Scotland the brave

Scotland the brave

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Yes we were lost in the Highlands of Scotland (Torrin), however thankfully, all turned out ok once we asked a local where our actual address was. We were only six doors away.  Julz was happy that we had finally arrived.

Our host, Raurie, was a multi-generational farmer.  He greeted us covered from head to toe in black grease.  “Sorry in the way I look”, he said when we arrived. “We have been working on the tractor for weeks”.
It was a one night stay in his specially built accomodation.  Air Bnb would continue to give us unique experiences.

We left early in the morning to get driving through to the highlands and lochs to Lochgilphead., situated about 7 hours away.  The country side was stunning and the mountains of the Scottish Highlands are truly mystical.  So much history along the way, with castles and old ruins scattered through the hills.  We discovered the Dornough castle, and were impressed by its majesty on the loch.  Beautiful, stunning.

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This was our first night stay with a local through a global peace organisation we had uncovered, Servas.org.  It had started in the early 1950’s based around the principle of promoting Peace around the world.  Specifically developed for local people to host a visitor so they could experience the local custom.  We were so lucky to have chosen a beautiful host, Margaret, living in Lochgilphead. When we eventually arrived, Margaret had cooked a wonderful home cooked vegetarian roast vegetables for us. We found, very quickly, so much in common with Margaret and were enthralled by her stories and wonderful hospitality.  This was like visiting an Aunty who you had not seen for years.  A wonderful memory was made. We will most definitely remain connected.
We then drove across Scotland, in some drizzle, winding our way around the vast mountains and lochs.

Edinburgh was a stop for us today, so we explored the castle where we went back in time to explore the lives of the various aristocracy and knights who lived within the walls of Edinburgh Castle. Oozing history with many wonderful Scottish tales that enthralled us both.

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We drove down the highways of Scotland and our next stay was with another Servas couple, George and Marjorie In a little town called Penicuik.  Again we were greeted by a lovely couple who treated us like long lost relations.  Once again they spoiled us with a traditional Scottish meal, minus the haggis.
They mentioned to us about a “lost garden” in the woods.  It was a feature of a wealthy families estate back in the 1800’s that people knew was somewhere, however, until recently it was re-found.  The community grow all their flowers, fruit and vegetables, manned by regular town folk and some “woofers”.
If you want some produce, you leave some money in the community honesty box.

The Scottish people are just so lovely and they love to talk. Which, of course, is one of my fave things to do as well.

In the morning we headed further south, driving across to the coast and thinking we would see a beach, we saw just an industrial wasteland and shipping port.  Welcome to Newcastle and Britain.
We then drove across to York, which is a stunning, large, historical city to explore.  History galore.

We had a night this stay at Evesham, UK, so we could explore the old historical village of Stratford on Avon.  This was the home of William Shakespeare and now a tourist mecca.  It has only a few of the original homes standing in the Tudor style architecture.  William, of course, has a lot of controversy over the authorship of his body of works. We explored the various historical areas to get a sense of those times.

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I ended up in a conversation with a local who proceeded to agree that his authorship was still being challenged after over four hundred years.  We found the township too touristy and left to drive down to Truro where we had a nice Air BnB for two nights.

It was time to explore Avebury and Glastonbury and see what all the fuss was about.

To be continued…

Part Three – Finding Fun @ Findhorn


(L – R, our group – Pamela, Greg, Niels, Ilsmarie (Focalisers), Julz, Margreta, Beat, Juli, Regina, Corinne, John, Robert, Franciska)
After our daily, early morning forest walk, Julz and I met our group for morning breakfast and then we all went to the Ballroom for our first morning session – games. Ok, as adults we rarely get the chance to play games, however, here at Findhorn it is a way to bring our group closer together. Without giving too much away, we basically played a host of games that required no props, just us and our sense of humour, and some free flowing dancing. We now have some great ideas to create “ice breakers” within groups and needless to say, we all came away hugging even more than we started with (and believe me, we were already a huge hugging group). So much FUN was had by all, we made some fun memories and laughed lots too.

