Yesterday was an epic road trip day, full of iconic outback images as well as some humor, too. We drove “the bilby* way” from Birdsville to Bedourie and crossed over a number of flooded creeks and waterways with no problem. That doesn’t mean that we are taking any crossing for granted, though. In fact, I think I flinch every time we start feeling the grip of the 4 wheel drive on the mud and rocks and as the water starts splashing up over the windows. Not until we are safely across do I let out a little whoop of relief.
Our route was often flat, with red dirt and nothing for miles in any direction – no fences, no houses, no roads. Just gibber – the random rocks tossed across the plains. Later, we passed red sand dunes. Distances are marked by happenings on this route – at 35 kilometers is the approximate site where Moonie died, 1895. We passed a sign post in the middle of nowhere that had shoes of all sorts hanging from it – boots, heels, thongs. Then later, we passed a “crossroads” where a toilet, TV, stove, chair and heater were all set up in a cozy circle. Both good examples of outback humor!
Interestingly, we also drove through an amazing wetland and wildlife area on the Eyre Creek called Cuttaburra crossing where we saw hundreds of pelicans, as well as all sorts of other water fowl. Gorgeous. We saw the ubiquitous kangaroos and emus, as well as lots of cattle. There are cattle stations in this part of Australia that are larger than many European countries – Cluny Station covers an area of 1,327 million acres. But most fun of all and for the first time in the outback for me, we saw camels. Camels were brought to Australia during the building of the inland railways and do so well in this desert land that they are now exported back to Saudi Arabia. Very cool, huh?
*What’s a bilby, you ask? It’s a rabbit eared bandicoot – a once common marsupial of inland Australia that is now endangered. It’s a cute little thing that looks a bit like a cross between a rabbit and a hamster.