Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Few of my FavouRED OZ Things!*

Swanvale Jump-Up, Outback Queensland
RED Outback sunsets; and

Julia Creek, Outback Queensland
RED Windmill vanes,


Cawnpore Lookout, Outback Queensland

Rugged RED Ranges that turn into plains!


Poetic Public Toilet, Gunnedah, New South Wales
RED-roofed Public Toilets -


The Red Devil, Minlaton, South Australia
and RED Devil Wings ...

The Big Park Bench, Broken Hill, New South Wales
And ... FAAAAABULOUS RED in Australia's Big Things!


Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla NP Queensland
RED Rocky gorges;


Lake Pamamaroo, Menindee Lakes, New South Wales
RED Sunset Reflections,


West of Windorah, Outback Queensland
RED Outback landscape spread in all directions -


(insert own picture here!)
RED Nomad OZ Readers who say lovely things ...


Uluru, Northern Territory
The lump in the throat OZ' great RED heart brings!


When the (RED Belly Black) snake bites; when (REDback) spider stings,


When the roads are bad ...

I look through the archives of FavouRED OZ things

Until RED turns sad ... to GLAD!!


I thought I'd share my 'glad' photos this time!!  Yeah ... I'm just a regular little ol' Pollyanna-ist, aren't I?!?!  But hey!  If it works for me, it MIGHT just work for you ...

And ... thanx to Jim's kind invitation, more 'FavouRED OZ Things' stanzas will be coming soon to Holes in my Soles!!  Just as soon as I get creative again and fulfil my guest post obligations ...

AND ... Go visit Sue at 'It's a Very Cherry World' for the coolest collection of RED stuff on REDnesday you'll ever see!!

Stay Red HOT!!  But of course as my readers - you already ARE!!!

*Of course HUGE apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein ...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Random Adventure #2 - Herveys Range, Townsville, Queensland

Hervey's Range Heritage Tea Rooms
I never thought I'd be grateful for my unsophisticated palate until it saved me $50 and a mouthful of cat-poo …

That publicity favours Townsville's Paluma Range over the much closer Herveys Range may be due to the unfortunate council boundary line placing Herveys Range on the wrong side of the Townsville regional border.

Then again, although the occasions are rare, I HAVE been known to be wrong – so there may be another reason altogether, as despite the lack of information about it, visitors have no trouble making the ~30 minute drive up the range to the Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms, housed in Queensland's oldest known building. 
Herveys Range from Mt Stuart, Townsville

Beautifully renovated, the building has passed through several incarnations since its 1865 construction – including Eureka Hotel, Cobb & Co stop, travellers accommodation – before its current status as Tea Room and gift shop with outlying wedding chapel and function centre.

And home to the worlds most expensive cup of coffee.

At $50 (AUD) a cup, Kopi Luwak gives one's quest for 'great coffee' a whole new meaning. The subject of deliberation by Customs before its import was allowed, this Sumatran delicacy is not for the faintheated – either of wallet or palate.

Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms Entrance
Why?

Each and every coffee bean used to make Kopi Luwak has passed through the digestive tract of an Asian Palm Civet, a cat native to South-east Asia. That's RIGHT through. Think about it …

The civet digestive process is thought to alter the proteins in the whole coffee beans harvested from the civet droppings on the jungle floor. This gives the Kopi Luwak its distinctive smooth, aromatic flavour – and in a nod to its humble origins, the Tea Room website whimsically refers to it as 'Cat-Poo Coffee'!

Outdoor Wedding Chapel, Herveys Range

On our July 2011 visit, I didn't join the approximately 7 people per week who indulge in this gustatory delectation – that unsophisticated palate I mentioned earlier just wasn't up for it … And what if I tasted it and DIDN'T like it??!!  Or worse - tasted it and couldn't tell the difference???!!!
But the magnificent scones (7 flavours!), jam and cream for which the Tea Rooms are also justly famous, viewing artefacts unearthed by an archaeological dig that established the presence of a Chinese garden nearby and a walk around the grounds (taken at my peril) more than made our trip worthwhile - even if the resident ghosts didn't make an appearance!

