Posted by: dsduffy | January 3, 2009

So much to say, not easy to put into words….

The Outback, where we spent 3 days and 3 nights with another family to celebrate the New Year, was a place unlike any I have seen. Craig said on the drive over that it reminded him a bit of Colorado, but I wouldn’t know since I have never been there. 30-45 minutes into the 4 hour drive, the landscape already changed to hills, farms and a whole lot of nothing. The hustle and bustle of the city quickly faded away to a slower pace, a feeling of calm, the open space inviting you to take a deep breath. Kilometer after kilometer, more sheep, horses & cows, a windmill farm up on the hill, an old farmhouse in the distance. When we reached the Grampians National Park, the road led up and over the mountains, with steep cliffs and beautiful views (although I could not look, very scary!) This twisting mountain road then led into more farmland and signs for Kangaroos, and only meters after the sign, one literally hopped out in front of our car, to the point where I shouted “Craig! Look out for the kangaroo!”  Now that is something I never imagined I would say.

The paved road ended and turned to gravel for a few more kilometers until we reached our cottage. The 1000 acre property we stayed on was owned by a nice older couple, and their son ran the horse farm. To say this was remote is a major understatement. No cars driving by, no stores to go to, no tram bells, just the sounds of the birds, kookaburras & chickens. No cell phone service, cable tv or internet. Just us and the outback. This may not be odd for most people, but I had  never experienced anything like this, so it was a bit of a culture shock; the eggs in the fridge were the ones laid by chickens in the coop next door. 

The boys had a great time, playing outside, finding rocks, climbing rocks, chasing each other anywhere they wanted to. And the adults didn’t have to worry about them, there were no streets to cross or places for the kids to get lost. We took a drive to see the McKenize Falls which was absolutely breathtaking. Then we spent New Year’s Eve with friends from Melbourne, with a BBQ and champagne by the light of the moon, and most stars in the sky I have ever seen. At one point I got a little freaked out (ok, a lot freaked out) being outside in the complete dark with the noises in the trees, it felt like the opposite of claustrophobia – too much dark space for me.

What I took away from this experience: There are so many things in this world I haven’t seen;  just when I think I’ve seen it all, I realize no I haven’t; kids don’t need any toys: rocks, sticks and dirt are fun; eggs from the chickens next door are delicious; kookaburras sound like monkeys; I am not a good horseback rider; sometimes you just need a change of scenery to renew your spirit.

Holding hands

Holding hands

4 boys at the Falls

4 boys at the Falls

McKenzie Falls

McKenzie Falls



  1. What an incredible experience for you all! It sure looks beautiful and the boys look so happy! This kind of adventure is why you’re all there ….. to learn, experience, grow, and enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime moments. We’re so happy for you! Lots of love, Mamacita Carol

  2. See..this is what your time in Australia is all about. Amazing!!!!! You couldn’t have experienced something like that here.

    I love seeing pictures of the boys. The holding hands one is adorable!

  3. Hi, I stumbled across your blog and have to tell you I’m absolutely fascinated by it! I’m a lifelong resident of Melbourne (living in East St. Kilda) and seeing it through the eyes of a visiting Yank is a lot of fun.
    I hope you continue to enjoy your time here. I’m about to visit the US so am brushing up on all the things *I’m* not allowed to say there!

    Btw, a native Aussie would probably not call the Grampians “The Outback”. We would call it “the bush”, because it’s country, but it’s not the desert. Wait ’till you see the real outback, just red dirt and scrubby bushes and roads that don’t even bend for more than 300kms, then you’ll see! A very accessible part of the outback which is a good place for visitors is the area around Broken Hill, a day or two’s drive from Melbourne and a good roadtrip.


  4. Watch out for the kangaroo!– I have not yet had the opportunity for that one.

    And they had the eggs in the refrigerator? I’m impressed.

    I want to go to the outback. Sounds awesome.

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