Barkly Storm

The Barkly Highway runs east from the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory across to Queensland. During the floods of 2011, I found myself in the area looking for some fresh wet season images. It happened to be a good year for rains and the Northern Territory to Queensland road was regularly cut due to flooding. It is times like this I was glad for having a Toyota Landcruiser ute because it could handle the water levels but many a traveller was caught roadside waiting for the waters to subside.

The roads had been officially opened and travellers began the trek across the highway only to get part way across and get stopped by 400mm of water. Not much for a 4WD but standard cars had no hope. Unfortunately it is one of those things that can happen in the bush and whilst everyone has the best intentions mistakes can happen. In this case the road was opened to all vehicles not just high clearance. I met one such group of travellers but a shared camp oven meal, a few beers and things were a bit more bearable.

Whilst I was in the area I ventured into the water a few times in the hope of possibly getting a new image floods. Much of the time the conditions were not great and with people swimming in the road things were not ideal. The night before a car trailer turned up to act as a ferry the water was low enough for the trucks and I captured this image as a road train disappeared into the sunset on the lefthand side of the image.

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Paul's Outback Photography Tip

Sometimes the priority is not just photography. In this case I could have recorded the stranded travellers, but the stress at being stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere is enough. Helping and using my bush experience to make an uncomfortable situation bearable is far more important and personally rewarding than any photograph I could have got.