This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2005 Travels August 20


Worked 6.30am to 9.30pm.

Usual breakfasts – but cooked bacon and eggs for the two men.

The two tour ladies decided to stay an extra night, instead of leaving today.

O planned to have the guests out for a full day. The two men would be out doing their investigations. So I packed sandwich lunches for all, and well as goodies for two smokos to go too.

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I was able to have a fairly well paced day, with no guests in camp – as well as a leisurely shower! Had to do a run up to the house to collect foods from the freezer.

Defrosted French sticks from the freezer and turned them into garlic bread for tea. Made a mango cheesecake, coleslaw and a pineapple salad.

Tea was chilled zucchini soup with garlic bread. There were BBQ’d sausages and meat patties that I’d made earlier, two-potato chippies baked in the oven, the salads, with the cheesecake to follow.

The camp fire session finished a bit earlier tonight.

Resize of 08-27-2005 10 August Sunset 7

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2005 Travels August 19


Worked 6.30am till 10.30pm.

I set out the usual breakfast arrangements. No one wanted cooked food, so I was pleased. The group was all out for morning smoko, so I sent out with them Anzac biscuits, coffee and fruit cakes, and muesli bars.

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Mail plane day – A and W dealt with that. A brought my supplies down to camp.

After cleaning up from breakfast, I made a batch of Cornies biscuits, a bean salad, a batch of orange and poppyseed muffins, and prepared salad and meat lunch plates, using cold roast beef and tinned ham as the meats.

As the weather was hotting up, I thought the guests would need somewhat lighter meals than earlier in the season. I followed the salad plates with melon slices and the usual apple/orange offerings.

The group came back for a later lunch. On such days, I prepared a lunch plate for O too, though sometimes he would just drop the guests off and go back to the house – for a break?

Today, after lunch, he had to take the two men out to look at possible Leichhardt localities. They took their own vehicle, following the way he led them. He trusted them to be able to find their own way back, when ready. The other four guests had a lazy afternoon at camp, some of it spent sitting in the creek.

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The oasis of the camp

Late in the afternoon, O returned and collected them, plus nibbles and eskies of drinks that I had prepared during the afternoon, to go to the Escarpment for pre-dinner drinks and to watch the sunset.

Through the afternoon, I finalized the soup by adding cream, prepared steaks with peppercorns, prepped potatoes, made a green salad, made a fruit salad, whipped cream. Made curried zucchini soup.

When I knew in advance that O planned an Escarpment sunset watch, with consequent late dinner time, the meal and its timing could be adjusted to suit. But it was not easy when he made such a decision at the last minute, as sometimes happened, and something was cooking for dinner that would not be enhanced by cooking for an extra hour, or more!

Tonight’s dinner was chilled carrot soup with heated pre-bake rolls (I had a couple of packs in the freezer); brandy pepper steaks, baked potato with sour cream, green salad, followed by fresh fruit salad and cream.

There was another late camp fire session. John and I were finding talking to the journalist really interesting, given John’s link to the Leichhardt saga.

Resize of 07-02-2005 11 July Sky 12

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2005 Travels August 18


Worked 7am to 10.30pm.

The couple arrived early, having flown in. So morning tea was needed after their arrival – just a defrosted coffee cake from the freezer, and a batch of freshly made scones.

After they were settled in, O took them off sightseeing.

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Through the morning, I hard boiled eggs, made potato salad, made the aforementioned scones, marinated chunks of beef for tonight’s roast, cooked a batch of Anzac biscuits. Made up four plates of salad and cold meats for lunch, using defrosted cooked chicken breasts, from freezer, and tinned ham.

We  settled in the tour two, who drove in and arrived late morning.

There was a rather funny event whilst John was showing them around the camp. They were really hot, so waded into the camp creek, to cool off a bit, without first asking if that was alright – which, of course, it normally would be.  One of the women was about knee deep, when John said in a very loud and stern voice: “Get out of the creek, NOW”. She turned to look at him, and he repeated it. She waded out, clearly wondering what she had done wrong – whereupon, John pointed out the large black headed python that was swimming up to where she had been. He hadn’t wanted to scare her, in the water in case she panicked and froze. She forgave him!

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Pool where the python was swimming

Served lunch. Organized afternoon smokos to go out with O and the guests for another round of sight seeing. Cleaned up from lunch. Made pannacottas and a batch of carrot soup.