And I'd saved $50 to squander another day ...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Camels, Cowboys and Cockies Joy - Bedourie, Queensland

Excitement on and off the track - Bedourie Camel Races, 2011
Cockroaches, cane toads and camels are generally considered physically and/or temperamentally unsuited to commercial racing. But here in OZ, the absence of animals traditionally raced, such as horses and dogs, is no hindrance to holding a race meet…


Although all these races are held in Australia, I've yet to experience the pleasures of cane toad or cockroach racing. But … camels are another story!

We Three Kings ... Camel handlers lead the camels to the starting line!
Bedourie – home of the eponymous camp-oven – on the edge of nowhere in Queensland’s far west may not have its own postcode or mobile phone access – but who cares? The trappings of civilization are SO not required at the Bedourie camel races!!

The Finish Line!!
Despite being a virgin race-goer prior to this event, I'm more than betting the Bedourie camel races are unique in this respect – the major city races televised by the bookies for benefit of local punters seemed (and were!) a thousand miles away! And thereby dull by comparison...

That was a good thing.

I think.

Otherwise a blip on the radar between Birdsville and Boulia for travellers, this fantastic outback experience swells Bedourie's population of ~150 considerably as tourists, workers from outlying stations and hell, anyone looking for a great day out join the locals at the track. Generally held the weekend before Boulia's more well known races (although in 2011, the Boulia races were a wash-out), it's also a great opportunity for camel riders and handlers to fine-tune their skills, there being a dearth of official camel race meets where experience can be gained!


The Boys from the Bush**
 I'm not sure how common colour-blind race-callers are; or if other race programmes are suspended when the ambulance is called out on a real emergency. But I'm betting the ute* full of camel handlers following the racing camels to the finishing post doesn't appear too often at Randwick!!

Neck in Neck
Hard to imagine as the dust billowed up around us that a few short months ago, this remote town was completely cut off by flood waters! But when the dust cleared? Coming from behind after an early tantrum to easily win her heat, my pick – Daisy – ultimately lost to the favourite from Boulia. Bummer.

Happily, there were other distractions on the programme to lessen the pain ...

Fruit Damper and Cockies Joy!
Even to seasoned bakery connoisseurs like Pilchard and I, the morning tea slices of fruit-studded damper*** were daunting. So large – yes, that IS a dinner plate they're sitting on – we took so long to eat it that we missed a heat!! But a liberal addition of cockies joy, and mug of billy**** tea on the side takes this classic stockman's standby from pretty damn fine to FAAAAABULOUS!! Ironic that cockies joy***** replaced sugar, honey or jam – being cheaper than all three - during the 1930s depression... no chance of that these days – it's the first choice for ANY self respecting damper addict!!

The boys line up ... Instructions for the wood-chop event
And then, the amateur wood-chopping competition where the cream of the region's young, hotmuscularbuff, fit men – many of them station workers (or cowboys, if you prefer the American vernacular) shed their Akubras and roll up their sleeves to hack through the log they're standing on with an axe - and without cutting off major body parts.

How do you top that? With teams of two taking turns at the standing block, of course!! Sigh ...

Be still my beating heart ...

The Team Wood Chopping Event - Bedourie Camel Races 2011
Not much left to do after that excitement but to retire to the spa … Thank god for Bedourie's foresight in harnessing the Great Artesian Basin's almost limitless supply of hot water bubbling from the subterranean depths into a public pool to relax those tired muscles. Bliss!!

Yes, you've missed the July 2011 Bedourie camel races. So yes, it sucks to be you! But don't despair - there's always next year!!

And the cockroach and cane toad races? I'll save them for another day!

* ute = utility = pick-up truck. 

