We’d been planning this holiday for over a year: a single day’s drive to Sydney, boarding a cruise ship for 4 days, and then a long road trip back through numerous towns and Australian outback sights. I’ll say one thing right now: never drive to Sydney from Adelaide in a single day! I really don’t know what we were thinking, but that first day was pretty torturous, made worse but the fact that the two primary drivers – myself and the father of the family we vacationed with – had had only 5 hours of sleep combined! Yes, only a measly two hours of sleep for me before getting up at 3:30 am and preparing to drive to Sydney.

Australia is a really big country. I knew that even before signing up to this trip, but we must have been truly mad to think we could drive 1500 kilometers in a single day! But drive it we did. It took a whole 18 hours from start to finish, with stops. The last few hours were spent without an internet connection for Google Maps, driving lengthwise through a national park in the dark. We had to avoid Kangaroos, Emus, Possums, and Wombats crossing the road. It was tough, and I think I was a little nuts by the end, but we made it to our destination.

The Australian outback can be a harsh place, and on the way we saw a fair few ruins and wrecks, like this one:

Car wreck in the Australian outback

Car wreck in the Australian outback

After recuperation, we finally boarded our cruise ship and started out of Sydney Harbour. It’s a pretty compelling sight really, and we had the best of the weather for it. Here are a few photos:

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Pretty cool, right? I used one of my favourite old lenses from the 70s: the Super Takumar 28mm 3.5 lens.I love this lens because of the orange hexagonal flares it can create when catching strong light. You can see some of that flare in the left upper corner.

Walking Sydney Harbour Bridge

Walking Sydney Harbour Bridge

If you’re afraid of heights, never walk the Bridge like these people above! They look like ants, right?

Cruising slowly out of Darling Harbour, we had a chance to see the Sydney Opera House in all of its unique architectural glory from a variety of angles:

The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

While on the cruise ship, I didn’t do too much with the camera. It is, after all, a privately held vessel, and I prefer to have a little more freedom to get out the camera. Besides, they have their own photographers so they’re not too keen on everyone whipping out a big camera anyway! Looking out over the side of the ship at night, I did experiment with some long exposure photography. I had only the 1970s Super Takumar lens and no tripod, but bracing on the railings was easy enough. Here’s the best example:

Long exposure of the sea at night

Long exposure of the sea at night

I also managed the obligatory sunset photo:

Sunset at sea

Sunset at sea

I was happy to be back on dry land, especially after the 12-15 metre waves we experienced on the final day! Yes, our last 35 hours on board the cruise ship was very bumpy indeed. Even the crew were shocked!

Here are some photos from an open cut mine site:

Mining in Australia

Mining in Australia

Mining in Australia

Mining in Australia

We stopped for a few days in Broken Hill, NSW. I love that place! In fact, we all loved Broken Hill! There are so many things to see and do. We spent 7 hours just walking through a ghost town called Silverton. We also loved the Pro Hart studio, and I must have spent ages just looking through the glass at the art studio as he had left it before he passed away. We’ll definitely go back there.

On our drive back from Broken Hill into SA, we passed through plenty more Australian outback. Olary is one of the easternmost outback towns in SA, right near the border. I kid you not, there’s a single old pub there, a few car wrecks, and a century old railway siding. That’s it! Of course, it’s pretty stunning. Here’s an old Morris truck that is just very cool:

Morris truck in the Australian outback

Morris truck in the Australian outback

If you’ve never seen it, the Australian outback is haunting and beautiful. It is a vast space that covers so much of the country. We were still pretty close to well known towns on our journey, but we are planning a much longer journey into the heart of Australia where the landscape is truly unforgiving and eerie.

Here’s a photo of part of the Flinders Ranges in SA – an ancient place where some of the oldest fossils int he world have been found:

Flinders Ranges SA - Australian outback

Flinders Ranges SA – Australian outback

 

 

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