In my last post I mentioned that I went on a trip to Alice Springs and back and I thought I’d share a few spots I really enjoyed shooting. Due to time and weather constraints we missed a few locations (and a few shots) but hopefully this list will help someone going along a similar route get a bit of an idea of what you’ll see.
This was my first time driving through the Nullarbor (via Eyre Highway) and even though people tell you how boring it is and that there’s nothing to look at, you still need to see for yourself just how flat the treeless plain is. I didn’t find it boring at all however as my personal taste in aesthetics tend to lean towards the minimal.
Great Australian Bite
Along the Eyre Highway just as you cross into South Australia from WA are a few lookout areas where you can see the bottom edge of Australia known as the Great Australian Bite. The cliffs here are quite striking and unlike most coastal scenes in Australia.
Driving from Perth to Alice Springs you’ll pass by and through multiple salt lakes. I love salt lakes, especially the overly white ones because as soon as you can put any kind of subject matter in that environment, immediately the contrast allows for an interesting shot.
On another note however if you’re not capable in 4wd (and/or have no method of recovery) I’d highly suggest not venturing out onto a salt lake in your car. On one occasion we got stuck a metre from the road (self recovered in no time at all though using rocks and a shovel) and on another occasion we helped alongside 6 other vehicles to pull out some tourists who had been stuck for about 45mins before we were the first to stop. The recovery took over 2.5 hours and luckily happened near a road. Just remember that although the surface might seem stable to walk on, as soon as you get a heavy car on there that surface gives way to thick mud that sucks your car in.
The Breakaways, Coober Pedy
One of the best spots of the whole trip was The Breakaways in Coober Pedy which I’d happily describe as a photographers playground. The area is about a 30 minute trip north of Coober Pedy and is best during golden and blue hour.
The Breakaways is a collection of different rock formations and as a photographer you really are spoilt for choice. Most people will view the Breakaways from the lookouts on the top however there is a road that leads to tracks below that can take you through and around all of the formations. Do stay on the tracks with your vehicle though and be sensitive to the traditional land owners when shooting. The tracks when dry are suitable for 2wd vehicles but in the wet you might have a bit of trouble and only venture down if you have a 4wd. If in doubt get out of your car before the descent down and have a look (remember though that the surface terrain out in these areas might seem stable but if there’s been some rain as soon as you crack that surface you get sucked into that mud).
West McDonnell Ranges
Once in Alice Springs you are surrounded by the west and east McDonnell Ranges. Both are amazing (especially to someone from Perth where the world is flat, so flat) however the West MacDonell Ranges are amazing and I don’t want to say better but yeah, they’re better. There are so many different land formations including, gaps and gorges. We only got to see Glen Helen, Simpson’s Gap and Finke Gorge National Park as we got flooded in, however those spots were amazing with special mention to Finke Gorge National Park (Palm Valley) which I didn’t get many shots of because I was sure I would be returning in a couple days to explore it further which unfortunately never got to happen.
On the way to Uluru we stopped in at Kings Canyon, unfortunately we didn’t have time to do the entire rim walk of the canyon but we did get to the top in time to take a couple shots during sunset. As well as a gorgeous sunset we were also greeted by a double rainbow which made it even better. Although we didn’t get to do the rim walk I did see some photos my brother-in-law took while he was up there and based on his mobile photos would definitely try and make time to get up there next time.
Uluru & Kata Tjuta
Uluru, the heart of Australia. It’s definitely an experience you need to see at least once. We went and drove around the base of the rock and then back to one of the lookouts for sunset. I would have loved to try both sunrise and sunset lookouts but we were pressed for time. Watching Uluru change colour as the sun sets is an experience not to be missed and I’d recommend a tripod and some dinner (which how we did it) to make it even better. The next day we went to see Kata Tjuta at sunrise which was also a very visually pleasing experience as we watched the formation of rocks change colour while the sun rose.
There’s so much more that I’d love to write about the locations of this trip. If you’re thinking of doing a trip like this I’d simply suggest you give yourself adequate time to check out everything because you never know what you’ll see. Australia is a great country full of very different experiences and I feel blessed to call this beautiful place home!