The deafening silence of night on the tablelands. A silence broken only occasionally by the wishful night cry of a mopoke a way off in the dark and the rustle and chirrup of crickets. We sat under deep indigo skies peppered with bright sparkles, like the eyes of the universe and beyond we’re looking down on us. How microscopic we must have seemed. All rather humbling but stupendous, awesome, glorious, dazzling and beautiful beyond belief. We were camped in the bush in a pull-off along the Tablelands Highway – which for most of its 370 k is single lane ‘semi-bitumen’ running between Barkly Homestead and Cape Crawford. By the time we reached Cape Crawford, we’d driven a 1400k loop over 6 days (a leisurely journey) starting at Borroloola and finishing within about 100ks of our start point. It was a marvellous journey.
I so love the plains! Vast unbroken stretches of grasslands where pratincoles flutter and dart alongside the road, and where bustards – those huge stately birds who pose as still as statues -, and flocks of brolgas dance – Orana Orana tralala …… and cattle of course!
The plains we crossed were covered in golden Mitchell and Flinders grass with patches and fringes of towering native sorghum and spear grass mainly along the northern parts of the road. Great expanses also of silver box trees looking in the distance like an enveloping silver-blue mist. Stark white trunks picked out where Ghost gums and Coolibah trees grew. And all along the 100s of Ks were on of my favourite species, bloodwood trees (eucalypts) of a number of varieties.