Monday, January 28, 2013

A Few of My Fave RED OZ Things #4


Love RED? Love OZ? Love Poetry Doggerel?

Yes? Then this is for YOU!

If you're alone, sing along to the tune of My Favourite Things* - but Sound of Music devotees be warned! MY version has NO girls in white dresses or whiskers on kittens … and it's ALL about OZ!

Kununurra Landmark the Sleeping Buddha; Western Australia


RED Buddha sleeping;
 
 
RED Morning Sky, Sultana Point, South Australia
  
RED sky in the morning;
 
Red Mud Crab, Roebuck Bay, Western Australia
 
 
 
 
 

Little RED Mud Crab; and
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Channel Warning Marker, South Australia
 
 
 
 
 
RED channel warning

 
The Big Prawn, Ballina, New South Wales

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Giant RED Prawn; and
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Detail of Red Cliffs, Port Clinton, South Australia
 
 
 
RED Cliffs that make Art;
 
 
Historic Key Beam Engine, Mannum, South Australia
 
 
 
 
 
A Big RED machine with well-oiled moving parts!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Corrugated Iron
 
 

Rusting RED Iron; and
 
 
Jindivik, Woomera, South Australia
 
 
 
 
 
RED Jindivik;
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Samphire Flats, St Kilda Boardwalk, Adelaide, South Australia
 

RED Samphire wetlands;
 
 
Church, Deniliquin, New South Wales
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Church made from RED Brick


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Male Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton)
 

RED Crimson Finch;
 
 
 
 RED OZ Wildflowers
 
 
Red Lamp Post, Pt Victoria, South Australia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Antique RED Lamp Post and
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Red Rocks, Junction Lookout, Karijini National Park, Western Australia
 
  
RED Rocky Towers
 


90 Mile Straight:  Longest straight stretch of road in Australia
 
 
 


When the road's LONG;
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Do the Kalbarri Cliffs REALLY need a DANGER Warning sign??  Western Australia
 
 
 
when there's DANGER;
 
 
The Silver Bullet turns RED, Karijini National Park, WA
 
When the dust is BAAAAAAD


I think of my RED-ventures all over OZ-land;
 
And all the great times I've had!


Bonus EXTRA! If you missed the first 3 stanzas, read them right HERE, right NOW:

* As always, massive apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein – the duo responsible for the original song – My Favourite Things – from musical and movie The Sound of Music!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Cemetery, the Council and the Coffin-shaped Conveniences! Australia's Scenic Public Toilet #30



Millaa Millaa Cemetery Conveniences (courtesy Cairns Post)
In Scenic Public Toilet world, where I humbly claim to be an Australian expert, I thought I'd seen it all!

From the vast, sweeping plains of the Queensland Outback; the spectacular 'Bali Hai' backdrop of Lord Howe Island; the magnificent Southern Yorke Peninsula coastline; the RED rocky ranges of the Northern Territory; the high country of Victoria; and the drama of plunging cliffs and blowholes in Western Australia, I've been privileged to discover – and use for their intended purpose – some of the most amazingly scenic amenities on earth!

But I never thought it'd be my pleasure to do my business in a coffin!

We extended our July 2011 stay in the excellent Millaa Millaa Tourist Park on the outskirts of this tiny Atherton Tablelands town in the shadow of Mt Bartle Frere (Queensland's highest mountain) and Mt Bellenden Ker (Queensland's 2nd highest mountain) several times.
Millaa Millaa Caravan Park Campsite



That's because it's an excellent and superbly scenic base from which to explore the whole tablelands region. Most of which can be seen from the Millaa Millaa Lookout, starting with Mt Bartle Frere's bulk and sweeping around over the superb green panorama that makes up this cool – both literally AND figuratively – tropical paradise.

View from Millaa Millaa Lookout, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland


Just down the road are the archetypal Millaa Millaa Falls – so named (by me) because the word 'waterfall' probably conjures up an image something like the falls in the photo below, right??

