Ochre Pits

After our stay at the Ellery Creek Big Hole, we went on to visit the Ochre Pits further west. The colorful ochre outcrop is an important and cultural very significant place since ochre was used on a daily basis and from this rich source it was traded over the whole continent. The pits are just a short walk away from the car park. The about 3 meter high ochre walls are featured with a colorful wave pattern turning gradually from dark purple to light yellow and back again. This was definitely our favorite spot in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Picture gallery

Ellery Creek Big Hole

After the stop at Simpsons Gap, we drove on to Ellery Creek looking forward to a cooling swim in the summer heat. The water was surprisingly cold but very refreshing. It was very nice to swim all the way through the Chasm. In the late afternoon, we started the Dolomite Loop Walk, a 3 km round trip around the hilltops with beautiful views of the landscape. After the hike, we started to set up camp and turned on the BBQ. The camp site was again almost empty, only one guy who was moving from West Australia to Melbourne stayed overnight.

Simpsons Gap

After spending most of a day and a night in a swimming pool in Alice Springs, we started the second part of the trip to explore the West MacDonnell ranges. Simpsons Gap is one of the first sights when starting the trip from Alice Springs. There is a waterhole in the middle of the gap which does not carry a lot of water in summer. The No Swimming signs seemed a bit out of place at this time. Being so close to Alice Springs, it can become quiet a busy place. Eventually, we found the gaps and creeks further away (Ellery

Arltunga – Abandoned gold mining town

The last item on the agenda for the East MacDonnell ranges was the abandoned gold mining town of Arltunga. This was the official first township of the European settlement in central Australia. It was about 600 km from the nearest settlement away and the trip took at least a week in the old days. The gold rush that lead to the township happened around the year 1900 and did not last very long. There is not much left of Arltunga, there is a museum with a one room exhibit about the history of the place plus lots of miners equipment that

Perentie dreaming site

On the way to Trephina Gorge, we passed a significant site of the Perentie Dreaming. The rock narrow rock is very impressive, it reminded me a lot of the rock formations in the Warrumbungle NP in NSW. There is a short trail around the rock and there is not much else to see. Definitely worth the stop on the way along the East MacDonnell ranges. Picture gallery

Trephina Gorge

Trephina Gorge is located in the East MacDonnell Ranges. There is a campsite close to the gorge and a walking trail that takes you around the gorge in roughly 90 minutes. The red cliffs on either side of the gorge are very impressive as well as the views into the country. The camp site was completely empty, the only sign of action was the posted weather forecast (next days all in the forties..). We had a good time though – we arrived in the afternoon and went on the trail just before sunset. Another good thing along the way is

Emily Gap (Anthwerrke)

Emily Gap is just 15km east of Alice Springs. The gap in the mountain range along a riverbed is an important site for the Caterpillar dreaming with a couple of paintings of these caterpillars. The gap was our first stop on the tour along the East MacDonnell ranges, we went there straight from the airport. The heat was pretty intense and gave us a good idea on what to expect in the following two weeks. There was nobody else at the site, but the paintings were easy to find on the rocks across the riverbed. It was impressive to walk around to see

A trip to the Red Centre

At the end of the six months in Victoria, we decided to go on a trip to the Outback right in the middle of summer. We had a great but very exhausting time with most days over 40°C. Our rental car with the AC quickly became one of our most favorite places during the day and there were a couple of things we learned right away. First, it is obviously incredible hot almost all the time. It is easy to drink a lot of water so stocking up right away after arrival was a very important thing to do. We usually drank

The Grand Canyon

Our final stop on this 4 day road trip was the Grand Canyon. The drive took a bit longer than we expected and eventually we only had about half a day for our visit of the Southern Rim. We quickly noticed that it would be a bit tight to visit all different view points with the shuttle service in operation. We tried nevertheless, giving us a similar feeling what I assume people have on Europe in 3 days vacations. Still, it was totally worth it. My camera was almost out of battery so I tried to take as few shots

Lower Antelope Canyon

On the next day, we went on the first tour of the day down into the Lower Antelope Canyon. The accessible part of the Lower Canyon is much longer than the Upper one, it takes about 90 minutes for the whole tour (one way, no backtracking). The wave patterns and sun light illuminations are at least as beautiful as in the Upper Canyon, and tickets for the Lower Canyon are a bit cheaper (about 20$). After seeing both parts, I would recommend visiting both parts if you have the time. It is hard to say which one is more beautiful,