** 'Boys from the Bush', by Aussie country singer, Lee Kernaghan.  Lee's also got another hit - 'She's my Ute' (see above)!

*** damper = campfire bread. Traditionally made with flour and water, then thrown on the coals to cook, today's damper is far more sophisticated. Using a camp-oven means no filling-cracker campfire detritus stuck to the crust, and flavourings such as bacon/cheese or fruit, lift it from its humble origins to the sublime!!

**** billy = metal container with lid used for campfire cooking. 'Boiling the billy' is an OZ euphemism for 'smoko', which in turn is a euphemism for having a tea break. To make 'billy tea' in the traditional way, boil the water in the billy, add tea leaves, replace the lid, then spin the billy the full 360ยบ! This is said to improve the flavour, although the pyromaniacs among us (yes, Pilchard – that's you!!!) are happy enough with the taste imparted by a real campfire.

***** cockies joy = golden syrup! Cockie = 'cockatoo farmer' – a phrase used to describe a farmer with more cockatoos than cattle (ie poor).

Friday, July 15, 2011

My 7 Links: Red's Retrospective!

I'd LOOOOOOVE to take the credit for this idea - but that would be wrong! And I'd soon be found out if I did it anyway, because 'My 7 Links' is winging its way through the blogosphere and round the globe!!  So what does it matter if I thought of it or not, when it's such a great idea?  Thanx to Jim (Holes in my Soles) for nominating me to participate - and also to Katie at Tripbase for getting it started in the first place!!

What am I talking about?  'My 7 Links' encourages bloggers to unearth past posts in 7 categories - then nominate 5 bloggers not already nominated to do the same.

Selecting my posts for each category was WAAAAY more challenging than I thought it would be.  For a start, I hadn't realised how many posts I'd actually written.  How did I let the hundredth post milestone pass unnoticed?!?!

But ... after much deliberation, here's the final cut with teaser pix!  Disagree?  Let me know below!

My Most Beautiful Post:

While I'm not a photographer, my first photo-driven post received such positive feedback, I'm making them a regular (albeit infrequent!) feature!  Discovering my more creative side has been an unintended consequence of blogging - and it all started with Toni (of the delectable blog Chickchat) and her 'Thursday Theme Day' challenge.

My Textures of OZ post formed part of her 'Texture' themed link-up - so I've got her to thank (or blame!) for inspiring this new direction.



My Most Popular Post:

What does 'most popular' mean anyway?  Is it the post with the most page views?  The most comments??  The one that inspired most readers to become followers???

My most viewed post is the most recent of my 'Australia's Scenic Public Toilets' series.  After a few days in the Aussie Outback without internet access, I logged on to find that Australia's Scenic Public Toilet #16 - Richmond, QLD had been stumbled - subsequently outstripping the next closest 'most popular' contender (Scenic Public Toilet #4 - The Little Public Toilet at the End of the Universe)!

What is it with the Public Toilet series?  It's popular - but I'm not sure why, exactly.  But hey!  I'll take the pageviews anyway!!!

My Most Controversial Post:

Controversy isn't really a feature of Red's Australian Round-up.  Either that, or my readers are so closely attuned to my content, there's nothing with which to disagree!!

But this started me thinking - is a non-controversisal blog a boring blog?  Maybe, maybe not.  But controversy isn't always about being overtly challenging ...

The South Australian town of Woomera received so much bad press in its onetime role as site of a notorious asylum seeker detention centre that the negative associations o the town's function defined its existence. 

Space Junk from Woomera at Boulia!
But that's not all there is to Woomera - its previous life as an international pioneering space exploration centre and experimental rocket range location gives it a rich and fascinating heritage - well documented in visual displays, museums and memorabilia.

My post about my first visit to Woomera focussed on its past history showed it in a different light to how it was portrayed in the media.  And maybe even removed some negative associations.  Is that controversial?  You decide!!

My Most Helpful Post:

My blog isn't always about travel and adventure downunder here in OZ.  I sometimes write about personal events and my life when I'm not travelling.

