Australian Roadtrip of 5 500 km

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/australian-road-trip-of-5500-kilometres-guest-post-by-gigi-sedlmayer/

Gigi Sedlmayer is kicking off the guest posts for October with a wonderful article on her 5.5k road trip around Australia. It is such a huge country that this will be just brief look at the amazing scenery, wildlife and culture, but you can tell that Gigi loves her adopted country very much. Enjoy and if you would like to share a trip, an article about a topic you are passionate about then please email me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I will now hand you over to Gigi……..

Our trip from 9 September to 19 September 2015 by Gigi Sedlmayer

Thank you Sally for giving me the opportunity to introduce myself and our trip to your readers. To show you some pictures and write something about our incredible journey through the Outback of our wonderful Country. I hope you will enjoy it and see some of Australia.

I have to say, that it was the most amazing trip we did from all our other trips. We saw kangaroos, Emus, camels, lizards, a big goanna, many haws and other birds, two wedge tail eagles.

It was a difficult choice to select the pictures I did. I would have loved to post way more, but I know that just can’t be.

Our trip was altogether around 5,500 km and we loved every one of them. Australian Outback is amazing. You have to experience it to love it. But again, we have heard people saying how boring it is to drive there. But, as I said, we loved it. Every time we looked out of the window, the scenery looked different; the colour is different, from all the colours of brown to beige, to yellow, to purple and to all the shades of red. There was coming a tree or a bush, that wasn’t there before. Or no trees or bushes at all, only grasses. Red sand was everywhere.

First we drove up the East coast from the Gold Coast we live, with first stop in Gympie to have our lunch, until we arrived in Gladstone.

Next morning we drove up further North to Mackay. That strong southerly has helped us greatly in our fuel consumption so far as it pushed us ahead. Next stop going further north was Charters Towers. From here we had a lot of options, but our main destination is the dried-out inland seabed around Richmond- Winton – Barcaldine, for fossicking for dinosaur fossils and opals.

(Yesterday it rained in Winton for the first time since many years as we have a draught. They probably would have looked at the sky and said: ‘What’s that stuff falling from the sky.’)

So we went a bit further North to Bowen then inland to Charters-Towers and finally to Winton, our destination, at the Matilda Motel. Here we stayed for 3 nights. Winton has bore water, tapping into the Great Artesian Basin, which tastes very good and has a sulfur smell, especially the hot water.

Albert looking for fossils

Since it has zero light pollution out there, we went out late at evening next day to look at the unbelievably spectacular sky. We never have encountered the sky like that. Lit up with billions of stars in our amazing Milky Way Galaxy. There aren’t that many accessible places from which the night sky can be seen so clearly, and especially during a completely dark sky with no moon at all. We drove out of town a few km, and then a km or so off the main highway, to avoid any light pollution. …And after car lights were out and our eyes got accustomed to the blackness, the heavenly splendour revealed itself. This can’t be described in words but has to be seen. Unfortunately we couldn’t take pictures. So we had to soak it in with our eyes and brain. I still can see it in my minds eyes.

Every day we went out fossicking for fossils there, since it is the best place for. At the first day we found lots of petrified wood and some fossils. No dinosaur fossil but we were happy enough to find that one. We had a lovely lunch in the middle of the outback under a eucalyptus tree beside a dry creek, with the warm nor-east zephyr caressing us gently while we looked out with eyes on infinite focus, toward the flimmering horizon interrupted only by the odd tree dot. Between breeze gusts that rustled the eucalypt leaves the silence was absolute. What an amazing experience. This is indescribable if you haven’t been out in Australia’s wide, open spaces and taken the time to absorb it, you need to go do it.

One of the fossils we found. Some grasses in the stone.

A small lizard decides to join in the hunt

The road traffic around Winton is thin and drivers always greet us with a wave as they pass. Whenever we were parked at the roadside fossicking or having lunch, every passing car and truck would stop (or nearly stop) to ask if we were alright. Breaking down in this area and these lonely roads could be disastrous so everyone is eager to check each others’ wellbeing. It is quite a spectacle to see a road train switching down heaps of gears to come to a crawl opposite us so the driver could clearly see our thumbs-up ok gesture, grin and respond in kind, then gear up again to continue his journey. Country life is … well … different.

A typical road train

This is a typical road train (shown here in Winton). Some of the roads on which we met them were single lane dirt roads, where it was prudent to just drive off the road way to the side of the shoulder and stop, when one of these approached. At 53 metres length (174ft) you have to have a really wide, straight piece of road to be able to overtake, because you’re on the wrong side of the road for an awfully long time. Even so, these powerful rigs drive at the speed limit so if you can’t overtake just hang back far enough because they won’t really slow you down.

Next stop Quilpie in the Channel Country. Yesterday we drove on a wild, wild outback dirt road 380 km from Winton via Opalton to Jundah with no Mobil reception or internet for 2 days until we arrived in Quilpie.

Lifelike dinosaur. In that region they found a lot of dinosaur fossils since that place was all water once.

From there we drove a single-lane paved road 400 km From Jundah to Quilpie. We also stopped for lunch at Windorah (population 80) and climbed a red sand dune nearby.

Me relaxing in shade staring into the nothingness. Loved it.
Inquisitive Kangaroos

In Channel Country, Cunnamulla we were hunting for opals. Found some.

A stunning opal full of fire.

A living fossil.. A Goanna or Gonna, much featured in aboriginal mythology and culture

From there we drove to Goondiwindi and Warwick direction of home, Gold Coast.

A desolate place and here we are in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful but you do need to be prepared for any eventuality.
About Gigi Sedlmayer

You can find out much more by connecting with Gigi on her blog but here is a brief summary of her extraordinary life.

Connect with Gigi.

My website: https://gigisedlmayer.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/4405791.Gigi_Sedlmayer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gisela.sedlmayer
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GigiSedlmayer11/posts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=83666990&authType=name&authToken=-l0s&trk=hp-feed-member-name

Thanks to Gigi for this fascinating look at some of the beautiful parts of Australia that might not always be on the tourist route.

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About Gigi Sedlmayer

Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany. Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich. Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books. In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years. In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992. Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, 'Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life'. She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing. Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life. She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD's or going to the movies.
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