Here’s a selection of photos from my trip around Australia. Most were taken by Gill or Roo – in fact all of them were, because I didn’t even own a camera at that point! Hence the exceptional quality of the images – and the fact that my ugly mug is featured in plenty of them!
Up North In Rusty
Our first trip up north in Rusty was an epic odyssey. Rusty had more than a few technical issues, despite the mountain of cash the girls had lavished on him to make him road-worthy – and in spite of his amazing paint job… Still, we prevailed – even when stranded for three days on the side of a remote outback highway. I can’t decide what stunned me most – the incredible beauty of the terrain, it’s staggering emptiness – or that Gill and Roo insisted Rusty was a boy…
Rusty – in the NNNNUDE!
Put your hands on!
Message to anyone following…
Inside Rusty, in ‘bed’ mode – complete with Gill’s curtains!
Roo’s Back Garden – native bushland, full of life!
A saloon car chopped in half! It’s a ‘Ute’ – short for Utility Vehicle, though a lot of them are far too shiny to carry building supplies in.
Rusty, parked amidst the pinnacles. I know – go crazy!
Putting up the tent for the first time in darkness
Gill took to drinking from a washed-out curry jar after losing more mugs than she could afford to replace!
Our spradoingey plastic fish! Sadly, he was not long for this world…
The landscape of the gorges was so completely alien to those of us from the UK.
This bit didn’t make it into the book, but we did a spot of abseiling in the Kalbari National Park. Only Roo made it look graceful – especially when we went down forwards – but this was as close as I came…
Me and Roo climbing in a narrow gorge.
Now this is what you call gorge-ous.
The coast of WA was a regular companion.
Let’s climb that! Somehow I managed to persuade the girls to follow me, and together we scaled this impressive cliff. This might not have been the wisest of ideas, and came perilously close to disaster.
This is me at the start of the climb which came close to killing my sister…
Gill and Roo following me up the cliff!
Here’s the pic Roo took of Gill, shortly after she fell a good way down this cliff. The ground, however, is further still…
Hugging Rusty as night falls in the gorge
Roo hiding under towels…
A Wicked Van. Looks great from this side! But the caption on the back says “If God were a woman, would sperm taste like chocolate?” Awkward.
With rocks like these, climbing was impossible to resist!
Camping in rough weather.
Cable Beach, Broome – sunset in the afternoon, due to smoke from a nearby burn.
The haze of the back-burning made for a great photo effect!
Me, flying the kite on Broome Beach. A picture of serenity.
Roo’s turn with the kite ended rather less comfortably for all of us. Especially that guy on the ground…
We couldn’t resist spending half a day collecting souvenirs at Shell Beach, in the north of WA. Predictably, none of the shells we picked up survived for long.
No Swimming Sign… good job we didn’t notice it!
ROAD TRAIN! With Rusty to scale.
When nature calls… well, wouldn’t you?
Bridge Over Troubled (lack of) Water
Our first blow out in Rusty – I’d never seen a tire so utterly destroyed!
We couldn’t help posing with these abandoned cars we found outside Halls Creek. Worryingly, there were loads of them…
See what I mean? Still… irresistible!
An Infinity of Pumpkins…
No caption necessary! Oh, but it’s a pumpkin, in case you were wondering. A ‘butternut squash, in fact.
Comic relief in the pumpkin fields… well, I hope she was joking!
Only available in Australia… apparently it’s ‘damp start’ for your car!
Sandalwood trees. They look suspiciously like weeds…
We later put a sign saying ‘out of order’ over the ‘pull on’ instruction, making this the world’s pushiest barbecue.
The Red Centre
Our trip through the barren desert at the heart of Australia was a one-man three-woman show – or occasionally a four-woman show… It’s a beautiful, savage place, extremely unforgiving to the unprepared. As for what it does to idiots… well. Let’s just say, I’m still here!
This is where it all happened – King’s Canyon, home of the cock, in a frock, on a rock!
Me, trying to look appropriately coy. And failing. Miserably.
Gill and I find out how close to the drop we dare to sit…
The ‘Inappropriate Kiss’ – it certainly confused the group of pensioners hiking behind us…
Three fine ladies!
Roo is a woman on the edge
Gill and I can’t help reenacting the viewpoint sign.
This is where I ‘spoiled my dress’, according to Roo!
This Racehorse Iguana looks far more wholesome than his darker relative, who was living in Roo’s Games Room!
This little fella looks quite comfy in the harsh canyon environment.
