Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gundabooka National Park - Road Trip with Danish Visitors - Part 2

Next stop was Gundabooka National Park, one of my absolute favorite national parks in NSW. Back in 2009 I visited a very dry Gundabooka with the Amoores and was immensely impressed; 1,2,3,4. In 2010 I had planned to visit again during my drive north to Bowra station, but Gundabooka was flooded by torrential rain and I could not enter! This time around I had heard that the Bourke region had had a fair amount of rain and I was looking forward to see a much greener desert. Gundabooka is far enough inland to have the feel of proper outback and still it is reachable from Sydney within a good solid day of driving, or as we did, easily reached from Capertee Valley with some of the day to spare. The Australian outback did indeed given us a very rare display of lush green colors and a feel of life that I have never seen as strong before. Despite of us doing our journey midday we managed to see lots of wildlife along the road, indeed it got a bit of stressful with hordes of goats being attracted to the green grass growing along the road and not showing great respect to the traffic rules. I ended up sitting with a food ready on the break and no time to see what type of woodswallows it was darting around up above the treetops. Soon after leaving the bitumen we got ourselves the first great nature sighting - A Varanus Gouldii walked across the road in front of us, with as little respect for traffic laws as the goats had displayed. What a great spot! Great to show my Danish companions a good size proper reptile and good for me to see a monitor that was not a Varanus Various. Red dust all over, some scrubby mulga and mulga ants - Dry Tank camping ground always delivers :-) I had been very careful in keeping this trip pretty luxurious, I had even chosen a campsite sporting a bush toilet, since I was not aware of how accustomed my companions were to camping life. Clearly my efforts were recognized and appreciated ... The cheers would hardly stop after we realized how exceptional good an insect (and insect eating creatures) selection there was to find in the little shed, one of us was so concerned about the well being of the inhabitants that he straight away proclaimed that he would rather die than use the little room ... what a noble way of trying to avoid stressing those small insects! :-) - I am sure the Gehyra variegata Tree Dtella below appreciated the privacy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Capertee Valley - Road Trip with Danish Visitors - Part 1

A visit by a couple of good lads from back home is always an excellent excuse for an excursion. These lads in particular being keen campers and having a a healthy interest in nature, there was no doubt that we needed to go bush. During their first week in Sydney, I kept working and they could potter around at the beach, loose the first layer of Danish winter skin and cover most of what city has to offer. At the beginning of the second week, we found ourselves in the roaring Magna with that long, shiny, masculine bonnet pointing in the direction of the outback. Capertee Valley was once again the perfect pit-stop for a straight-from-work Sydney departure. Apart from the months of darkest winter Capertee can easily be reached before night fall as long as you get out of Sydney in decent time - and it is advisable, since the drive into the valley is winding, narrow, dark and teeming with wildlife. We arrived in good time, despite of the obligatory bumper to bumper driving across the Blue Mountains - believe it or not, they have been fixing that road all of the years I have been living in Australia - 6 that is. Capertee Valley was firing on all cylinders though, as the sun sets in the west the shadows move longer and the cliff wall comes alive in orange, red and brown. An excellent spot for three hungry Danes to consume some camping tucker. Capertee Valley always delivers on the wildlife front, having used most of the afternoon getting sorted with the tents, dinner and wandering around town, we very left with the (smaller?) creatures of the night. There was a superior selection of insects about and with a fast macro lens, a fully charged flash and someone to help holding the spotlight, I at least had heaps of fun. Highlight of the night happened while we were gathered around the camping table. There we were telling each other the usual good(!) old stories and sorting out all the trouble of the world, when suddenly in the moon light (supported by the faint light from a couple of head torches) a shadow dropped from the roof above us - it was one of the largest huntsman spiders I have ever seen - I think it took first place for both of my friends :-) The huntsman seemed surprised about the attention it received. After having reached the ground it decided to sit still and we managed to get a few photos before we left it to go to bed. I am sure those tent zips where checked more than once that night.
The humidity and light at a campsite bathroom creates an absolute tip top hotspot for a bit of insect photography. The entire food chain is represented from the smallest tiniest flying fluff to larger fluff eating creations ... I am absolutely aware that this is a pretty poor naming efforts, my only defense is that no matter how much I love my insect book, I could not justify to include it in my only 23 kg of luggage when I left Australia - I am sure that it will make it next time around though. Great sleeping in the bush! .. and great waking up there as well, some porridge in the morning and a coffee while the sun rises, pure joy! We still needed quite a few hours of of driving before we would arrive at our furthest away destination - Gundabooka National Park. Early morning at the campsite bathroom we spotted another top predator insect - one of those eating the ones that eat the flying fluff - a praying mantis. What more can you hope for? :-)

Blogging Again :-)

Finally, I feel that I have time for blogging again. Quite a few things have happened over the last half year or so, and I have found myself in a situation of having fantastic exciting things happening all around me and no time to write about them. Luckily, I have managed to take photos of most of the shenanigans and with a Danish winter approaching there will be many dark hours to kill in front of the little computer. Since my last post I have finished my job in Sydney, used 2 months traveling around Australia and moved to Denmark, where I now live and work. Much of my Danish life does, luckily enough, not qualify for the blog, hence I will have more time writing about those amazing two months of exploring Australia. I took close to 15000 photos (14418 to be exact), drove just over 20000 km and had more gnocchi dinners than I will admit. I had snow on the tent on my first night in the Blue Mountains and had a swarm of mosquitoes attaching a month later in Kakadu National Park. I saw the whitest beaches of Australia, the reddest dirt WA has to offer, the darkest green Queensland rainforest and a sky so blue that I sometimes still wonder how I could leave :-) All good, I will get cranking and get some blog posts flying. There will be a few posts before I get to tell about my big trip, hopefully I will be up to date soon. Happy reading and thanks for tuning in - Cheers Allan