Back from the Outback

We’re back from our adventure out into the Australian Outback! Our field trip to Carnarvon Gorge flew by. We met at uni on Monday morning to take the bus as far west as we could drive in one day, 10 hours west of Brisbane. We stopped for a few splash ‘n dash-s, (great new aussiesm) and lunch along the long ride. As we neared the destination, towns became smaller and less frequent before totally disappearing. Our ride transformed into a safari, observing drylands, cows, farms and then the natural landscape surrounding Carnarvon Gorge. We arrived to our campsite which had been left set up my the Cali students.

Campsite at night

Campsite at night

We enjoyed a meal of steak and had a quick lecture. John Hall taught us a campfire song, Waltzing Matilda, that we learned and sang over and over. After,  we headed to bed – or cots. We had 2 person tents with cots for our sleeping bag. That night I pulled mine out of the tent to sleep under the stars.

The next morning my group woke early, 5am, to hike Boolimba Bluff, it was a steep hike up but the view was worth it. The ledge overlooked the whole gorge.  We did some field exercises in our workbook before returning back to camp for lunch. We then went to the swimming hole. It was beautiful, the water was refreshing with a layer on top warmed by the sun and deeper cooler water. We swam and played chicken fights for a while before warming up on the rocks. We then hiked around to meet the other group and return back to camp for dinner.

The next day we did a longer hike with John Hall. We stopped at the interesting points along the way. We then met John Hall near the creek so that he could lead our hike. We stopped at a natural rock formation that formed an ampitheater. We then hiked further down to a Aboriginal Art wall. Here, the Aboriginal people contributed to the landscape by painting art on the rock wall. They used stencils such as hands, boomerangs, and axes to show an insight to their culture.

The next day we observed kangaroo behavior – yes this was a class activity. It was awesome, we sat and watched a kangaroo graze, hop, sleep, and stand. We took a swim break in the middle of the day to avoid the heat and then hiked to the moss gardens. That evening we had a talent show at the campsite. Phil and Melissa were wonderful MC’s, using their great, and coughing, personalities to lead the show. The Drennan/Browns performed a cute skit of being in the same bed and having to wee, our bus driver MG, played his digeridoo, which is a natural wooden, Aborginal instrument. Kyle did a great impersonation of the Virgin voicemail hmmmmm, it appears the person you’ve tried to reach…, Sarah and I performed black magic, Vanessa did karate, Josie sang a beautiful song about the war in Vietnam, and John of course said a poem. It was fun to see people perform infront of the group.

We woke up at 5:30 to pack up the campsite and head back home. The bus ride back was going smoothly until the electrical sources failed… no AC. We unboarded an waited on the side of the street while MG and Jan, the camping company, worked on fixing it. Worried about a solution, they hired us another bus which came to pick us up just as they fixed it. So it was a long, 13 hour bus ride but I’m back at my homestay, free from the flies. Lots of logistics to work out for the next week….

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