s the secret sign for X” – before flapping his arms around a la Team America World Police.
  • James (Charles) – Pat’s fellow Englishman for the trip, but only just – he’s from Carlisle – James definitely enjoyed our European friends taking the mick out of his northern accent. “Fook oof, you lot”…
  • Joel (Brother Joel) – Brother of Martin, Joel’s Swedish and does a hilarious English accent – and very suspect Elvis impressions. He also appears pretty awake in almost all situations. Pat is very jealous.
  • Lesley (MC Hammer) – Heading Bush was the last of Dublin lass Lesley’s time in Australia and she had mixed feelings about going home. Fortunately that didn’t stop her enjoying herself – and from wearing awesome MC Hammer trousers! :-)
  • Liz – From Holland and only 18 (Pat felt like SUCH an old man), Liz is a fan of, amoungst other things, Salad Fingers, which meant that a lot of time was spent by Pat and her saying things such as “I like roosty spoons” and “What’s wrong Mr Fingers?”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this out. And then try to forget you ever saw it.
  • Martin (Brother Martin) – Brother of Joel, Martin’s also swedish and also enjoys dodgy Elvis impressions. He’s usually the one who starts water fights :-)
  • Stein (Columbus) – Another wee thing (i.e. he’s 18), Stein’s from Denmark and is a really good laugh – when he’s not wandering out into the outback by himself and scaring the crap out of everyone (including himself), that is ;-)
  • Tim (Tim Fuckoffski) – Tim’s German and very funny. Happy to live up to the stereotype, he’s first to shout “Let’s take off our pants” at just about every opportunity. Also, following Pat and he talking about Fly-based songs for quite sometime, he’s also prone to breaking into versus of “Mr Fly Man” (to the tune of Mr Sandman) at any given occasion.
  • Tom (Sponge Bob) – Short and Scottish, he’s a farmer by trade and so was definitely the most handy person to have around. He knew his stuff. He was also a great laugh and spent many an hour coming up with actions to songs with Pat.
  • Vicki – A lovely lady, from Poland originally but now lives in Melbourne. She was the only over-30 with us but managed to put up with everyone’s nonsense in an incredible way. Down to earth and really good fun.

Oh and Pat’s nick name? Tofu. :-)

Each day generally went along these lines (excluding the getting out and seeing stuff):

Early Morning

  1. Wake up at the crack of Dawn (“What?!?”… *awkward silence as Brent walks away*…)
  2. Bash flies off face
  3. Sing (or listen to Tim singing) “Mr Fly Man”
  4. Stare at the horizon and go “Ooooooh”
  5. Pack up swags and sleeping bags
  6. Take photos of sunrise
  7. Grab some brekkie
  8. Politely decline Tim’s offer that everyone should drop their pants
  9. Wash dishes
  10. Throw swags onto roof of truck (ok, well, it was mainly “watch people throwing swags onto the roof of the truck” for Pat)
  11. Get in truck
  12. Doze off for a bit

During The Day, In The Heading Bush Mobile

  • Sit and read
  • Sing along to songs (such as Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag”)
  • Attempt to play cards whilst going over dirt roads (this was surprisingly successful!)
  • Come up with Lee Evans-style moves to various songs (ok, that was mainly Pat and Spongey)
  • Pretend that Jasper (Hugh’s stuffed toy dog) was singing into a microphone (what? That’s normal, right?)
  • Spray “Air Con” (i.e. bottles of water with spray-tops on) at ourselves to keep cool. This occasionally turns into spraying it at each other (particularly when someone’s asleep). Sometimes this can involve up to 6 people, and it almost always ends up with people laughing, drenched.
  • Stop occasionally to take photos of birds, lizards, camels, donkeys, kangaroos and wallabies.