Ayers Rock, as we approached. No sign of a storm…
Here’s me, doing something stupid for a change! Trying to climb Ayers Rock even though it was officially closed…
And then it rained. Hard! You can’t quite see me in this one, but I’m still up there – and on my way down. Rapidly.
Rain pours off Ayers Rock…
And afterwards, the rain vanished like it had never been. Was it all a dream? No! Because I was still bleeding…
Everything is bigger in Oz – like this insanely huge dump truck, headed for work in the mines.
And here’s another of the mild-bogglingly massive machines!
Outback toilet humour – the Concrete Crapper!
Sunsets in the outback are often quite spectacular.
Check out my balls! The Devil’s Marbles, in the Northern Territory, are a geological oddity.
The park rangers closed the track right behind us. Didn’t didn’t bother telling us about it though!
Needless to say, we kept the hell away from this evil looking critter!
Me doing a spot of climbing again!
Coober Pedy’s sign was an entire opal mining vehicle. Which I climbed, of course.
Entering the underground campsite was like walking into some Ancient Egyptian tomb…
The underground camp site was cool, kept a constant 16 degrees by the surrounding rock.
Putting up the tent in our carved-out stone niche.
Danger was everywhere in Coober Pedy – especially for someone as clumsy as I am!
Impossible to resist – posing in the shafts of daylight from above!
And Gill did the same. Hell, we all did! I have about 20 of these photos…
The movie Pitch Black was filmed in Coober Pedy – the crashed spaceship set is still there.
You’d think they’d know!
Rick’s underground dug-out house was a marvel – as he did it mostly by hand!
The dug-out’s bedrooms looked surprisingly cosy.
This could be the most expensive window in Australia. Pretty, though, ain’t it?
Dowsing is treated as a science by the opal miners.
Around Coober Pedy there was… nothing. Just piles of excavated rock and the holes it came out of!
The Outback: go prepared, or don’t go at all!
The road goes ever on and on…
The Great Australian Bight on the south coast – nothing between here and Antarctica.
Margaret River Onwards
Our time spent grape-picking (amongst other tasks) in Margaret River was almost idyllic. If you don’t count the 5:30am starts, and the ever-present danger of apparently suicidal kangaroos, we had it rather good here. Mostly because Big Valley, where we lived in our tents, was a fantastic place to be. Bali, on the other hand, was rather less peaceful…
This is the Big Valley campsite – not a bed view if I may say so!
Gill finally got her own tent – and there was much rejoicing!
Another view of the Big Valley.
A few times a year Aussies can leave large trash items on the road for ‘Verge Collection’ by the government. Scavenging is encouraged!
Our lovely little encampment turned quite a few heads – no-one else had suck a luxurious set-up!
Roo, dozing in our biggest score – the blue Lay-Z-Boy recliner!
Hauling the chunky jarrah beams for the tree house…
Gill and Roo testing out the frame of the tree house. It works! Kind of…
Bali! Let’s play ‘spot the local selling something’. I can find 15 without trying too hard…
But you can buy some pretty unusual stuff on Kuta Beach…
Dinner in Bali – Roo showing off her newly-braided hair.
It’s me in a waterfall – well, why not?
This is what the rest of Bali looks like – idyllic! If I ever go back, I’ll visit this bit.
Getting in the mood for our rafting trip.
A bizarre thing – local kids seemed desperate to have their picture taken with us. How odd!
The Underground Hostel was every backpacker’s dream.
Our Most Cunning Ruse; smuggling goon in through the hostel window!
My Christmas pressies from Gill – that small pink thing in my hand? That’s Syphilis!
The first – and last – time Roo ever wore her dream dress… my first Christmas present to her!
A bandicoot! Sadly, this one tried swimming in the pond. And failed. He’s dead, Jim.
Sonja’s beloved Morris Minor 1000 – Obsidian, or Sid for short. And never mind about the green. That’s a long story…
Why, look – it’s a big metal horse! Let’s try and ride it 🙂
The Bibbulmun Track
The girls, who are honest to a fault, like to refer to the fact that we
walked a thousand kilometres; in fact the Bibbulmun Track, which runs from Kalamunda to Albany in Western Australia, is
965 km – or about 600 miles.
If you’re interested, the Bibbulmun Track Foundation manages and upkeeps the path. They have an excellent FAQ, great photos, and can answer any questions you might have. Here’s a link to the
Bibbulmun Track Foundation
Packing the food… 3 meals x 3 people x 8 days = LOTS of noodles!
And as we prepared to set off… it rained.
And it didn’t stop for two weeks…
Gill’s expression says it all – did it REALLY just start raining?
