LONG DUSTY ROADS

All Text and Images © John Lovett 2019

After 660 kms of dusty corrugations down the Gibb River Road, we enjoyed a brief stretch of bitumen across to Halls Creek. An overnight stop and we were off down the Tanami Road to Alice Springs. The Tanami Road is 1100kms of mostly well graded dirt with some patches of bulldust and rough corrugations. The Aboriginal Communities of Billiluna and Yuendumu sell expensive diesel.

After stocking up in Alice Springs, we spent a couple of days in the Eastern MacDonnell’s before heading East along the Plenty Highway – a long strip of corrugated dirt that cuts straight across the Northern Territory into Queensland

Freshwater Crocs are thriving at (an almost dry) Windjana Gorge

The Tanami Road cuts through the Tanami Desert from Halls Creek WA to Alice Springs NT

We spent a night at Wolf Creek Crater – Dianne, having not seen the movie, was pretty relaxed about camping there under a full moon, I had a bad nights sleep with a wheel brace under my pillow.

Believe it or not, this piece of corrugated iron architecture was on wheels.

Tanami Roadtrain

Finches at a rare waterhole along the Tanami.

Billiluna Community

Billiluna Footy Field – all dust and rocks

Can’t drive past a wrecked car without stopping to take a photo. This one was so good we camped the night to get the early morning sun.

Wedgetail enjoying breakfast.

After stocking up in Alice Springs, we headed out to the Eastern MacDonnell’s for some pretty spectacular walks.

Not far down the Plenty Highway we came across this rolled Toyota. It must have been there a couple of days because all the wheels were gone. Judging by the scattered debris, it must have been some Japanese Tourists heading off on an adventure.

The white dot in the middle is our camp . Huge amounts of nothing through the middle of the Northern Territory, but when you stop and look around the scenery can be spectacular.

Budgerigars

Stockmen at Tobermorey Station

Tobermorey Horse Breaker

Tobermorey Sunset

Red dust

Crossing into Queensland, the Plenty turns into the Donohue. This was the smoothest dirt road we encountered

Donkeys watching Humans come to a sudden halt in a big cloud of dust.

ROCKS AND BOABS

Our Outback Workshop moved from Kakadu/Litchfield, over to Kununurra via Katherine. Moving across the boarder into Western Australia brings a change in the landscape from speargrass savannah to rocky outcrops and giant Boab trees. The landscape was unusually dry for this time of year. Normally creeks are full, waterfalls are flowing and the landscape is greener but, unfortunately,  the last wet season was almost non existent.

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Spectacular, close up view of Katherine Gorge

© John Lovett 2019
Kununurra sunset changes the landscape completely
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Couldn’t resist painting this old Studebaker truck at El Questro Station

© John Lovett 2019     © John Lovett 2019
Rock Wallaby keeps watch over Chamberlain Gorge

© John Lovett 2019
Chamberlain Gorge

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Distorted landscape around Lake Argyle

After the Outback Workshop finished, Dianne and I collected our truck we had stored in Kununurra and headed of down the Gibb River Road via Wyndham and Parry Lagoon
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

© John Lovett 2019

Bell Gorge – one of the many waterholes along the Gibb River Road
© John Lovett 2019
Water Monitor – Bell Gorge
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

At the end of the Gibb River Road is the Napier Range. A spectacular band of twisted Limestone running East West across the Southern Kimberley. We spent a few days camped under the range painting, walking, sketching and photographing

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Bee hive in a cave in the Napier Range

© John Lovett 2019
Outside Studio

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019   © John Lovett 2019 An amazing place to paint and explore

KAKADU

After a long drive and another great workshop in Blackall, we arrived in Kununurra where we left our truck and flew to Darwin to start the Outback workshop with International Artist. Following a couple of days painting in Litchfield National Park we headed out to Kakadu for some painting and exploring. One of the highlights of Kakadu is the Yellow Waters Cruise. We have done it many times and it is always spectacular and always different.

Whistling Ducks  © John Lovett 2019

Whistling Ducks

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019

These Jakana chicks hatch out of the egg with small fluffy bodies and ridiculously over sized feet

Jacana Chick  © John Lovett 2019
Male Jacana  © John Lovett 2019

As they grow the body gets bigger and less fluffy and the legs grow even further out of proportion.

Azure Kingfisher  © John Lovett 2019

Azure Kingfisher

Nankeen Night Heron  © John Lovett 2019

Nankeen Night Heron

Crocodile Smiling  © John Lovett 2019

Deceptively happy looking Crocodile.

Crocodile swimming  © John Lovett 2019

Floating and watching

Crocodile  © John Lovett 2019
Egret  © John Lovett 2019

Large Egret

Egret  © John Lovett 2019
Water Buffalo  © John Lovett 2019

Water Buffalos are starting to breed up again in Kakadu

Yellow Waters © John Lovett 2019

Yellow Waters Sunset

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong
© John Lovett 2019

Painting at Anbangbang Billabong.

ARGENTINA

From the Falkland Islands we made our way to Argentina, stopping first in Montevideo then ending our cruise in Buenos Aries. After the workshop finished, Dianne and I stayed on in Buenos Aires for a few days to explore the city.