We broke for our lunch, always a good, healthy salad with beans etc, then off to our respective “LOVE IN ACTION” service teams. On our return, we met again for supper and after a hearty “tatter”, (baked spuds with fillings) we re-grouped and had another special community guest, Stewart, who allowed us to ask any question about the Findhorn Foundation – how it was set up and how it manages itself as a non for profit etc. It is also the headquarters of the Global Ecovillage Network and has strong links to the United Nations – click here for more background.

The next day we bussed back to the Park, to partake in some gardening activities. Thinking we may learn some organic gardening tips, only to discover we were pretty handy weeders, so we all got down on our knees and pulled out weeds amongst the flower gardens. We went inside to learn about seeding plants, only to discover how to clean seedling pots out, or how to paint stones. Ah well, I suppose you have to start at the beginning to understand – and here we all were, singing, laughing and being loud doing the most menial of tasks. This was truly “LOVE IN ACTION”.

We were all given the evening off, so after supper, Robert, Margreta, Julz and I set up a game of old fashioned Monopoly in the lounge for some more FUN. Needless to say the capitalistic bankers world was upon us, and being the ‘rich overlord’ took us as far away from Findhorn as possible – for one night only (others went to join in the Sacred Dance celebrations).

The Cluny College “chilling” area 

The main foyer within Cluny College


(This is the circle within the Nature Sanctuary @ the Park)

We had the morning off to explore the Park and surrounding areas, which a small group of us, Juli R, Franceska, Julz and I, walked around the ecovillage and out to Findhorn Bay, which has a beach coated in flat tumbled stones, (needless to say three boxes of these are on their way back to Brisbane, Australia) and to explore Findhorn Village. We met some amazing Scottish people who sat with us sharing cake and coffee and chatting like long lost friends. 

Flower bed at Findhorn Village

Findhorn Bay 

(Sign within the Findhorn Foundation Park )

We returned to Cluny College to finish off our week with another wise community member sharing more deeper insights into ourselves and life in general. It is a spiritual community that does not push any particular doctrine or philosophy and allows you to explore whatever that means for you. Did I mention their library? Ok, wow, and I never did have enough time to explore.

We also went, as a group, to a beautiful forest with a rapid waterfall and the bush land that was lush and moss covered. We were asked to go off into the forest by ourselves for two hours, and listen to the trees, water, birds, or meditate.


So I found a quiet secluded space beside the running river and listened. Do you know how hard that is to do? Well, it was for me.😜 (not so hard for Julz)

About an hour in I spotted Robert, the youngest and quietest member of the group, and he came over and sat with me on a moss covered log. It was an amazing experience to sit with him, chatting for the next hour. Robert is 18 and is a similar personality to my brother, Clint, who is no longer here.

We returned back to Cluny College on our final night, sharing thoughts about our experience week. We concluded with some more Sacred Dance and we had our farewell dinner to say our goodbyes.

It was an interesting week for everyone in our group. Having never experienced, or ever been involved in a week long activity like this, we had all built a special bond with each member of our group. Great friendships have been formed.

In short summary, we are very pleased we have done Experience Week at Findhorn Foundation. It is certainly an eye-opener for us to view, close up, community based living and a working ecovillage that is successful in its longevity.

At the heart of Findhorn Foundation is a solid “non for profit” educational institutional model that invites you back as many times as you can afford. To be an active community member takes many visits and completion of the programmes before you “qualify” to live there. It creates a new reality of “what is possible” in creating your own community and Findhorn definitely leads the way in this, globally. Many of our group had an uneasy sense of returning back to their “normal world” and the challenge of going back to it.

We are better for the experience and the great relationships we have formed with our group.

For more on the Global ecovillage network – click here.


On the Saturday morning, after breakfast, Corinne (the other Australian) and her friend Christine, drove Julz and I back into Inverness, Scotland, to pick up our hire car.

