It’s autumn in Australia!

Which means that we’ve had to cuddle to stay warm in our campervan at night. But we’re having a lovely time in the middle of nowhere.

Keith and I are in the middle of our 23 day Australian tour. We’re speaking 4 times (Keith and I are doing all-day Saturday marriage conferences, and then I’m doing a few Girl Talks), and we’re driving about 5000 km in total.

We’re trying to keep costs down, so Keith rented a small campervan. It’s a budget one.

Sheila at Work - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

Working in the campervan–on one of the warmer days when we had wifi!

They gave us two sheets and the flimsiest towels and two rather disgusting summer sleeping bags. We shivered the first night and then the second day we went to a bedding shop and bought a foam mattress cover, a comforter, and a microfibre blanket. And now we’re making do! It’s warm at night–but cold in the morning.

I've been knitting as we've been driving around!

Keith and I love seeing new places, but we don’t do the typical things. We don’t head to cities. We like heading out to the backwoods and hiking and birdwatching. And that’s what we’ve been doing!

Australia 7 - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

On one of our first hikes near Canberra we were in a wildlife reserve, and Keith went off in the woods to chase a robin and I was on the path, talking on the phone to one of the young women who works for me. All of a sudden I noticed something odd on the path about 100 meters ahead of me. And I realized I was staring at a large kangaroo. Then I realized there were about 8 others around it.

I was all blown away and excited until a thought occurred to me. “Are kangaroos dangerous if you come upon them in the wild?” I have no idea. In Canada, when you’re in wildlife preserves, there will be signs like, “What to do if you encounter a bear” or “what to do if you see a mountain lion.” There were no signs about kangaroos. So did that mean kangaroos were safe?

Australia 3 - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

But then I thought–Aussies really don’t mind danger in the same way that Canadians do. They don’t mind camping in the cold. They don’t mind having the world’s most dangerous animals (I keep telling Keith–stay on the path! If you get bitten by a snake, I can’t drag you, and I can’t drive our campervan! So you’ll be toast!). And we’ve been killing ourselves laughing at all the “Last Chance Bushfire Shelters” signs we see. They’re really blunt here.

So I thought–maybe kangaroos are dangerous? So my assistant Googled it for me while we were on the phone and we concluded they were relatively safe unless they looked menacing, and then you should back away. I proceeded up the path and they all hopped away, and Keith joined me (luckily without snake bites!).

Australia 1 - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

The same day–here I am next to a wallaby this time!

We’ve been seeing some breathtaking scenery. We drove up the Gold Coast north of Sydney all the way to Brisbane for my event in Toowoomba, but our favourite part BY FAR has been driving in the outback interior from Toowoomba down to Adelaide, which is where we are now.

Australia beach - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

We found the ocean on the Gold Coast!

Miles upon miles of nothing but sheep and cotton farms. They’re harvesting the cotton right now (it’s autumn) and it’s amazing to see how large the cotton fields are. Bales upon bales of cotton dot the landscape.

We crossed into South Australia (one of their states) today, and they confiscated a bunch of our groceries (it was harder to get into South Australia then the customs at the airport! They really don’t want fruit flies in South Australia). And now we’re in wine country.

We found this place which was a winery and a wetland–wine tasting and bird watching. We were in heaven.

Australia 4 - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

One of the birds we really wanted to see was an emu, but we drove for days to no avail. Then all of a sudden there they were! Keith went and got a photo of the first ones we saw, but over the next 100 km we counted about 200. So cool!

Australia 2 - On the Outback, Sheep, and the Middle of Nowhere

Keith taking a picture of our emus!

We’ll be back in civilization again tomorrow in Adelaide, and I’ll be sorry to see the desert go. But I’m looking forward to our marriage day on Saturday, and then my Girl Talk in Melbourne on Tuesday before we head home!

It will be nice to have my bed back again, and not to be shivering in the morning or having to take showers where there’s no central heating. But it’s a cheap way to travel, and so it made it possible for us to do this many events and stay this long. And we’ve seen a ton. I haven’t been able to sign on to wifi that much, so I haven’t been as active in the comments or on Facebook, but I’ll be back next week!

Oh, and one other cute thing–I’ve met a bunch of long-time readers and commenters at some of the events so far. One of them crocheted these awesome bookmarks for Keith and me, of birds of Australia. So cute. I don’t want to post the picture of her because I didn’t ask her permission, but it’s been great to meet people!

Something else we’ve noticed about Australia: People aren’t nearly as overweight as in North America. Not really sure why. It seems like all the same foods are available in the grocery stores, but we have seen fewer fast food places. Interesting, eh?

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