© John Lovett 2019
Montevideo Doorway – Orange Bike
© John Lovett 2019
260 air conditioners – Montevideo
© John Lovett 2019
Beautiful old timber dock crane cabin – Montevideo
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires skyline
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires looks very European – many of the buildings were designed by French architects in the early 1900’s
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires
© John Lovett 2019
La Boca is an old area of the city full of bars, restaurants and tourists. Lots of artists, musicians and tango dancers fill the spaces between wandering visitors. The old buildings have all been brightly painted but kept authentic by maintaining an interesting state of semi disrepair.
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires sketches – lots of great subjects all over the city, but I love the old buildings in some of the back streets
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires – San Telmo Markets – great stalls, food and fantastic street music.
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Buenos Aires – The guy in the background is busking – stands like that for hours. The girl was just walking by as I passed.
© John Lovett 2019
Peter, Maree, Yves, Dianne, Margaurite and Evelyn at the famous Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires
© John Lovett 2019
The beautiful old training ship, Sarmiento, has been converted to a museum and moored permanently at the docks in Buenos Aires
© John Lovett 2019
More back street sketches – As amazing as these areas look, they are not safe. we were warned a couple of times not to enter some parts of the city.
© John Lovett 2019
Our workshop included a great trip out to a ranch for a barbecue and demonstration of riding by the Gauchos
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Chimango – Small South American bird of prey
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
This little guy looks like a bulletproof rat, but is a hairy armadillo, native to Argentina
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Another Argentinian native is the Rea. Similar to an Emu, but smaller and more muscular
© John Lovett 2019
This little bird is a burrowing owl – nests in a hole in the ground and only as big as your hand.
Argentine guanaco
© John Lovett 2019

FALKLAND ISLANDS

After a second smooth crossing of Drake Passage, we stopped for a day at Stanley in the Falkland Islands. The islands are low, treeless and windswept. The older architecture in Stanley is interesting. Apart from a few buildings made of brick or stone, most construction is of timber and corrugated iron. The design of the buildings are still traditionally British – even down to the picket fences, but the unusual materials take some getting used to. An attempt to make the place feel like home I guess, but they miss out on that balmy British weather!

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

There are many of these old Nissin Huts, left over from various wars. All the buildings have a flaking, rusty patina caused by the constant freezing and thawing and the continuous howling wind.

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019

An interesting graveyard for wooden boats at the end of Stanley Harbour.

© John Lovett 2019

Young penguin hiding in a burrow above the beach

© John Lovett 2019

Mum and Dad socialising on the beach

© John Lovett 2019

No one climbs through the fences

© John Lovett 2019

Male Upland Goose – common on the islands

© John Lovett 2019

Brand new Landrovers waiting delivery

© John Lovett 2019

Anchorage for fair weather sailers.

The Falklands had a very British feel – friendly British accents, Landrovers everywhere, Pubs serving Ale and money bearing pictures of the Queen.

ANTARCTICA

Heading South from the tip of South America, we crossed, an oddly calm,  Drake Passage and continued down into the Antarctic Peninsular. We had a number of sea days with no land in sight, but much bird and marine life to observe between painting sessions.

Once into the Antarctic Peninsular Icebergs drifted by as we passed through unimaginably spectacular scenery

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Cape Petrels

© John Lovett 2019
Giant Petrel

© John Lovett 2019
Wandering Albertros

© John Lovett 2019  © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Scientists from one of the research stations boarding the Zaandam for lectures

© John Lovett 2019
Argentine research station
© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Chilean research station – surrounded by penguins

© John Lovett 2019
Our painting room on the Zaandam had huge windows, so as we worked, we could watch the landscape drift by.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019

CHILE

Flying over the Andes into Santiago is an impressive end to a long flight from Sydney.
We spent a couple of days in Santiago, exploring the city and nearby mountains before boarding the Zaandam for a painting workshop down the Chilean coast, down to the Antarctic Peninsular then back up the East Coast of South America to Buenos Aires.

 

© John Lovett 2019
The Andes from our hotel window

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019

© John Lovett 2019

Giant Condors from a ski resort above Santiago

© John Lovett 2019
Ski Resort – minus snow

© John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
The port area of Santiago has some interesting businesses, colorful shops and unattractive vessels.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Mountains of containers dwarf the local fishing boats

© John Lovett 2019
Leaving Santiago and heading south took us through interesting country under the backdrop of the Andes.
© John Lovett 2019
Stilt houses in Castro on the island of Chiloe

© John Lovett 2019
Castro – beautiful wooden boat takes shape.

© John Lovett 2019
Empanadas

© John Lovett 2019
Fishing Boats – Castro

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Patagonian farm shed

© John Lovett 2019
Rio Simpson

© John Lovett 2019
Rock walls – Rio Simpson, Patagonia

© John Lovett 2019
As we headed south the country became less inhabited, the mountains higher and the temperature cooler. The most common habitation was fish farming settlements.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Ice started to appear in the water and we began to see glaciers.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019   © John Lovett 2019
© John Lovett 2019
Some ships never made it out of the labyrinth of channels through the fjords

© John Lovett 2019 Carefully stacked containers on the docks at Punta Arenas

© John Lovett 2019
Southern Chile is cold, wet, salty and windy – buildings tend to be functional rather than decorative.

© John Lovett 2019
Punta Arenas

© John Lovett 2019
Shivering Cormorants

© John Lovett 2019
Replica of Shackleton’s modified dingy that took him and five of his men, through mountainous seas, from Antarctica to South Georgia Island

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
Ushuaia – the most southern town in the world

© John Lovett 2019
Ushuaia’s isolation meant that building materials were limited to what could be easily transported. They did some fancy construction with corrugated iron.

© John Lovett 2019 © John Lovett 2019
The pan America Highway starts in Alaska and ends in Ushuaia, where this tiny Citroen had just arrived, in the process of transporting a family of three 200,000kms around the world.

© John Lovett 2019 Mt Olivia behind Ushuaia

© John Lovett 2019
Tierra del Fuego lighthouse