Early Evening

  1. Pull into camp
  2. Rake the ground to get rid of wood, poo and other such delights
  3. Dump the swags and sleeping bags out
  4. Start preparing food (at least 2 people volunteering each night to be “Team Chop”)
  5. Curse at the bloody flies (and start singing Mr Fly Man)
  6. Play football / frisbee
  7. Have dinner
  8. Wish that the bloody flies would just go away (singing “I want these flies away” to the tune of Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away”)
  9. Have some beers
  10. Politely decline Tim’s offer to drop our pants
  11. Chat about life, the universe and everything around the camp fire
  12. Head to bed and stare at the skies

Here comes the big bit :-)

Day 1: Adelaide, Quorn and Flood Plains

  • Pat woke up bloody early (about 5:30am) and got onto the Heading Bush truck in a rather knackered state.
  • His first thoughts were “Oh crap, I thought Billy [Tour Guide from the G.O.R. Trip] was joking about the somewhat cramped seating”:

    Fortunately he got used to it…

  • First stop was the Heading Bush Office HQ (the owner’s house) to sign the usual “I agree that if I jump off a cliff it’s not Heading Bush’s fault” forms. It was at this point that Oliver (one of Pat’s fellow bench-occupiers) realised that he’d got in the wrong vehicle outside his hostel. Oops. Turns out that he should’ve been going on a Great Ocean Road tour – and just after he hopped on the Heading Bush Mobile (the HBM, as it’ll now be known) his bus turned up and buggered off without him.

    We don’t quite know what happened to Oliver, but I imagine he probably spent that night crying himself to sleep on a street corner in Adelaide…

  • After form signing and a much needed cup of tea (or three), Pat and the gang trundled into the HBM and the trip commenced!
  • The first stop was at the edge of the Flinders Ranges (oh, so many things in Oz are named after good ol’ Mr Flinders) on the way to which we saw two cyclists fall over each other (luckily both lived – well, they both sat up anyway), Pat and Tim had the most watery hot chocolate IN THE WORLD from a service station and we passed our first Road Train (a 3 trailer long biiiig lorry). The view from the ranges was a bit like this:
    Flinders Ranges Looking Out To The Ocean
    After a wander about, we made and ate some of what was to be a familiar lunch of sarnies with various fillings – whilst ensuring certain greedy locals (bloody great big Emus) didn’t get their beaks into it…

  • Next stop was a place that apparently tries to be a town but to those who’ve experienced real towns just doesn’t quite manage it:

  • We then set off onto a very large, flat area that was bone dry… yet was showing the tell-tale signs that it was, in fact, a flood plain:
    Floods: Rare But Powerful
    6 weeks beforehand, this 2M sign was a) submerged and b) bent over by the currents.
    Wooden Houses: Not Good Against Floods
    The remains of part of a settlement called the Kanyka Homestead. Proof that wooden houses aren’t much use against floods.

    The massive plain is surrounded by mountains, which under heavy rain throw water down at the plain in rather large amounts. Many parts of the road we travelled on had only just been recreated following being totally destroyed by rushing water 6 weeks earlier. Pat was glad there weren’t any clouds around.

  • Finally we visited a fully awesome swimming pool (whereupon Pat and the gang spent time diving, jumping, throwing balls and making whirlpools by running around in a big circle) and then headed for our campsite…
  • …which was a clearing amongst some trees in the middle of nowhere.
  • The evening was spent around the campfire, looking up at the stars (and my GOD were there a lot of stars to be seen… you could see the milky way all around… twas amazing) and then going out in the field to play frisbee in the dark. Luckily the frisbee had lights in it… which served as an excuse for Hugh to do some long exposure shots:
    Crazy Night Time Lights!
    Day 2: Winipena Pond, Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies and Oh My Wallah

