Australia Outback Adventure, December 22 through December 29, 2000

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Our second week in Australia was spent on the road in the outback of New South Wales (NSW). We rented a Toyota Outback and headed West from Sydney. My brother Jason and his friends Tim and Becky made the trip. After just 100 miles or so inward, the roads were no longer paved and our rental truck paid off.

NSW is the most populated state in Australia, yet after traveling a bit inland, it became a rural desert with only a handful of small towns connected by dirt roads. Driving between these towns, each which had a population of just a few thousand, we were lucky to see just one vehicle pass us. We carried extra water and food just in case we became stranded in the harsh 100-degree plus climate. During sunset we had the viewing pleasure (and driving hazard) of kangaroos and emus hanging around the road.

On our return back to Sydney, we stopped at the Australia Capitol Territory of Canberra. Like Sydney, Canberra is new and modern looking. Much though and planning was put into the creation of this beautiful capitol.

Our last stop was the beach campground of Pebbly Beach. We camped on the beach for one night before heading back to Sydney.

Our first stop was Blue Mountains National Park. It is quite similar to the Grand Canyon but less desert like. While there we met some Chinese people that live just a few miles of where Jason and I are staying (Nei-Hu, Taipei).

Dubbo, our first overnight stop, is home of the Western Plains Zoo. The zoo is open plains, meaning that you can just walk up to many of the animals. While walking in the African section, the arid desert like climate made it feel like we were actually in Africa.

Next it was off to Bourke, a very small town almost at the Northern NSW border. Tim cooked up a great steak and sausage meal (thanks Tim). We were also lucky that it rained that night, as a bunch of friendly green tree frogs came out to visit us.

On the road to White Cliffs
Our late start and lunch stop put us on the road just before sunset when all the kangaroos decided to come out near the road (actually they were everywhere). At first we were amazed to see just one, then they appeared everywhere and became somewhat of a driving hazard.

Photo courtesy of Jason Kuo

Photo courtesy of Jason Kuo

Photo courtesy of Jason Kuo

Photo courtesy of Jason Kuo

White Cliffs
As we headed out West, the towns got smaller and smaller. White Cliffs, near Wilcannia, has a population of less than 1000. We stayed at a unique motel which was entirely dug-out underground. The cave-like interior was very cool and cozy.

Menindee Lakes
The next stop was Menindee Lakes, where we camped overnight. The lakes were purposely flooded as they served as a reservoir. This made for an eerie but beautiful scenery.

Mungo National Park
Just a short drive South brought us to Mungo National Park, home of the Great Wall. Named so because of the continuous dunes which run in the distance. More interesting is the lunette, miniature dunes made of limestone that has been carved by the wind and water flow.

A long drive from Mongo brought us to the Australian capital city of Canberra. We toured the Parliament House and saw various war memorials. The city was well designed and aims to strikes a balance between the buildings, landscape and the sprit of the nation. We also squeezed in some light shopping.

Pebbly Beach
Our last stop was the Pebbly Beach campground. The local wildlife was very friendly and use to people, allowing us to get up close and observed them.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos Copyright 2000 Steve Kuo. All rights reserved.