The country is calling me, the hinterland of Australia, this ancient land, where rocky foundations were laid 370 million years ago, and ancient seas raged around western Victoria a mere 40 million years ago, creating inland deserts and lakes and small pockets of green. Lands that were once steeped in another culture and language, before colonial farmers denuded the plains, believing that the rain would follow the plough, and sometimes it did: where the old knowledge of birds, animals and land, the indigenous Dreamtime, powerful and evocative, can be felt, the song lines understood. These are the lands I now must visit, my new horizons are the most ancient of all.
It’s not this time of the year without a trip to a National Park. This time we have chosen The Grampians National Park, Gariwerd, in the west of Victoria, 260 kms from Melbourne.
Cicadas crescendo in the thick of the bush. Clouds of white corellas screech and rise above. I was hoping to see Bunjil, the mighty wedgetail eagle that is at the heart of the indigenous legend of this beautiful park. Instead I met this cheeky Kookaburra who happily posed for me for an hour.