I didn’t before working in one of their habitats… It’s great seeing these funny little birds run about, never realizing they are actually real special. This native Australian bird is an endangered species with only small populations surviving. They’re real shy and a bit silly. They happened to set up camp not far from ours, so I had the privilege of spotting them on a number of occasions. They’re distantly related to chickens. But chickens are not very rare…
After six months of sitting on my ass in a fancy air-conditioned 4WD it didn’t come as much of a shock that it wasn’t very easy to get back on my bike.Peter accompanied me on the first stretch out of Port Lincoln.
The road followed the coast but due to heavy rains in December the harvest is running late and the road is full of big grain trucks going a million miles an hour blasting you off the bituman every time they pass.
Lucky I found a lovely little dirt-track going away from the main-drag nearer to the coast. At times it followed the road closely, and I did get a few strange looks heaving the bike through ditches and sand while being only meters from the bituman. But I like the efford that takes a lot better then joining the rest of the road-pizza’s. And I ‘discovered’ some beautifull campspots along the way. A bit windy at times, and with one pole still missing my tent flaps around like crazy.
I spent Christmas in Adelaide with Linda, a good friend of my dads cousin, And Steve, a good friend of mine. It was here I discovered I might’ve grown out of the lactose-intolarance I picked up in Nepal when an overly friendly parasite set up residence in my stomach. But just to be sure I tried eating cheese, cream, ice-cream, chocolate and yoghurt. And I didn’t feel ill! I had another huge piece of pavlova & cream to celebrate. I did feel ill then, but I don’t think it was because of the lactose…
Christmas is a funny happening here in Australia, no one seems to care that the seasons are all wrong! They put up decorations with big santa’s in costumes and beards and plastic sledges and snowman even though the temperature is 40+ degrees! It still seems a little strange to me.
I found my way to Kapunda, where Chris lives. He kept me entertained for a few days. Not only with copious amounts of Coopers pale ale, but also with his hilarious stories of past exploits in different fields of work From Milkman to Bartender to Gigolo and, lately, running Aboriginal communities all over Australia (we met when I cycled into one of those back in 2009)
He gave me a tour of the Barossa valley which ended in a wine-tasting session (It tasted great!) and a unusual history lesson. I never knew the first settlers in the Barossa-valley liked to spend their sunday-afternoons playing hunting-games. They were awarded different point for different kills, a rabbit would give you 5 points, a fox 10, a Kangaroo or Emu 50 and an Aboriginal 100. The last one disappeared around 1895…
New Years eve is a fairly tame event in Kapunda. So I decided to make my own party and Hijacked the jukebox in the local pub and under the suprised and slightly baffled looks of locals dragged Chris into my own version of dancing the night away (I want to ride my bicycle/ on the road again & Dolly… just a few examples)
After midnight there seemed nothing else to do but to join a crowd of young lads to a house party where we spent the rest of the night playing ping pong and watching curious cooking-shows.
Happy new Year.
On the map I’ve seen a road going straight across the ‘Big Desert Wilderness Park’ Since I seem to have missed out on the Great-Central road (only for now! There will always be another winter…) I took this track, a sign at the start warned me for a ‘rough sandy road’ That sounded good to me, for sure I wouldn’t meet any trucks along here.
The only vehicle I did meet was a big 4WD who flew past me later that day while shouting out the window: “How ya going!”…. typical Aussie greeting, he wouldn’t have expected an answer. If I would’ve had the chance I’d let him know that, obviously, in the sand… uphill, and against the wind I was going very very slowly. But he sped past and left me in a thick cloud of dust.
It was wonderfull though! No sounds but the gravel under my wheels, the singing of birds and dogs howling in the distance. Oh, and locusts.
Just when I was getting used to the flies in the west here these grass-hoppers seem to prevail. Instead of crawling in your eyes, ears, and nose as flies like to do. The locust smacks BANG into your face and hops away again. I was wondering if they might make for a tasty snack… Full of protein.
On my map I’d seen a little blue dot named ‘The Springs’. Silly enough I figured there’d be water there so I made it my goal for the day. I got there and searched high and low, but no sign of any spring at all! Nah.
It didn’t take long before I was back in wheat-growing area’s. Where still the harvest, and the wheat-trucks, keep going. One of the farmhouses along my road happened to belong to Stephen & Bron. Of course I didn’t know this untill I’d called in and was offered a place on their gorgeous lawn and dinner with the family.
I love jumping in puddles and dam’s along the way for a wash or just to cool down.
Packing up my tent one morning I was surprised hearing “Good Morning Mirjam!” from across the river. I didn’t think I knew a lot of people in Warracknabeal…
But I met a family in the pub the night before, and Rosemary was on her run around town when she spotted me packing up across the river. An invitation for breakfast followed.
I thought Australia in summer would be hot and dry. But no, Queensland is flooded and here in Melbourne the rain hasn’t eased since I arrived. But I’m not complaining. Nope. I am actually very excited because I have got a major adventure coming up.
You will see.