Australia and New Zealand are today commemorating Anzac Day. In Australia, at least, it’s our unofficial national day and an ideal that’s come to be embodied by the concepts of mateship and hardship.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been travelling in outback Queensland, a part of the country that might easily be described as the most Australian part of Australia. It’s a place also where, right now, mateship and hardship are on full display. Continue reading
In the vast yellow sweep that is western Queensland, grand natural features are few and far between. Cattle stations disappear across the horizon and black-soil plains struggle to hold trees, let alone mountains or other defining characteristics.
Among the few exceptions, Carnarvon Gorge is probably the most striking. A deep gash through sandstone hills, it’s a canvas of ancient Aboriginal art. Cycads and fan palms cover its banks, and white cliffs tower up to 200 metres above Carnarvon Creek. The gorge itself is stunning, but most of its key attractions – the Moss Garden, Amphitheatre, the Art Gallery and Ward’s Canyon – are squirrelled away in side gorges. Explore them all and it requires about 22 kilometres of walking. But even if you do explore them all, you won’t have seen everything. Continue reading
Walking on a trail can be like threading a line between words in a book – you only see part of the story. Move off the line – read the entire page – and a place expands and changes, developing new shapes, angles and experiences as you step through untracked land.
In a forest or in heavily mountainous country, you quickly sense the possibility of this change if you were to step away from the trail. On my recent visit to New Zealand, however, I discovered there can be just as much shift in an open, barren landscape such as that around the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. Continue reading