Further afield past magnificent rainforest and one of the more picturesque landscapes in OZ is the marvellous Train to Tumoulin; the plunging Crater at Mt Hypipamee, and the marvellous Mungalli Creek Dairy and Organic Cafe!
 
Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Far North Queensland



And that's just what's REALLY close!!

Somehow, in the midst of all this traveller's fantasy world, I missed the unique coffin-shaped public toilet in the Millaa Millaa cemetery.

Don't ask me how. Although I'd like to think it's because it hadn't been built back then ...

But now, however, after a disturbing report from readers Cheryl and Franciscus, it looks like I'll NEVER have the chance to do my business in a coffin!

Because according to an article from on Cairns.com.au*, the coffin-shaped conveniences were recently condemned!

'Millaa Moo' the Reluctant Cow - a 'Rural Women for Culture & Community' project


Awhile back, the local chamber of commerce asked the shire council for an amenities block in the cemetery to make it easier for residents to attend funerals.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but my experience tells me that: 1) a higher number of older than younger people die; and 2) a higher number of older than younger people experience body malfunctions requiring a quick trip to the conveniences.

Ergo: the profile of a funeral attendee is an older person requiring the conveniences to be … well … convenient!

The factors making Millaa Millaa tropical anomaly – single digit winter temperatures and high incidence of mist and fog – already make standing in the cemetery for any length of time an uncomfortable experience for a funeral goer (as profiled above). But factor in the effects of the cold and distance of the cemetery from the town, and it'd hardly be a surprise if funeral attendance dropped off!

Red & Pilchard at Mungalli Creek Dairy & Organic Cafe - Queensland's 2 highest mountains in the background! 


While I don't have the benefit of council research and statistics, the Cairns Post article indicates that the council refused the request for cemetery conveniences on the grounds that it didn't have the $80,000+ required for such a building.

So what's a chamber of commerce with initiative, drive and the support of the majority of the community to do?

Build their own, of course!!

And while it's bizarre, but possible that the chamber of commerce has never heard of the Red Nomad OZ penchant for public potties, their coffin-shaped cemetery conveniences – using volunteers and donated materials – immediately captured my attention!

Millaa Millaa Cemetery Loo (photo via Pat Reynolds)
At a cost of only $1200 – more than 66 times cheaper than the council's own cost estimate – perhaps they should become consultants and on-sell their innovative budget approach around the country, or even the world! But I digress …

While this solidly constructed septic system loo on council land doesn't a) have council planning approval, or b) meet all council planning requirements, it's difficult for me to understand how it would cost another $75,000+ to ensure that it does.

But ... I'm not a tradie, so maybe I just don't get it.

Weirdly, letting the Millaa Millaa community keep its toilet apparently means others could – would – do the same thing according to the council, a strangely embarrassing indictment in my opinion. For if the council truly believes that other communities would build their own amenities once they'd tacitly green-lighted Millaa Millaa's, surely this is an acknowledgement that there aren't enough?!

While keeping the toilet operational until such time as the Council has funds for a 'proper' one might seem a logical compromise to laypeople such as I, apparently the dangers of a well-built septic toilet (albeit one not complying with council specifications) are too great.
 
So, last rites have been held and the loo removed to protect the Millaa Millaa residents from its dastardly dangers.  AND any errant tourists who might find it amazingly, awesomely Australian.

Today.


Millaa Millaa Loo Graffiti (photo via Cheryl & Franciscus)

Naturally, there are more than two sides to this tragic tale. I'm sure the council really DIDN'T have the money to spend on a cemetery toilet, given there's already a public toilet in the fine picnic and barbecue area in main street.

Graced, incidentally, by the fine artwork in the previous photo.

And unlike me, there are those who find a coffin-shaped toilet in a cemetery offensive – SO offensive that they spray it with graffiti, even though according to my sources, over 300 (around 90%) of the townspeople have signed a petition in support of maintaining their gloriously gothic loo.