    • After packing away our swags and grabbing some brekkie, we trundled off in the HBM out of the campsite.
    • Pat spent most of the 45 minutes first leg with his legs crossed due to forgetting a) to go to the loo before he left the camp and b) that he’d been drinking a shed load of water to prevent dehydration. Being driven around over bumpy dirt roads is NOT good for a stressed out bladder, he informs me.
    • On arriving at Winipena Pond (Pat making an emergency detour to the bog block), the gang set off on a leisurely walk to check out some of the views. They were pretty nice:
      Pat At Winipena Pond
      More Pat.  More Winipeda Pond.
      The whole place looks like a massive volcanic crater, but apparently it’s not. Geologists say it’s just a mountain range that’s in an odd bowl shape for one reason or another. Mind you, judging by the way Aussie geologists work, they’ll probably decide in 5 years that it actually is a volcano… or a former glacier… or perhaps Atlantis.

    • Then it was on to Razorback Outlook:
      Pat Looking Sharp

    • And then to have a look for some of the rare Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies (in a Top Secret Location ™ of Hugh’s, which I’m not allowed to share (and wouldn’t be able to anyway other than saying “Er… it’s in the Flinders Ranges somewhere”)). See if you can actually spot one in the “amazing” shot Pat managed to get:
      Spot The Rock Wallaby!
      Hint: it’s in the photo (Wow, Squage, you’re such a help! – Pat) Yeah well I’m stuffed if I can find it! (Heh heh, good one – Pat) Huh? (Stuffed… plush toy… get it? – Pat) … Idiot.

    • Then it was onto Brochina Gorge, which Pat remembers nothing about and forgot to take any photos of. I like to think it looked something like this:

    • On making our way out of the ranges, we realised just how flat the outback can be…
      Extreme Hitch Hiking

    • It was then a quick stop off in Leigh Creek for some booze and food, a quick snap at a big ol’ Windmill:
      …and onto the Iga Warta Aboriginal Centre, where we’d camp for the night.

    • Following a refreshing swim in the centre’s pool, the evening was mainly spent sitting on a log around a big camp fire being told stories about the Iga Warta Aboriginal people and their “Dream time” fabel/moral story things. Oh and then all being made to sing a song called “My Wallah”, along with doing some actions. Here’s the chorus:

      # Ohh my wallah!
      # It’s rumbling it’s tumbling!
      # Ohh my wallah!
      # It’s rumbling like a big bass drum.
      # Doo doo do-doo do… doo doo!

      Frankly, it all felt a bit too touristy for Pat and he was glad to get back to the Heading Bush gang’s own camp fire for the latter stage of the evening.

    • Alas, the “My Wallah” song became stuck in just about everyone’s head and so was sung on multiple occasions for the rest of the trip. Altogether now: “Ohh my wallah…”

    Day three: Talc Alf, Hot Springs and A Big Lake Of Salt

    • Pat woke up to yet another pleasant sunrise, and after packing the swags away we all piled on an Iga Warta-run bus (with an actual seat each – Pat felt like royalty!) and headed for the Ochre pits.
    • What are Ochre pits? Why, they’re pits with Ochre in!
    • What is Ochre? A type of rock, rather chalky in texture and coming in various colours. Used by Aborigines as paint – often applied to the face to aid spiritual healing… or some such thing (Wow, you are so enlightened – Pat) Hey less cheek! I’m not the one who ended up looking like this:
      Painted Pat

    • After getting painted up (and thus having all their sins removed, apparently), they went back to camp and headed off in the luxury of hte HBM (who needs legspace anyway?), grabbed supplies at Leigh Creek and arrived at Talf Alf’s Place.
    • What is Talc Alf’s Place? Why, it’s the place where Tal(-Stop that! – Pat) Sorry.
    • Talc Alf’s Place is a shack in the desert owned by a guy called Alf, who has a load of cool sculptures, which he allows people to come and see at their leisure:
      Talc Alf Sculptures A Kangaroo... Er... Bumming A Kangaroo
      Talc Alf writes a letter to John Howard (Aussie PM) each week telling him that he’s an idiot. He also has some strong views regarding Australia’s independence from Britiain. Pat was quietly glad that Alf was out delivering mail to Leigh Creek that day.