A few months after my first post, a close friend died of breast cancer.  I found an outlet for my grief in writing about her life - and the link to Farewell My Friend was forwarded to many people who knew her.

I don't know whether or not it helped them, but its assistance to me was immeasurable.  I hadn't realised the power of blogging as a therapeutic tool until this post - and now I don't know what I'd do without my blog!

A Post whose success surprised me!

I started my Aussie ABC series as a way to post about quintessential OZ things that didn't really fit into any of my other ongoing categories.  So I continue to be surprised by its popularity - even though I've only got up to 'E' so far ...

C is for Crocodile continues to get multiple hits even though it was posted WAAAAY back in April!  Maybe I underestimated that fascination we have with the world's purest predator ...

A Post that didn't get the attention it deserved:

Way back when my readers were few and far between, and readers who left comments were even more scarce, I posted about my Favourite Place #4 - Troubridge Island

I've since written many posts about South Australia's unsung, beautiful and fascinating Yorke Peninsula - with possibly the highest concentration of Scenic Public Toilets and excellent Bakeries in Australia - but Troubridge Island still remains a mystery to many.

This magnificent spot is a truly unique travel experience - and only an increase in popularity will save it from the oblivion to which the SA State Government has left it ...

The Post I'm Most Proud of:

After I'd been blogging for a few months, I discovered blog hops!  You know - there's a 'linky' list to which you add a link to either your blog or a post that fits the linky theme, then you visit others on the list and they visit you!  I've found some great blogs this way - and some of my readers have found me!

BUT ... I didn't ever find a blog hop specific to travel bloggers, so I developed my own - Red's Round the World Extravaganza!

During my free 30 day trial of the linky tool, I hosted two 'Round the World' blog hops - a HUGE learning curve for this utter and complete technophobe ...

And look out!  Coming to a blog near you SOON, will be Round the World #3.  Just as soon as my internet access is more stable and I work out how to pay for continued use of the linky tool ...  I hope you'll all join me then!!


Who's Next??
And now ... my 5 Blogger nominations (in no particular order) to post their own 'My 7 Posts' post (if they're up for it):

Wanna Buy a Duck - at http://beajayblock.blogspot.com/

South Florida Guy - at http://sflaguy.blogspot.com/

Saucy Kodz Blog - at http://saucykodz.blogspot.com/

Perth Daily Photo - at http://perthdailyphoto.blogspot.com/

Haunt Jaunts - at http://hauntjaunts.net/blog



Thanx for coming, back to normal posting soon!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Australia's Scenic Public Toilets #16 - Richmond, Queensland


At first glance, the setting of these conveniences in western Queensland's Richmond is far from exotic.  It's nowhere near as scenic as Lord Howe Island's #15 - my favourite to date!  Unlike Largs Bay's #12, there's no colourful loo-art adorning the amenities block either.  And it also lacks a quirky connection, like the poetry of Gunnedah's #8!

Fossicking fields - loo in the far distance!
But this public toilet has its own impeccable credentials for membership in the Red Nomad OZ public toilet hall of fame! 

Sitting atop an ancient inland sea - in past millenia this loo (and those who sit thereon) would have been 40-50 metres under water!!

Forming Australia's dinosaur trail with Hughenden and Winton, significant marine fossil finds have put Richmond on the map - and the free fossil fossicking fields on the itinerary of every budding paeleontologist!!


Pilchard's find!

What's not to love, when a few minutes fossicking could net a fossil like Pilchard's find at right? 

What is it?? 

HHHMMMmmm... good question!!

But it LOOKS important, right??!!

Richmond Pliosaur at Kronosaurus Korner, Richmond!

Or this far superior specimen at left??

Whoops! 

Confession time!

That's actually Richmond Pliosaur, found nearby in 1990, and arguably the best example of its kind in the world! 

