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  • alexellenward

the explorer's way | a photo journal

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Our first sunset in the desert @ a rest stop just north of Port Augusta, SA. A man with a big lens asked if he could take our photo as we sipped on bush tonic under a melting sky.

Morning cuppa en route to Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy felt like our introduction to the outback. Encounters with shop and hostel owners followed no social conventions. There was no one staying at the 28 steps steep underground hostel - which had potential as a popular spot on paper.. After five minutes of browsing in an opal shop the owner turned the lights off and said goodbye, leaving us to find the door.

The Painted Desert. Our most spontaneous and most questionable detour from the Stuart Hwy. Google maps predicted two and a half hours, so we were on track for sunset - to see the colours of this remote rock formation glow in the longing light of day. Three and a half hours later we arrived in the dark, with every nook, cranny and can of chickpeas in the van filthy with red dust. Thank god for sunrise.

We stayed on Arkarba cattle station with only the light of a few other camper's fires to illuminate everything. We made veggie burgers on damper bread with canned pineapple and beetroot on damper rolls, before gazing at the stars, uninterrupted by the usual street and city lights.

Evidence of the dust cloud that not only decided to follow us, but stay with us on our trip for quite some time. 'Eat my dust' has become a daily saying. Mirko even said he might get it tattooed on his ankle.

Wash day in the desert.

Another desert sunset. Hippie-haired and happy.

Picnic at Ayer's Rock.

Up close b&w with the monolith.

The Reggae Woman makes it halfway through the continent!

Collage creation made on the way. All clippings from magazines and photos from my film camera or from during the trip. I wanted to explore the idea of rooms within our minds and how memories are stored. It fascinates me how experiences, but also less tangible things like dreams, smells and thoughts are divvied up and stored by our brains. I call this "Rooms of One's Own" and separated the four (almost colour segregated) corners of the cardboard into the kitchen, attic, living room and garden.

Kings Canyon hike in thirty degree heat!

Adding our own punctuation to the endless dash dash dot dot dot of the road.

Blending in with Ormiston Gorge, West Macdonnell Ranges.

The golden sun from a perch on the Devil's Marbles, NT.

The path to Maguk waterfalls in Kakadu National Park. The green was blinding after so much time spent in reds and oranges. To get here we followed a 4WD track for 12km to a hidden campsite, then trudged another 3km through rainforrest and bright green billabongs with croc warnings everywhere.

The view from the top of Maguk. Adrenaline was pumping after we dived off a small cliff, identified barramundi and small turtles in the shallows, then rock climbed over tree roots, vines and rocks to reach the top of the waterfall. We explored a series of deep smaller pools that were connected by underwater holes in the rock, creating great swimming passage to explore.

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