After my minor car dramas in the Kimberly and a whirl wind overnight stop in Derby I arrived in Broome where the reddest dirt meets the bluest sea. And it does so quite literally, the contrast of the red against the ocean is striking. It’s not all red dirt though, Broome is blessed with some beautiful white beaches.
There are also many areas of mudflats and mangroves around the town.
The coastline is filled with stark contrasts and dramatic scenery.
Really a lovely town, and although I was enjoying exploring and soaking in the tropical beach atmosphere, I soon found myself preparing for a drive to Alice springs about 2000km away across the Tanami desert.
The drive across the Tanami was long, lots of red dirt and corrugations, over 1000km of red dirt and corrugations. The kind of driving where you need to stay alert at all times because soft patches, washouts and potholes can appear from nowhere. Most of the trip was averaging around 80km/h though some rough sections were down to only 50 or 60. There was always that one constant, dust. Well 2 constants, dust and corrugations.
I saw many fires while driving, most of the fires were spewing out intense black smoke, and all the fires were attracting kites and other birds of prey. One particular fire close to the road caused swarms of grasshoppers to be pushed out across the road in front of me, and I could count at least 2 dozen birds of prey circling in front of the fire..
All in all, the drive was a bit rough, and very monotonous. Two days of intense concentration from dawn till after dark and I finally pulled into Alice Springs.
Now I’ve been here for almost 2 weeks and I’m finding the town and landscape is having an unusual effect on me. Driving through town the other night the smoke from fires in the area smelled like aromatic incense burning. Every evening if I’m out and about these intoxicating smells fill my senses as many people seem to burn fires. Sand is everywhere, but it’s not a fine annoying sand that sticks to your skin but rather a course river sand. It’s hot, but it’s dry, a heat that sneaks up on you during the day and you have to remain conscious of drinking water constantly.
The landscapes hear speak volumes and they speak loudly. Loudly yet with an overriding softness.
Soft hues in the plants, greens, browns and yellows. You need to be tough out here to survive as a plant, with only about 250mm of rain a year many plants like the grasses and spinifexes may look dead for most of the year but when you stop and take the time to look closely the beauty is overriding.
A beauty born out of the harsh conditions.