One Rock, One Canyon, One Railway . . . 10 *Billion* Flies

Groovy Grape Tour Bus at Coober Pedy, South Australia

The title of this post comes from a caption I saw on a postcard while I was traveling through the Outback, & trust me, it pretty much sums up the entire experience!

Aboriginal Rock Art at Yourambulla Caves, South Australia

About a week after Heather & Adam departed from Adelaide it was time for me to begin my 7 day / 6 night tour “up the guts” of Australia to the red centre.  As has often been the case during my travels, I was both excited & nervous.  I knew Heather had gone on an almost identical tour with another tour company last winter & she had survived unscathed, so that gave me courage.  Then again, who was I kidding, Heather is a *much* better camper than I!  I knew my fears were well-founded when halfway through the trip our tour guide gathered us all around & with a grave face, warned, “We’re heading into the desert now.  If anyone doesn’t like snakes or spiders, I can put you on the next bus back to Adelaide.”  WHAT?!  I *specifically* asked for the spiderless, snake-free Outback tour when I booked this gig!  I bet Oprah didn’t have to deal with this crap! 😉

Of course I knew there would be some critters in the desert, I just hoped they’d stay far, far away from me & my swag.  *Then* he tells us, in that laid back, no worries attitude perfected by Aussies & Kiwis:

“If you get bit by something in the middle of the night, wait 5 minutes before you wake me.”

“Wh- Why, Whales?!”  That was the name of our tour guide – Whales.

“Because if it’s poisonous you’ll be dead after 3 minutes & there’s no point in waking me up for that.”

Oh, riiight – makes sense . . . um, remind me why a city girl like me decided that an Outback camping trip would be a *good* way to spend her holiday?!  Thank goodness for the Royal Flying Doctor Service & travel medical insurance, but I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to use either!

Sunset at Uluru, Northern Territory

Well, I have to admit that swags are not a bad way to camp assuming the critters actually do stay away, which for the most part they did.  It’s pretty cool to be able to look up from your pillow & see the southern cross star in the clear desert sky.  Out there, in the peaceful stillness that can only be found in a place as remote as the Outback, the moon is so bright it serves as a reassuring night light all night long until the sun rises to greet you the next morning.  Hmmm, maybe this wouldn’t be so scary after all . . .

Swags - yes, we really slept in them!

. . . So, I was fortunate enough never to see a snake in the Outback, but I did see some type of black creepy-crawly on the corner of my swag during our first night of camping.  No big deal – I calmly brushed it aside & went back to sleep.  OK, stop right there; If you read that last sentence without busting a gut then you probably don’t know me very well.  In actuality I stifled a scream, punched at the swag to get the thing as far the hell away from me as possible & then buried my head as far down into the swag as I could.  Have I mentioned that there are no zippers on the top part of that thing?  Shortly thereafter I found out why when I began to notice the lack of oxygen & had no choice but to expose myself to the elements once again.  Staying calm in scary situations is a real strength of mine – I come from a very long line of super calm & not at all neurotic people on my mother’s side of the family – you know who you are! 😉  While I’m amazed & grateful that I didn’t encounter more little buggers during my trip, I was unfortunate enough to spot mice around our campsites on multiple occasions – ewwww! 😦  So in conclusion, I really loved the Outback.  No, really!  I did!!  Just not the bugs. 0:-)

In all honesty, of all the pests we encountered during our tour, the flies were the worst offenders.  Brushing them away is fruitless because as soon as you do they land right back again.  Stubborn little #$!@#&!  Your only real recourse is an Aussie flynet which at least prevents you from inhaling/ingesting any suicidal buggers.  At $10, it tops my list for best value for the money of anything I’ve bought on holiday before or since.  It’s probably also the most stylish. 😉

I couldn't look any more ridiculous if I tried, but it kept the flies away!

“The Flies”

So now you know that the title of this post is no joke – there truly are an *insane* number of flies in the Outback!

“The Railway”

The Ghan is named for the Afghan cameleers who blazed the trail from Adelaide to Alice

This refers to the Ghan.  I considered the possibility of taking a train ride on the Ghan either up to Darwin in the “top end” or back down to Adelaide at the end of my tour, but ultimately I decided that I need to pick & choose which destinations/attractions I most want to spend time & money on while in Australia (if only I could do it all!) & I chose to forego this experience (which leaves me with a very good reason to return to Oz yet again on some future date . . . hehehe).

“The Canyon” & “The Rock”

I plan to write about these & several other highlights in detail in my next post, which will conclude my description of my 7-Day Outback tour.  Get excited! 🙂

Me, Matt, Elke, Petra, Celeste & Sabrina in the Outback

A few signs you are in the Outback:

You know you're in the Outback when the town you rock up to has population: 2

If this sign doesn't scream Outback, I don't know what does. 😦

Many Outback roads are not sealed (paved) & along the Oodnadata Track you often see road closures due to rain. We really lucked out during our tour!

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rosi
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 15:54:31

    Niki: received your post card – Thanks! We have been keeping up with your adventure courtesy of your blog. Be sure to keep careful notes of your travels as I can see the basis of a good book, television show or a new business here in WNY! Stay safe.

    Reply

  2. Rebecca
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 19:05:12

    I love swags, but can totally relate burying down and then being out of air:-)

    Yay fly nets! After a few days, I just gave up swatting and let them land. It’s not like they were touching me.

    Can’t wait to read (and compare) more!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:55:31

      Rebecca, thanks so much for advising me to get a flynet in advance! I had no idea there would be so many flies in the Outback! Yeah, I pretty much let them land as well since they couldn’t touch my face while I was wearing the net . . . except this one time I somehow managed to trap a fly INSIDE the flynet – seriously, these things can only happen to me! 😉

      Reply

  3. Camille
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 21:18:39

    Laughed so hard that tears were running down my face! Are you sure you’re supposed to wear that thing on your head – or is it to CATCH flies in…LOL.

    I must admit if someone (namely, Whales) said to me, “If you get bit by something in the middle of the night wait 5 minutes before you wake me…..because if it’s poisonous you’ll be dead after 3 minutes and there’s no point in waking me up for that…” I would have been RUNNING after the bus back to Adelaide! Love, Your Neurotic Mom xoxo

    P.S. Great blog – LOVE IT!

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Jul 10, 2011 @ 11:56:51

      Mom, hahaha – read my reply to Rebecca below – I actually DID catch a fly in the flynet & trapped it between the net & MY FACE – LOL! I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work. :-/

      Reply

  4. Auntie Marilyn
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 22:31:03

    Well, I am sure you get the calmness around bugs
    from me – right???

    Reply

    • nicoleinoz
      Jul 10, 2011 @ 12:01:59

      Hmmmm – I’m not sure I’ve seen you around bugs before, but I can only imagine! I’ve heard stories about Auntie Char calling Nanie for help when she first moved out of the house & found a spider & Uncle Don wasn’t around to kill it – I think she handles bugs about as well as I do – hahaha!

      Reply

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