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August 29, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 33

“Look! a cloud!” Josh yelled.

We all looked in amazement at a tiny lonely puff high up in the cobalt blue of the late afternoon sky today.

Ever since entering the Northern Territory we have had blinding starry nights so clear and vast, and days extremely dry and sunny with cold mornings…COLD? Yep, since we are so far inland, our new climate is not affected at all by the ocean, or any large water mass for that matter. When the sun is up, it’s hot, and when the sun is down, it gets really cold! The temperatures are very extreme when there is no moisture in the air.


This morning was our first on the Northern Territory time zone, which is a half hour behind Queensland's. When we left camp, the sun was already starting to heat the air up, which was a bit of a relief. We took our time through some beautiful rolling hills and had only gone 15 kilometres by 10:00 am.

“No worries mate,” we’ve learned to say. “She’ll be right.”


In speaking with a local cattlewoman and property owner today, we found out that this was an exceptional year in terms of rainfall. Normally the average is 11 inches, but this year they got 35 inches! We told her that we had noticed the cattle were looking very healthy. Also, what might seem a barren landscape to some was a thick and grassy paddock to her. Also, because of this factor, she warned us about where we made fires (that is one thing our group has been very good at the whole trip so far).

By 51 kilometres we decided to make camp and call it a day. Our new member Git had pulled off her second day with no complaints and an exuberant attitude the whole time!


We are now in another dry creek bed with low-lying rocky hills around us. Soon, when the sun goes down, the flies, who thrive in the dry climate, will have gone ‘to bed’.

As a group we have come to appreciate the dryness and be more aware of what we consume and waste. I myself love this climate and I am very aware of it because of the bloody noses it gives me. Do you notice the climate around you?


“The blasts of heat were so terrific that I wondered the very grass did not take fire. Everything, both animate and inanimate, gave way before it, the horses stood with their backs to the wind, and their noses to the ground, without the muscular strength to raise their heads; the birds were mute, and the leaves of the trees, under which we were sitting, fell like a snow shower around us.”
–Charles Sturt, Narrative of an Expedition into Central Australia, 1849.


Posted on August 29, 2001 12:38 PM