Spreading Across Australia

We’re excited to show and share our Special Edition Map Journal as part of an opening spread in a German lifestyle magazine.

At the end of last year I was contacted by the German tour operator Dreamaroo who were submitting a seven page article to Linea Futura Magazine.

Frances, Dreamaroo’s Munich based Business Development Manager, wanted to use our Journey Jottings Special Edition Map Journal as part of the title page…

and this is the result on the opening two page spread!

Australia Map Journal

Linea Futura is a German lifestyle magazine. Copies are sold and distributed to approximately 24,000 people including Sunseeker Yachts clients, first and business class airport lounges as well as selected businesses across Germany.

Linea Futura

In her article Frances shared some of her favourite haunts across Australia.

Starting in Western Australia these included cafes in Perth, the limestone caves and wineries of Margaret River (in the south west) and the wonderful Valley of the Giants where a 600 metre boardwalk takes you through the 400 year old tree tops.

Valley of the Giants

Frances then highlighted Karijini National Park (a personal favourite of mine!)

Karijini is situated in the Pilbara region in the north-west of Western Australia. The 2.7 billion year old red rugged gorges can be explored from top to bottom 100 metres below where pools of water at the base of these chasms see little of the sun’s intense rays making the water icy cold and a dip super refreshing 😉

After Broome, she highlighted an amazing walking trail on the Dampier peninsula –

…the Lurujarri Trail.

I’d never heard of this! Have you?

Lurujarri Trail

The Lurujarri Heritage Trail is an 80km trail that traverses salt-water coastal terrain on the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome (2250km north of Perth) in the West Australia Kimberley region.

The Lurujarri Heritage Trail was initiated in 1987 by Paddy Roe (1913 – 2001) a Njikina man who was keen to encourage members of his Goolarabooloo community to walk the Country again, as had been done for aeons by previous generations.

Here is a fascinating ABC interview with Paddy Roe (OAM, Order of Australia Medal recepient) that was re-broadcast on his death in 2001, and well worth a listen.

Paddy Roe wanted all people whether Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal people to develop a relationship with the land. In a bid to “foster trust, friendship and empathy between the indigenous community and the wider Australian and International communities” he instigated an annual walk where visitors of all nationalities are taken as a group along the Lurujarri Trail lead by members of the Goolarabooloo people.

This 9 day escorted walk, following traditional songlines, occurs only once a year – this year from Saturday 30th June to Sunday 8th July 2012 – where knowledge across cultures is shared. Spearing fish, hunting crabs, collecting honey and searching for witchetty grubs which live in the roots of the acacia bushes and camping under the stars – Responding to the weather, if it’s hot the group walks at night and rests during the heat of the day, but no matter what, stories and songs are shared around the camp fire as spoils from the day’s hunting are cooked.

Dampier Peninsula and the Lurujarri Trail

Another highlight for her, was sailing the 74 Whitsundays Islands off the east coast of tropical Queensland, and swimming with Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef.

Swimming with Minke Whales

The article ended with a highlight yet to come…

The 2012 eclipse of the sun that can be seen in Port Douglas in November.

Eclipse 2012 in Port Douglas

Are you going to be there to see it?

Solar Eclipse 2012

It’s fun to see our products spread across a German magazine, but even more fun watching our retailer base spread across Australia!

Above are the Journey Jottings retailers that stock our products in WA, SA & NT…

Check out this Journey Jottings Stockists link to see where we also supply in Qld, NSW, Vic & Tas 😉


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7 Super Shots… Dream, Drool & … Dump

I’ve been tagged!

Tagged by RedNomaOz of Amazing Australian Adventures to take part in a 7 Super Shots travel blogging game.

If you had to sum up your most amazing travel experiences in just seven photos, could you do it?



Travel is about experiences and one photo rarely tells the whole story, so in a few cases I’ve had to cheat and post two 😉

  • A photo that…takes my breath away
Image: Uluru Sunset
Nature’s monolithic magnificence.
No image (or pre-conception) of Uluru can prepare you for the experience of getting to feel its majestic presence!
When I first laid eyes on Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre I was… breathless!