    • From there we visited a small placed called Maree (complete with a disused station from the Old Ghan Railway) then headed into the outback.
    • A swim stop in a small lake close to some hot springs was well-recieved by the (rather warm) Heading Bushers, despite the ground being rather, er, slimey (5 inches of sludge anyone?). Alas in going for a walk to see just how hot the water from the hot springs was (note: it was bloody hot), Pat forgot to put his sandles on. Luckily he didn’t haveto walk through 100m of sharp gravel to get there. Oh, wait…
    • Then we went through the Dog Fence:
      The Dog Fence
      Dog Fence Gang!

    • Last stop was at an area with lots of sculptures created as a protest to a nuclear waste dump being created in the outback:
      Tin Man! Pat And A Tin Man!

    • Finally the HBM went off-road down a secret track of Hugh’s (he even stopped the HBM and raked over the entrance of the track once we’d entered!) and to his Top Secret Campsite ™ next to Lake Eyre South.
    • What is Lake Eyre South? Why, it’s… the… south bit of… ok, ok, it’s a big “lake” of salt, part of the massive Lake Eyre Basin and looks like this:
      Lake Eyre South: A Massive 'Lake' Of Salt

    • Pat and the gang went walking over it (careful not to jump or run too fast as doing so would’ve broken the salt sheet and landed them knee deep in stinking black sludge) – and whilst I was physically locked in the trailer, I was on the lake in spirit:
      Lake Eyre Squage
      Oh yeah, about that “careffu not to jump” thing:
      Lake Eyre Loonies!
      Amazingly the salt sheet stayed intact…

    • Another evening of camp fire bevvies, chats and staring up at the sky later, the Heading Bushers grabbed their swags and went to bed.

    Day 4: William Creek, Meeting The Flintstones and Stein The Adventurer

    • After the usual wakeup call in the shape of a six legged buzzing bastard on his face, Pat climbed out of his swag, camera in hand and got ready to take lots of shots. This is why:
      Packing Swags By Sunrise Sunrise At Lake Eyre South
      Sunrise Over A Lake Eyre South Dune

    • First stop of the day was William Creek; a selection of houses and a pub, promoted as having a population of 2 but having closer to a metropolis-beating 7. Either way, it has a bar, which is pretty quirky looking:
      Y.C.W.C.Y.A.G.C.F.T.R.F.D.S Stop - William Creek Time!
      Go on, I dare you, ask me what it means…

    • One bottle of Stronbow later, Pat went back to the HBM with the gang and headed to Cooper Pedy.
    • On arriving at Cooper Pedy, Pat couldn’t help but hum the theme to a certain cartoon series… Cooper Pedy’s an Opal mining town, where people dig lots of tunnels in search of the precious stone. They seemingly got addicted to tunneling; Cooper Pedy houses are underground, with caverns for rooms:
      The Modern Stonage Family
      Riding With The Family Down The Street
      Pat really enjoyed the tour of the house, along with viewing some of the extracted Opal and hearing about the history of the Opal mining there. He enjoyed it so much, you might say he had a Yabba Dabba Doo time. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

    • Some lunch and a (much needed) shower later, Pat et al rode with the HBM down the street… to the Australian Fly Capital, otherwise known as the massive Mount Barry Cattle Station.
    • A short stop at the Mount Barry farmer’s house to deliver a “thanks for letting us camp in the middle of one of your fields” present (beers, of course) and we were at the campsite.
    • Dinner was an entertaining experience, with most attempts at eating involving constant waving of a horde of flies away from each fork full of food. Still, it didn’t dampen spirits:
      Campfire Laughs At Sunset
      …and the rather awesome sunset helped things:
      Sunset At Mount Barry Station
      Sunset At Mount Barry Station

    • Spirits were dampened somewhat after sunset when someone asked “Er, where’s Stein?” and everyone realised that the last time they’d seen him was going walking towards a windmill a good couple of k’s away.
    • Luckily after Hugh went searching for him in the HBM, he was found – but only through using his camera flash to alert Hugh of his presence (good thinking!). He’d managed to get several k’s away from the camp AND windmill and was just settling down to sleep it out in the bush when Hugh arrived. Needless to say he was quite shaken and we were all bloody glad to see him!
    • A celebratory beer or two later and it was to bed for us all. Well, almost all. A couple of “us” were a bit more interested in “getting to know eachother” by the fire:
      # Let's Get It Ooonn...

