Backpacking Australia

Australia: 1st September 2002 – 27th September 2002

Sydney to Alice Springs

Having arrived in Sydney, Australia and sitting around struggling with jet lag for the first time in my life, Julia and I decided we needed to jump on a tour bus and do something. Disappointingly, I managed to take no decent photos of Sydney in the five days that we were there. The images that follow kind of document our journey from Sydney to Alice Springs via Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Looking back, I’m really narked that I only took this range of photos in 640×480 resolution. This is because I was concerned about using up my camera memory whilst being nowhere near an Internet cafe. Three years later, my mobile phone takes higher resolution images and has nearly as much memory! Oh, and it has video *with* sound.


View from lookout over Wollongong
View from lookout over Wollongong

Wollongong, New South Wales

So, we jumped on the next Oz Experience bus out of Sydney. As I recall, the first stop was at this lookout over Wollongong, just south of Sydney. Marvellous.


Murramarang National Park Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Murramarang National Park Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Murramarang National Park, New South Wales

Murramarang National Park is at the most southern point of New South Wales. These were the first kangaroos we saw. We’d soon get sick of them, but at this stage they were a novelty. I guess the joeys were cute, though. Ahhh, look at this one everyone.


Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra
Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra was first erected in 1972 following a federal ruling that rejected Aboriginal land rights. The site is on the lawn opposite the old Australian Parliament. It is still not recognised as an official embassy by the Australian Government. I still haven’t made up my mind about the whole Aborigine situation in Australia. Unfortunately, whilst there are some positive Aboriginal community projects, most of my aboriginal experiences were negative, which possibly explains the stance taken by many white Australians.


Giant Fob Watch
Giant Fob Watch

Giant Fob Watch, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

This giant fob watch was quite an attraction. On the hour, the interior of the watch would gradually lower whilst playing ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and putting on a clockwork display. Just behind this is the historic Shot Tower. It is a protected building, so when Melbourne Central Shopping Centre was built they simply built around it and created a huge glass dome over it. Shot towers were built to create lead shot. By releasing small drops of molten lead from the top into a cooling vat of water at the bottom they solidified into perfect spheres and were then sold as bullets.


James & Julia with Lyn Scully from Neighbours
James & Julia with Lyn Scully from Neighbours

Neighbours Night, Lyn Scully

It’s Neighbours Night at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow Pub in St Kilda, Melbourne and this is us with Lyn Scully. We were very, very drunk. Actually, we don’t look as drunk as we really were. But you ask Lyn Scully’s actress, she’ll tell you that we were drunk.


James & Julia with Karl Kennedy from Neighbours
James & Julia with Karl Kennedy from Neighbours

Neighbours Night, Karl Kennedy

Ditto Karl Kennedy. Ditto Karl Kennedy’s actor, ditto.


James & Julia with Darcy Tyler from Neighbours
James & Julia with Darcy Tyler from Neighbours

Neighbours Night, Darcy Tyler

You get the idea, though I reckon we’d had more sleep than him. He’s Darcy Tyler by the way.


Julia and Harold Bishop in Ramsey Street
Julia and Harold Bishop in Ramsey Street

Ramsey Street, Harold Bishop

The following day was Julia’s birthday and what a treat it was! We joined a trip to ‘Ramsey Street’ the home of ‘Neighbours’. It’s actually a real cul-de-sac where Victorians (not the sort with top hats and sideburns from the 19th century, but people from the state of Victoria) live. They have a night security guard and earn some extra cash by allowing filming to take place in the street. No filming takes place inside these houses. Anyway, we caught a snippet of live action between Harold and Lou and some lady with white hair (I don’t know, I don’t really watch it any more). Harold, being a proper gentleman, popped to let us take photos with him between takes. Julia even got a birthday kiss. Hooray! Lou didn’t even come over. Boooooo!

Incidentally, this image is being used by someone on Facebook calling themselves Harold Bishop. I suspect that the account owner is phishing for personal info, so don’t add him as a friend.