Unsurprisingly NOT uncovered by Pilchard and I in a few minutes ... I actually found this one at Richmond's Kronosaurus Korner!!

But, during a hard day's dig on the Richmond fossil fields, you'll more than likely use the amenities building at least once!  And in so doing, rest easy in the knowledge that you could be contributing potential coprolites for future generations - or even alien life forms - to unearth, study scientifically or turn into jewelry!!  As you do ...

So don't be fooled by its ordinary exterior - this public toilet is WAAAAAY more significant than it looks!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Signs#16 - Are you sure?


Sultana Point, South Australia
Pushing through the shrubs growing closely together over the old coast road was a bit of a giveaway.  So were the trees - now quite large - that broke through down the centre of the old bitumen surface.

Under the plants, piled up rocks that rendered the track impassable to anything larger than a bicycle gave a further clue.

I was starting to piece the evidence together ...

It was a long shot - but could it be possible I wouldn't have to look out for any vehicles while enjoying a walk through this phalanx of unrelieved undergrowth?

HHHMMMmmm... the indications were ALMOST conclusive, but what if I was mistaken??

How could I be absolutely sure???

Did I - or ANY walker for that matter - have the skills to resolve such a vital dilemma????

Then I saw it.  Praise be for the responsible adult/s who removed all lingering doubt with this official decree!

Yes, the road is indeed closed!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Red Hot RED!!!

Welcome to my latest update - what's RED HOT with Red right now?  Glad you asked!  Read on ...

Well, I FINALLY got over the euphoria of my first guest post ... But now the excitement is back with a vengeance!!  Why??

RED HOT Interview:

If you care, read my interview on  Jidhu Jose's Blog 'Reflections' - although you MIGHT appreciate this a bit more if you are Annabel, Amy & Tom, Manzanita, Marie, Mary or Alessandra ...why not go over there RIGHT NOW and see why!  Leave Jidhu some love as well to make it worth his while ...

But wait!  There's more ...

RED HOT Guest Spot:

You might also be interested in checking out TexaGermaNadian's 'Frackin' Friday' post - if you don't like my contribution, I'll bet you almost anything you'll find something else over there to laugh about!!
No spoilers here ... you'll have to go on over and check it out for yourself!!  Leave Texa some love too - and she might even invite me back again one day!

RED HOT RED!:

Click HERE for the closest I'll ever get to being 'Miss May'!  No, I'm not moonlighting as a dodgy calendar girl - believe it or not!! - I've been chosen as the May entrant for the Explore Australia Road Trippers Hall of Fame!!

Awesome, huh?  Will I win?  Head on over and have a look at my competition ...

RED HOT Updates:

And if you're worried about missing a post (or two), why not follow me on Twitter - @RedNomadOZ?!

BUT ... be warned!  My technophobia means this link might not work, so you're probably better off using the Twitter 'follow me' button just above my profile on the right of my blog.  Just between you and I, it IS possible to fake joining the 21st century ...

And finally ...

RED HOT Awards:

Two lovely bloggers have been kind enough to award my blog - embarassingly, now quite some time ago.  My apologies for the extraordinarily late acknowledgement - is 'late' really better than 'never'?? 

Firstly, the 'Lovely Blog' award from Divine in Time!  Ms Divine's most recent post The Family Tree, where she takes a closer look at an old photo that belonged to her grandmother is hilarious ...

Secondly, the 'Versatile Blogger' award from Jim at 'Holes in My Soles'!  Jim's most recent post (at the time of writing) Hazards While Driving in Botswana where he depicts the challenges faced by tour vehicle drivers is also hilarious ...

Thanx to you both - my interview at Jidhu's blog will give you several things you don't know about me, and also links to some great blogs you might want to explore further ...

RED HOT Readers:

I lied.  THIS is the final section!!

To all my wonderful readers (and ESPECIALLY those who leave comments!!), thank you for your continued support - you're RED HOT too!!

Have a great weekend!!
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