  • A photo that…tells a story
central australia pictorial map

Our trip to the Red Centre simply summarised on a single sheet


  • A photo that…makes my mouth water
Malanda Cake Shop
with Hot chocolate!
bee string cake

 …and did I mention the marsh mallows? 😉


  • A photo that…makes me laugh or smile
Image Camper toilet
No, there’s nothing funny about a Dump-Ezy, particularly when you discover there’s no automatic pipe like in the picture that takes the contents from the camperbus to the disposal unit…
It has to be done manually…
Toilet disposal
So… While one person holds up the lid (and try’s to get their nose as far away from the scene as possible) the person who pulled the short straw does the deed ~
There has to be a bit of toilet humour on a camping trip with three sisters 😉


  • A photo that…makes me dream
Launching the boat
And to take my mind as far away from the previous photo as possible…
what could be more dreamy than…
 …launching a boat from a deserted tropical beach to… ?


  • A photo that…makes me think

Upside-down rainbow

An upside-down rainbow!

Doesn’t that make you think? 😉


  • A photo that…I am most proud of (aka my worthy of National Geographic shot)
Uluru Waterhole
If you want to see more posts like this one from other bloggers, check out the twitter hashtag #7SuperShots.
Which is your favourite photo?


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Monsters of the Outback… Road Trains

Have you driven Australia’s remote outback roads?

Long and seemingly endless, they’re bordered by an expanse of bush vegetation that imperceptibly changes until there’s a sudden realisation you’re driving through a different vegetation zone.

Image: Open road Australia

(More endless outback road images can be had in my Barkly Tablelands post 😉 )

Some might call the landscape monotonous, but sitting back at the wheel of your vehicle of choice, free of any manic city traffic, it’s an amazing experience taking in the immense vast nothingness that lies ahead of you… falls away beside you… and disappears over that conquered horizon behind you…


Until, that is, when glancing up at your rear view mirror to enjoy that disappearing horizon line you’re confronted by the sight of…

this monster looming down on you.

Image: road train

Its only a truck, (you tell yourself) but it approaches like a tornado, feeling as though its tearing up the tarmac as it travels at the max, which for road trains in NSW, Qld & SA is 90 kph.

You on the other-hand are trundling along at 80 kph to take in the scenery and soak up the view ~ He’s at work, you’re at play.

There’s a bristling when next glancing up at the mirror –

Is he maybe trying to tell you something?

Image: Road train

Can he seriously get any closer without joining you in your cab?

Pulling a 6 berth motor-home over onto an outback gravel shoulder at 80 kph isn’t really an option, and applying the breaks (to slow down sufficiently to tackle this manoeuvre)  doesn’t seem like too good an idea either, with 100 tons of rolling stock sitting on your tail :/

So you focus on the road ahead to keep steady.

Gripping the steering wheel to hold the vehicle firm, you’re suddenly aware of a sucking sensation.

A feeling that the steering wheel is being taken over by a demon fighting with you to veer the vehicle into the opposite lane where out of the driver’s window the passing road monster has pulled level 🙁

Image: road train passing

Hanging on for dear life, you withstand the vortex that desperately tries to suck you into their space with mere centimetres separating you, as you both thunder at what feels like break-neck speed, when…



Phew! He’s gone 😉


With white knuckles regaining some colour, you settle back to enjoy the view that lies ahead of you… falls away beside you… and disappears over that conquered horizon behind you…


Road Train


While road monsters are found in some states of America, Mexico and Canada (known as  Long Combination Vehicles ~ LCVs), Australia has the largest legal limit – some topping 200 tonnes, although 80 – 120 tons is the norm. Some have up to four trailers, reaching 55 metres in length.

Rivalry in Australia for driving the longest road train started in…

  • 1989, when a trucker by the name of  ‘Buddo’ pulled a record 12 trailers. in Winton, Queensland.
  • In 1993, ‘Plugger’ took that record with 16 trailers,.
  • Surpassed by a Darwin driver pulling a 21 trailer rig extending 315 metres (1,033 ft)
  • In 1999, Greg Marley of Merredin, WA made it into the Guinness Book of Records driving 8 km (5 miles) with a rig 45 trailers long, weighing 603 tons.
  • In 2000, Steven Matthews drove 8 kms in Kalgoorlie, WA with a road train made up of 79 trailers, measuring over 1,000 meters (1km) long weighing over 1,000 tons.
  • In 2003, the record was taken in NSW by an 87 trailer rig.
  • In 2004 the record returned to Kalgoorlie, WA when 117 trailers, 1,445 m (4,741 ft) long was pulled 1,500 m (4,921 ft).
  • In 2004, the record was broken by a group from Queensland pulling 120 trailers a distance of about 100 metres (328 ft).
  • But in 2006 70-year-old John Atkinson pulled 112 semi-trailers, weighing  1,300 tons, 1,474 metres (4,837 ft) long, for 100 metres (328 feet) in Clifton, Qld taking the current record for the longest road train [VIDEO link] (multiple loaded trailers) ever pulled with a single prime mover.
Image: road train

Road trains are most commonly used for transporting livestock, fuel and mineral ores 

They’ve played a significant role in the economic development of Australia’s remote areas where communities rely on being able to ship produce out to mainstream markets, whilst receiving regular supplies in to replenish stocks of food and basics.

