After nearly a month of exploring rainforests, journeying through mountains, and hiking in the Outback, we end our adventure with a week in Adelaide, one of South Australia’s beach towns. Throughout the week we worked on our book projects, and the photography group perfected their photo essays while the wildlife group participated in discussions concerning the current issues of Australia’s native and non-native species. When we weren’t doing work we enjoyed spending time at Adelaide’s beach, shopping downtown, or simply hanging out around the hostel. As we look through all our pictures we remember all the amazing things we experienced throughout this trip, and will never forget the adventure that we spent together in Australia.
Our final adventure began at the Coorong Wilderness Lodge with a kayak trip across the Coorong to the dunes that lead to the Southern Ocean. We discovered a shingled-backed lizard and at the ocean’s edge we collected cockles, a type of mussel, which we ate after lunch. Later that day we learned how to throw traditional aboriginal spears thanks to a lesson led by Uncle Moogy. That evening two of our own, Andy Bowden and Megan Krol, were painted with traditional ceremonial designs and performed some aboriginal dances alongside Uncle Moogy, an elder, and Ellie, a thirteen year-old aboriginal girl.
On a day packed with cultural enlightenment, we began at the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery in the South Australia Museum where Hayden explained the history, structure and use of artifacts ranging from spears to water carriers and totems. Afterwards, we traipsed over to the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute to hear a demonstration of the yadaki, commonly known as the didgeridoo; we also had the pleasure of viewing artwork from the Torres Strait Aborigines. Post gallery, our journey continued to Camp Coorong, run by the local Ngarrindjeri people who teach others about their culture and race through various activities. After dinner, we were lucky enough to have Ellen Trevorrow teach us traditional basket weaving, where each student had the chance to make a memento.
Disoriented from waking up before sunrise, we traded in the colder weather of Tasmania for the much hotter Australian mainland. We watched the landscape transform; Adelaide was primarily a beach town, and, as we furthered along our journey, a dry terrain appeared, and we knew we had entered the outback. We saw Emus for the first time just before we arrived at Pichi Richi Park, our destination for the night. After settling in, our Aboriginal guide, Haydyn, showed us videos that helped put racism against his people into perspective and showed us just how alive racism is today. As darkness settled, the stars shone bright against the midnight blackness, and many of us stayed up to stargaze at the clear sky.
We started our day off by eating delicious pancakes before departing the Nepabunna Aboriginal Community. Our destination for tonight was Rawnsley Park Station. En route we stopped at Kanyaka Ruins that was the first settlement for many aboriginals after being forced from their own lands. Many of the crumbled homes belonged to relatives of our guide, Haydyn Bromley. We also saw 40,000-year-old petroglyphs that were being worn down by lichen but still held important stories from the past. Rawnsley Park Station surprised us with an escape from the heat in the form of a pool!
Our aboriginal guide, Hayden Bromley, lead us on a brutal trek into the outback where we were swarmed with flies and had to watch every step for fear of encountering a snake. As we approached the site where we viewed cave paintings that originated over 30,000 years ago, we had to walk in silence so as not to startle the aboriginal spirits. To cool off after our hike, we went to a waterhole were many plunged in for relief despite the murky water. Once back at our accommodation in the Nepabunna Aboriginal Community, the community members traditionally prepared two red kangaroos for our dinner that they had harvested the day before. After dark, we gathered around the campfire to listen and accompany in aboriginal music performed by Hayden’s uncle Noel.
Our new aboriginal guide, Hayden, enriched our journey from Pichi Richi Park to the Nepabunna Aboriginal Community by making frequent cultural stops. First, we explored the abandoned railroad in the quaint town of Quorn. Afterward, we traveled back 150 years to look at the ruins of a European settlement. The day’s events climaxed when we climbed to the Yourambulla Caves and learned to decipher the 30,000-year-old Aboriginal paintings with Hayden’s assistance. Our final stop before Nepabunna was the 360° panoramic painting of Wilpena Pound where Hayden showed us the remainder of our journey through the Flinders mountain range.
Disoriented from waking up before sunrise, we traded in the colder weather of Tasmania for the much hotter Australian mainland. As we drove further north, the landscape transformed from a city to the desolate outback. We saw Emus for the first time just before we arrived at Pichi Richi Park, our destination for the night. Our Aboriginal guide, Haydyn, showed us videos that helped put discrimination against his people into perspective and revealed to us just how alive racism is today. As darkness settled, the stars shone bright against the midnight blackness, and we were amazed to see all the constellations that are not as easiy visible back home.
We woke up to the cold crisp air of northwest Tasmania and warmed our selves by taking refreshing walks through Lake St. Claire National Park. We started off with a quick hike around the lake that provided us with spectacular views of the cloud-covered Cradle Mountain. We continued our exploration of the National Park by starting in the rustic architecture of the Weindorfer house. The adjacent rainforest trail we hiked is believed to have some of the oldest trees in the world. An added treat to our concluding hike was seeing our twelfth and final endemic bird species of Tasmania, the Scrbutit. We also visited a beautiful photography gallery with over ten exhibits on wildlife throughout the world. A beautiful sunset behind Mount Rolland was the perfect end to our day.
We finally spotted the duck-billed platypus at Waarree Nature Reserve in Latrobe after making attempts at several other locations along the river. Our main location for the day was Trowunna Wildlife Park, a rehabilitation and research center for Australian wildlife such as the Tasmanian devil. Everyone had the opportunity to hold a full grown common wombat, and we were also able to watch a group of Tasmanian devils feed upon the carcass of a wallaby. We hand-fed dozens of eastern grey kangaroos, and on the way to our next campground we found a short-beaked echidna hiding in the grass next to the road.