Edit: He has since accepted my Friend Request, seen my message, unfriended me and changed the profile image (or deleted the account, I can’t tell which).


Melbourne Botanical Gardens with the city in the background
Melbourne Botanical Gardens with the city in the background

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Part of the CBD framed by trees in Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. I liked the contrast in this image.


Grey-headed flying foxes in a tree in Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Grey-headed flying foxes in a tree in Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Bats in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Whilst the grey-headed flying foxes (bats) made interesting viewing in Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, the sad story was that they were stripping trees bare. They also had acid droppings, just like the bile in the Alien films. I may have exaggerated that last bit, but we were advised to avoid walking under the trees.


It's a Phreatoicopsis terricola, of course
It’s a Phreatoicopsis terricola, of course

Awkward Bug, Grampians National Park, Victoria

I found this awkward-looking shrimp-like creature in the middle of a path in Grampians National Park. Having never seen anything like it on land before, I decided to do a little research.

“The crustacean is without doubt Phreatoicopsis terricola, a phreatoicid isopod. A large member of a peculiarly southern group of terrestrial isopods.”

Gary C.B. Poore
Senior Curator (Crustacea)
Museum Victoria

Many thanks to Gary and to Daniel Dobrosak of The Entomological Society of Victoria Inc. for forwarding my request for info to Gary Poore.


Jacobs Creek vineyard, South Australia
Jacobs Creek vineyard, South Australia

Jacobs Creek Vineyard, South Australia

Regardless of what you think of Riesling, here is where Jacobs Creek grow theirs.


Parachilna Moonrise
Parachilna Moonrise

Parachilna, South Australia

Parachilna, South Australia is nearly a ghost town. A remnant of the railway era, it now (2002) has a permanent population of seven. However, it still has a hotel. The main event of our stay there was to watch the daily coal train pass. It is about 3km long and takes about five minutes to pass. It got kind of boring after the first minute or so.


Space ship used in the film Pitch Black
Space ship used in the film Pitch Black

Coober Pedy, South Australia

Coober Pedy is the opal mining capital of the world, or at least, that’s its reputation. The town is characterised by the fact that many people live underground, in converted mines, to avoid the scorching daytime heat. Pictured here is the ship used in the film Pitch Black spaceship, which was filmed in Coober Pedy.


Coober Pedy Aussie Rules Pitch
Coober Pedy Aussie Rules Pitch

Coober Pedy Aussie Rules Pitch

Whilst most team contact sports, including Australian Rules Football, are played on the relative safety of grass, the Coober Pedy Aussie Rules team play on this.


Uluru - Ayer's Rock
Uluru – Ayer’s Rock

Uluru or Ayer’s Rock, Northern Territory

Uluru is the Aboriginal name for Ayer’s Rock and this is what it looks like close up. The red colouring comes from oxidised iron.


Uluru - Ayer's Rock sunset
Uluru – Ayer’s Rock sunset

Uluru Sunset, Northern Territory

This is the classic view of Uluru. The shades of red change considerably through the duration of the sunset.


Kata Tjuta - The Olgas
Kata Tjuta – The Olgas

Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory

Kata Tjuta is in the same family of rock formation as Uluru. However, wind erosion has had a greater impact here and Kata Tjuta is consequently formed by many different peaks instead of just the one.


Kata Tjuta, Valley of the Winds
Kata Tjuta, Valley of the Winds

Valley of the Winds, Kata Tjuta

Our tour group got up early to watch sunrise hit Kata Tjuta, a similar effect to that witnessed at Uluru, but perhaps more stunning as we were in the midst of the mounts. We then trekked uphill through the Valley of the Winds, which were aptly named. It was a hard slog as the oncoming wind was channelled through the valley, thus increasing the velocity.


Kings Canyon sheer drop
Kings Canyon sheer drop

Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory

Kings Canyon was the last of our walks in the region and involved another steep climb from the start. Whilst there are a number of features, including the waterhole and the sandstone domes, the highlight for me was this sheer drop into the canyon. I’m sure the Grand Canyon would blow this one out of the water (or sand), but I’ve yet to visit the USA…


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