A large 2 meter Goana found at the wetlands of Macquarie Marshes

This blog took me 4 hours to prepare, I hope you enjoy. If there are any spelling mistakes please leave a comment :)

I have finally returned home from my amazing trip out into the vast Australian Outback. The idea of this trip was to explore areas which I could use for future tours while getting an understanding of the areas and wildlife that could be found. 

I left home first for Coonabarabran where I stayed at the Barkala Farmstay inside the Pilliga forest. The atmosphere was great and being out in the bush far away from civilization allowed for some wildlife photography and star time lapse photography (which I will link once it has been finished in my next video). 

An example of a sandstone cave in the Pilliga Forest. 

I was able to explore ancient old sandstone and salt caves found within the Pilliga Forest, creating some breathtaking images of the textures and immense feel that these time-worn caves create when there in person. 

A Red and Grey Kangaroo in the private section of the Macquarie Marshes.

The best experience of the whole trip for me was when I visited Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve. The Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve is in central northern New South Wales, around 100 km north of Warren and 30 km west of Quambone.

They are one of the largest remaining inland wetlands in south-eastern Australia. They are home to thousands of unique animals and reptiles but also play a major role in the breeding of waterbirds as it is a sacred area for such activities. The Marshes are also an important refuge for a large number of other wildlife species such as Goannas and Emus. The Marshes unfortunately do not cater for day visits and to gain access I had to visit on the only weekend it was open throughout the entire year, but I am hoping I will soon be able to tie in with the National Parks and gain more regular access. 

A White-browed Woodswallow at Macquarie Marshes

A flock of Ibis flying over with 2 Spoonbills mixed in, can you spot them?

A Black Kite I spotted flying over the car coming home from Macquarie Marshes.

The full moon reflected in some mud pools at Lightning Ridge in the opal fields

After 4 days at Barkala Farmstay I went to Lightning Ridge where I photographed the infamous "Blood" moon and the fascinating 'lunarish' landscape created from all the opal mining. The area is flat as the eye can see with the only hills created from man made piles of dirt from holes dug up searching for opals. Since the town is so far out west and has little light pollution, it was a great place to create some star landscapes. The one below is a 20 minute exposure of the Milkyway and the stars. The lines are in fact the stars because the when the Earth rotates the stars appear as if they are moving for us on Earth and with long exposures blurs can be created with any form of light source, it just took an extra long time to capture some star movement. 

A super long exposure of 20 minutes in Lightning Ridge of the Milkyway and all the stars creating trails as the Earth rotates. 

While there I was lucky enough to see large groups of emus in the wild and the renowned Red Kangaroo. To my surprise since the area hasn't received much rain within the last 3 years the area is extremely dry and 2 of the lakes that I was hoping to visit were in fact dried up and being used as farm land for crops. 

A lone Emu found at Lightning Ridge. 

A pair of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos on the way to Narrabri. 

After 2 nights I left Lightning Ridge for Narrabri. Narrabri is one of the largest North-Western towns in NSW and is a great place to visit for just a day or a month. I could've easily spent 3 to 4 weeks there exploring every possible location looking for great photos, but unfortunately couldn't. I did however manage to squeeze in plenty of locations and got a few of those "WOW!!" shots. 

Close up of a Female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

I visited a few tourist destinations but put a professional photographers twist on it. For example I visited Sawn rocks, known for their pentagonal shape and flat cliff face created by said rocks interlocking together. Instead of just photographing from the observation point, I walked off the beaten track and went to the base of the cliff where I captured a shot encompassing the size and feel of the rocks (see below). 

Sawn Rocks in Mt Kaputar National Park, Narrabri. 

Echidna found in Waa Gorge.

I also visited Waa Gorge. This gorge was carved out by millions of tons of water millenniums ago and has now left this pristine gorge with astounding rock faces and scenery. I decided to walk to this location in the late afternoon in the hopes to photograph the gorge at sunset with the pink colours of the clouds and the rocks, unfortunately though there ended up being a clear blue sky with not a cloud in sight. Next time I think it would be best to visit it during the day or at night time for a combination of light painting and star photography from within the gorge. Luckily though while walking to the base of the gorge I spotted my first ever Echidna. I have seen them plenty of times in the zoo or captured but to see one in the wild is a completely new experience for me and I had a blast photographing him. I could tell he was very scared of me as he had curled into a ball and had all this spines pointing out and hanging on tight to some tree roots he had dug into. I attached my super wide 17mm lens and was able to get some very unique and different shots of him before heading off and leaving him alone. 

A view of Waa Gorge from the bottom looking towards the water entrance. 

A Black-winged Stilt  found at Narrabri Lake. 

In the center of Narrabri they also have a beautiful lake which is home to a variety of different water birds including Magpie Geese, Spoonbills, Ibises, Dotterels, Swallows, Stilts and even raptors like Whistling Kites. I spent 4 hours of my final morning photographing here down in the mud and on the shore photographing to my hearts content filling up 64gb of memory cards.

A Whistling Kite protecting its nest near Narrabri Lake. 

Overall it was a great experience and I learnt a lot which I will hopefully pass on through this blog in time. I plan to return there again soon, hopefully after some much needed rain out in that direction bringing all the animals out for some great opportunities. 

Thanks for reading,