    Day 5: Driving, Driving and Driving. And Pink.

    • On Wednesday night, Hugh gave the crew a choice: stick to the normal route or do loads of driving on Day 5 to give us a day spare for use later.
    • No prizes for guessing the choice taken: today was spent on the road.
    • Ok, so there were some stops along the way, such as the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnatta, which was, uh, a bit pink:
      The Pink Roadhouse!
      Luckily, no childish “Pink = Camp” or “Pink = Gay” associations were made:
      Tim Looking Manly In His Pink TShirt Fortunately No Pink = Gay Childishness Occurred
      Ahem. We managed to get 30 minutes for a swim in the free pool around the back (there was lots of fun and sunshine – there was enough for everyone!), then grabbed some pink souveniers and continued on.

    • Today was a tearful goodbye to South Australia and a cheery hello to the Northern Territory (and a turning back of watches 1 hour – NT doesn’t have daylight savings for some reason…):
      Northern Territory Welcome Group

    • Pat was impressed by the quality of the jointly funded SA/NT visitor facilities – obviously with their powers combined the visitor centre’d be pretty stunning, eh?
      That must’ve cost a BOMB. Before you scoff, bare in mind that there was another one on the NT side! Yeah! Now that’s impressive.

    • After that it was more driving and into the proper red sand of the Red Centre:
      Squage On The Red Road

    • In the evening we made camp in the middle of nowhere (as usual) and amoungst the normal chinwagging and beverage consuming, seats were lined up in a row so that the amazing thunderstorm on the horizon could be watched:
      Lightning Storm!
      This picture’s ace (taken by Hugh on his camera), but Pat informs me that it doesn’t do justice to the feeling of being in a massive, silent, open set of fields, watching a raging storm pass in the night, breaking the silence occasionally with deep, distant rumbles. Apparently you’ve got to experience it to believe it, according to Pat.

    • One minor problem with storms in the outback is when they decide to trundle over you whilst you’re sleeping in a swag. Needless to say Pat was VERY pleased when a 1am storm JUST missed camp (despite it sounding like the thunder was directly above the camp a couple of times)…

    Day 6: Dumb Cows, The Rock and Tourists

    • After the usual morning routine, it was “To The HBM!” and back along the long, straight (if occasionally very bumpy) red dirty roads – stopping occasionally for Cows, who inexplicably see cars storming towards them and have the following thoughts:
      <Cow> “Hmm, what’s that coming towards me?”
      [Car continues coming towards Cow]
      <Cow> “Ah, is it a friend?”
      [Car still coming towards Cow]
      <Cow> “Hmm, no, looks dangerous. Maybe it I stand here it’ll go away”
      [Car STILL coming]
      <Cow> “Oh dear! I’d best run out of the way.”
      [Cow runs ACROSS THE PATH of the oncoming car, which luckily has stopped by this point…]

    • First stop was Curtain Creek (a selection of houses with a shop that had walls covered in printouts of such internet forwards classics as “10 reasons why dogs are better than men”), then it was back on the tour to Tourist Land: The Ayres Rock Resort.
    • Pat could tell that they’d entered a more touristy area before even arriving at the resort: firstly, there were other cars on the road! Secondly, drivers didn’t wave back when you waved to them.
    • the resort itself consisted of some hotels, a supermarket and petrol station, and a camping area, the latter of which we stayed at.
    • After some lunch at our alloted camping area (complete with running water, sinks and a power supply!) we got in the HBM and headed for the big lump of stone!
    • It was quite an impressive sight:
      Pat, Squage And Some Rock-Or-Other
      Uluru Is Quite Tall James, Pat, Squage, Tim And A Rock

