Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our Outback Adventure!

Despite this trip being my fifth or sixth to Australia, I had yet to really venture into the outback. Mostly, we just stayed on the coast near all the beaches and hot spots. For those who aren't familiar with Australia, the vast (vast) majority of the population lives on the coasts-mostly the east coast. The outback certainly is not a buzzing metropolis. It's mostly miners (along with small mine towns) and cattle country. Cattle stations can be hundreds of miles from each other. Anyway, I did want to get the outback experience so Dan, Alex, Veronica, Genevieve (Dan's two sisters), Shannon (Veronica's husband) and I went for a road trip.

We had a great time. The outback is a gorgeous, desolate place. The first day was mostly a driving day. We stopped in a town called Alpha for some lunch, which of course consisted of nothing other than meat pies. Americans do NOT know what they are missing with meat pies-they are scrumptious. Dan and I keep joking that we are going to open an Aussie eatery with various flavors of meat pies, sausage rolls, chips w/ sweet chili sauce and sour cream, kebabs (not kebobs...totally different), Lamingtons, Pavlova, dapper, etc. We would do a killing, I reckon. Ok, tangent done. We continued driving out to Long Reach, where we spent the night in a little cabin in the desert. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Of course, that night we went for steaks at the local pub, as we were in cattle country.

The next day went to the "Stockman's Hall of Fame" where we were able to go through a museum which focuses on the history of the outback. I was particularly fascinated with the early women settlers of the outback. It's amazing what they had to cope with in terms of living conditions. We also saw a demonstration of how animals are trained....we even got to see a dog shepard sheep.

After that, we stopped in another pub, had a few pints and a burger and went to a nearby town (can't remember the name right now) that had a natural artisan well with a hot spring. After a long day of driving the day before, we couldn't resist. We jumped into our suits and enjoyed the spring. It was so nice and warm, but not too hot. Alex loved it. She kept laughing at the bubbles and was kicking like crazy. After that, we drove to Tambo, where we stayed the night. Tambo is a very small western mining town. Veronica's husband, Shannon, is incidentally from Tambo-his dad is/was a miner. We went to the local pub, got some dinner, hung out with some locals and had a good time.

The next day, we got a nice breakfast and Shannon called a woman he knows in order to open up her shop. This woman sells something called "Tambo Teddies". About fifteen years ago, a group of women got together and pitched ideas to make money for themselves and to improve employment in the town. They came up with the idea of making teddy bears 100% out of local wool. Each bear comes with a number, which is registered to the person who bought it, and a name. The name consists of an outback station name with a normal name. For example, we bought "Ercidoune Elliot". Ercidoune being the station. So-Alex got to take home her very own, original, handmade Tambo teddy.

The rest of the day, we just drove around seeing the sights and slowly worked our way home. We took several dirt roads, which was really neat because you saw so much more of the raw outback, than if you were on a paved, main road. We saw dozens of 'roos and a few emus too. In all, the trip was very successful! I'll post some pics, because there's no point in trying to describe the sights if there are pics!

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