From late May into early June this year, my brother and I in his Patrol and his mate Micky, Jimmy and Micky’s father in a Hilux embarked on a 4WD wild camping journey into the outback through Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Venturing straight west from Brisbane via Toowoomba, we made our way out to Thargomindah for our first wild camp high on a plateau. After reaching Cameron Corner the next day, we struck south west towards the Flinders Ranges in South Australia via Arkaroola where we tested out the vehicles on the Echo Back 4WD Track.
After witnessing the grandeur of the Flinders Ranges, we turned back north, aiming for the arid desert along the west side of Lake Eyre, stopping on the edge of the enormous salt lake for a windy and stark night in the middle of absolutely nowhere. We then followed the famous Oodnadatta track and beyond into the Northern Territory where our sights were set on the national icons of Uluru and the Olgas.
Amelia, my brother’s fiancée and Micky’s wife Dom flew in to join us on the trip. After our sightseeing, we headed toward Alice Springs via the incredible rock formations of King’s Canyon and Finke Gorge. Amelia, Dom and I flew back to Brisbane while the rest of the crew along with one new addition (Jason) ventured onward to watch the Finke Desert Race and cross the Simpson Desert on their way back to Brisbane by road via Birdsville.
Being more of a wild camping and 4WD experience than a photographer’s trip, I decided to shoot only with my Leica M7 on mostly Kodak Portra 160 colour negative film. Here are a selection of photos I took along the way. I have yet to send off my two rolls of Fuji Velvia 50 and Kodak Ektachrome E100 for processing, but once I have them scanned, I’ll be updating this post.
On the road.
Arrived just out of Thargomindah by sunset.
Eucalypt trees on Kodak Portra are my favourite.
Gorgeous colours at our first campsite.
The orange is different here.
First sunrise in the middle of nowhere.
Heading toward Cameron Corner.
And we thought this was barren.
Day two selfie.
Matt and his Patrol.
Cameron Corner. Not much here. Not a bad burger though.
Was thinking of potential crocs near the edge.
How do you write the experience of corrugations? UHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUH?
Making our way down toward Arkaroola. Surprisingly good dirt road.
Campsite number two. One of the best ones of the trip.
Jimmy with his “outlaw” look.
Sunrise in the middle of nowhere.
Shrubs of nowhere.
Where should we go?
Along the Arkaroola Echo Back 4WD Track.
Tried some astrophotography on Kodak Portra 160. Not bad.
Not much here.
Heading toward Flinders Ranges the next day.
The Flinder Ranges are impressive from afar.
Feels similar to places like Zion National Park in the US.
Big Eucalypts on Kodak Portra.
One could explore these creek beds for days.
What a view.
Jimmy getting the money shot.
Wild emus on the way out of Flinders.
Ruins along the Stuart Highway in South Australia.
Light and shape.
My favourite of the ruins.
Eagle or hawk’s nests.
There isn’t much in the desert.
More ancient ruins from not that long in history.
G’day from Northern Territory.
First wild camp in NT.
Dusk on film.
Jimmy in front of the national icon, Uluru.
Sundown in the Red Centre.
Uluru at sunrise.
Trees in The Olgas.
Matt & Amelia
Trees in The Olgas.
Walking in The Olgas.
From within The Olgas.
Cave paintings at Uluru.
Big wall hole things at Uluru.
Desert varnish of Uluru.
My view for much of the trip.
This camping tree.
This camping tree at sunset.
This camping tree at dusk.
Camping out of King’s Canyon up the Larapinta Trail.
There is nothing quite like camping with a big fire.
This camping tree at dawn.
Jimmy “Pop” constructed a coal powered heat seat.
King’s Canyon, a mecca for rock climbers if it were allowed.
Matt and Amelia on the last of my negative film.