All ready for our road trip, we point the car in the direction of Isle of Skye, in the Highlands of Scotland, and started winding our way across to the stunning Isle of Skye town of Portree. After wandering the streets for an hour we zoom off to find our Air BnB host home in Torrrin. We turn off the main highway at Broadford and end up on a single vehicle track. Sheep are wondering aimlessly in front of us and the hills are surrounding us with lush, green grass. I am driving and actually get us lost. Julz is not happy when I have to call our host, hang on, no service.

This part is not going so well and Julz is “not happy, Jan”. 🤔 😳

To be continued….


(Main Street  Inverness, Scotland – they love unicorns. “If you can’t be yourself, then be a Unicorn”)

Isle of Skye – turning off from Broadford to Torrins


Portree – Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Part Two – Finding ourselves at Findhorn 

(Pic courtesy of Juli Russell)

If you want some further background on the Findhorn Foundation – click here.

The interesting part of visiting Findhorn Foundation is that it is in two parts. Where we stay is known as the Cluny College, Forres (it is based at Cluny Hill) not Findhorn, which is 20 mins away by car. Cluny can house up to 100 short term visitors. This is where we ate together, three times a day. We all have our own bedrooms, however, Julz and I are the only couple attending, so the rest are sharing in rooms of three.

The second part is “the Park” (Findhorn), which is where it all started in 1962, and continues to thrive today, with a living, working, Eco village, Garden and Universal Hall, for over 400 residents living in a range of various, unique eco style homes. Some of the earliest homes were caravans, (a few remain) and then later some have been converted from old “Whisky barrels” into Eco homes with many new houses being added.


The nearest village to the Findhorn Park, is Findhorn Villlage and the stunning Findhorn Bay. (with awesome shaped large flat stones) A small fleet of mini buses transfer people between the two spaces, and the week we are guests, they are also celebrating forty years of Sacred Dance, (for the week) with over 100+ guests participating in Sacred dance at the Universal Hall, every single day. As well there are people returning doing further “courses” beyond “Experience Week” (more about that later in future blog).

After a nice, healthy small breakfast, on day two, we assemble in the College Ballroom, together with the room full of Brazilians (approx 20) and our group (11). We all proceed to learn a host of cultural dances from a range of cultures and nations. It turns out to be so much fun for one and all – music, art and dance is a universal language. We have an early brunch, as we start our afternoon sessions early at 12.15pm.

The afternoon session is all about Angel cards. This class takes place in the Sanctuary room. The chairs/cushions are in a circle around a large bowl with fresh flowers and a candle. This room, we are advised, is available 24 hours a day, for personal mediation, or for daily morning group meditations or morning Taize singing.

We pull a card each and someone selects a card for our group. VISION is the group card chosen and mine is SYNTHESIS. Julz selects BIRTH.

That helps set the tone for the week and off we all go on the Findhorn bus to get a guided tour of the Park. We are met by a long term Findhorn community member, IAN COOK. We follow Ian around and get an insight into “the PARK”, it’s history and deeper insights into the Eco housing, community and the Universal Hall. We barely scratch the surface, however, it gives us a better “feel” of its reason for existing. We then proceed to a purpose built space, almost a hobbits room, called “Natures Sanctuary”. This part of our programme is called, INNER SHARING. We meet another wise older Findhorn community lady, Auriel. This was a highlight as she imparted a lovely story of a challenge she had encountered with her own daughter. She shared, listened and added words of wisdom to the members of our group. She had to be in her mid ’80’s and had lived on and off in Findhorn for forty years. She had studied a lot of Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher, polymath, whom I have deep respect for (ever heard of Steiner schools?)


That night we came back to enjoy another healthy dinner together. Eating in a group is fun, as we all move around to different people to get more insight about each other. At 7.30, after dinner, (they call it supper) we meet our group again to “attune” to our service departments. What this means is that, over the next few days, we all get to work in an area that benefits the whole community. It is three hours a day (over four of our days) in either Garden, Dining room, Kitchen or Home care. When we arrived we all had to do at least one night volunteering cleaning up after supper. This is known as K.P. – or Kitchen Party. Everyone volunteers, including all community members, focalisers and newbies. It is all part of what is known as “Love In Action” (a word used by Alice A Bailey in her books that Eileen Caddy – co- founders studied). LOVE IN ACTION is simply a work “in service”.