    • We went for a walk around the base, Pat perfectly happy really annoyed that the walk to the top was closed due to high winds:
      The Walk To The Top

    • I enjoyed most of the wander, despite the pounding heat and a rather painful fall during a photo of Pat and Tim:
      Posing - And An In-Flight Squage!
      A quite well timed shot, it must be said!

    • It was noted that, despite the rules stating that you weren’t allowed to wander off the path (when, say, nature called), plus one of the walks being a couple of hours long and there being signs recommending drinking at least a litre of water an hour, there were no toilets whatsoever at Uluru itself. Genius…
    • Next was back to the resort for a quick swim (ensuring that no diving, jumping, running, loud noises or fun was had in accordance with the pool rules), a shower and then back out to the rocky thing to view it by sunset…
    • …some good views were had…
      Uluru By Sunset

    • …along with a few beers…
      Checking Out The Sunset.  And Some Beers.
      …which definitely didn’t go to anyone’s heads…
      We Weren't Drunk On The Way Back From Uluru
      A Very Sober Stein And Liz
      These were taken either during “Jump Around” by House Of Pain or “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Pat can’t quite remember for some reason…
      …I think they’d forgotten about the impending 5am rise to view the big pebble at sunrise. They certainly remembered the next morning.

    Day 7: Stone, Olgas and a Thorny Devil

    • 5am arrived and after a whole lot of grumbling and moaning, all the swags were packed and it was back into the HBM to see the greatly enlarged grain of sand once more (This is getting a bit silly, Squage – Pat) Ok, ok… to see the Mutitjulu Arkose; one of many sedimentary formations filling the Amadeus Basin, with almost vertical strata, which dip to the southwest at 85° and have an exposed thickness of at least 2400 m. (…idiot – Pat)
    • Arriving at the viewing area before sunrise, we allowed ourselves a quick snooze:
      Early Mornings: Not Compatible With Most People

    • And then the sun rose. Behind clouds. Pat wasn’t too thrilled:
      Boo!  No Sun!

    • But wait! Just as they were about to give up and leave, the smallest of holes appeared in the cloud and… voila:
      The Sun Pokes Out Of The Clouds!

    • Pat was a bit happier:
      Yay!  There Was Sun!

    • The funny thing was that, due to the relative lack of sun, the gang sitting on the HBM’s roof become something of a tourist attraction, with a least 20 photos being taken of them by various others.
    • Next stop was at The Olgas for a walk through a part of them known as the Valley Of The Winds… and Valley Of Great Signage:
      Hot Weather?  Bring Cameras
      Warning! Cameras occur in hot weather!
      Fence?  What Fence?
      Which fence is this, exactly?

    • After a hefty set of rocky stairs and some steep scrambles up steep stone surfaces, the team reached the highest point in the VotW and realised why it was named so by nearly getting blown over…
      Pat And The Valley Of The Winds

    • Pat was very glad that the weather wasn;’t as hot as the day before. He would probably still be in the Olgas now if it was….
    • A final visit to The Pool Of Rules (and lots of rebellious jumping, diving and mucking around) later and it was off to camp!
    • Shortly before arriving they stumbled across a rather cool looking dude, called a Thorny Devil:
      Thorny Devil!
      Cool, huh?

    • Camp (back in the good ol’ middle of nowhere) was arrived at by 5pm, which allowed lots of time for frisbee throwing / catching (or in Pat’s case; “running after following not quite catching it properly…), footy playing and, of course, beverage consumption.
    • A chilled out night by the fire later and Pat was snuggled up in his swag looking up at the stars…

    Day 8: Being Tired. Oh and Kings Canyon.

