Saturday, December 19, 2009


I'm thinking back to Australia today! Here's another vignette from last summer's trip.

At the beginning of our trip, Jim bravely drove us out of the Sydney airport and headed for Glen Davis, en route to Bowra Station, using my 20-year-old map of New South Wales. The road system around Sydney had undergone a few changes in the past two decades. With our map proving unreliable, we steered west by the sun, and finally admitted that we needed a bit of guidance to find the right road to Mudgee and, beyond, to Glen Davis.

The road to Glen Davis (Photo by Narca)

We rounded a corner and were waved over by two policemen. One shoved an instrument that looked like a handheld radio in front of Jim's face and said, "OK mate, one-to-five." Jim looked confused. I interpreted, "He wants you to count."

" Can I ask if this is the road to Mudgee?"

That simple question unleashed an exchange worthy of Saturday Night Live. "Me 'n' my mate, we're from Sydney, they just send us up here where it's too cold.... So you want to go to Sludgie... that's Mudgee.... Hey, do you know if this is the way to Sludgie-that's-Mudgee?" And so they cartwheeled through a 10-minute comedy routine that left us in no doubt as to their true calling. It ended with "Enjoy Sludgie-that's-Mudgee! We have to get back to work."

We enjoyed Sludgie-that's-Mudgee, but we enjoyed Glen Davis even more. The little-traveled road to Glen Davis winds through miles of eucalypt forest. At one dry stream crossing, several Superb Lyrebirds raced and flew back and forth across the road, much more concerned with their own urgent business than with four optic-laden humans.

Common Bronzewings (Photo by Noel Snyder)

Near the crest of a hill, flowering Eucalyptus trees were drawing in scores of nectar-feeding lorikeets and honeyeaters, and among them was a real prize––a spectacular yellow-black-and-white Regent Honeyeater. Masses of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos filled the valley. Each turn of the road brought another discovery: Common Bronzewings; Australian Pipits; multicolored finches; Red-rumped Parrots.

The hospitable village of Glen Davis has a small campground, complete with hot showers, where visitors may camp for free. Australian King Parrots and Brown Treecreepers greeted these four weary travelers.

Australian King Parrot (Photo by Narca)

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