Horseshoe Bend

After the tour of the Upper Antelope Canyon, we spent the sunset at the famous Horseshoe Bend. It is very impressive, just because the bend is so huge and very circular. There is no fence on the canyon rim, so you can spend some time walking around and get as close to the rim as you want (or dare) to. Just below us, people camped on the shore of the river and you can see their tiny boat on the picture. Picture gallery

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Antelope Canyon just outside of Page, AZ, was the item on the itinerary we were most excited about. The sandstone canyon was washed out by flash floods, shaping the walls into beautiful wave patterns. Even better, the sun light illuminates the canyon in all colors from bright orange to purple on its way down to the sandy floor. The canyon is on Navajo land and can be accessed at two sites: the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. We arrived in the morning in Page and got the last two seats for the tour of the Upper Canyon for about

Zion NP – Along the Zion Mount Carmel Highway

After the scenic drive, we went up the Zion Mount Carmel Highway first up to the tunnel and then entering the most beautiful part of Zion if you go by car and are short on time. The rock structures along the road are incredible both in shapes and colors. We first went up to the Canyon Overlook, which as the name suggests, gets you in about 30 minutes to a great spot with an overview of Zion. It was probably the best view we had in the park, especially because you are free to go around the rim without a fence

Zion NP – Short hikes along the north-south scenic drive

We arrived around 10am at the South gate of the Zion NP and drove all the way along the scenic drive to the beginning of the the Riverside Walk. The plan was to get a first impression of the park and then to stop at the small side tracks on the the drive back. The drive was surprisingly short and took about 20 minutes. The Riverside Walk itself is a very easy and short path along the river up to the Narrows, in which you have to wade a bit to get to the part where it is just a

Las Vegas

After a short detour to Los Angeles to pick up my camera that I forgot in my friend’s car the night before, we were on our way to Las Vegas. The drive was smooth and took about 4 hours. We arrived in the afternoon and had enough time to go up the Stratosphere tower for the sunset. The views are nice from up there, and it is impressive that they put a small amusement park with a couple of rides up there. At night time, we went for a walk on the Strip. We did not get far though, since

Roadtrip in America’s Southwest

After a couple of days in Lake Forest, we started the road trip through America’s southwest. We only had about 4 days and booked all nights before, so the schedule was pretty much set. On the first day, we drove to Las Vegas, then to the Zion NP, to Page for the Antelope Canyon and the Horseshoe Bend, and finally to the Grand Canyon. Part of the fun was trying out new fast food chains and eating out at good Mexican diners, which are still rare to find in Berlin. The veggie version of the In & Out Burger (no

One night in Los Angeles

Between our meetings Lake Forest and the anticipated road trip to the desert, we had a single night planned to go into the city. Luckily friends were in town and we arranged to have dinner and some beers that night. We figured that traffic would not be that bad going into LA in the afternoon, expecting most traffic being outbound. But we were wrong. The extra hour planned in for taking pictures of the skyline in the sun set was reduced to less than 10 minutes. But we found a nice spot and were able to see the sun go

Crystal Cove State Park, California

A short trip brought me to southern California, more precisely to the tiny suburb of Lake Forest located between Los Angeles and San Diego. There is not much going on there, but it is very close to the coast and to the Crystal Cove State Park. The park comprises a long stretch of sandy beach and a much bigger area inland which is quite hilly. With the sun up and burning, we sticked to beach part and enjoyed a walk on the shore. We came back  in the evening for the sunset, which was beautiful. Parking can be a bit

Melbourne street art: Blenders Laneway

Here are some pictures taken in the alley next to the Blender Studios in February 2013. The alley is still covered with lots of beautiful paintings, posters, graffiti, stickers, and even some installations. Here is nice temporary one. I assume the paintings change frequently over time with people trying to fill out the few remaining open spots on the walls. It would be great to come back anytime soon! Picture gallery

Platypus scouting at Lake Elizabeth

The last stop on our road trip from the Grampians (Gariwerd) to the Great Ocean Road was a very special one. Since the failed platypus scouting in Gippsland, we still had some unfinished business and several travelers along the way told us, that the chances to spot a platypus (or two) would be at least realistic at Lake Elizabeth. The lake itself is fairly new – after heavy rain in 1952, a landslide blocked the East Barwon River and when the surprised folks living nearby went to discover why the water stopped flowing, they found a brand new lake. For