Sunday Territorian 5 Nov 2017
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5 2017 TRAVEL FRONTIER 53 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA B irdsville, Bedourie, Betoota; the names bounce off the tongue like an outback ballad. And out back the towns are, forming a triangle in the Diamantina Shire in Queenslands far southwest corner, abutting the Northern Territory and South Australia. Covering 95,000km/sq the shire is twice the size of Denmark and has its own vocabulary Channel Country and gibber plains (stony flats), gidgee, waddi, mulga, mulla mulla and nardoo (trees and plants). This dry, stony desert forms part of the immense drainage basin for Lake Eyre in South Australia. Between periods of drought, heavy rains overflow the Diamantina and Georgina Rivers flowing along braided channels like tentacles forming vast floodplains. Birdsville sits at the southern point of the triangle, close to the South Australian border. You drive through either Bedourie or Betoota to reach Birdsville from the Queensland side, and all three towns form part of a greater outback loop drive from Longreach. Its more than alliteration that links the three communities of the Diamantina they also share Sculptures of the Dreamtime large-scale public artworks giving tangible presence to oral stories of the Mithika, Wangkamadla and Wangkangurru people, connecting community and country. Sand, Dust and Gibbers, designed in consultation with local artists and sisters Joyce Crombie and Jean Barr-Crombie (Two Sisters Talking), weave stories of rivers, dust storms and the Dreamtime Serpent creating the areas sand hills, channels and gibber plains. Bedourie Bedourie means dust storm in the local language and the Dust sculpture swirls across four tall timber poles in Herbert St, evoking the rolling dust storms and whirly winds by which the Dreamtime spirits travelled. In the heart of Channel Country Bedourie evolved from a watering stop for drovers in the 1880s and is now the administrative centre of the shire with around 140 residents. Its a watering stop of a different kind now, with an artesian spa to soak weary bodies and aquatic centre to cool off. En route to Bedourie is the loo with a view at Vaughan Johnson Lookout. Here the vastness of Channel Country is visible with treeless plains stretching to the horizon in every direction. Carcory Ruins, an 1870s homestead abandoned in the devastating droughts of the early 1900s, cuts a deserted silhouette in the desolate landscape, a favourite of photographers. Birdsville Birdsvilles Sand sculpture in Burt St, also called The Meeting Place, sees stone seats around a mosaic depicting the Dreamtime Serpent as the Diamantina and Georgina Rivers, with sand hills in between. Birdsville, with a population of about 115, sits on the eastern perimeter of the Simpson Desert. Big Red, the closest and tallest of over 1100 parallel dunes that cross the desert, puts on a spectacular display at sunset as shadows fall on windswept curves and rippled sand glows russet. Parched, baked earth crackles underfoot at the local racecourse, which burgeons into life with an influx of 8000 punters for the annual Birdsville Races. Like road-trippers drawn to the 1884 watering hole, the Birdsville Hotel, wildlife flocks to the tranquil oasis that is the Birdsville Billabong, from delicate dragonflies to ponderous pelicans. Out of town a stand of waddi trees, one of only three left in Australia, is thought to be up to 1000 years old. The hard timber was prized by Aborigines for weapons and digging sticks. Betoota The Dreamtime Serpent cuts a dramatic swath across a hillock east of Betoota. Visible from a distance, Gibbers is constructed of locally sourced gravel, stones and gibbers and depicts the serpent creating pathways connecting the river systems in Channel Country. Established in 1885 as a customs collection point for cattle travelling the stock route to South Australia, Betoota was also a horse changing station for Cobb & Co. In its heyday the town had three hotels, a store, post office and police station. Now its a derelict ghost town, population zero. Ziegmund (Simon) Remienko, publican of the last remaining building, the Betoota Hotel, was the towns sole resident until he closed the hotel in 1997. Ziggy, as he was known, died in 2004 and his headstone stands sentinel behind the deserted pub. Betoota explodes into life twice a year; for the Horse and Motorbike Gymkhana and the Betoota Races, part of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival. While caravanning through the Diamantina can be dusty, at least theres an aquatic centre to cool off (inset) Diamantina Jump in the van and weave your way through asparkling outback Queensland Dreamtime trail STORY BRIAR JENSEN PH 08 89 799 000 | www.kakadutourism.com Mercure Kakadu BOOK NOW! Territorian Rates Available 4 Crocodile Hotel Art Gallery Top Attractions Escarpment Restaur ant Travel Opportunity to Cambodia We are a boutique travel company specialising in humanitarian based tours to Cambodia and we have a great long term relationship with Darwin and the Northern Territory. Travel details on www.facebook.com/limepagoda or at www.limepagoda.com.au Contact Sharon on 0417 058 663 or email@example.com to register for January 2018 and beyond. Upcoming Tours (Ground Content only $1925 for a 9 Day Tour): 2018: starting January 6th (9 and 12 day options available) 2018: starting January 20th (9 day option available) Our Team is a mixture of experienced community minded leaders who have a real desire to provide people with a chance to help others while still being able to experience the thrill of international travel in a challenging and beautiful country. TRAVEL IN THIS BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRATIONAL COUNTRY... SUPPORTING SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT ACROSS SOUTH EAST ASIA Please feel free to contact Lime Pagoda (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our team personally, to see how we can help you to experience the challenge of Cambodia. Upcoming tours scheduled and throughout 2018 (starting in January see Facebook for dates or call 0417 058 663)