I put the meat on to roast at 2pm. It always needed long, slow, roasting to tenderize it as much as possible. Made Yorkshire Pudding batter. Prepared the vegies and put them on to cook at 5pm.

Set up the dining tent for seven. O would eat with the guests.

The journalist men arrived, in their own vehicle,  and John settled them in.

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I prepared the usual array of pre-dinner nibbles.

Served tea of roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding muffins, roast onions, potatoes, pumpkin, peas and gravy, followed by pannacottas with berry sauce. Coffee and cheeses were had around the camp fire.

With three diverse groups, previously unknown to each other, conversation was lively and interesting.


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2005 Travels August 17


When John was going up to do the watering, this morning, on the track to the camp he came across a huge mound of poo. It was not far from our camp. It had to belong to one of the few wild buffalo that are still about on the property. There had been some crashing noises across the creek, and around outside the camp fenced area, some nights of late. We had assumed they were from cattle.

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John had taken the top off the fairly newly minted heap of dung, with the Troopy,  before he realized what it was. He then came and got me to go have a look. We put a bucket by it, for size comparison purposes, before taking a photo.

Resize of 08-17-2005 02 Buffalo Shit Size Comparison

I definitely did not want to meet its source, out and about!

I put in the order for the next supply truck, which should come about the 26th. Doing the order properly was a really big job that used up a whole day to prepare, put onto the computer, email and fax.

It was a fair sized order – while since we’d had a supply truck. I needed to top up quite a lot of the camp supplies, like salad dressings, coffee bags, nuts, cereals, cheeses. Ordered some chicken breasts, pork strips, pork chops, for some meat variety for us.

I spent what was left of the day getting ready for guests, again.

Did a thorough clean of the toilets and showers, checked tents. There was more trekking back and forth between house and camp with cold and frozen goods.

Cooked a fruit cake.

We were expecting a couple  in, and a mother and daughter from a north Qld helicopter firm, who would be sussing out a possible heli tour offering, involving Adels and us. As well, there would be two men, one a journalist with the Brisbane Courier Mail, who was trying to follow the route of Leichhardt’s Expedition, cross checking on the ground to references in Leichhardt’s Journal, and writing about it for the paper. His companion was driver/photographer.

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Areas like this swamp would have been an obstacle to explorers

I had to use four tents for these guests, then ensure a quick turn around on one because there were two Japanese fishermen following hot on their heels.

It would all be another burst of activity and late nights!

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2005 Travels August 16


Day off for us. John went up to the house to do the vegie garden watering, as usual, though.

O came to inspect the camp. He still seemed rather disgruntled, but could not really find fault with how the camp was looking. About all he could come up with was that, after all the recent work, the generator needed a service. So he changed the oil and air filter on that.

We went driving back out to Bathtub Springs, for another look at it – so pretty.

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I was fascinated by the underwater gardens growing at the edge of the river, where the water was clear and light penetrated.

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Under water garden. Dry bank at extreme right side of photo

Spent some time watching a grey fantail flitting about in the bush and trees, but could not get a really good photo of it. The bird was very curious about us.

Resize of 08-16-2005 03 Grey Fantail Northern For

Out on that part of the property, there were places where there were lots of termite mounds, quite close together. Then there would be some distance where there were none. We figured it had to do with soil structure, moisture retention and the like.

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The progress of the seasons was obvious in that the grasses that had been so tall and green, back in May, when we were clearing the tracks out there, were now brown and lying more flat. I could begin to see how late Dry Season fires could be such a problem, once they got going.

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There were young saplings re-growing on parts of the track. They would be fodder for next year’s early season slashing.

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Unusual leopardwood tree growth – with bark free dead branch



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2005 Travels August 15


The morning was really misty, with quite a heavy dew. This made spiders’ webs in the bushes and grass, really stand out. It was quite eerie, really.

Resize of 08-15-2005 01 Pungalina Mist

Although silence was the norm for so much of the time, it had a different quality when it was misty.

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I went up to the house and did an unpack and inventory of the freezer that was supposedly designated for camp provisions. I had noticed, over the past few weeks, that some of the cakes and breads that I’d cooked in slow times, in order to get a bit ahead for guest times, had disappeared! I needed the security of these stocks, not so much for guests we had decent advance notice about, but the ones who booked from places like Adels Grove, to arrive next day!

Found I had two apple coffee cakes, a zucchini cake, a sultana cake, two lots of muffins,  two French sticks. There were four loaves of sliced bread frozen, some pork and lamb chops, kabana, sausages and a couple of frozen chooks. In the fridge were reasonable quantities of cheeses and salami.

