The Connie Sue
A legend among the latter day explorers of Australia was Len Bedell who criss crossed the most remote area of Central Australia with net work of "roads" put in for the atom bomb tests in the late 1950's. The most famous is the "Gunbarrel Highway" which was a bull dozed track from the centre to the Indian Ocean. The Connie Sue is another running north-south crossing the Sandy Desert. Location: South eastern WA. Access: 4WD only.
Where do we go ?
You all know about the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Gold Coast, Ayers Rock and many more. But did anyone tell you about the Morning Glory (the Roll Clouds in the Gulf of Carpentaria)? Did they tell you about the Wee Bubbie caves? Many of Australia’s most magic spots are known to very few – and those that do know have never worked in the Tourist Bureau.
I have been travelling through Australia for more than 50 years and I think can claim that I have seen more of Australia than any one. So sit back and let me tell you of my favourite places and the places that will overcome you with wonder. Let us roam from rain forest to reef atolls to desert. These places are presented in no particular order, just as they come to mind – and I have not attempted to describe them in detail because that is simply not possible – you need to see for yourself.
Great Victoria Desert – the Canning Stock Route
The Canning Stock Route runs from south to north along the western edge of the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia. The stock route was surveyed in the early years of last century and a series of wells sunk about 50 km apart to water stock being driven to market in Perth. The northern section is all giant sand hills and a real test for any 4WD’s and their drivers and takes a week or more to drive. Spectacular scenery and you cross one of the largest salt lakes in the world. Location: Central Western Australia. Access: Kalgoorlie by 4 WD
Lizard Island Nth Queensland
In the middle of the Great Barrier Reef Lizard Island was named by Capt. Cook while repairing his ship at the nearby Endeavour River. The best coral on the reef and few know that you can camp on Lizard thus avoiding the $1000 per night luxury resort (which is walking distance from the camping area). Historic, beautiful and cheap! Location: Far north Queensland (FNQ). Access: Cooktown by boat
An ancient salt lake that contains the fossil remnants of the earliest inhabitants of Australia, perhaps a race that has since died out. A good camping ground and close to the Menindee Lakes which is also worth visiting. Location: Western NSW. Access: Vehicle
80 Mile Beach
On your way to Broome (What ! You have not considered Broome and Cable Beach ?) make sure you call in at the Eighty Mile. The only beaches that come close are along the Great Australian Bight (too cold) and the western coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria (too many crocs). Caravan park for the tent and a long long drive along the beach. Here the red desert sand hills come right to the ocean. Location: Central coast WA. Access: Vehicle
On your way to Ayers Rock you will see first, and may mistake it for the Rock, Mt Connor. Camp nearby and climb it for day break or sunset, you may well think it better than it's more famous cousin the 'Rock'. Location: Central NT. Access: Vehicle
No supermarket here, in fact just a few ruins of a town built around a very rich alluvial gold field. Camp on the Palmer River - the River of Gold - and go to sleep fancying you can here the thump thump thump of the gold stamps that once operated here. Location: West of Cooktown F.N.Q. Access 4 WD
Off the Gibb River road in the remote Kimberley is one of Australia's most spectacular escarpments as the Mitchell River drops off the Mitchell Plateau. If you like a good hike then this rugged and beautiful area will suit you. Location: Kimberley, north west WA. Access 4 WD only
All you need in a deserted tropical island. A romantic history, stories of murder and gun fights plus you get fresh water and a Blue Lagoon of your very own. Climb to the top of the hill and wonder how on earth Capt Cook managed to sail through the reefs that extend as far as the eye can see. Location: Coral Sea FNQ. Access: Boat from Cooktown
There is only one turnoff the Gibb River road and at the end of that road is Kalumburru. Do not expect much, petrol and expensive groceries from the small co-op is about all but what a coast line ! A great way to relax after exploring the gorges of the Mitchell Plateau. Location: Kimberley far NW WA. Access: By 4 WD
Just off the highway across the Nullabor at Eucla - you will already have stood on the cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean and realised you are finally at the end of the world - and Cocklebiddy lie some easily accessible sandstone caves. Extraordinary, they are just there and down you go if you dare. There are at least one hundred scattered across the Nullabor which is a gigantic sandstone plate. Location: Nullabor Plain southern WA. Access: Vehicle
After visiting Cape York the most northerly point in Australia, visit Virilya Point. It is on the western side of Cape York about 80 km from Bamaga and is a bit of magic on the Gulf of Carpentaria. You can watch the sun set over the water and catch some fish. As the day darkens the red eyes of crocs watching you become obvious (no, no swimming!). Location: Near the tip of Australia in FNQ. Access: Out of Bamaga by 4 WD.
On the western edge of the Simpson Desert lies Dalhousie Springs, a natural hot spring of artesian water. In fact there are a series of them as you move south towards William Creek, but Dalhousie is the best. To lounge in the hot water when the winter desert night is around freezing is blissful. And of course you have just crossed the Simpson via the French Track. Location: NE South Australia. Access: From Northern Territory by vehicle.
Off the Gibb River Road lies an enchanting small cave cut right through a mountain by a small creek, Tunnel Creek. You need to wade to get right through and the water is freezing. You will also need a torch since it is pitch black. Camp nearby at Windjana Gorge. Location: Kimberleys northern WA. Access: Vehicle
About 400 km by sea north of Cooktown lies Cape Direction, an idyllic camp site. Fresh water nearby, views over the bay and magnificent black lip oysters. For those who like oysters but have not tasted black lips, then this will be as close to heaven as you will get. Location: Near Lockhart River FNQ. Access: Boat out of Cooktown.
If you get to central Oz then you will visit many canyons but the best of them is Kings Canyon. Why not drop in on your way to Auers Rock, there is a camp ground there. Location: Northern Territory (NT) south of the Alice. Access: Vehicle
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