Monday, 26 October 2009

Adieu Bourke; on the way to Coober Pedy...

Perhaps au revoir!
Please do click the pictures to get a better view.

Lilli picked some of the tiny straw flowers.

The wharf is a three story building. When the Darling rises the boats could still be unloaded; have a look how high the river can rise in flood times.

On the banks of the Darling River almost 800km north-west of Sydney, the once thriving river port of Bourke was the highest town on the Darling from which barges filled with cargos of wool could be shipped downstream.

Bourke was a bustling river port from the 1860s to the 1930s, and there are some fine examples of riverboat-era architecture, including the huge reconstructed wharf which can be explored – from here a track winds along the magnificent, tree-lined river. Thanks to irrigation with Darling River water, crops as diverse as cotton, lucerne, citrus, grapes and sorghum are successfully grown here despite the 35°C summer heat, while Bourke is also the commercial centre for a vast sheep- and cattle-breeding area: to the north there are rich grazing lands across the Queensland border around Cunnamulla and Charleville.

The Flinders Ranges are magnificent to see from above.

The region of the Flinders Ranges and Outback South Australia covers the area starting 200km north of Adelaide at Crystal Brook and extends to the state's borders in the north, east and west. The Flinders Ranges is a majestic mountain range stretching for 300km. The area is noted for its scenic beauty, unique flora and fauna, fascinating geology and heritage. Outback SA is a vast region noted for its harsh environment. Despite this the region offers a diverse range of experiences coupled with the stark beauty of its sandy and stony deserts, salt lakes and arid wetlands.

There are three major deserts in SA's northern Outback area - Sturt's Stony Desert, the Simpson Desert and the Great Victorian Desert. Scattered throughout the Outback are vast dry salt lakes of enormous size, the largest being Lake Eyre.
The discovery of opal in the Outback resulted in the establishment of mining towns; most notably Coober Pedy, the largest opal mining town in Australia. Situated on the Sturt Range,

We have flown over Lake Frome; Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre;

To me the huge salt lakes looked like a giant canvas painted in bold strokes with watercolours.

Salt pans in the desert;

Olympic Dam; We had to ask permission to land at Olympic Dam to refuel on the way to Coober Pedy.

Olympic Dam
South Australia possesses the world's single largest known deposit of uranium, at the Olympic Dam mine. Olympic Dam contains 40% of the world's known uranium reserves. The Olympic Dam mine is also the world's fourth largest remaining copper deposit, and the world's fifth largest gold deposit.

Andamooka from above;

Andamooka, there it is in the middle of the desert only a few kilometres from Lake Torrens and 30 km along what was once a very ordinary dirt road (it is now beautiful bitumen) from Roxby Downs, 113 km from the Stuart Highway, 286 km from Port Augusta and 592 km from Adelaide. Only 76 m above sea level it is a town driven by one economic imperative - the desire to dig a fortune out of the unforgiving desert soils.

Opals were first found at Andamooka in 1930 and since then there have been periodic great finds including the famous 'Andamooka' opal.

We arrive in Coober Pedy.


Kerri said...

I agree that the giant salt lakes look like watercolor paintings. Amazing!
Reading about the Darling River, bourke and Coober Pedy brings back memories of school days :)
I hope you're enjoying lovely spring weather in QLD as we slip into the colder months. I'm already dreaming of next spring's gardens :)

Janie said...

Great photos and fascinating information about the outback area.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Very educative, Titania! Before this, I've only seen salt lakes in Utah. Interesting places you visit!Will wait for your next post. Thank you!

ingrid said...

Unglaublich schön und sehr beeindruckende Bilder!
Liebe Grüße

Stephanie said...

Wow you have really documented your trip well. The photos you took from the plane are interesting. The land look so vast. I hope the journey was not too tiring for you. Have a great day!

Gail - Fort Rock Glimpses said...

How wonderful that you took so many photos from the air. I've often wanted to visit your beautiful country and I feel like you have given me a mini-guided tour. Loved your description of the salt lakes.

sweet bay said...

A wonderful tour of the Outback! I love your photos from the plane. They are awe-inspiring.

Sunita said...

Amazing photos, Trudi!
I was always fascinated by the Darling River because of its name. As a schoolgirl it captured my fancy that a waterbody could have such a, well, darling name :)
My daughter was learning about Australia last year and I showed her this post. I think she learned more today than she did in an entire term at school!

Prospero said...

Australia has such a varied landscape. It's great to see it from a bird's eye view.

MedaM said...

I enjoyed reading this interesting post and looking at these wonderful photos. Darling River, Mountain ranges, sandy and stony deserts, salt lakes...all looks really fantastic and impressive. Salt pans in the desert look like flowers from above and salt lakes look like paintings. Thanks for this really wonderful tour.

diane said...

What a great trip you had. The shots from the plane are so good and the scenery mind boggling. Interesting info too.

Laura in Paris said...

Thank you for letting us fly with you. I loved loved th picture of the wharf!

Babara said...

Mit Gurrumuls Liedern in den Ohren sehe ich mir deine schönen "Wüstenbilder" an und es kommt mir vor, als würden sie zu mir sprechen. Die Sehnsucht nach Weite, Stille, Kargheit ist einmal mehr entfacht worden, vielleicht ist es auch bloss das Fernweh?
Danke für die interessante Reisebeschreibung und das Vorstellen eines weiteren Teils deiner neuen und so schönen Heimat.
Es liebs Grüessli,

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