17 October 2010

privileged

I could say much about how privileged we were to experience the desert ablaze with wildflowers after the first wet winter in decades ... to be introduced to some aspects of the local aboriginal culture through our guide Mark ... to create some wonderful family memories.

But in the interests of brevity (I have the contents of the bathroom and laundry to rehouse after the cabinetmaker fiiiinally finished), I'll let the photographs speak for me and merely say that if you are a camping family and interested in travelling to the Outback, I can highly recommend Mutawintji National Park as a destination. It was the first national park in Australia to be handed back to its indigenous custodians, and it's a model to be proud of. All profits from the park are fed back into the park's management, entrance to some of the sacred sites is only with a registered guide (most of them indigenous people from the area), and some especially important areas (the secret men's and women's business areas) are completely prohibited to tourists, as is right and proper.

Plus it's stunning. Look.

the creek bed walk

Mutawintji National Park

At the historic site, Mutawintji National Park

Our guide was fantastic. We went on one of the walks that you can only do with a guide, into the Historic Site. Due to it being school holidays it was quite a large group and Mark split the kids off from the adults and gave them special privileges (Secret Kids Business), taught them some commands in the local language and generally treated them like his own little posse. He recognised Son #2 from his school trip there in July and greeted him like an old friend, calling him Brother (everyone is Brother, Sister, Auntie or Uncle) and demanding to know which ones in the crowd were his parents and siblings. After giving us individual greetings, he then turned to the rest of the group and announced how every year "the kids from the Steiner school in Melbourne" come up to Mutawintji and how amazing and wonderful they are. (This was pretty special for us to hear although possibly tedious for the rest of the crowd).

Hand stencils at the historic site, Mutawintji National Park
at the hand stencils site

Mark and the kids at the engraving site
Mark and the kids at the engravings site

ancient rock art with William Wright's graffiti (in blue) over the top of it
rock art, thousands of years old. the blue triangle with WW in it, graffitied over the top of the indigenous art is by William Wright, manager of a local cattle station and part of the Burke and Wills expedition. because the graffiti is over 50 years old it's considered heritage and not allowed to be removed, much to the disgust of the indigenous owners

Playing bocce with the paddymelons
after a farewell hug from Mark, who promised to see Son #3 in three years time when he goes on the Year 8 camp, we returned to camp where the boys continued their never ending games of soccer and bocce with the paddymelons (relax, they're a weed)

river redgum by the creekbed
next day, more walks in stunning locations

look out

rock pool swimming

aboriginal rock art
more rock art

camping tea towels
tea towels drying at the campsite (the two on the right are from the Broken Hill op shop and are now the official Camping Tea Towels)

evenings around the fire

campfire

fire play

the desert really does have red sand
final shot of the red red sand before we headed home at the end of the week, through the sunset

driving home through the sunset

It was only a week, but it was the experience of a lifetime.

22 comments:

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

My kids are young and we have not yet taken them camping - but damn, your post has planted a seed. Now I am imagining us round a camp fire.

Janet said...

I've showed G your beautiful pictures and it's on officially our list. We'd like Mutawintji - I'm super sure....

Liesl said...

Mutawintji looks magnificent. What a trip that would have been.

Your photos are stunning!

rachel said...

Wonderful, thank you.... I want to go now.

Luhlahh said...

Hi! I have some wildflower photos from Centrak Australia (McDonell Ranges, near Alice Springs) on my blog:
http://luhlahh.blogspot.com/2010/10/some-wildflowers-for-you.html
Stop by for a peek if you have time! Lou

Tania said...

Well. You do know how to make a memory, you Pea Soup lot.

NessaKnits said...

What a wonderful experience to have with your children! Great photos!

Stomper Girl said...

Well, I'm not even sure I need to go now, because I just saw it through your eyes and it was fabulous and no outdoor toilets involved.

Badger said...

I'm not much into camping and whatnot, but that trip looks absolutely fantastic.

Molly said...

Your boys sure won the cool parent lottery! I hope they realize how lucky they are that you organize such amazing experiences for them! Beautiful photos....

Mary said...

Thank you so much for sharing...just magnificent.

Another beautifully run camping site (by its indigenous owners ) is jervis bay ..near Canberra ..

Naomi said...

Sounds like a wonderful holiday. If only mine were a camping family! My husband will not admit that he doesn't like camping. He says he likes it, yet we never, ever get to go ...

shadygrey said...

Oh Suse, it's so DAMN GORGEOUS THAT I NEED TO USE CAPITALS! AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!! You have inspired me. I will go there. I will.

pinry said...

very inspiring... maybe when the kids are older...

Serena said...

Oh wow, wow, wow. This just adds to my (long-standing) desire to visit Australia. How lovely to hear such good things about your school! And what an amazing park.

manda said...

oh wow....my urge to pack the family up and drive into the sunset just got a whole lot stronger. wonderful times for you and your family :-)

Thimbleanna said...

Wow Suse - it looks like a wonderful week. Your pictures are gorgeous. It's amazing to me that graffiti could be protected!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your blog and the camping trip was exceptional.

kt said...

thanks for sharing

victoria said...

Whoo hoo yay for the teatowels!!!! Excellent!!
Can you tell from my excessive exclaimation marks how much that photo pleased me?

Susanne said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us readers. Wonderful pictures and what an amazing landscape.

Nanette said...

This is so beautiful Suse, I really love visting your blog.
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