Coloured cards were placed on the floor, with the objective that you stood on the card that drew you. From this process we all end up in a particular service department. Julz gets the College dining room and I get House care at the Park with Juli R, which ended up being the “hooverer” plus cleaning the plates and cutlery “putter away-er” and for Juli R, the table cleaner. We each then meet our new team who we spend time with. My Focalisers are two eccentric gentle-men, Rory and Joseph. (I say “eccentric” in the nicest way, they were like really funny comedians). They have been living in the community for 35 years and 15 years. We have three others on our team, Brunt, Tia and Lee. They were all doing another course, which was called, Being In Community (BIC) and they had all done an Experience Week at some stage, as had Rory and Joseph many years before.

We finished our first day of “Love In Action” and returned with Julie R (from Florida/Austria) and Corinne, who worked in the Park kitchen, and the Gardeners, John, Robert and Pamela, on our little bus back to Cluny Hill College for supper.

To finish the night off we came together for a “recap” of our day, an ‘attunement’ and check in with each other. Another special guest from the community then joined us, who shared, with passionate enthusiasm information about nature of the trees and plants. He bought many rocks and wood with lichen, which we all viewed to see the wonder under the microscope. As above, so below.

We learnt how the microcosms within the forests are as important as the large trees themselves and how it is, and we, are all connected.

Priceless.

Part one – The British Isles Adventure

Part one – The British Isles Adventure

Part one – THE BRITISH ISLES ADVENTURE (part of a four month, round the world adventure).

The time arrived for us to board our Qantas flight from Brisbane, Australia, to London, UK, on Tuesday 12th of July. We prepared, mentally, for the 30 hour trip, via Singapore, then changing to Finnair, through Helsinki, Finland and on to Heathrow. The movie marathon was fun, however, now I can’t remember a single movie, except a wonderful documentary on Finland’s huge Bilberry (Blueberry) industry. Note to self – the Bilberry juice is to die for.

Julz and I arrived into Heathrow and with our four (4) – yes, that’s correct, four backpacks, we hoist onto the “tube” and head for our Air BnB hosts home in South Ealing. Paul is our host and he is so trustworthy. He is at work, however, leaves the key for us to shower and relax, before heading out to visit the local districts shops.
Julz uncovers some new clothes (eeeek!) and then we uncover Marks & Spencer’s food hall. This must have been invented for weary travelers, like us. We stocked up on fruit and veggies, along with some healthy dinner to cook at Pauls home. We are very happy.

Awake early (off by 5.30am) to catch two trains to the Luton airport for our flight to Inverness, Scotland, which left around 9.30am. Good thing we caught the train, as the car traffic was a car park for many miles (or so it looked).

 

We arrived in Inverness and looked around the city. A very historic city, lovely old architecture of stone buildings and homes. We waited for a bus to take us to Forres, spoke for ages to a local Scottish lady, willing to impart her knowledge on every topic you could imagine. Is it possible she spoke more than me? An hour after the bus was meant to leave (it breaks down regularly we were told), we departed on a healthy bus to the beautiful town of Forres. We dropped off our backpacks and met our new Air BnB host, Nicole, who proceeded to give us a guided tour of her amazing backyard garden. We decided to head off the next day to walk around Forres and see the local sites. These included seeing an ancient carved stone, Sueno’s Stone, a 6.5 metre high (21 ft) Picto-Scottish/Celtic created in the 9th Century. Just up the road from that stone is a plaque in memory of the Witches Stone. Read the plaque image below.

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The rain had set in for the day, so we decided to continue our walk with rain jackets on. The flowers in the gardens are striking. All through Inverness and Forres, the coloured flowers look extraordinary at this time of year (possibly all year long). After retiring back to Nicole’s home, after a huge day exploring, we crashed and slept for a good 12 hours straight.

