My Travels / 16.10.2023

I flew to Longreach on October 7 prior to my road trip with Simon and Nicole. I was delighted to see a pair of kangaroos grazing on the neighbour’s lawn when I arrived at their house, something I hadn’t seen before. The itinerary included Blackall, Charleville, Tambo, Quilpie, Eromanga and Jundah. Most of the tour was in far southwest Queensland. The terrain from Tambo to Welford National Park near Jundah was all new to me, though there is a good deal more country in the State, further south and west. The grass was still long in the paddocks and we saw cattle and a few sheep enroute, but the ground is drying out and el nino has taken hold. The rivers still had quite a lot of water in them, but the water courses we traversed were overwhelmingly dry. Compared with my last visit in late March, there was plenty of road kill, a sure sign that food beyond the road verges, is more difficult to obtain for kangaroos and emus.

This was the first time in five or six visits to Simon & Nicole, that it hasn’t rained in Longreach. I relished the near 40° heat.  On the… Read Complete Text


My Travels / 27.06.2023

On reflection, I should have done this trip ten years ago, yet I simply didn’t want to go to the USA, and even now, I had no wish to travel there other than to see some of its legendary wild places. But with time running out and United Airlines having recently introduced a non-stop service between San Francisco and Brisbane, I set aside my aversion to the USA’s crazy politics, gun violence and tipping as a cynical excuse for not paying people properly, and, with muted enthusiasm, booked my journey. I departed on June 9 and returned on June 27. I became apprehensive about whether I would manage the hiking tour and how much money I would need for tips, so much so that on the morning of my departure, I acquired a severe pain in my left hip which made ascending the stairs difficult and unpleasant. My immediate thought was whether I would have to abandon the trip before it began. My next thought was to wonder if the pain was muscular or skeletal. Fortunately, it abated as the day wore on, which encouraged me to undertake the overnight flight.


My ambivalence about travelling… Read Complete Text


My Travels / 08.05.2023

I spent a fair amount of time at my travel agent’s with Jodie, who kindly undertook to deal with the entry requirements for my USA trip, plus completing the ‘good to go’ form for the tour operator. It emerged that I needed to collect my laptop from home because the entry application had to come from my email address. Jodie was also required to enter details of my UK passport, though I will be using my Australian passport for the journey. I would have been a wreck if I had to complete the application without help and as it was, the toing and froing while I sat with Jodie, strung me out. After I got home, a ‘Status Change’ email from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization arrived, which I forwarded to Jodie. She phoned me a little later to tell me that she had accessed the authorization document, which she printed and added to the documents which are due to be handed over once all the vouchers arrive.


My Travels / 21.04.2023

Steve and Paulina left for Thailand on April 20. The phone he ordered on 18.4.23 on Amazon, is from the UK. I paid an extra $19.00 for expedited delivery on May 22 or 23 instead of on May 26. On 19.4.23 an email from Amazon confirmed that the phone had been dispatched with arrival due on May 22 or 23. Given that it was in the hands of a courier, the quoted arrival dates made no sense. Today, there was a knock on the door at about noon. The delivery driver handed me a package, which, when opened, contained the phone. Steve and Paulina will be back on the first weekend in May.



My Travels / 11.04.2023

I saw Gina in her office and paid for my USA tour. The balance of the trip covering a day tour, transfers by car and hotel accommodation is due on May 5, when I will complete my visa application with Gina’s help. A few weeks ago, I found out that mobile phone providers in the US no longer service 3G phones, unlike providers here and in Europe. I feared that I might now have to buy a smart phone, then realised that I could just buy a simple 4G phone. Checking what is available, I opted for a Nokia flip phone and asked Steve for help in obtaining it. The latest model doesn’t appear to be available here. Ideally, I would like to get the phone at the beginning of May.



My Travels / 27.03.2023

This year we have been enjoying an Indian Summer. I left Brisbane on 23.3.23, wearing shorts. From take-off, patchy clouds, which extended to and partly hid, Carnarvon Gorge, gave way to clear blue skies all the way to Longreach. An email I received from Nicole on March 12, listed a total of 165 mm of rain in Longreach on the three previous days, far more than we had on the mountain. No wonder the ground looked greener than I have ever seen it before. The weather during my stay was warm and sunny; the sky a vibrant blue, with any afternoon clouds dispersing by night-fall. Pepper was her ever affectionate self. Birdlife was plentiful as usual. Kites riding the thermals and then swooping low to the ground, their shadows swiftly preceding them. This time in the garden, yellow-throated miner birds, sparrows and the various doves, were joined by a little kingfisher and a fig bird. A pretty dragon, totally new to me, which I thought was a juvenile, appeared on the rear steps and climbed onto the hammock, ignoring Pepper’s presence. I saw the dragon on the lawn two days later and was told that it was a habitué… Read Complete Text


My Travels / 02.03.2023

Nicole sent me an email with the October dates of our road trip to Charleville, Quilpie, Eromanga and Welford National Park. We will be travelling within the northern part of the huge section of Queensland stretching from Charleville west to the South Australian border and south to the New South Wales border.


My Travels / 30.01.2023

Today I paid for my return flight from Brisbane to San Francisco and a deposit on the 14 day small group tour visiting, inter alia, Zion Canyon, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. The tour will involve a fair amount of walking. Travel between destinations will be in a mini-bus. Yosemite had been a goal of mine for decades; Monument Valley for nearly as long.


My Travels / 31.10.2022

Knowing my desire to visit Yosemite National Park and Monument Valley next year, Simon emailed me a media release about United Airlines inaugural direct flight from San Francisco to Brisbane. This makes my trip all the more feasible.


My Travels / 16.10.2022

Every indication, when I left home on October 7, was that the weather wouldn’t pause the trip, though in the two or three preceding weeks, this seemed a real possibility. Because of the departure time of the Saturday flight to Longreach, I overnighted at the airport. The road trip was scheduled to start on the 10th, giving me a weekend at home with Simon & Nicole, except that Nicole was absent on business and due to return on the 9th. Because they did the driving, I insisted on paying for the fuel. Very generously, they let me sit in the front, ignoring my readiness to sit in the back. The great attraction about this trip was the series of firsts that it guaranteed. That there was a bonus first was more than one could ask for. It happened before we got to Winton in the form of a large mob of cattle grazing by the side of the road. It looked as if the drovers had set up camp here, more likely they were having a break. None of us had seen the like.

We were heading for Boulia. Ever since reading about the Middleton hotel on the… Read Complete Text