    • Today the early rise of the previous day really caught up with Pat. He was largely not quite with it all day – which I don’t personally see as anything new (Ah ha. Ah ha ha ha. Ha. – Pat) – and for some reason that might affect my memory of the day. How peculiar…
    • The major event of the day was a three hour walk around the amazing King’s Canyon, which was pretty tough in places, either due to climbs:
      Known As The Heart Attack Hill
      Heart Attack Hill
      Or heights:
      Danger Danger!  High Cliffage! Look Out!  Cliff!
      Brave Or Stupid?
      Still, despite Pat really not liking the “Lean over a sheer cliff edge” bit, he was glad he’d been there – for the views if nothing else:
      Pat Considers Jumping In.
      Biiig Cliff
      Oh and of course, more great signage:
      They Really Could've Worded This More Carefully
      And for being able to quench his thirst for some Vernon Kay and Sara Cox:
      Oh yes, and the mucking around on rocks:
      Cow Girl Liz Everybody's Goin' Surrffiiiin

    • After the walk, a shower was in order – but wait! The Kings Canyon resort had a pool! Hooray!
    • Lots of good (not from Pat), not so good (some from Pat) and hilariously bad (mostly from Pat) attempts at forward and back flips into the pool later and it was onto the campsite for the night.
    • Where was the camp? Well, Pat says I’m not allowed to say. But what I can tell you is that it involved 4 wheel drive, lots of sand tracks and crossing a dried river.
    • The campsite itself was nice, with soft sand underfoot and a nice location in the woods, by the (dried) river.
    • After soom food Pat crashed out early (rather knackered), but spent a good couple of hours chortling to himself at the occasional commotion around the fire courtesy of Tim and James – neither big fans of insects – as they had stick insects and crickets jump/thrown onto them.
    • Pat would’ve called them big girls had he not been a big wuss with heights earlier in the day. I don’t have that problem: all three of you are big girls’ blouses. (Oi! You… ok, fine. – Pat) Ha!

    Day 9: getting Bogged, Building Roads and Naked Swimming

    • Fortunately for Pat (and all those who were trying and failing to get any sense out of him the day before) he woke up feeling much more alive today. Which was lucky, as it turned out to be quite a tiring morning…
    • After some seriously fun 4 wheel driving up and down various rocky and sandy rises, Hugh got everyone out of the HBM so that he could attempt a particularly steep bit with a lighter load. It… er… didn’t work.
    • The next hour was spent digging…
      Digging The Truck Out...
      …building an escape road…
      Road Building
      …throwing everything out of the trailer and finally a successful escape! Quite fun for Pat, despite the tiring nature of digging and lugging about wood and rocks under the mid morning heat of the sunny outback.

    • Hugh gave everyone a reward shortly after this in the shape of a swim in The World’s Oldest River ™ – complete with a big mud slinging fight using the boggy mulchy on the river bed. Lots of fun, but they all smelt of boggy mud afterwards.
    • After some more driving and a bit of “road” buillding to get through some rateher iffy looking sections, the HBM finally ended up on some tarmac and into the dog-rich Aboriginal village of Hermansburg for some fuel and ice cream.
    • Last stop was our campsite – not quite in the middle of nowhere (hey, you could just about see the light frmo a distant tourist resort at Glenhelen!) but remote enough for us all to enjoy some drinking games, dancing games and dancing around the campfire to some fine cheesy tunes courtesy of the HBM’s stereo (including everyone’s favourite – the Numa Numa song! Don’t know it? Good on you, your life is much richer than mine or Pat’s):
      Campfire Party Action!

    • Oh and there was naked swimming too from some of the more tipsy folk (thankfully this didn’t include Pat). Quite a final night of camping!

    Day 10: Ghost Gums, Flooded Roads and Alice Springs

    • The final camp-based wakeup was marked with another lovely sunrise and bit of swimming:
      Beautiful Skies Early Morning Swim
      Then we made our way to Ormiston Gorge for the Ghost Gum Walk.