Refreshed and ready to get to, our main reason for bring in Forres in the first place, Findhorn Foundation College –

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Experience Week.
We had only heard about Findhorn from our friend, Peter Watson, who had shared some of their background at a regular “meet up” group in Brisbane. We were talking about Eco Villages and other successful ways people have discovered how to grow food, but also how to grow people in community. We researched the “back story” and it felt right to go and see firsthand this 50+years community and what makes it tick, first hand. So here we are, rocking up in a taxi, all four backpacks between us, at The old hotel, now college, ready to experience, “EXPERIENCE WEEK”.

We walked into the foyer and no-one greeted us. We looked at each other and Julz approached the reception desk, however, saw the chap behind his alcove. People were bustling around and no one seemed to notice us, even though we were packed to the eyeballs. It was only awkward for a few minutes (thoughts about “why are we here again”?, shooting a glance between Julz and my eyes).

All that changed when the chap behind reception, shot up and showed us a space to relieve us of our backpacks. He then pointed for us to go upstairs to registration and meet our “Focalisers” (a new, funky name for “Facilitators”). We meet Niels, who now lives at Findhorn, he takes us on a whirlwind tour of the four floors of the Findhorn College and shows us our bedroom, where we stay for the next seven nights. We settle in and visit the huge lounging area, where we start to meet a few newbies also attending “EXPERIENCE WEEK” with us. There is also a large contingency of Portugese speaking, Brazilians, who are also doing their own “Experience Week”. There is quite a buzz in the place as many newbies are getting aquatinted, unofficially, with each other. Lunch is buffet style Vegetarian, which makes us very happy, all week long.
We finally meet all of our ten members of our group, plus the two Focalisers. We are advised that another person will join us on Sunday, making the group 11.

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We sit in a circle and start by introducing ourselves, with a short story of how we all came to hear about Findhorn Foundation. As we went around the group, it started to dawn on us how quite global our group was. In our group, we meet Robert, from Scotland, John from New Zealand, Beat from Switzerland, Pam from Houston, Texas, Juli from Austria/Florida, Franceska from Switzerland, Corinne from Byron Bay, Australia, Margreta from Switzerland and Julz and I. Joining us on Sunday is Regina from Brazil. Our Focalisers are Niels from Denmark and Ilsamarie from Germany.
And so our experience began.

 

Mt Isa to Toowoomba and home – in 68 days!! (Not 100 days as we first thought).

(Pics to come later – when we get coverage again)
Mt Isa brought back memories for me. Back in 1978, I joined a band in Mt Isa for six weeks. Only a month before I flew to Mt Isa, I had met Julz in Townsville (Julz was holidaying) whilst performing bass in a band. I was touring with a band from Hobart (who broke up in Townsville). The band I went to join in Mt Isa, had a residency at the local Mt Isa Hotel four nights a week. The guitarist, Greg Shaw, I had met briefly in Townsville, where he managed a local group, Skintite. Greg and the other two members were more interested in water skiing on the Mt. Isa lake, Lake Moondarra than writing songs or learning new ones.

Also, Mt Isa is a mining town, established in 1923, known for zinc, silver, copper and lead now with a population of around 22,000. I remember the bad treatment of local indigenous people in 1978 and the effect that alcohol was having on them with their own drinking house, called “The Snake Pit”.  

I left the band after six weeks and returned to Brisbane and wooed Julz to come and live in Hobart, Tasmania (Julz and I were both 19 at the time – and yes, 38 years on, we are still going strong).

Greg Shaw and I reconnected ten years later, as he was running a music agency/management company that went on to assist in establishing Keith Urban into Nashville USA. When I think of Mt Isa, I think of Greg Shaw and also wanting to leave the band to connect with Julz in Brisbane.

We stayed one night in Mt Isa, and early morning we picked up fresh fruit and veggies and were off on the road again. All I can say is that this part of “The Outback” in central western is dry and lifeless. We saw very little in wildlife, cattle or sheep. We noticed the landscape was now a yellowy gold grass. It is obvious that the long drought is really affecting these regional areas of Australia. We drove 478 kms and arrived mid afternoon in Winton – Australia’s capital of Dinosaurs. There is a triad of regions, Hughenden, Richmond and Winton that have an abundance of dinosaur fossils and footprints in stones etc.

