Peter Elfes from his aerial photographic tour that we took him on – published in Australian Geographic
“Forget about Disneyland and IMAX and that sort of thing. This is like: doors off the helicopter, miles an hour, no sound, sideways to the water, wind blasting at you. Every second of it was slapping you in the face saying ‘you’re alive’!”
Discovery Tour – September 2010
“Helen and I are both keen photographers. We had flown over Lake Eyre back in 1991 in a fixed wing aircraft, but when we heard Helicopter flights were available this year we were very keen to see the outback in flood again. The trip we choose included much more than just flying over the lake, and we were both delighted to have chosen the more comprehensive flight, as the highlights were many and varied. The lake itself is stunning, but the birds have now all but left and are “fishing” the creeks and rivers, so doing a full loop allowed us to really see the full colour and excitement of the outback in flood. The views from an helicopter are stunning.”
“Just want to thank you for an incredible tour. Jarrod was fantastic, polite and very knowledgeable. Nothing was a hassle to him. A great ambassador for your organisation. Your team at Marree are very professional. Once again thanks for a great experience..”
Ultimate Tour – June 2010
After the drenching rains in the early part of 2010, I wanted to see Australia’s inland and Lake Eyre but how was I going to get there ? I browsed the Net and I found a 5 day tour by helicopter ex Melbourne with PIH. The helicopter hooked me. Living in Brisbane I wasn’t particularly interested in Day 1 and Day 5 of PIH’s tour so I plagiarized details from the ‘fixed wing tours’ that I had read on the Net and I came up with my own flight plan ex Brisbane. Then on 22nd June 2010 I took a deep breath and phoned PIH and I ran my flight plan past someone who listened to me and told me to leave it with him and he would get back to me. You would never imagine my surprise when he emailed me on the 24 June 2010 that PIH could take me ex Brisbane! So on
Monday 28th June 2010 my cousin and I took off from Redcliffe aerodrome near Brisbane in a Robinson R44 with Chris the pilot with PIH. We flew direct west stopping at Toowoomba, St George and Cunnamulla which, from cruising altitude, seemed to be set in the middle of a lush emerald green carpet. “What’s that”, I asked Chris. “The Cooper Creek floodplain”, was his reply. Cooper Creek! I was seeing Cooper Creek for the first time! I couldn’t believe it. The final stop for the day was Innaminka in S.Aust. Was I really here? Dinner at the hotel was beautiful. Dessert was apple crumble and riberries and the serving had a delicate mint smell that was the riberries, so I was told . “What are riberries” I asked. “Bush tucker. Berries from low-growing native bushes that grow around the hotel”, was the reply. Accommodation in a 3 unit donga was comfortable particularly the bed. Everything about the Innaminka Hotel was great even the beer garden named Outaminka
Tuesday 29th June 2010 we were up and away and bound for Mungarannie Roadhouse where there is a hot spring pool that is set in a grove of native trees that were covered in white blossoms and were filled with screeching Corellas. It was a bitterly cold day ( for us coming from Brisbane) but once in the pool I could have stayed there all day in that beautiful setting. But we had to be on our way to Marree. I was so excited to be in Marree because I had heard stories of the Afghan camel drivers who had made Marree their base a long, long time ago.
The Marree Hotel was not unlike Faulty Towers but without Basil & Sybil. The key to our room wouldn’t open the door so Laurie forced the lock and he told us that we would just have to leave the door ajar. How about that! In the room was an early 1900s wardrobe with a full length mirror in the door that was levelled by a bar of sunlight soap placed strategically under a front leg. Dinner was most welcome and enjoyable. Justin from Emerald (Vic) with PIH joined us and he told us that we had to have Quandong pie for dessert. Then Steve from PIH joined us and we had a most enjoyable evening chattering about everything until we all agreed to call it a day.
Wednesday 30th June we were up and away again, this time over Lake Eyre South and Lake Eyre North. I couldn’t believe I was actually seeing the Lakes Eyre! Then we touched down at Cowarie Station in S. Aust. and Sharon took us so far by car and then for a wander down by the Warburton River which was flowing rapidly. All the rivers were flowing for the first time in 20 years, Sharon said. Her cattle had been on agistment in Cunnamulla for about 2 years and they had recently been brought back and now were “as fat as mud”. It was a most wonderful experience to meet the people who live on Cowarie and the dogs and the chooks and also to meet “Bandy” the calf that had been dropped and abandoned by its mother and raised by Sharon. “Bandy” will never be sent to market and his home is Cowarie for the term of his natural life. That I like. Then it was up and away again, this time up the Warburton Groove and over Goyder Lagoon – what a wonderful sight that was. To me the creeks and marshes looked like capillaries and veins and arteries threading through the landscape in a tangled mass that shone like silver in the brilliant sunshine. It was so, so beautiful. I have this scene in my memory bank forever.
Birdsville was the next fuel stop and we went to the Birdsville pub for lunch. Then onto Windorah for a lovely hot shower, a beautiful dinner of grilled Barramundi and a very comfortable bed.
Thursday 1st July 2010 we left Windorah aerodrome at 6:30am – it was cold and dark. Back in Qld the weather was overcast all the way back to Charleville, to Chinchilla and onto Redcliffe. Such a contrast to the brilliant sunshine that we have experienced in S. Aust.
What a wonderful experience!
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