Outback 2008

Australia revisited

Less than 2 years since my last vacation there, it was time to spend some quality time in Australia again. The main purpose of the trip was the SETAC World conference in Sydney. Of course, an excellent opportunity to explore other parts of this vast country. So after one week in Sydney, I flew to Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and the central parts of the continent. The aim was to drive around in the desert for a week or so and then head down to South Australia and the coast. In Alice Springs I rented a 4WD car, to be delivered in Adelaide 17 days later. The massive Toyota Landcruiser is an excellent off-road car, although the 4.2 L engine was very thirsty and used almost 2 L/10 km. I covered approximately 4600 km during the 17 day long trip. A big thank to Stephen Powell (http://www.stephenpowell.com.au) for correcting a couple of the species names.


Outback walkabout

Trephina Gorge canyon - can be deadly if not prepared, East MacDonnell Range


First I went to the East MacDonnell Range, with many nice canyons and spent a couple of days there. A favorite was Ruby Gap Nature Park, situated some 4 hours drive from the nearest decent road. Here I met some locals, a bunch of 70-years old campers on their annual outback trip. I was invited to camp with them, and we managed to pull off a nice party in the middle of nowhere. After going back to Alice and a refill of diesel, I headed to Palm Valley in the West MacDonnell Range. Thereafter I went down to Kings Canyon after a short stop in Rainbow Valley. Kings Canyons was fine but a bit touristy; I walked the rim in sunset and even saw some dingos on my way back to Kings Canyon Resort. Next day I went to the must-see Ayers Rock. Of course even more touristy than Kings Canyon, but kind of silly not to go there when visiting central Australia. Missed the sunset, as some clouds spoiled the iconic red rock in the late evening.

On my way south I visited the Simpson Desert before staying for one night in a opal cave in Coober Pedy. After the opal capital, I was spending a couple of days in the Flinders Range, before driving past Adelaide down to Kangaroo Island, where I stayed for a small week. On this page I have displayed some photos from the trip, from Sydney, the desert region of Northern Territory and of wildlife from Kangaroo Island.


East MacDonnell Range

Arid riverbed in East MacDonnell Range


Hill in East MacDonnell Range

Arid hills in East MacDonnell Range


The MacDonnell Range Reef Mine was one of the richest gold mines in the region. The mine was operated intermittently from 1892 to 1908

Ruby Gap Nature Park, East MacDonnell Ranges


Ruby Gap Nature Park

Riverbed melons, Ruby Gap Nature Park


Paddy melons (Cucumis myriocarpus), Ruby Gap Nature Park

Outback camping with some locals..., Ruby Gap Nature Park


Camping in Ruby Gap Nature Park

'Western' Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica rufiventris), East MacDonnell Range


Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), Alice Springs Desert Park (captive animal)

Outback landscape


Desert outback

Kings Canyon


Outback wilderness

Kings Canyon, rim-walk view



Red sands with spinifex grass (Triodia pungens) along the Ernest Giles Road

Alice Springs


Locals hangin' around

Rainbow Bee-Eater (Merops ornatus), Alice Springs


Australian Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)

Rainbow Valley south of Alice Springs


Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley


Australian Feral Camel (Camelus dromedarius), between Stuart Highway and Kings Canyon on the Ernest Giles Road. This species, introduced to Australia during the 19th century for transport and construction during the colonization of the central and western parts of the country, is considered a pest because of its negative impact on the environment. In 2008 a culling program started, and the number of individuals has since been reduced from around 1 million to 300,000 (2013). The meat is sold to Saudi Arabia, where people have a taste of camel.

