Exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta!

Uluru has been high on my list of places to explore and 5 years after starting my adventure across Australia, I’ve finally made it to the centre.

We spent a night at the Yulara Campground where the facilities were fantastic. There were people of all ages and backgrounds there and the atmosphere was great.

Waking up up at 5:30 we headed off to meet the sunrise at Uluru. Arriving before the tour busses, we had the chance to enjoy the stillness of central Australia.

The sunrise started as a dud with clouds blocking the light. By 6:45, all the tour busses had left. We were glad we had driven, not having an itinerary meant we could hang around till the light changed and boy was it worth it!

Photo Tip: If you’re looking to take a photo, the best spot isn’t from the viewing platform, it’s actually on the bottom pathway. I’ll post a map soon!

After the sunrise, we checked out the cultural centre. Seeing the rock is one thing, learning about the land and the people on it was even more fascinating. It’s incredible to think that people survived in such an arid climate.

With a little more knowledge packed in, we drove to the base of Uluru, determined to walk around it. An 11km walk with a gazetted walking time of 3.5 hours. The four of us (at various levels of fitness) did it in 3 hours.

The climb to the top was closed due to the high wind that day. It didn’t bother us, we’d already committed to not climbing the rock, based on the wishes of the traditional land owners.

Almost walked out, we headed to the Tata Tjuta’s to check out the valley of the winds. 6km of hiking though rocky country. The view at the end? Incredible! Definitely worth the trek!

After a few photos from the two lookouts (sunset platform/dune lookout), we started on the long drive to our next camp. We pulled up at a rest stop 2 hours from Alice Springs at 10pm.

A serving of tinned soup and we were out like lights.

Cow-a-bunga (The day I hit a cow)

The last few days have been interesting to say the least. The other night, I was driving into church for a dinner when I hit a cow on the highway. Who on earth puts a cow on the highway anyway?

I’d just driven past a Road Train heading the other way, dipped the lights and slowed right down . When I flicked the high’s on, there was a cow! I was only doing about 70 when I hit the cow. I can only imagine what would have happened if I hit it at 100!

There appears to be a fair bit of damage to the car. Let’s hope that they can fix it!

For the time being, it’s time to down size again. I thought that packing my life into a car was hard. Now, it’s time to pack a backpack (that I don’t yet own) and continue the journey with even less gear.

The start of another Adventure!



A successful drive to Moree

After a 1150km drive though country NSW, Josh and I have arrived in Moree where we have found a few days work to top up the bank account. We hope to find around 2 weeks of work in Moree before we continue our journey across West NSW and into SA to check out the famed red dirt that apparently lives out there.

Over the last few days, We’ve left Canberra and travelled north through Crookwell to Bathurst where we stayed for the night with a epic bloke named Sam (Cheers for tea and dessert mates). We then travelled through Orange, Dubbo and Gilgandra and camped between Coonabarabran and Gunnedah at a place called Hicky’s Falls. We had a good yarn around the camp fire with a bloke named Shane and scored a pack of Salt & Vinegar Chips. What a champ.

Today, We travelled though Gunnedah, Tamworth (Where we caught up with a mate, Paul), Warialda (Where we tried to find the Hancock Veggie Farm), Pallamallawa (Where we caught up with Chris) and finally made it through to Moree.

We stopped for a quick photo at the Moree Sign before heading into town for some food. We then drove on another 60k’s west to the farm that we would be working on for the next few days. I’ll let you know more about the work we’re doing in another update.

Catch you after!

Playing with light in the night: Cotton picker

I took these photos using a torch to light up the different parts of the photograph. So simple but so unreal at the same time!

It just goes to show how important lighting is in photography, whether you’re using flash or natural light, you need to be very aware of what’s going on around you to capture that outstanding photo.

This cotton picker, a John Deere 9965 is actually busted for the time being. We’re working on getting it fixed now. We’ve probably done 15 hours of driving around to try and get the parts for this machine. Hectic.

These were quick snaps and it’s a little blurry because I had no idea what I was focusing on!


Cleaning chickpeas

Over the last two days, I’ve been helping clean over 140 tonnes of chickpeas. The grading process removes the undersized grain and husks using a drop though filter system.

The big orange trailer is the grader. Out of the yellow hoses, it blows out the lightweight husks. The pile on the right contains all the undersized and non chickpea grain.

The clean chickpeas are being loaded into the yellow chaser bin on the far end.

Bruce Gundill Grain Cleaning based in Narrabri was the bloke that did the job and the result was fantastic.

Chasing cows on a quad

Today, I went herding cows on a quad-bike and what an experience it was!

I took out my big camera for the day and again, I realised how badly the lens is damaged. These photos have been sharpened like crazy to make them turn out acceptable. It’s still performing better than my HTC Desire so that’s a win.

I have to say, cows poo lots.

Here’s a photo taken at the end of job:

Here, we found a few stray cattle to herd towards the mob. The farmer on the motorbike was closing a gate behind us.

Flying along on the quad trying to take a photo. It’s harder that I thought!

Behind the scenes: Grain Transportation

So I went on a little adventure today that involved a big truck and a few tonnes of Sorghum. It was interesting to see how the whole process worked. I’ve never really thought about where our basic grain actually arrives into the store. We see all our grains in the store as a processed product, think Wheat > Bread, Barley > Beer or Sorghum > Dog Biscuits. I’ve never seen grain straight from the farm so this was all  new to me.

Today, I tagged along with a local farmer named Chris. Chris grows sorghum, as well as wheat, oats and lucerne on his 1000 acre property.

On his property, Chris gave me a little run down on how to drive his giant truck. Moving the truck in the yard was one thing but to drive the beast on the road, I would need a Heavy Combination licence.

Because of the way the trailer is attached behind the rear axle, a semi-trailer reverses very differently to just a regular box trailer or boat. It took a while for me to get used to this as I tried to pull off a three point turn.

Here, we’re loading grain from a storage container into the trailer to take it to the silo. The grain auger on the storage container is running of the PTO on a tractor just out of the picture.

Grain flowing into the back of the tractor. This turned out to be a 10 tonne load of grain. One thing I picked up very fast was that the dust from the crop really hurt your eyes.

At the grain sampling station. The person on the platform basically collects a sample of grain from different points using a long hose vacuum for testing.

With the sample, they test for moisture, size protein and for any contaminants. The machine below is checking the moisture content. In this case (for sorghum) it needed to be under 13.5% to be accepted. Any higher and it would have been rejected to prevent mold in the silo.

Here are some of the silos that are around the place.

Unloading our 10 tonne of sorghum at the silo. All the grain just falls into the ground and gets channeled into the correct silo based on grain quality (determined during the testing phase)

I was surprised at how high the truck could dump!

Mepiquat Hunting

I packed my re-curve bow and a bunch of arrows but I hadn’t had the chance to use it till now. It was nice to get it out and find out it still works.

I went and visited a friend out west of Moree and we had some fun shooting an empty drum of Mepiquat 38. Mepiquat is growth regulator that is often sprayed onto cotton to ensure that the plant doesn’t grow too high. It also increases fruit retention on the lower half of the plant and helps it mature earlier.

Here’s Glen taking his turn:

Meet Alan: He’s going to Newcastle

Yesterday, I picked up my first hitch hiker in my entire life. I’ve never had the guts to before. Heading for Newcastle, Alan was looking for a lift on the Newell Hwy.

I even asked him if he was a crazy murderer type. He confirmed he wasn’t. That was good enough for me. We cruised down to Moree.

The photo was taken on my phone. I will confirm that the HTC Desire has the worst camera I’ve ever had the opportunity to use.

It was nice to have some company on the road for a while.

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