06 November, 2011

Heading West

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The Barrier Highway heading west flanked on either side by a flush of wild flowers.

(late September) The Barrier Highway heads across the Western Plains to Broken Hill and the deserts of South Australia. With the Warrumbunbles shrinking out of sight in the rear view mirror the landscape opened out with the road disappearing to a point on the horizon, the landscape becoming dryer and dryer the further westwards.

 Wild flowers along the road side.

The Dry grassland to the far west of New South Wales.

A tough little plant withstanding the head of the baked red earth.
One of few plants in flower, the flowers tough and waxy to the touch, presumably to guard against water loss. Sorry I don't have the resources to find out the names of the plants at present, but a bit of googleing should throw up some info if you really need to know.

The smart and tidy Post Office building in the tiny town of Wilcannia half way along the Barrier Highway. This is the only smart building in the otherwise dilapidated and dying ex-mining town now left by the way side.

A few of the empty dilapidated buildings along the high street. 

A curious looking lizard asking for trouble basking in the middle of the road.

The Warrumbungles


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Some of the spectacular granite bluffs known as 'The Warrumbungles' formed by volcanoes 13 to 17 million years ago, of which 90% have eroded away leaving only the toughest remnants standing sentinel over the predominantly flat landscape.

(mid September) After to many months working away in the orchards I have finally saved what I need to continue my travels and broke away at long last. In fact I finished working in mid September and went on a whistle stop around trip around a small portion of Australia, still covering over 10,000km. I'm now in Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina where I finally have a little spare time to catch up on some posts while I wait for my Antarctica cruise to depart, the reason for spending ten months in an orchard. I'm shore it will be worth every bit of toil.

From Stanthorpe in South East Queensland I headed south west through out back rural New South Wales to the deserts of South Australia. I then turned north on the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, taking a few detours to look at some rocks. Unfortunately I hadn't the funds to make it all the way up to Darwin (net time) so turned east back into Queensland to the tropical coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Finally heading south down the east coast to catch a flight out of Sydney to South America.

In the center of the north eastern quarter of New South Wales is the Warrumbungle National Park, a group of precipitous rocky bluffs, remnants of past volcanic activity that rise dramatically up out of the flat savanna grassland that predominated the surrounding countryside. The park is reputed to be incredibly diverse in flora and fauna owing to its varying elevations and its location between the dry grassland inland to the west and the wetter forest stretching off to the east coast.

Looking down on one of the most distinguished features of the park 'The Bread Knife'.

Views across the peeks of the park and looking out across the western plains, flat to the horizon and where I was headed. The perfect spot for lunch.

 Some of the plants growing on the bright, exposed, rocky parts of the park.

A few more tender herbs in flower in the dappled light of the forest floor in the valleys.

Clematis sp. and Acacia sp. in the forest under-story.

Black snake soaking up the rays in a dry creek bed.
Beautiful patterns created by the many Lichens.