The final tragedy is that even though the Millaa Millaa masterpiece has just been moved down the road, it's lost the location that made it unique so I'll never be able to give it the full benefits of the Red Nomad OZ treatment.
 
I've never actually seen the conveniences for myself, and photos are via Cheryl and Franciscus (blessings to you both); Pat Reynolds (Chamber of Commerce president) and the Cairns Post.

Locals toast the passing of the Millaa Millaa Cemetary Loo (photo via Pat Reynolds)


 
And although the devastating irony of such un-Australian treatment of something so quintessentially Australian on the eve of Australia Day means I'll never see it in its rightful place, I'm not letting Australia's Scenic Public Toilet #30 get away!

Visit the Millaa Millaa Cemetery Loo Facebook Page HERE and show your support!!
Read More:

* Much of the information in this post came from the original Cairns Post article

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Walk the Pinnacle! Grampians National Park, Victoria

The Pinnacle Lookout with Lake Bellfield below, Grampians National Park, Victoria


WARNING: Do NOT attempt this walk if you don't like A) heights; B) snakes; C) wildflowers; or D) looking uncool!

Whether or not D) applies depends to a certain degree on physical fitness levels – and possibly hiking fashion sense! Although tragically that's not a factor if you're like me – red face, heaving chest and death-rattle puffing after ascending several steep staircases and precipitous pinches through the 470 metre elevation (~1560 feet) of this hike – are guaranteed to immediately counteract the effects of even the most fashionable hiking gear!
The Pinnacle (see circle & inset) from Halls Gap Main Street, Grampians National Park


Sadly, the terrific general store in Grampians town Halls Gap sells everything BUT badges that state 'Don't Panic! I'm NOT having a heart attack!'

Mackeys Peak rock en route to the Pinnacle, Grampians National Park
So wielding a camera as if you know what you're doing is a far better antidote to D) as it's possible to surreptitiously catch your breath under the guise of admiring and photographing the view.

Thankfully, there are a lot of views to admire on the 3.6 km (2.23 mile) trek up the escarpment from the trail-head behind the excellent Halls Gap Caravan Park to the Pinnacle, one of the most popular vantage points in the Grampians National Park.


But admiring the staggering view from the truly impressive vantage point of the Pinnacle doesn't come easily.
The jagged rocky outcrops forming the distinctive Halls Gap skyline towering above its main street appear impossibly high up and far away (see above). But the sharply pointed spur of rock with fuzzy edges – the safety rail – jutting out from the clifftop along the line of peaks above the town IS attainable!


Halls Gap Caravan Park Campground from Stony Creek
Of course a 'Hard' grade hike requires preparation. So before you climb, take a trip to the marvellous Halls Gap Bakery, chocker with ready made sandwiches, rolls and apple shortbreads (me) and vanilla slices (Pilchard). Although these are readily interchangeable with the Lumberjack cake (me) and Hedgehog slice (Pilchard). But I digress …

Passing the grave of baby Agnes Ffoulkes, tragic victim of the hardships faced by pioneers in this once-remote spot, the track immediately ascends to the first of many staircases that make the first leg to Mackeys Peak a pretty stiff climb. Stop to admire and photograph (yes, that's a euphemism!) the fine views of Chatauqua Peak and across the valley to Boronia Peak – both fine walks for another day. At this point, you'll be looking up at them.

Red rests at Mackeys Peak, 2011, wth Halls Gap and Boronia Peak in the background


BUT … you'll soon be higher than both!

Steeper than they look!!!
If you keep going, that is. There's no shame in returning to Halls Gap at this point – as we did in 2011 – but why forgo the excitement of an uncountable number of steps; steep drop-offs and cliffs; wildflowers; and possibly even snakes?

And if you're already a victim of D), you've got nothing to lose by carrying on ...
 