I felt a bit better after that stock take.

I faxed the weekly plane order to Tennant Creek. It was considerably larger than usual and would be really pushing the limits of pilot tolerance! We were expecting three lots of guests before the next supply truck top up, so I was relying on the plane supplies.

There were fifteen different types of fruit and vegies in the order alone, though the heaviest single item was 5kg of potatoes. 10 litres of long life milk also added considerable weight. Fortunately, although there were a lot of other items, none was individually too heavy.

O arrived back in the afternoon. He did not seem terribly happy to be back! We stayed out of the way at camp, and left it to A and W to update him on things.

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2005 Travels August 14


Day off. We enjoyed a decent sleep in.

Pottered about at camp, read my paper.

After an early lunch, we drove out to the wetlands, and took out the canoe onto the lake. Tried as best we could to do a bird count, but mostly just enjoyed the paddle. Went right across the far side and in amongst some of the dead trees that clustered quite thickly in the water there. It felt rather surreal.

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Back to our camp, where I read away the rest of the day. John spent time on the lap top.


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2005 Travels August 13


I was up at 7am to make breakfast for the guests, and pack them a small smoko to take with them.

Their comment in the guest book: Unique experience and wonderful, kind hosts, made us want to return soon. We will tell our friends!

So I guess John and I had done well, as solo hosts.

John took them up to their plane in the Troopy. I took Truck up to the house to see them off, as John would be staying up there to do his garden chores, while I had camp ones.

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After they had gone, it was the usual post-guest routine: strip beds and wash sheets, towels, tablecloths, tea towels in the machine up at the house. If the safari camp business really got busy over the next couple of years, I thought to myself that they should really consider installing a washing machine somewhere at the camp. Would save a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.

I cleaned the tent and made it up again. Emptied the fridges and took the contents back to the house.

John spent much of the day in the vegie garden, catching up after his days of guiding.

While I was up at the house doing the washing, we had a cuddle with the dingo pups. Beau was quite relaxed about us handling them – and they didn’t seem to mind the attention. They were just beautiful. I would have loved to be able to have the little female one, permanently, but knew it would not be kind to the dog to try and keep it in a backyard, even a fair sized one.

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Beau’s two dingo pups.

I treated myself to a lovely long shower.

Once again, we relaxed with happy hour in our clearing and discussed the experiences of the last few days. We were quite pleased with ourselves.

Resize of 08-05-2005 03 Happy Hour With Dings 2

And with two of the grown ups……


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2005 Travels August 12


We worked 7am until 10pm. The day passed much as yesterday with the guests.

Breakfast was the same as yesterday.

It was mail plane day. A brought down the camp provisions from the plane order. Yet again, I put aside my weekly newspaper until I had some spare time to read it!

I cooked roti breads for lunch and served those with a curried egg spread, mashed tuna, plus a mixture of ham, cream cheese and pineapple. Sides were coleslaw and a bean salad I quickly made up.

Prepared a mix of the usual pre-dinner nibbles.

Tea was a bit of a departure from the normal menu items. The normal meat supplies were getting a bit low, especially in packs that would serve just two guests. There was a chunk of corned silverside in the freezer, that had come on the last truck, so I cooked that, with onion sauce, a mash of potato and parsnip, and sauteed sticks of carrot and zucchini. It looked colourful! The meal ended with a coffee liqueur mousse.

Being their last night, the couple felt like sitting and chatting around the fire a bit longer than before. They had been really easy to look after, for which I was grateful.

Resize of 07-02-2005 10 July Sky 10


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2005 Travels August 11


We worked 6.30am to 9.45pm.

Breakfast was the usual offerings, along with cooked bacon, egg and tomato.

The guests went off with John for the morning, with smoko I’d made up of biscuits and cake.

They were interested in looking at the sights, not in fishing.

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Grevillea flower

I got salad and cold meat plates ready for lunch, again. Cooked bread rolls.

When the party was out again, in the afternoon, I made pannacottas and did other dinner prep.

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Waterhole on nearby Karns Creek

There were the usual pre-dinner nibbles.

Tea was cold carrot and ginger soup, with bread rolls. There was pan fried steak with green peppercorn and brandy sauce, oven baked potato, green salad. Dessert was pannacottas with berry coulis.

We had the camp fire going again, and sat round chatting with the guests over coffee.