Gill displays the immense amount of gear hanging off her (already bulging) backpack
Celebrating my birthday with marshmallows…
…but mine got eaten before I could get to it!
Two weeks of rain – the path became a river.
One of the issues with hiking through the forest – the occasional road-block.
Sometimes the ‘bridges’ left a lot to be desired…
Wet, and atop a mountain – our second that day, I believe!
Gill, enjoying breakfast in bed – fully attired in sleeping gear, including beanie!
Spooky fog in the forest imbues a trip to the toilet with ethereal qualities.
The long-drop loo!
One of the nicer shelters – the three-sided wooden huts placed roughly a day’s hike apart.
We all lost a lot of weight – but only I dared pose in my pants to prove it.
Roo refused to send her tutu home, and wore it until it disintegrated!
Wine O’ Clock!
Would you believe it? No-one for days, then a whole Scout Troop shows up at once.
I kinda had to. Surprised a few of the Scouts, when they saw me…
Moments like these is what made it all worthwhile!
See! I told you we climbed some mountains!
Donnelly River Petrol Pump
Feeding the kangaroos… if you look closely, you’ll see the big one is rather aroused…
Me and Roo, inside a still-living Kari Tree!
Climbing the 72m (236foot) tall Gloucester Tree
My favourite bit of graffiti, atop the Gloucester Tree
Roo’s sharp eyes picked out this preying mantis on the path!
The swamp begins…
Gill looks out over the coast
Spotted on the ground – the Western Long-necked Turtle!
A tame woylie lived at one of the coastal shelters – that’s right folks, a kangaroo-rodent!
I couldn’t resist posing with this sign… Groper Bay, it turns out, is a real place.
SNAKE!! A big dugite – highly venomous – and the nearest hospital is about a week away…
Trekking across beaches like this, which almost never saw human visitors, were one of the highlights of the coastal sections.
Leave only footprints…
Sometimes the yellow Waurgal triangles sent us in unexpected directions…
Sometimes, it felt like we were the first people ever to cross those beaches.
Bit late to turn back now.
Our proud t-shirts
The article printed about our 2 month, 1000km hike. It almost topped 100 words!
Our trip back across the Nularbour was undertaken with extreme trepidation. Because Rusty was knackered by this point; and it’s not a road famous for being easy to drive. But we made it, and met up with my mother, who had decided to spend her holiday exploring the east of Australia with us. Poor woman! If only she knew… After she flew home to England, we lived briefly in Sydney, then Roo and I headed to Melbourne – leaving Gill behind. She wasn’t entirely convinced that this was a good idea…
Weather forecast for the Nullarbor…
Doing what we did quite frequently in the trip over east – sitting on the side of the road, waiting for Rusty to stop exploding.
Mum was very excited to become a backpacker. Bit older than the average, but she certainly looked the part!
Us outside Sydney Opera House, in case you had any doubts!
Suited up for the Harbour Bridge climb – in high-tech prison-wear!
This is the four of us atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Touring the wineries – Mum is already looking a little merry… :0)
I couldn’t help posing underneath the ferry sign for Manly Beach!
It turns out, this is NOT Manly beach after all…
…this is! And it’s quite nice, don’t you think?
Me, showing off (of course!) on Manly Beach
My terrible blonde hairdo – nightmare!
Four go caving… in the Blue Mountains north of Sydney.
Mum rather enjoyed caving… well, most of it!
This is Gill, coming through the same hole that Mum is about to attempt…
These legs belong to Mum. Yes, we did photograph her while she was stuck in a hole miles underground – but only from behind!
Mum was captivated by the Aussie wildlife – and by how omnipresent it is.
It’s a wombat! A hairy-nosed wombat, to be precise. You see – they DO exist!
A fantastic little lizard we spotted strolling across the car park!
Parrots are everywhere in Oz – some species are actually considered pests. Cute ones, though!
My hideous blonde hairdo – showcased on a boat to the Whitsunday Islands.
Also not in the book, we took a trip the the Bundaberg Rum Distillery… Mmm!
We also went to a theme park called Dream World, where I reenacted this vicious croc attack…
And yea, the Lubemobile cometh… I mean, really. How phallic is that spanner?
This is what happened when Gill and I decided to wash the mattresses we’d been sleeping on since Margaret River. Ugh!
Gill, displaying her pirate costume – and her state of inebriation on New Year’s Eve. Both excellent!
Chilling with a friend in the pool area beneath Leo’s apartment building.
An emotional moment – our last photo together, before leaving Gill in Sydney.
Old meets new in Federation Square, in the heart of Melbourne.