Finally the stairs even out and the heavily wooded track winds almost horizontally through a scattering of impressive rocky outcrops, some with scary looking rock-climbing paraphernalia attached at crazy heights (see below). Don't underestimate (or under-utilise) the many opportunities available in this section to further reduce the impact of D) by stopping to photograph the numerous wildflowers along the trail.

That's if you've been smart enough to take the hike in spring!

Although the Grampians wildflower season lasts for several months, we scored the most we'd EVER seen in 20+ years of Grampians visits in late October 2012. And the most snakes … but that's another story!

Grampians Wildflowers on the Pinnacle Trail, Victoria


Trust me - you'll be grateful you took those D)-preventative photographic precautions as the track emerges from the forest and into the open amongst the distinctive weathered granite peaks and crags that epitomise the jagged mountain ranges of Grampians.

Rock face with Climbing gear, Pinnacle track, Grampians National Park


Why? Because the track winds steadily up along rocky spurs, through narrow ravines and along ridgetops towards the Pinnacle. A red face and shortness of breath just can't be helped here – unless you're one of those frightening fitness-fetishists largely responsible for the high rates of low self-esteem amongst the less young and agile ...


Top of the Ridge Panorama, with Pinnacle Lookout at left, Grampians National Park, Victoria

But the scenic splendour now unfolding all around more than makes up for any residual effects of a life-long love affair with country bakeries. Staggering views across the valley emerge with Halls Gap nestled WAAAAAY below and Lake Bellfield glinting in the sunlight – although neither lake waters nor sunlight are guaranteed!
Pilchard and the Sleeping Giant behind the Pinnacle, Grampians National Park



Tempting though it is to keep your finger on the shutter button as the panorama unfolds, take my advice and save yourself for the 360° vista from the Pinnacle, if your nerves are strong enough to negotiate the safety-fenced narrow neck of rock sticking out over – well – nothing!

Halls Gap from the Pinnacle, Grampians National Park, Victoria


Unless you count the Fyans valley just under half a kilometre below …
 
Australian Raven at the Pinnacle
If there are any left, combine the bakery goods with a breather that'll return your complexion to normal hues before taking the proof-I-made-it-to-the-top shots – but keep a wary eye on the marauding Australian Raven ... The grab rail safety fence is sturdy enough to lean on for the obligatory photos but the view from this vantage point is just WAAAAAY too big to effectively capture in one shot.

Although its virtually guaranteed you'll have time to spare while you wait your turn on the Pinnacle – tedious 'Titanic' type photo shoots are becoming de rigueur!!!

Before the landmark-altering flooding rains of January 2011, descent options included a round trip through a series of natural rock formations known as 'Wonderland'; or continuing along the ridgetop before descending to the valley. Just how impressive that ridgetop is can be clearly seen from the well known Boroka lookout high on the range behind Halls Gap – a shortish drive and a 50m stroll and this magnificent panorama will give you all the context you need for your Pinnacle assault!

But not the same sense of satisfaction!

Boroka Lookout View - Rocky Ridge leading to the Pinnacle at right

Now, unless you've got the stamina for a further 9.5 km hike to Lake Bellfield, and another few km back to Halls Gap, the shortest return option is to retrace your steps.
Pilchard descends the staircase from hell

Keep a close eye on those killer knee-wrecking stairs as you descend to prevent them becoming killer neck-breaking stairs!
 
And make way for the show-offs idiots really fit people who JOG down!!
 
If it seems a long way down, console yourself with the thought that you've SO earned more Bakery opportunities at the end of it.

And that D) will no longer be a problem ...
 

Read more:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adelaide Hills Introspection ... The CDP Belly Button Festival!

2012 Adelaide Hills Dam, Parra Wirra Reserve, South Australia
I've got a low boredom threshold.

So ever since I got a new toy camera for Christmas 2011 (read about how I lost my old camera HERE), I've been putting it through its paces.

But I wasn't consciously experimenting with technique!

No, REALLY!!

