Early morning - a cup of tea before the sun rises!
It’s very easy to wake up early when you sleep in a swag. Dave was up early, getting the fire started and boiling a large billy of water. It was a little on the cold side (the air temperature, not the water in the billy) and so it took a little effort to brave the cool desert air, but the promise of sunrise and the chance to explore our surrounds took care of that.
Galahs congregating in a dead tree
A young eagle - well, it's a bird of prey at least...
The birdlife was prolific with galahs, cockatoos, willy-wagtails and eagles in residence. I ventured across to the other side of the billabong and photographed the tops of a tree as the first rays of sunset arrived.
After a hearty breakfast, we broke camp and continued along a dirt road, heading towards Glen Helen. As with most photographic adventures, numerous stops were made with cameras at the ready, although as the sun rose higher in the sky, it was more challenging to deal with the contrasty outback light.
The long bitumen roads would eventually turn to red dirt Glen Helen Gorge is beautiful in its own right
The dirt road switched to bitumen and we made good time, stopping at Ellery’s Creek for lunch. We could see the potential in the waterhole for an early morning shoot, but it was something we marked away for another time. Our plan was to book into Glen Helen Gorge Resort, and then drive up to the top of a small lookout and watch the sunset.
Glen Helen sits in the Western MacDonnell Ranges and while called a ‘resort’, it is better described as clean, rustic and comfortable. I always enjoy staying there, especially being so close to the tall red cliffs directly opposite.
Distant hill framed by taller ranges, Glen Helen Gorge
Last light on the West MacDonnells, near Glen Helen Gorge
From the lookout you have some great views over beautiful Red Centre country. And funnily enough, it’s not really that red! The dirt and rock certainly is, but there was so much greenery that it looked closer to the Garden of Eden than the middle of the Outback. I found a telephoto lens worked best, isolating some great landscapes, whereas the wide-angle tended to make the features a little small and indistinct.
The wonderful gum at the top of the hill, Ormiston Gorge
We returned to our lodgings for a first class meal and it was off to bed, looking forward to another early morning sunrise.
First rays of sun hitting the tops of the trees
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