More outback sketches – from Innamincka to Porcupine Gorge

My last post ended at Birdsville, but this starts with a few pods drawn in Innamincka. Birdsville was busy and a bit impersonal, large numbers of people on their way either to or from the Simpson Desert, ready for a shower and a chance to catch up on washing. The next destination was Bedourie, but serendipity struck again – the road was dry, dusty and featureless till suddenly we came upon masses of yellow flowers, bushes, small trees and found we were at Eyre Creek. The creek was alive with birds, pelicans as usual, spoonbills striding through the shallows sweeping their bills from side to side in the water, black ibis, terns, and zebra finches in the bushes. After taking lots of photos we went a short way up the road and by chance found a rest area with a good toilet (always a bonus!) and bird hides right by the creek. We stopped for lunch, then looked at each other and said ‘bush camp?’ The answer of course was yes, and we settled in. More birds, including budgies and whistling kites, appeared for a magical evening.

The next significant stop for us was Porcupine Gorge, having been heading north then eastwards. After booking a campsite at the Hughenden information centre we were on our way again, with a short stop at the side of the road to search for fossils, in particular belemnites, cylindrical blue-brown objects between 20 and 60 or so cm long. They were part of cuttlefish like creatures that became extinct about 60 million years ago. Once we learned to recognise them we found a lot, mostly split in half horizontally but a couple of complete ones.

Porcupine Gorge was another treat, very much like Karijini in Western Australia in colour and landform, red soils and imposing red white and brown walls. A good walk down into the bottom, then an easy walk along the floor as far as we could go. Fish in the remaining pools and a stream making its way through which would become a torrent in the wet season. During the night we could hear wildlife all around, but only caught sight of a small marsupial, probably a bettong. Early in the night we heard noises close outside, rushed out just in time to catch a guilty looking bettong with its head in our water bucket, which it had tipped over, and was drinking the resultant puddle. The vegetation in the gorge was a bit different from close by, unusual low growing trees with small fruit in particular.

Next morning on the road again, towards the Undarra Lava Tubes.

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Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

19 thoughts

  1. I can’t believe how many miles you covered Anna ! I love hearing about all the wildlife it makes me so aware how much we missed on our trip to Australia even though we felt such pleasure at the animals and birds we did see.
    Undarra !!! we visited there … stayed in a campsite which had old rail wagons for accommodation .. but we had our little back packing tent . particularly enjoyed the specially built fire pit next to each plot and a BBQ pack bought locally I think … I blanche to think I might have been enjoying …. Poppy *whispers … roo
    One memorable activity involved seeing thousands of bats flying out of a cave come sunset and being picked off by tree snakes :-O …
    Wonderful drawings and paintings Anna .


    1. We have gone quite a long way, about 4800km and another 3000km before we get home – but there is a lot if space between things! So you went to Undarra too! I loved it, I wish we had seen the tree snakes feasting on bats, just saw a few tiny ones on the walls of one of the lava tubes. The dingos howling at night was a bit chilling though. The rail carriages are still there. Would you believe I have never tried roo? I’m a bit squeamish about unusual meat… we love seeing the wildlife … a platypus swimming in a river was a highlight a few days ago! So glad to have you on the journey with me Poppy!


  2. I love your drawings, Anna. They are heavenly! What a rich-in-pickings trip. I’ll have to google ‘bettong’ as I have no idea what it is. How marvellous to camp among all those birds. How do you feel this compares to your past Australian adventures?


    1. We are still not sure if the little animal was a bettong, it was a bit of a guess, but it is a small (bit bigger than a large possum) marsupial with a mouse-like face. Every trip is so different Julie, I would need a whole post to compare really. Even this one has been so varied, with desert, dust and flies to the wet rainforest on the North Queensland coast. With each trip there are highlights and difficult (and sometimes boring or scary!) bits and this has been no different. Maybe I need to write it all up in more detail! Thanks for your lovely words!


        1. I think there will be a sum up post at the end, and I am thinking I might do one with some of my photos because they capture something I can’t do with the sketches. I’ll try and scare the pants off you!


  3. Anna, Lucky you! What an amazing adventure you’re on. Your sketchbook will certainly be filled with many memories. I had to pull up Wikipedia to see where and what you’re viewing. The lava tubes look amazing plus all the incredible wildlife you’re encountering. ahhh, to have a vacation! I think I need one of those. šŸ™‚


    1. I think you will deserve a vacation when you have finished your wonderful camas Gale! This has been great, some amazing, astonishing experiences, lots to ponder on when I get home. Still another couple of weeks to go, but in much more civilised country!


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