SO … can somebody PLEASE explain why the above January 2012 shot, among the first taken with my new camera on a sunny Australian summer morning, looks like ordinary reflections on an Adelaide Hills dam ...

BUT … the January 2013 shot, taken in the same spot almost a year to the day later, looks like THIS?

2013 Adelaide Hills Dam, Parra Wirra Reserve, South Australia


The Belly Button Festival invites the City Daily Photo Community to an introspective photo challenge: 12 months, 2 photos, 100 words. Visit the City Daily Photo Theme Meme for other participants!

But of course rules were made to be broken ...

So my third photo - also January 2013 at the same location - shows just what can be done by pushing a couple of extra buttons.  And waiting for the right moment, of course!!

2013 - Adelaide Hills Dam, Para Wirra Reserve, South Australia


I added it for Nature Footstep's Abstract Wednesday (check out the other participants!) - and because I like it!

Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Travelling Stone Gathers no Moss ...


The Travelling Stones
Clocking up 30,000+ road kilometres took me nearly all of 2012. 

But in 2012 these stones have well and truly trounced me – in air miles!

Starting their journey in Canada in October, they travelled 7,000+ km to Scotland then another 16,000+ km to Australia in late December for a well earned Christmas break.

In 2013, they'll potentially outdo me – and a whole lot of other travellers besides – because now they're ready to hit the road – or skies – again!

In a South Australian Paddock ...
The stones' magical mystery tour – for they never know where they are going next – started with darlin when they came in to her possession at a dinner. Once she decided to send them out into the world to seek – well, if not their fortune, at least some new friends, landscapes and experiences.

And perhaps a little fame!

So far, after leaving darlin in Canada, they've visited Dormy Saz in Scotland – where Saz added a friendly little 10p piece to keep them company – before they arrived in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.

Somewhere in the Adelaide Hills, the stones against a dry, summer backdrop ...
Once I've found them a new host, I'll be adding a souvenir from Australia!  
But – you won't find out what it is until they reach their next destination!

SO ... where will the stones show up next?

WELL … that's up to you!

If YOU would like to host the stones in the next leg of their journey, let me know in the comments below – or send me an email via my profile in the right sidebar.

Meanwhile, the travelling stones await! And we all know what happens to stones that wait too long ...

On a lonely fence-post somewhere in South Australia ...

The Travelling Stones will shortly have their own blog, then the next lucky host will be announced.  Meanwhile, the Stones await their next destination! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Aussie ABC - L is for Lookout!

Looking towards the coast from the Eungella Plateau, Queensland

Downunder, a sign pointing to a LOOKOUT isn't a warning to LOOK OUT! – but an invitation to a vantage or viewing point from which to better admire the surrounding landscape.  Like this completely gratuitous one above - serving no other purpose in this post but to attract your attention!

It worked, didn't it?!

In this relatively flat land, where the highest mountain is a mere 2228 metres high, finding a suitable spot from which to survey the scenery often doesn't require too much elevation, with many lookouts accessible by vehicle or a short walking track.

And what you see when you get there is often so extensively, ecstatically panoramic that taking a tour – virtual or otherwise – of these 14 lookouts in strategic locations around the country will show you a LOT of Australia!

Finding these AWESOME landscapes is half the fun - or at least it is with TravelSIM! Let them help you take the guesswork out of getting there so you've got that much more time to enjoy the scenery!

Meanwhile, enjoy the virtual tour!
 

1  NEW Lookout, via Boroka Lookout, Grampians, Victoria:
 
Lakes Wartook (r) and Bellfield (l) from NEW Grampians Lookout, Victoria
On many visits to Victoria's magnificent Grampians region, we thought we'd 'done' all the lookouts. But in October 2012, we found a new one! SO new, I can't find its name anywhere – and tragically can't recall the name we saw on the sign!

On the back road between Lake Wartook and Boroka Lookout – in itself a magnificent spot – this is the only lookout from which both Lake Wartook (at right) and Lake Bellfield above Grampians Town Halls Gap can be seen – along with the great stretch of wildnerness separating them.

