Saturday, August 7, 2010

Into the Northern Territory - Friday 25th June


Ahead was our most extensive driving day of the entire tour, the only stops being for comfort and for food. We drove out of the Kimberleys which are in the state of Western Australia and ¾ of the way across the Northern Territory. However, before we left WA we drove through the fertile belt around Kununurra, irrigated by the Ord River Scheme. I had no idea this was a food bowl, and I gather it will not be for much longer if the present economic reign supreme. There is a massive conflict brewing between the old style farmers who grow veggies and mangoes and the new style farmers (corporate) who are more inclined to grow sandalwood trees because this is where the money is nowadays. Sandalwood is used in perfumes. So, here are three images, the first one is a sandalwood forest, the sw tree being the smaller one which can only be grown using a host plant. The second (small) image shows an extensive veggie patch with mangoes in the background. The larger image is a bunch of backpackers toiling in the field. This is where the vast majority of the labour comes from across the Kimberleys – young people from around the world who come to Australia for a year to see the country but need to work to pay their way.


Ivanhoe Crossing was just inside the WA border but was a massive flow of water, and this is the dry season. I thought the two fisher-folk were a nice contrast – an asian woman and a pelican both just as intense and needy.


So we crossed the border and away we flew churning up the miles, well kilometres really.


Heading for the town of Katherine we spent a lot of the day shadowing the Victoria River which is yet another massive expanse of water. Other than tar, the things that we saw most of were birds.

Birds!! More on them tomorrow ...

16 comments:

Pam said...

Julie your photography is wonderful. You are travelling in areas of Australia I have always wanted to visit.

Julie said...

Thank you for the visit, Pam.

I had always wanted to visit these areas, too. So ... I am. And they are simply an eye-opener. Next year - Cape York.

Take care which tour company you use though. Cheaper is cheaper.

Ann said...

I love that part of the world. Actually I love just about anywhere in this country away from glass and concrete and hordes of people.

I had much better results shooting from the truck with the little S90 set mostly on P. Still ended up with a lot of blurred shots. Have never been able to manage much with the SLR. Didn't like the way the windows were tinted and couldn't be opened.

diane said...

Thanks for the memories. I like the way you have caught the light on the water.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Chewing up miles and miles is fun in it's own way ... watching the scenery change. A couple of times on this trip I have gone up a road then back down the same one. I like this, the up trip is all about mystery, getting to see what's going to happen next, the return journey can be more lanquid stopping at the places passed because time was running out or just taking a better look at the things that were most interesting. Mountain scenery in particular changes depending on the direction of travel.

Julie said...

I like the thrill of not knowing what is around the next bend. This was more so in the Kimberleys than in Central Australia - which did not have many bends!

Wolynski said...

What an interesting trip - Australia is kind of red.

It's the small farmer versus agri-business everywhere. When the price of oil goes through the roof, the small farmer will win.

LD said...

I was so mesmerized by the story and photos I looked it over for several minutes. Fascinating about the "crop war" such a sign of the times. We have only migrant crop workers here so the student workers is something I've never seen..

Greenearth said...

What a great place to be at this time of year.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for showing this beautiful part of Australia. I prefer the veggie to the sandalwood!
My daughter was also a backpacker who worked in the fields before she settled in Cooktown Qld.

steveroni said...

Hey, Australia looks almost like parts of planet earth! Who would have guessed?

Good photos, BTW. And WHY do ya drive on the wrong side of the road? Must have lots of accidents because of that--grin!!!

PEACE!

Julie said...

No no no no ... my friend ... we not on wrong side .. youse lot are!!

Amazing how much some of Australia is similar to some parts of the USA ... not necessarily Florida ... but out west a smidge more ...

chiccoreal said...

Dear Julie: It's amazing how large the down-under continent. Fantastic discoveries! Especially found the sandalwood trees of interest. I thought they grew in India! Australia who knew! Txs!

Joan Elizabeth said...

Julie, I have been mulling over your thoughts on Ord agriculture today and with the luxury of being home tonight thought I would add some extra things for you to mull over.

Horticulture in the Ord has been problematic. It is a difficult environment because of the climate (wet/dry) and various funguses and pests and the masses of birds they have up there are a problem too. And even when suitable crops have been found the problems continue because they are a very long way from the market so difficult to make them pay. And if you put your extra green hat on then what about the carbon footprint of all those transport miles. Hence the need to find other sorts of paying crops.

Sandlewood is seen as a possible answer as is a new crop Chia some sort of plant full of omega 3, protien and antioxidants that sells for a good price.

But the problems don't stop there, They have a wonderful water resource but irrigating land is not without creating the salinity problems found in the Murray Darling.

These things are never easy.

Julie said...

I will think ont - mull. Today in my supermarket there was a display of mangoes. What, thinks I? In August ... yeah right. Bet they were not grown in Australia.

The sticker says NT. So how come ... same lattitude as QLD, similar humidity. I will taste one tomorrow and see what I think. 2 for $5.00

CrazyasaCoolFox said...

I love your photography. You have a keen eye. I'm always amazed at how different the birds look in Australia. They are very beautiful. I'm sure to an Australian eye the birds here in north America have a different "flair" to them as well. Thanks for visiting my crazy blog and leaving all your insightful comments! :)Feedback is much appreciated.