Above The Outback

Many years ago, I remember seeing an astronaut on a spacecraft as it flew over Australia. He referred to it as “the boring brown landmass”. It probably looks like that from 1.2 million feet up, but at 30,000 feet, it takes on a character that fascinates me.
The flight between Brisbane and Darwin is one of my favourites – it’s almost all above the not-so-boring brown landmass of Western Queensland and the Northern Territory. Today I managed to get a window seat and spent most of the flight staring out the window at the subtly changing landscape below. Arterial river beds, ancient dry floodplains, rocky outcrops, mountains and one or two deep, open-cut mines. I find myself wondering about what’s down there. Where do those long, straight roads lead? How often do people drive them? And mostly, when can I go there?