Staggering!

Read more: The Grampians

 
2  Five Rivers Lookout, Wyndham, Western Australia:

Five Rivers Lookout, via Wyndham, Western Australia


Visitors to Wyndham start to ascend the Bastion range escarpment well before dusk to get the best vantage point from the Five Rivers lookout platform as the sun sets over the – yes, you guessed right – Five rivers that flow into impressive Cambridge Gulf.

But the view is just as impressive by day – bear in mind this photo shows only about half of it – with the saltworks below, tidal salt plains in the middle distance and the Cockburn range in the background.

Here, you'll find the answer to that most pressing of questions: Does the picnic ground have Australia's most Scenic Public Toilet?



3 Inspiration Point, via Point Pass, South Australia:

View from Inspiration Point, via Point Pass & Robertstown, South Australia


Between Point Pass and Robertstown in South Australia's mid-north, an unsealed road that leads high above the surrounding plain to Inspiration Point, where the colour of the landscape depends on the season! Look back, if you dare, from the lookout to the rocky retaining wall holding the road in place. South Australia's mid north has a fascinating heritage that's worth exploring, and Inspiration Point makes a fine starting point.

Read more: Point Pass


4 Transit Hill Lookout, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales:

Mounts Lidgbird & Gower from Transit Hill Lookout, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales


Transit Hill isn't the highest lookout on Lord Howe Island nor the one with the most extensive view. But in the late afternoon sun, the outlook over the distinctive – and impressive – twin peaks of Mounts Gower and Lidgbird forms a Bali-Hai-esque backdrop to the rest of this little gem 600 km off the New South Wales coast.

Read more: Lord Howe Island


5 Jarnem Lookout, Keep River National Park, Northern Territory:

Keep River National Park, Northern Territory


The spectacular scenery of Keep River National Park, only a few kilometres from the Northern Territory/Western Australian border is best appreciated on the 7 km Jarnem Loop trail. Ascending to the lookout at the highest point above the surrounding plains is the best way to experience the vast magnificence of the 360° panorama, with only rock stacks and a distant mountain range for company!

But if you're a bird watcher, a sighting of uncommon White-quilled Rock Pigeon beats the view from any lookout!!


 
6 Flagstaff Hill, Port Douglas, Far North Queensland:

Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill Lookout, Port Douglas, Queensland


Make sure your car is up for the vertiginous drive up from sea level to ex-fishing village now tourist town Port Douglas' best vantage point – through billions of dollars worth of prime coastal real estate. If you like the view over Four Mile Beach, there's a block of land for sale just below the lookout platform.

Imagine waking up to that view, while directly behind your new home, throngs of tourists scale the heights to admire the sights by day and night!  Anyone who gets to this idyllic spot should thank the local council who, despite pressure from the locals (yes, the ones who live in those $multi-million properties) to close the public access road to the summit, kept it open!

Read more: Port Douglas


7 Mt Wellington, via Hobart, Tasmania:

Hobart from Mt Wellington, Tasmania


Tragically my only visit to the Apple Isle, as Tasmania is affectionately known to the rest of Australia, was for a conference meaning I didn't get to see anything except the inside of the conference venue. Until the last day when in the hiatus between conference end and flight departure I booked a tour to the top of Mt Wellington, 1270 m above Hobart and the Derwent river below.

This glimpse of the vast and untouched natural wilderness – for which every Australian should say 'thank you, Bob Brown' – has been a six year teaser for touring this often forgotten corner of Australia. BUT … at least this gets Tassie on the board for my blog!

Read more: Mt Wellington, Tasmania


8 Mt Warning, via Murwillumbah, Northern New South Wales:

Mt Warning (Wollumbin) from Best of All Lookout


The steep ascent to the Mt Warning (also known as Wollumbin) summit, first place the sun's rays reach on the Australian mainland, will reward the lucky climber with a panoramic 360° view. I've made the 9km return hike three times – but never in the pre-dawn darkness to reach the top by sunrise!