The whole central western part of Queensland has been suffering from extreme drought and as we left Winton it started to rain, in fact, it poured down for two days. The area of Longreach got a good soaking too, so much of our driving was in the drizzle.

We passed through Barcaldine, which was the birth place of the Australian Labor Party, and viewed the tree of knowledge, which remembers the struggle of the first shearers strike back in the late  1800’s.


We stopped three more sleep stops along the way home. First was the tiny little ‘cutey’ town of Tambo. Looks like the Teddy Bears have invaded the town, and maybe this is a way for them to recover from a devastating experience with wild dogs who have obliterated (we were informed by a local) the sheep industry in the area. Apparently it has had such an impact that they have started making Teddy Bears in the Main Street to balance the future of this town – scary!

Second stop over was the Chinchilla Tourist Park. We decided, for fun, to get a courtesy bus to the local Chinchilla RSL for dinner. The amount of small demountable homes at the Tourist Park (easily 100) and another area with a few hectares of sheds was amazing, therefore, we asked the bus driver why so many? She advised that Chinchilla is a coal seam gas area. Fracking? Yes, loads. She said that the upside for the agricultural area was that more water is available, through better irrigation for crops to grow. Only going on what I have been told, CSG can have devastating effects on the land, over the longer term. Anyway, not to get into a heated discussion, we went to the RSL, and experienced some local activity before the first State of Origin game. Which we have zero interest in, so we caught the courtesy bus and went back to camp.

Third and final last stop was in Toowoomba. Julz mum, Bet, has two brothers living at Highfields and Meringadan, on the outskirts of Toowoomba. One of Julz uncles, Lex, is battling with cancer, and it was great to spend some quality time with him. Her other uncle Jim and Aunty Marge are the parents of Jamie, who we stayed with at Carmel, Perth. It was great to have a big family catch up with Julz relations, as our final night away. Julz and I stayed with her Uncle Jim, whilst Bet and Ron stayed at Lex’s property with the caravan and Gypsy, the dog.

We arrived home around midday on Friday 3rd of June after 68 days around Australia on our adventure. We have so many great memories that we have made along the way, and have a real respect for our beautiful country. For Julz and I, we really do now love the coastlines of South Australia, Western Australia and the ancient and modern, natural world of the Northern Territory. We have a real appreciation, and better understanding, of the First Nation People of this land and their ongoing issues with the land rights.

We have about four weeks before we depart on our overseas four month adventure, so we have decided to put a mattress in the back of our Hyundai iload van and head away up to the sun and beaches of the central eastern coast of Australia. (Maybe one blog about this in two weeks time).

This traveling adventure, for us, is still underway – life is great, and we are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to explore our country and then abroad. Thanks for reading our journal and giving us such lovely positive feedback, we really appreciate it! 

We also thank “the outlaws”, Ron and Bet, for joining us (or allowing us to join them) on this safe trip (no one got eaten by Orcas (killer whales), Crocodiles or wild Dingoes – and we also survived each other….. Um, almost….. Hooray!!) 😜✌️

Kununurra to Katherine


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Kununurra is the gateway to the eastern end of the Kimberley’s and a host of national parks, rivers and dams. We camp beside the Kununurra lake, which is part of the Ord river system. The land is lush and fertile. Many farms grow paw paws, bananas, sandalwood and loads of other fruit and veg. The town only became Kununurra in around 1960, before they had a vision for creating a huge hydro dam and flooding the area and giving life to Lake Argyle. It is an amazing place that we visited and we’re all impressed with the lake and the rivers that run into it. 
The assortment of termite mounds continue to entertain us along the roads, some short and stumpy and new varieties that are slim, not unlike obelisks, or cathedrals.


We take a day of rest at Kununurra, to sit, swim and sunbake in the 34° heat.


