Uluru rolls out the Parakeelya carpet

We visited Uluru in September 2009, and like everyone else we were awed by its presence.  Nothing has changed on that front in a little over a year – seeing Uluru again up close still took our breath away.  But the countryside around Uluru has been transformed, and it is now surrounded by wildflowers and wildlife.  Its waterholes have been flushed clean and topped up; there are even frogs and tadpoles in Kantyu Gorge, a wonderful sign that its previously polluted waters are healthier now.


Recent photos, Alice Springs, October 2010

Nirbeeja "feels the serenity" of Jay Creek

I know, you’ve seen and heard it all before – birds, wildflowers, rugged inland scenery, and me rabbiting (bilbying?) on about how much rain we’ve had in Alice Springs and how green everything is.  Well……tough.  Here’s a bit more. And in any case, we are leaving Alice next week to explore the broader region so I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to showcase the rare beauty of Australia’s centre in full bloom.


Friends visit Alice Springs – we show them the Red (or was that Green) Centre

Field of wildflowers beside Binns Track, south east of Alice Springs

Our friends Christopher and Janice from Canberra made a flying visit to Alice Springs last weekend.  It was Janice’s third time here this year, and Christopher’s second.  They almost consider themselves to be locals now.

Their visit had been planned for a couple of months, and we were hoping the area would still be as pretty as we assured them it was.  All year we kept reporting flowing rivers, regular rainfall, wildflowers and abundant wildlife.  In the end I think they visited just to shut me up!


Spring arrives early in The Alice

Zebra Finch (male) gathering nesting material, Alice Springs

Spring has definitely arrived early this year in Alice Springs.  Everywhere you look, native shrubs are in flower, the birds are building nests and the hills still have a greenish tinge after consistent rainfall all this year.  It is gorgeous.  We are even getting a few days now above 20 degrees, although the nights remain cool.  Who would be anywhere else?!


Wildflowers of Western Australia

Australian Desert Rose, Wittenoom Gorge

Western Australia is deservedly famous for its wildflowers.  One of the first things you notice upon travelling through  WA is the soil, if you could call it that.  Most of WA is sandy and dry, and at first glance appears unlikely to support much in the way of plant life.   Yet travel through the state during the springtime and you will be astounded at the range of wildlfowers on display, especially if there have been good winter rains.     We wondered whether the range of flowers was in some part due to the high mineral content of the sandy ground. 


Majestic trees

The enormous Ghost Gum near Trephina Gorge, East MacDonnell Ranges, NTAsk someone to name an Australian tree, and most people will say “the Gum Tree”  and maybe the Wattle.  But there is enormous variety within Australia’s native trees, and Australia is home to some of the tallest trees in the world.  Only the Giant Redwoods of North America are taller than our Mountain Ash and Karri trees.

We have been fortunate to visit some majestic old trees during our travels, and would like  to share some of their stories with you.  We have added photos as well, but there is no way to do such trees justice with photography; the only way to truly appreciate them is to stand in awe at their base and look up towards the heavens.  In most cases it is not even possible to capture the whole tree in a single photograph.


The River Red Gum is possibly the quintessential Australian tree.  How many paintings show the RIver Red Gum beside the Murray or Darling Rivers?  Our first glimpse of the true giants of this type was at Pooncarie on the Darling River, once a thriving port but now a mere whisper of its former glory.  At the time, the Darling River was struggling to flow and was recovering from blue-green algal blooms, and the River Red Gums themselves looked unwell; ragged, with dying limbs and sparsely folliaged.  Yet they still had a hint of grandeur about them.  We camped near a large specimen on our first night beside the Darling.  We didn’t camp directly beneath the tree, tempting though that was, for they have a reputation for dropping their enormous limbs without warning.  Some call them ‘widow-makers’.  We would love to return to the Darling River when it is flowing in a healthier way, to see these trees return to their true splendour.


Mulla Mulla

Tall Mulla Mulla

Mention the Pilbara, and the first plant to spring to my mind is the Mulla Mulla.  We first travelled through the Pilbara in 2008, a year renowned for its wildflowers in Western Australia.  We were amazed at the variety of Mulla Mulla on display.  I recall seeing at least a dozen different species, many of which we have been unable to identify in our reference books and on the net.  There were fields of Mulla Mulla, and bushes over 1 metre high, shaped like elegant candelabra, and covered in blooms.  At the time I felt I was overindulgent in terms of the photos I took, but look back  now and wish I’d taken more.


Wildflowers in the Legume (Pea) family

geraldton-wa-1060_0The Sturt’s Desert Pea is the most famous Australian member of this family, and rightly so; we have a separate Post for that plant..  But there are many other beautful wildflowers in the family.  Some are tiny – with flowers around 1cm long, while the largest shown in this gallery belong to the Native Bird Plant, with its unusual green flowers.  Some of the photos are a little out of focus, because at the time I didn’t have a camera with a macro (close-up) lens.


Sturt’s Desert Pea

Sturt's Desert Pea - Murchison region WA

The Sturt’s Desert Pea must surely be one of the most stunning wildflowers of the Australian bush.  When first spotted them, growing next to the highway on our way in to Broken Hill, we almost ran off the road in our excitement.