In the Wollumbin World Heritage area, the view FROM Mt Warning's summit lookout is one of New South Wales' finest – but the best view OF Mt Warning is in Springbrook National Park just across the border in Queensland at the aptly named 'Best of All' Lookout!


 
9 The Horn, Mt Buffalo, via Bright, Victoria:

View from the Horn, Mt Buffalo via Bright, Victoria


It's not all red rocks, dirt and sand from Australia's lookouts – the Victorian Alpine region's layer upon layer of mountainous wilderness can easily be viewed from several vantage points. The Alpine National Park crosses state boundaries with Mt Kosciuszko, at 2228 metres Australia's highest, on the other side of the state border in New South Wales.

But the 1723 metre summit of the Horn atop Mt Buffalo – my personal favourite – is on the Victorian side of the border. Who knew you could have adventures in the cold like this?!

Read more: Mt Buffalo

 
10 Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia:

View from Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia


Take a break from the hordes of tourists queueing for a photo shoot at well known tourist hotspot Natures Window and admire the unframed view – to which a panorama shot does not do justice. Known for its wildflowers, the park is also a bonanza of natural attractions with deep gorges, stunning rivers and red RED rock!

To the left of the photo, a walking track leads along the ridge, then drops below into the gorge for what must be one of the most scenic walks in Australia. Ask me what it's like next visit – because I wont let it pass me by again!
 

 
11 Tylers Pass Lookout, Central Australia:

Gosse Bluff from Tylers Pass Lookout, Central Australia


At the very Western Edge of the West MacDonnell National Park, Tylers Pass marks the descent from the range into the plain below, its endlessness broken only by the massive bulk of Gosse Bluff.

An unexpected end to a day exploring the 'West Macs' as the park is less formally known, the road continues into what for us is absolute virgin territory. And an absolute must for next time!

Read more: Central Australia


12 Cawnpore Lookout, via Winton, Outback Queensland

Cawnpore Lookout, via Winton, Outback Queensland


It'd be difficult to accidentally find yourself in remote Outback Queensland's Lilleyvale Hills between Winton and Boulia, but this stunning lookout with a stupendous view over spectacular rock formations only found in one other place in the world is more than enough reason to visit.

While the lookout isn't really that far above the plains the 360° view is a great place to experience the emptiness of the Outback with a falling down fence – and highway – the only signs of civilisation. Besides, it's great fun watching other travellers trying to drive the steep, rocky road to the top!

Read more: Cawnpore Lookout

 
13 Sillers Lookout, via Arkaroola, South Australia:

Northern Flinders Ranges from Sillers Lookout, via Arkaroola, South Australia


I'm jealous as hell. This is the only one of these awesome lookouts I HAVEN'T visited – but as (arguably) South Australia's finest view, I couldn't leave it out. Luckily, Wayne's photo showing the stupendous view over the Northern Flinders ranges whilst on the world famous 4WD 'Ridgetop Tour' will have to do before I get there myself. Really soon!!


 
14 Point Lookout, New England Ranges, New South Wales:

'View' from Point Lookout, New England Ranges, New South Wales


But there are no guarantees of a view from some lookouts – as we found at Point Lookout in the New England National Park. Only a few metres from the summit, 1500 metres above sea level, after a long and winding ascent through bright sunlight, the mist and fog blew in. Our rush for the lookout viewing platform too late for anything but a thick, soft whiteness, the otherworldly semi-darkness closed in around us and we were left with the haunting cry of the forest raven ...

One day we'll see what the view's REALLY like!

Read More: Point Lookout

Sharing that killer view to EVERYONE when you get there is the other half of the fun - get the latest technology from TravelSIM so you can IMMEDIATELY make your mates jealous as hell!  Go on ... you KNOW you want to!!

 
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