The next day we leave to drive 509kms to Katherine in the Northern Territory and say our goodbyes to Western Australia. We all take turns in driving, except Bet, who is quite happy reading books on her iPad or doing her crosswords. From time to time we listen to audio books which provides us all with some entertainment. We have enjoyed “Danny Dunn” by Bryce Courtney, another about a Jillaroo, and from time to time Elton or the Bee Gees have kept us company – with Bet screaming out, “turn it down”. 😜

The mountains and landscape heading towards Katherine is breath taking and beautiful. The scenery continues to change dramatically and the red and orange cliffs start to appear on both sides. Katherine is a city of 11,000 and many indigenous people (First Nation) are living within the city confines. The caravan park sits five minutes from a natural hot spring, so we explore the crystal clear waters after setting up camp. We realise that to see Kakadu National Park, which is 300 kms further up near Darwin, it may have to be on our next road trip in 2017! Having Gypsy, the dog, travelling with us has limited our ability to visit many National parks. We have not minded, as Julz and I have decided to come back to the Kimberley’s, Kakadu and Arnhem Land next year for a month or two.
We book in to do a visit and boat cruise around the Nitmiluk National Park, or Katherine Gorge, as it use to be named. We board a small flat bottomed boat with about 30 others and get a guided tour deep into the gorges of the Nitmiluk river. Our guide is a local indigenous man from the local Jawoyn mob. He gives us an extensive history into the land rights struggles, and successes, for the tribes around the Northern Territory and beyond. The history, stories and botanical knowledge he shares is inspiring and enlightening, for many, the truth about the colonialists and pastoral past, which is a constant reminder about our future role as Australians for ongoing reconciliation with our First Nation people’s, who have lived here for over 60,00 years, maintaining this beautiful country. 


There is a great spirit felt in this part of the land. We have so much respect for the traditional owners and custodians of the land. We have learnt so much about the horrific way they have been treated by the explorers, pastoralists and colonialists. This history is being shared openly now, as part of the reconciliation process, and in our limited experience we see a healing taking place, slowly, with our First Nation indigenous people of Australia. 

From Katherine to Mt Isa – two days, 1300kms


.Packing up and leaving Katherine at 6.45am early Saturday morning was quite a feat, but we did it, as expert caravaners we are now. 😜 We knew that the next leg of our journey was to be a long one. We had not planned where our next destination was going to be that evening, however, we got underway at sunrise and headed south towards Tennant’s Creek on the highway that runs from Darwin via Alice Springs to Adelaide. We thought with the three of us driving, we could accomplish about 150 kms each, which may not sound a lot, however, towing a heavy caravan, and driving between 80-100kms in a 130kms speed highway, (yes, Northern Territory has an open highway speed of 130kms – the huge road trains must love it!) and stopping to see only two things along the way. 


The first deviation off the main highway was to see the memorial cemetery of the author, of (book and movie fame) “We of the Never Never”. It was 9 kms off the main road and was the first time on our entire trip that we saw an abundance of kangaroos and wallabies. Many were standing on the side of the road and bouncing back into the bush as we drove past. The other deviation was to a little town named Daly Waters. It was an old novelty township, featuring a small outback pub space covered in remnants from the past including oodles of ladies bras, thongs, and car number plates, hanging from the ceiling and walls. There was a lack of good scenery, a few million ant/termite mounds and some dead trees, and we noted that nearly every car that passed us had a caravan in tow. Apart from the odd, three or four carriage, road train, caravans, hire camper vans, we passed very few sedan cars. Don’t ask us how we ended up driving well over 780kms on our first day, this beating our record which we set driving across the Nullarbor Plains, some six weeks ago of 700kms in just one day.


We pulled into one caravan park to do a one night “drive through”, however, the cost was quite astronomical, compared to what we have been paying. So, we moved onward further and ended up camping at Banka Banka Station for one night. This long drive was 520kms and this made our total two days, 1300 kilometres. 


We have found these stretches of road to be the longest, and dare I say it, “the most boring”. We hold good memories of our journey so far, and we are all looking forward to heading home. We turn left at the “Three Ways” and head towards Barkly Homestead and Mt Isa. I had not visited Mt Isa since 1978 (will tell that story next article) and Julz had flown in for work a few years back. Maybe one night in Mt Isa will do us, then through “The Outback” of central western Queensland and on or way home. Yay!!