One of the roughest 4W drive, into Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Part


Palm Valley

Palm Valley


Palm Valley

Palm Valley in Finke Gorge National Park. It was a challenge driving to this site, which includes an isolated stand of Red cabbage palms (Livistona mariae)


Red Cabbage Palm (Livistona mariae), Palm Valley

Uluru / Ayers Rock


Dingo (Canis lupus dingo), near Kings Canyon

Uluru / Ayers Rock


Aboriginal art, Uluru / Ayers Rock

Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera), Kings Canyon


Galah (Eolophus rosicapillus)

Black-footed Rock Wallaby (Petrogale lateralis), West MacDonnell Range


Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius), Alice Springs

Dry lake, along Stuart Highway


Desert Oaks (Allocasuarina decaisneana) and Spinifex Grass (Triodia sp.). On the Ernest Giles Road toward Kings Canyon

Outback gas station, Stuart Highway


Road train, Stuart Highway

Stuart Highway carnage with Wedge-tailed Eagles and Ravens


Selfie in the middle of nowhere. This area north of Coober Pedy is called the Moon Plain, a vast expanse of rocky plains with lunar like landscape that has been the set for many movies including Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Pitch Black and The Red Planet

Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) eating sheep, Stuart Highway


Serious roadkill, Stuart Highway

Coober Pedy


Coober Pedy - Opal Capital of the World

Dugout motel in Coober Pedy


Central Australia wilderness

Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Flinders Ranges National Park, SA


Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

Stromatolite, the worlds oldest fossils, Flinders Ranges National Park, SA


Flinders Ranges National Park, SA

Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), Flinders Ranges National Park, SA


Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis), Alice Springs

Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), one of three egg-laying mammals on the planet (Monotremes: Short-beaked echidna, Long-beaked echidna and the Platypus). Kangaroo Island


Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Kangaroo Island


Australian Sea Lion (Neophoca cinerea), Kangaroo Island


Australian Sea Lion suckling, Kangaroo Island

New Zealand Fur Sea (Arctocephalus forsteri), Kangaroo Island


New Zealand Fur Seal, Kangaroo Island

Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), Kangaroo Island


Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus), Kangaroo Island

Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor), Penneshaw Penguin Center, Kangaroo Island


Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island

Little Penguin, Penneshaw Penguin Center, Kangaroo Island


Little Penguin, Penneshaw Penguin Center, Kangaroo Island

Admirals Arch, Kangaroo Island


Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, Kangaroo Island

Black-faced (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) and Pied (Phalacrocorax varius) Cormorants, Kangaroo Island


Black-faced Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscescens), Kangaroo Island

Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius), Kangaroo Island


Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island landscape


Kangaroo Island natural sculpture

Stalactites, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island


Tammar Wallaby (Macropus eugenii), Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Kangaroo Island

Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata clelandi), Kangaroo Island. This is the second largest species of honeyeater, and the subspecies found on Kangaroo Island is endemic to the island


Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae), Kangaroo Island

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), Kangaroo Island


Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), Cleland Conservation Park (aviary bird)

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), Kangaroo Island


Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans melanopterus). An endemic subspecies on Kangaroo Island

Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides), Deep Creek Conservation Park


Old opal mine near Coober Pedy


Long-nosed Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus), Cleland Conservation Park


Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus), Cleland Conservation Park

Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), Cleland Conservation Park (aviary bird)


Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis), Cleland Conservation Park (aviary birds)

Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea), Cleland Conservation Park


Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Cleland Conservation Park

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata), Cleland Conservation Park


Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis molucca), Cleland Conservation Park

Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis), Cleland Conservation Park, SA


Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), Deep Creek Conservation Park, SA

Deep Creek Conservation Park, SA


Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), Deep Creek Conservation Park, SA

Black-browed Albatross (Diomedea melanophris), outside Sydney


Hutton's Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni), outside Sydney

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Whale-watching trip outside Sydney


Humpback Whale diving. Whale-watching trip outside Sydney


Humpback Whale breaching. Was lucky to get this picture, of the only jumping whale we saw. Whale-watching trip outside Sydney


Downtown Adelaide

Mojito at Manly, Sydney


BHH with a mojito at Manly, Sydney

Taipei, Taiwan, at night


Taipei dining