Image: Road Train


Road trains are descendants of the old steam traction engines.

Designed to pull multiple wagons, steam traction engines were used in military manoeuvres as early as the Crimea war (1853 – 1856).

But it was not until the 1940’s that the South Australian Government introduced a fleet of 8 wheeled military trucks, pulling two or three 6 metre (20 foot) trailers to transport freight and supplies to the Northern Territory, taking over from the Afghan camels that had been operating the desert route since the late 1800’s.

Road train original

Photo from the National Road Transport Hall of Fame, Alice Springs


Australian Kurt Johansson, (pictured above in 2005) is recognized as the inventor of today’s road train.

The story goes that having transported 20 stud bulls to an outback property the station owner posed the problem of how to transport 100 cattle, five times the quantity, back out.

Inspired by the tracking ability of the SA government’s military wagons Kurt Johansson developed a system that had steering wheels on each trailer making them easier to manoeuvre the narrow bush tracks and creek crossings.

The Diamond T980 Kurt developed was called ‘Bertha’ and is now housed in the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.

National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs

Photo from the National Road Transport Hall of Fame


Opened in 1995 the National Road Transport Hall of Fame‘s charter is to show the vehicles “as they were in their working lives, including the crude modifications and adaptations that “bush mechanics and engineers” had to undertake to ensure they could perform in Australia’s harsh working environment.”

Viewing their collection of outback monsters is a must when in Alice Springs.

Image: road train


But it still doesn’t make passing them any easier!

Is it just me being wussy?

Do you feel intimidated by these road monsters?

Do share your road train monster moments in the comments below 🙂

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Uluru – The Day I First Laid Eyes on Uluru

After a 3am start to get to the airport for a 5am lift off to Uluru, we left the coastal humidity of Brisbane and flew into Australia’s heart – the Red Centre.

Peering down onto the scrubby outback and gouged channel country from 35,000 feet we flew over flooded Lake Eyre and sparkling salt pans until as the mid-day sun was reaching its zenith the soil colour changed from a bleached grey to rusty red, and… a tantalising first fleeting glimpse of Uluru came into view as we circled to land.
Uluru Ayers Rock Australia“There it is! There it is!” And with the excitement and anticipation of seeing a long lost friend – I beamed with delight. 🙂
There aren’t many iconic places you go to in your life, which prior to your visit, you’ve been bombarded with a giz’illion images forming impressions and expectations. Such places have a lot to live up to – Could Uluru live up to my high hopes?
It was mid-day as the air-plane doors opened and the black beating tarmac of Yulara airstrip punched me in the face. Stepping out onto the glistening silver staircase into the brilliant sunshine, the dry central Australia heat engulfed me.
My impatience wanted to get straight out there, but with a body recoiling from the oven I’d just stepped into, I retreated to some air conditioned comfort for a few hours allowing the sun to loose its edge as it lowered itself towards the horizon.
About 4pm, we ventured out making our way to the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park entrance – There’s a $25 fee that is valid for 3 days.

Uluru Ayers Rock image Australia

Within moments of entering the Park we pulled over to get the first (of many!) photographs ~ Our first sighting from across the plains (above)

I couldn’t wait to get up closer so zoomed in to see what I could see on my 3″ camera display!

Uluru Ayers Rock Australia imageHowever, no image (or pre-conception) can prepare you for the experience as you approach this monolith and first feel ‘the’ Rock’s presence!

Uluru Ayers Rock Australia with wildflowers image

Uluru has so many faces

Uluru Ayers Rock Australia

…and moods

Uluru Australia…and array of colours as the atmospheric conditions and light perpetually changes.

Uluru Ayers Rock Australia

Until as the sun nears the horizon…

Uluru Ayers Rock Australia…it’s time to retreat

Image: Uluru Sunset

 …and admire from a distance

Image: Uluru Sunset

Uluru ~ and its monolithic magnificence  

Uluru Sunset

 My first Uluru sunset

Have you been to Uluru?

Tell me, how did you feel?

 Then, click below for the Sun Rise, and

Did you know there are Waterholes at Uluru?

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