A Land of Sweeping Plains

We’ve been away over the past couple of weeks having decided to make the trek across the Hay Plains to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley.  Why we would make such a decision at this time of year is another story as we managed to time it with a severe heat wave that hit the south-east of Australia in the same week; some of you may have heard that Adelaide was the hottest city in the world last week!  Yeup it reached 46C/115F after several days of temperatures over 40.  We had 4 days in Adelaide and I think they were the hottest days of my life.  Needless to say that our energy levels were low and we struggled to do any of the things a visitor usually does during a holiday; I only got to one fabric store and it was a very quick visit (no air-conditioning would you believe!!).  Then the bushfires started in the Barossa and various other locations between there and home, so we high-tailed it out of there!

Despite all that my surprisingly favourite part of the trip was the drive across the Hay Plains.  It’s just majestic!  You can see for miles and miles and it is so flat with few trees, mostly salt-bush – it’s just so endless in all directions.  A magnificent blue sky, not a cloud to disturb that blueness, and only the shimmer of the heat sitting on the distant horizons to break the stillness of the land.  A visit on a clear night with my telescope would also be fantastic; the night sky must be magnificent out there so a return trip to the area during autumn might be quite nice.  Besides passing traffic the only other thing we saw during those hours were emus; we saw several busying themselves amongst the brush.

I was reminded of Dorothea McKellar’s poem My Country during this trip and did wonder if the Hay Plains were in her mind when she wrote it:

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel-sea,

Her beauty and her terror –

The wide brown land for me!

hay plains jan 2014.