The Namibian Road Trip Begins

As I mentioned before, the only practical way to see Namibia is with your own rental car.  In most cases, if you stick to the beaten paths you will be fine with a sedan car so that is what I booked with Hertz.  So when we arrived at WDH after the delay of the previous day, we were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a Toyota Rav4!

As usual, we did the walk around inspection with photos.

And we were off and running!  It was nice to finally be able to drive ourselves, go at our own pace and do what we wanted!

The first part of the trip is from Windhoek to the border of Etosha NP, the blue dot just before Okaukuejo..

This was our grocery stop.  No, we did not buy any guns but I thought it was strange to see a gun shop right next to a supermarket!

Most of the trip is on the main highway which was in excellent condition although they did have some road works going on which made us slow down a bit.

We stopped in Outjo to top off the tank, it’s cheaper here than it would be in the park.

And then it was back on the road, headed to our first stop and making it just before sunset.


Preparing For A Northern Territory Road Trip

Once you leave the main city of Darwin, prices go up the further you go into the bush for petrol and groceries.  Katherine has a couple supermarkets and some fast food places and small cafes and the petrol there is only a little bit more than Darwin.

We discovered a great place after leaving Howard Springs, the Palmerston Shopping Centre.  It’s about a 10 minute drive and the Coles has everything you need at normal prices.

Since we only had a small collapseable cooler, we bought some hamburgers, steaks and sausages for BBQing and sandwich meat, cheese, bread, ramen noodles and snacks for the inevitable picnics in the bush while birding.  Soft drinks and large water bottles are cheap here so stock up as it gets hot out there and you need to stay hydrated!  Don’t forget the sunscreen and mosquito repellent!

Heading south towards Pine Creek there are some nice places to stop, stretch and use the conveniences.  Adelaide River has some nice birding spots but it was around 1pm by the time we got there and any birds were sensibly taking a siesta.


Possible overnight stop if you can make it out of Darwin by 4pm so you get here before dusk.DSCN5602

Throughout the Territory you will find all-purpose stores like this one.  The selection won’t be great and the prices higher than the city to reflect the costs of transport.DSCN5603

There were a few birds taking shelter in these trees behind the rest rooms.DSCN5604

We only stayed here for around 15 minutes because there were no birds at that time of day so we continued on to Pine Creek.

Cunnamulla – Gateway To Bowra Station

Cunnamulla is a very welcome sight after a long drive from Brisbane – especially if you’ve done it all in one day!  You’ll pass through here enroute to Bowra Station and possibly come here for shopping and meals during your stay.

IMG_8972 Bowra map

Scenes around town

IMG_8812 IMG_8806

They do have accommodation although I highly recommend birders stay at Bowra Station.


Banking/ATM available


Boulders is a great place to eat and check your emails.


There wasn’t much in the way of souvenirs – a real gap in the market as they could do well selling Aboriginal art and paintings of wildlife.


The resident flock of Little Corellas can sometimes be seen at the town park and sometimes down by the river.

IMG_8804 IMG_8802a IMG_8801 IMG_8283 IMG_8268 IMG_8261a

Security guard for the laundry!


The other welcome sign on the east-bound road.


A Drive Through Outback Queensland To Cunnamulla

This is a trip I took back in March 2014 that I’m just getting around to blogging about.  The destination was Bowra Station near Cunnamalla, but in this case getting there was half the fun!  Outback Queensland has some quirky cafes, cool little towns and lots of wildlife.

Bowra mapIt’s at least a 10 hour drive, could be more if you run into roadworks and of course you will need comfort and lunch stops so you want to leave as early as possible in the morning.  The aim is to reach your destination by dusk to avoid the hazard of kangaroos on the roadside.  See my other posts on planning a birding trip in SE Queensland and road trips in general.

Once you get past Toowoomba, just follow the signs to St George.  There’s a town named after me along the way.  OK, it’s not named after me but it should have been!

IMG_8231 IMG_8234

Road works can slow you down as they often close one whole lane of traffic.

IMG_8237In this next group, some of the photos are sideways.  They are not this way on my computer, they display properly.  However when I try to load them to the blog, they are being flipped sideways and WordPress won’t let me edit them.  So I apologize for you having to twist your head to see them.

On the outbound, we had lunch at a small town called Moonie with a very quirky cafe, even quirkier restrooms and souvenirs!

IMG_8244 IMG_8243 IMG_8238 IMG_8239 IMG_8240 IMG_8241 IMG_8242 IMG_8245 IMG_8246Lunch on the return trip was this cool little place in St George.

IMG_8247 IMG_8974 IMG_8977 IMG_8980 IMG_8981 IMG_8982 IMG_8983 IMG_8979 IMG_8978

Your chances of seeing a koala while driving along at 80-100 kph is nil but keep an eye out anyway in case they are crossing the road.

IMG_8973 IMG_8250 IMG_8249 IMG_8248 We did arrive at Bowra Station before dark.  I don’t remember what time we left but it was around 5am-ish so we made pretty good time.  For a future trip, I would probably break the journey somewhere like Lake Coolmunda (excellent birding!) for a night.  It was a very exhausting drive!


I Had Forgotten How Much Fun A Road Trip Can Be

Over the last few years, we have been concentrating on elaborate overseas birding trips funded by airline miles.  Now that the miles opportunities are slowing down, we’ll be doing more road trips out of our home town of Brisbane to birding hotspots.  This has always been part of the plan as I mentioned back around New Years.  We are actually very lucky in that there are many to choose from within a 3-4 hour drive!

I thought I’d point out a few advantages road trips have over trips that involve flying.

  1. You can pack as much as you want without regard to size or weight.  And you don’t have to fight for overhead bin space.
  2. You can leave anytime you want, no worries about catching the last bus to the airport or calling a taxi.
  3. You can stop and eat when and where you want.  Grab some fast food or take a leisurely lunch with a scenic view!
  4. You can bring food from home to BBQ, cheaper than eating out.
  5. You can bring camping gear to save on accommodation.
  6. No security (TSA/airport) searches.
  7. No waiting in line unless you hit traffic during school holidays or Christmas/Easter breaks.  Just don’t travel at those times.
  8. You can play any music you like while driving.
  9. No screaming kids (unless they are yours)!  And if they are yours at least you aren’t bothering other people.
  10.  Stretch out and be comfortable – no cramped airline seats.
  11. No currency conversions/devaluations (especially since the AUD has been nose-diving)!
  12. No immigration & customs hassles to deal with – at least for Aussies.  There’s no other country we can drive to!

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about some cool places you can drive to from Brisbane.  We just returned from Lake Coomunda (green dot near Oman Ama) and Karara/Gore/Durikai (red dot).  Then I will cover a road trip we did last year which was a bit longer and involved driving to Bowra Station near Cunnamulla (not on this map but to the west of Inglewood), the Stanthorpe/Girraween area (blue dots) and Lamington National Park (purple dot).

SEQ Birding

This is by no means a complete list of birding hotspots in Queensland, they are just the ones I have been to personally.