Giant Jumping Pillow – need I say more?
Briefly we lived in a suburb of Melbourne called Balaclava!
Pavement art – Melbourne is famous for it!
Roo – my perfect angel.
The sofa in kat’s house was indicative of the whole place – old, ugly, and damn uncomfortable!
An unexpected hail storm rocks Melbourne…
…and minutes later, the sun is back, melting it all away! Four seasons in every day.
An InstallEx Exhibition I helped create.
Alas, poor Skype phone… it served us well until Roo dropped it down the toilet!
Applying for jobs in the ski industry reunited the three of us – as well as leading us into all sorts of fun!
New Zealand has more gorgeous scenery than you can shake a stick at!
Roo’s first ever sight of snow!
Roo’s first, um, taste of snow!
Mount Ruapehu looms majestically over Ohakune town.
Mt Ruapehu, seen from the other side
The snowman with a snow-boner… s’no joke!
Roo and I with our first rental snowboards… nervous!
Learning how to stand again… on a snowboard!
Roo’s cracked it! She always was more graceful than the rest of us.
What did Roo love most about snow? SPARKLES!
The road up the mountain was often breathtakingly beautiful.
Seen from the car park, Mount Ruapehu is stunning at dawn.
Another view from the top of Mt Ruapehu
The ski runs were beautifully ‘groomed’ – all night, every night.
Moving the ‘snow cannons’
The mighty Snow Groomer in action!
The ice was epic at Turoa
Me in my Turoa uniform.
Roo as a roadie.
Roo’s roadies head out – they were always getting in trouble for riding their shovels down the mountain!
Applying snow-chains – bare-handed – had to be the worst job on the mountain!
Still, the roadies loved to have a laugh…
Gill and her fellow ticket-checkers having fun. Because their scanners didn’t work anyway, so…
Gill gained a reputation for crazy hats – amongst other things…
Gill’s unique Bacardi snowboard!
My first snowboard. Too big for me, by far – but SOOO pretty!
Roo’s snowboard – it has a dragon on it. And yes, that is the only reason she bought it!
Me, about to go over the edge.
Roo displays a nasty bruise… learning to snowboard can be painful!
Me killing time by practising head-stands in the ski rental building.
Tor One, the staff room. It had to be dug out daily.
Gill and Chris, taken at a staff party. Hence, they are already drunk…
Gill, Chris and me on the chair lift at Mount Hutt.
The fine snow, caught by the wind, creates a magical effect.
As the season came to an end, the rocks of Mount Doom began to emerge from the snow.
Remote New Zealand was full of these tiny, one-track bridges.
This stunning view is on the South Island, on the way to Milford Sound
Governors Bay, where Gill and Chris went to live.
The view from Chris’s house – not bad, I’d say!
Gill took up ice skating whilst living with Chris. She loved it, and became sickeningly good!
Keeping in with tradition, on my birthday I was treated to… a muffin!
The majestic peaks of the Southern Alps rise above the city of Christchurch.
Mount Hutt Ski Area.
The Southern Alps, viewed from the top of Mount Hutt. Jaw-dropping.
And the view in the other direction is just as spectacular – the Canterbury countryside, way, WAY below!
A kea – the world’s only alpine parrot!
Restaurants in ski-fields are notoriously expensive – so we took a packed lunch every day!
Roo snowboarding like a pro!
A sea of clouds engulfs the slopes.
Only in New Zealand – this was the main road from Christchurch to Ashburton. For sheep too, apparently.
Roo, waiting for me, so we can tackle the lower slopes together.
The clouds do some really pretty things at altitude!
I love finding amusing things for sale – so I had to show you this ‘Moveable Stick’!
Roo jumps for joy on the edge of the Mount Hutt car park! The crane in the background is used for bungee-jumping!
As my confidence increased, I tried a few jumps – all of which looked absolutely pathetic on camera!
White out! I’m in there somewhere…
There I am! Emerging like a spectre from the freezing fog…
On the way home, in the white-out, I had to clear the windscreen with the only thing I could find in Roo’s handbag…
This perfect ridge in the snow mesmerised me every time we passed it.
I could have spent hours staring at the beauty where clouds and snowy mountains intersect. I’d freeze to death, but it would be worth it!
Fantastic cloudscape as we flew back to Perth.
Dawn over Perth
Celebrating our engagement with Champagne and a kiss!
I hope you enjoyed these pictures! And if you didn’t, please don’t tell me – I spent two entire weeks uploading the damn things! More recent pics regularly end up on my blog, so if you want to check out what I’m up to now, head to
. And thanks again for looking!