Two weeks in Australia, Feb 2005

The Outback

I really wanted to get out into the wilderness, maybe hiking for a few days in the mountains, but I know better than to do that sort of thing alone, even without venomous snakes and spiders lurking.

I'd thought about doing some underwater sightseeing up the coast, but it turned out to be jellyfish season. Where I grew up, getting stung by a jellyfish generally involved saying "ow!", and maybe being a bit annoyed for a while. Australia, meanwhile, seems to enjoy taking a merely harmful pest and turning the venom knob up as far as it will go. I learned in the Sydney aquarium that it's easy to tell when someone has been stung by a box jellyfish. Symptoms include:

So I figured snorkeling could wait for another time. Instead, I hooked up with a small guided tour and lit out for ten days in the outback, sleeping under unfamiliar stars.

The trip was fantastic. The photos and the stories behind them deserve pages of narration, but it's too much work, so here they are in their naked glory.