On Being Nice: how racism thrives in the polite society of rural Australia

Kata Tjuta Sunset, Outback Australia, Northern Territory

Not much has changed in Cobar since settlement. The main street is an avenue of colonial architecture, wide enough to land a small plane. Empty except for the occasional dusty ute. Locals smile and nod as I pass. They’re a hospitable bunch, having provided a free camp at the reservoir close to town. Their warmth […]

Stalking the edge: life and death in the Australian Outback

Dead tree on Outback Australia Highway

The maps lay whisper still as I scan them by torchlight. An occasional dingo howl breaks the silence. Danger stalking the periphery.  It is time to move, but where? Both directions a deadly highway. North leads to things I dream of seeing and desolate campgrounds. Reduced safety. Less likelihood anyone will hear me scream. Less […]

Time Travel through Outback Australia: the hidden bones of a lake with no water

The people began the business of sorrow weeks ago. The beasts, at least twice as high as them, keep their distance. Sounds of the women’s wails echo across the lake. The furry animals would be cute if they weren’t so big, willing to raise hell if cornered. The last one that wandered too close to the grief now roasting […]

Life in the Big Hole: bliss filled days at Ellery Creek

My favourite thing about Ellery Creek Big Hole is the lackadaisical name, only Australians would reduce over 300 million years of geological activity to the phrase ‘big hole’. You can’t fault it for accuracy, the water is thought to be up to 27 metres deep in places. I like to imagine that the complex process […]

Welcome to Coober Pedy, the weirdest town on earth

Around campsites and caravan parks in Coober Pedy the leading question among travellers is: “Where are you heading?”. The unspoken understanding is that nobody could possibly have come all this way with Coober Pedy as the end goal. It is at least 6 hours from a major town north or south with nothing but 4wd […]

The Never Never

Trees and hills of Dunns Swamp

Australia is mostly green and brown … Most of us live in the brown and green bits. Less of us live in the biggest bit in the middle – desert and Outback, red dirt and sands, dingoes and giant red kangaroos, feral camels and pigs. It covers 70%-ish (nobody really knows) of this continent and contains less than 10% of our population. That’s a lot of space …