Luxury Travel: Got two weeks and $15k? Take a flying photo tour of Australia

Up for an adventure? How about two weeks flying across the Australian Outback in a private plane, guided by your on-board photographic expert and visiting the most photogenic destinations in the country? Sounds great to us.

Led by Air Adventure Australia, an experienced tour outfitter with more than 30 years of experience, the tour guides participants through paths that would take more than three months to see by road, and many that are inaccessible by anything other than air transport.

Want to know a bit more about what you’re getting? Tour everything from the Red Centre, to the Kimberley Coast, to the wetlands of Kakadu. The photography is guided by award-winning travel photographer Ewen Bell, who has been running photo tours and shooting images for nearly a decade. The combination is perfect, with the ability to land on remote air-strips and cattle stations and spend the best times of the day with Australia’s most iconic scenery. In the air, the flying time is limited to short hops of two hours or less, and on the ground, a
combination of private transfers, comfortable lodging and plenty of good wine. Travelers also get a tailor-made book on photography from Bell himself to remember the trip by.

Limited to eight photographers, the $15,990 fee includes all lodging, food, and transportation costs for the duration of the trip, which begins on June 4, 2012. (Book here) Want to see a taste of what you’ll get? Photos from the most recent trip are below.

Australians travel 150 miles across the Outback for beer

How far would you be willing to travel for a beer? If you’re anything like the residents of Marble Bar, located in Western Australia’s Outback, the answer is “pretty far”.

According to the Daily Mail the Ironclad Hotel, which was located in Marble Bar, closed down last month, taking the town’s only pub with it. As a result, many of the locals have been making the 150-mile round trip journey to Nullagine just to enjoy a frosty pint at the Conglomerate Hotel. By Outback standards, Nullagine is practically right next door.

It is estimated that more than a quarter of the residence of Marble Bar have been making the commute to Nullagine on a regular basis, and as a result, the amount of beer being consumed at the Conglomerate has tripled. In fact, the situation has gotten so dire, that the pub may run out of beer before they can get resupplied later in the week. If that were to happen, residents of both towns would have to travel an additional 125 miles to get a taste of their favorite beverage.

The Daily Mail is quick to point out exactly why the Marble Bar locals are in such need of a cold drink. The town holds Australia’s record for the most consecutive days above 100ºF. Set back in the 1920’s, the record still stands at an astounding 160 days of triple digit temperatures.

There is hope in sight however, as plans are already afoot to reopen the Ironclad very soon.

[Photo Credit: Alamy]

Crocodile makes a drinking buddy

Wildlife one comes across in ones travels is one way to know you’ve arrived somewhere new. In Singapore, it was the geckos that climbed on our walls to take refuge behind the artwork.

In The Gambia, it was the pouch rats that jumped over the corrugate fence in my back yard or the enormous snake that I can still see in the circle of my flashlight as I was walking to my latrine one night–or that monkey that makes for a terrific tale. Later for that one.

If you’re driving across West Virginia, you might see a black bear dash across the road like I did last summer when I was heading to Washington, D.C.

If you had been in Noonamah Tavern in Noonamah, Australia last Sunday, you’d have been drinking a beer with a crocodile acquaintance. Noonamah is near Litchfield National Park not far from Darwin.

The crocodile might have been underage though since it was only two feet long. According to the AP article on, a grown-up can be 16 feet, much harder to get into a bar.

Three guys who saw the crocodile outside the tavern thought it would be neat to bring it inside and have a few. The crocodile didn’t drink, though. They taped its mouth shut. Not a particularly hospitable way to treat a guest, but it was a crocodile with sharp teeth after all.

Happily, the story ends well. There is not a drinking and driving accident to report or anything like that. The salt water crocodile, a protected species, is now at a crocodile farm where it may have come from in the first place.

I wonder if it has come up with any jokes yet? “There were these three guys in a bar. . .”

Man Eats Frogs and Lizards to Survive

Talk about your new-fangled diets.
Judging by the photo in this story,
this one seems to be really effective.

Here’s how he did it: Ricky Megee first got himself lost in the
Australian outback, no one is quite sure how or why, and then he ended up surviving out there by eating leeches,
grasshoppers and lizards. Yum. When he was found, the 35-year-old was discovered looking like a "walking
skeleton". Now, lots of questions surround what he was doing out there in the first place, but it seems that he
had set off on a 3,500-mile journey in order to start a new job in a place called Port Hedland. Then it is murky
whether he was drugged or beaten or whatever. The whole thing sounds a bit fishy. But he did say that at one point he
found himself asleep in a ditch, and "what woke me was that there were four dingoes scratching the rocks to try to
get at me."

He was also very enterprising when it came to his food, as he later described to
reporters how he had left frogs on the roof of his makeshift shelter to go "a bit crispy" before he ate them.
Double yum.