    • Sadly Lesley had a 12 O’Clock flight from Alice Springs, so we all said our fond farewells to her as she and Hugh headed Alice-bound (Lesley preparing for a the day-long flight back to Dublin in a day’s time… Ouch!)
    • The rest of the gang were left to their own devices at the Gorge, but didn’t sit on their asses (for too long, anyway) – or even “Drop their pants” as Tim might’ve suggested. Instead they went on the Ghost Gum Walk…
      Ormiston Gorge Trekkers!
      …enjoying some swimming, diving and flipping in the picturesque water hole…
      Swimming Time!
      …and grabbing some lunch. And a lolly from the little shop in Pat’s case. He had a “Golden Gaytime” (a chocolate/biscuit/ice cream lolly thing), whcih the enlightened shop owned looked at and said (in a sarcy voice): “Ah yes, a Golden Gaytime. Gold ol’ Gaytime. mr Golden Gay”. Pat considered suggested that, actually, the word “gay” was being used to mean “happy”, but instead just laughed nervously and slowly stepped away…

    • A bit of thunder and a sprinkle of rain later, Hugh arrived looking relieved. Turns out there had been a massive rainstorm that had followed him most of the way back from Alice.
    • Alas, the aforementioned storm meant that our route back was slightly hampered by the road becoming a river:
      Typical, A Bit Of Rain And It's Like The Roads Are Underwater
      Of course, Pat and the gang simply saw this as an excuse for some photos:
      Standing In The Road River
      Luckily the rain held off from then and the road river was passable after about 20 minutes or so.

    • An hour later we were in Alice Springs and checked into our various hostels
    • In the evening the gang all went out for a nice meal, raising a toast to Hugh (who had, frankly, been fantastic) and then moving onto a pub to have more drinks and dance to cheesy music. Pat tells me it was a fantastic night… this is the only evidence of the evening:
      Last Night Together: Sober
      So I guess he wasn’t lying.

      Wow. That’s it. We did it! That’s the end! The epilogue, if there’s any space left on the Internet to include it, is that Pat then got up at 7am, a bit pissed, stumbled onto an airport bus and managed to make it to Perth by plane.

      That’s it from me – now a note from the Scullion:

      Seriously, this tour is just amazing. If you come to Australia, do it. Yes, it’s expensive, but the experience is like nothing else. I’ve not felt so chilled out and happy for a long time. Perhaps it’s because of the people I was with, perhaps it’s because of our driver/guide, or perhaps there’s just something about being in the middle of nowhere, with no human influence, that really gives you time to think about thinks and get some perspective on life. Whatever it is, I’m so happy I did it as it’s helped me a great deal towards working out what I want in life. Amazing what 10 days can do, eh?



by Squage
on Mar 27th, 2007

Heading Bush Photos Online!

Something for you to view whilst bored at work at home, not on the payroll.

There are 254 of them, so I recommend browsing them from the Heading Bush Photo Set Page, rather than The Usual Place.

This has been a long day. Blogging tomorrow, hopefully!



by Pat
on Mar 21st, 2007

Heading Bush ROCKS!


Just a very quick post to say that Heading Bush ROCKS. You might’ve guessed that with the blog title, to be fair.

I’ve just got into Perth (following an early morning that I could’ve done without given the farewell drinks the HB team had last night) and now need to get to do a number of chores before I head off on *another* tour tomorrow morning… which I need to sort out too as it appears the 3 day one’s not available (well it is, but I’m the only one booked on it) and they want me to book on the 5 day one… with the possibility of coming off it early via a long coach journey. But that’s no guarantee. Huzzah!

So no real time to blog or upload photos but, as you would expect, there’re lots to come. I’ll be posting stuff in 4 or 6 days’ time, depending on what happens with the above.

Til then hope all is well and I’ll speak to you soon!