australian outback

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Uluru/Ayers Rock, Outback Australia: Into the great wide open

Uluru/Ayers Rock, Outback Australia: Into the great wide open

>Uluru at the close of another cloudless day in the desert. In the designated “sunset viewing spot” a few kilometres from the big red rock, campervans and cars are arriving. In this tiny part of the seemingly endless landscape, largely silent except for the whistle of wind through scrubby Spinifex and myrtle trees, the air is...

LA by bus: Carless in car town

LA by bus: Carless in car town

In the city of Los Angeles -- which is 19th-century Spanish for "the land where men walk on four wheels" -- it sometimes seems that only the socially disenfranchised take the bus. That's not entirely true, of course. Every day any number of good honest folk ride the MTA -- but so, too, do veterans of the alcohol wars, strange men who...

The Australian Outback: Dry land, dry characters, dry throat

The Australian Outback: Dry land, dry characters, dry throat

On a hot and cloudless morning in the arid Outback, Doug taxies his single-engine Cessna onto the rocky runway at Arkaroola, a strip of man-made flatland some 500kms north of Adelaide. He makes a routine safety check, kicks the plane into fast-forward and we rise into a blazing blue sky, looking down on a parched landscape of scrub and dusty...

The Australian Outback: The Man Who Knew Too Much

The Australian Outback: The Man Who Knew Too Much

There's a much repeated reason why the men of Outback Australia are so tight-lipped. "Flies. Open your mouth and a fly gets in," says a weather-beaten guy in a faded Akubra at the bar outside Brisbane. He's merely repeating the myth but, by his subsequent silence, confirms the cliche of these men for whom large expanses of dust and...

Outback, Australia: The speed of the sound of loneliness

Outback, Australia: The speed of the sound of loneliness

Eventually curiosity gets the better of me and, on a typically empty stretch of tarseal some 100kms west of Alice Springs, I stop the car and climb a rocky outcrop. For the past half hour I have had the magnificent MacDonnell Range on my right but 10 minutes ago a strange, irregular wall of bricks ran parallel with the road on my left....

Adelaide, South Australia: The great indoors

Adelaide, South Australia: The great indoors

The young man behind the counter at the Art Gallery of South Australia gets talking as I'm buying a catalogue. He comes from somewhere else too but has been in Adelaide, a city with a population approximately that of Auckland, for over a decade. "I haven't seen a traffic jam for 11 years," he says -- and as an Aucklander I add that...

Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

Gurrumul: Rrakala (Skinnyfish)

With his full name on his debut album Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu reduced to more manageable Gurrumul, this blind Aboriginal singer-songwriter (a former member of Yothu Yindi and the Saltwater Band) here continues his way into global domination in the world music/folk genre. Unlike many Aboriginal performers who use traditional...

Didjitalis: Australian Trance Dance (Arc/Elite)

Didjitalis: Australian Trance Dance (Arc/Elite)

Many years ago (read: decades if you wish) I spent a little time studying and listening to didgeridoo music and the various cultural references it had: I thought it was a fascinating instrument, and figured it had some connection with drones which are in many musics, from Celtic bagpipes to Indian tamboura. Or something like that. Hey, I...

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