Patricia Newell-Dunkley Photographs by Reginald J.Dunkley.

Website www.patriciasartworld Books available “Letters of a
Travelling Lady, Wallis the Woman I Love, Flower Power, The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain.”

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Greetings from down under in the “Merry Month of May”. The weather is superb with bright sunny days and cool crisp air, my favourite time of the year. It is a perfect time to travel and where better than South Australia. With its rugged outback, world-class vineyards, local produce and historic towns and cities S.A. certainly has a lot to offer.

Nothing says Australia quite like the outback. The open spaces that seem to stretch forever, you can find a little bit of the outback in every state, but South Australia offers you The Ghan Train and three days on board travelling in luxury, experiencing the wide open spaces right through the heart of Australia.

You can take The Ghan in either direction between Adelaide and Darwin, alternatively half the journey between Alice Springs and Adelaide or Darwin. On the way you can take in Coober Pedy, the world’s largest opal mining centre.

Board The Ghan in Adelaide and watch the gentle outskirts roll into pastoral lands and undulating wine country, before flattening into rugged eucalyptus mallee scrub. Pass through coastal Coonamia and Port Augusta, cross over the dingo fence- the world’s largest fence built to keep dingos out of South –East Australia. Speed through the outback train station of Cadney Homestead and now you are at the gateway to the Painted Desert.  Watch the sun setting over the vast expanse of the outback as you sip on delicious cocktails and nibble on clothed cheddar and Lobethal goat blue cheese.

Day 2.  Alight the train at Marla which marks the start of the remote Oodnadatta Track which follows a traditional Aboriginal Trading route and provides travellers with stunning semi-desert scenery. Watch the sunrise and enjoy a light breakfast in the heart of the outback and wonder at the miscellany of rich colours that surround you.

Back on the train cross the Northern Territory Border and travel through the small bush town of Kulgera and the Finke River before arriving at Alice Springs. This thriving, spirited outback centre is famous for the personality of its locals and contemporary and tradition art as well as the stunning Larapinta Trail. Tour Alice Springs Desert Park and discover the landscapes that The Ghan traverses, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which has been in service for ninety years. Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over the ancient red Macdonnell Ranges, or take a ride on a camel in the desert.

Day 3. The train races through the famous gold mining town of Tennant Creek, known for its million-acre cattle stations, iconic rock formations and Aboriginal culture. This vast land of brilliant blue skies and boundless horizons broken by hopping kangaroos is a sight to behold. Stopping at Katherine, where numerous excursion options await you. Enjoy a leisurely cruise in Nitmiluk National Park’s Katherine Gorge. Be amazed by the majestic beauty and sheer size of the Gorge, and awestruck at the cave art. There is much to see.

Alternatively spend the day at an Aboriginal Cultural Centre learning spear throwing, fire lighting, basket weaving, painting and how to play the Didgeridoo. There are scenic flights over Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks. Once back on board you will pass through rainforest, the old gold mining town of Pine Creek, and Adelaide River, ending up in the Northern Territory’s capital of Darwin.

For the entire trip you will be fed with the most glorious food, delicious wines and beverages.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well, the surfers are in their wet suits now that the cool weather has arrived, but nothing stops them from the dazzling surf.  Now and again a whale drifts by on its way north and a porpoise pops up keeping them company.

The gallery is looking splendid and a gallery glass cabinet is on its way for the hand painted porcelain and decorated eggs to be exhibited.  Our local Art Society has another exhibition in June having been invited to exhibit alongside a spectacular orchid display, which is held every year in a popular club.  Everyone is busy painting.

Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is well after her operation and the lorikeets, Magpies, Butcher Birds, and Wattle Birds are all tucking into their early morning meal.  The white Cockatoos have now flown north to stay warm.

Cheers.    Patricia.