Alice Springs to Darwin, Australia

Stuart Road, on its way to Australia's Top End


devils marbles
The eccentric vision of the Devils Marbles, an unlikely geological phenomenon also sacred to the aborigines.
floodable land
Signal warns of the risk of sudden flooding in the vicinity of the Devils Marbles.
isolated business
Marco, owner of a roadside business in Barrow Creek.
Stuart Highway in Tenant Creek
Water tank stands just off the Stuart Highway in Tenant Creek.
tropical australia
Geographical monument marks the intersection of the Stuart Highway with the Tropic of Capricorn.
Indigenous Art vs Aussie Advertising
Aboriginal woman sells paintings.
In search of petroglyphs
Travelers look for paintings left by the aborigines in the vicinity of Ubirr.
Daly Waters Servant
Travelers stop at Daly Waters Pub's makeshift service station.
Thylacine
Aboriginal rock painting of a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) that once proliferated in Australia.
Edith Falls
River Katherine rushes into a natural lake in the reddish setting of the Outback of Nitmiluk National Park.
dark pond
Group of travelers refresh themselves in a natural lake in Litchfield National Park.
Overflowing
The Katherine River is inundated by the permanent rain brought by the monsoon that washes over the northern coast of Australia.
mary river crock
A boat crewman makes a crocodile jump out of the Mary River.
Daly Waters Puzzle
Decorated with the historical evolution of the Daly Waters pub.
enrollment board
A kind of mural filled with license plates at the back of the Daly Waters pub.
Lush anchorage
Pleasure boats anchored in the rainforest on the flooded bank of the Katherine River.
aboriginal art
Aboriginal rock painting on a rocky slope in Ubirr.
flooded crossing
Bus prepares to cross a flooded road in Kakadu National Park.
risky waters
Signs warn of the presence of estuarine crocodiles in a flooded area of ​​Kakadu National Park.
carnivorous leap
Crocodile shoots out of the flow of the River Mary to bite into a piece of meat.
Do Red Center to the tropical Top End, the Stuart Highway road travels more than 1.500km lonely through Australia. Along this route, the Northern Territory radically changes its look but remains faithful to its rugged soul.

It's in the suggestive lost village of Erlunda's red Outback that we join the spaced traffic on the Stuart Highway. 

Named after the pioneer of the same name, this road connects Adelaide to Darwin, via Alice Springs, for an endless 2834 km. Vehicles of all types travel through it at enormous intervals, from the most ancient car relics to sophisticated road trains made up of dozens of trailers.

A few kilometers after the early departure, the “Track” – as it is also called – leads us to cross the imaginary line of the Tropic of Capicorn, marked, without much pomp, in an armillary sphere planted on the edge of the asphalt.

Tropic Capricorn, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Geographical monument marks the intersection of the Stuart Highway road with the Tropic of Capricorn.

We continue towards the top of the Great North and come across the first historic stop on the route: Barrow Creek.

Barrow Creek to Wycliff Wells: an Outback from Stuart Hwy, at Least, Surreal

The ghost town appeared on the map like a telegraph station lost in the middle of nowhere in Australia.

It soon became famous for the permanent conflicts between settlers and Kaytetye aborigines that it was the scene of, originated by the theft of cattle and sabotage of the line by the latter and fueled by consequent bloody revenge and counter-revenge.

Aboriginal, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Aboriginal woman sells paintings.

Only the ruins of the issuing building and the small prison remain from the original village. Nearby, the fuel pumps and the local pub have recycled their station status from the Outback, to which they attributed, today, supply functions.

Marco, the resident bartender, complains that he hasn't left the home business for a long time: “here everything is too far away. We are condemned to this renewed fate of seeing it pass…” The poetic outburst is interrupted by the request for two more paints of Millers and rescues him from the arid reality of the bush surrounding.

Barrow Creek, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Marco, owner of a Stuart Hwy roadside business in Barrow Creek.

Meanwhile, customers, all foreigners, ignore the counter and the endless cricket test and wander along the wooden walls like second-hand intellectuals, marveling at the creative inconsistency of the works on display.

There are old notes from all over the world, newspaper clippings with unusual news, dusty trophies and other unlikely trinkets. The gallery is being retouched every time more travelers arrive. Sarah and Rebecca, English from Liverpool, post two comical postcards.

Still amused by the contribution, they return to their tiny rented Twingo and disappear over the horizon of Stuart Hwy.

Vegetation height increases as latitude decreases. Also part of the climatic and landscape dynamics, the white clouds that dot the blue sky take on particular shapes and announce the next esoteric experience of the route.

Tenant Creek, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Water tank stands just off the Stuart Highway in Tenant Creek.

Wycliff Wells to Devils Marbles: a Red, Huge and Unusual Australia

Located four hundred kilometers north of Alice Springs, the next village, is just a tiny point lost in the vastness of the Australian map, but, relying on several testimonies, it seems to have conquered a prominent place in the Universe.

Lights in the sky, rotating discs with blue domes and their silver beings teleported to the surface, there, red from Earth, all seem to be common in Wycliffe Wells.

Lew Farkas, manager of the local service station and caravan park, for some twenty-five years, not only decorated his premises with statues and motifs from another world, he assures me “…I've had half a dozen sightings myself, only this year”.

And, so that there are no doubts, he concludes: “the previous owner warned me right away when he gave me this … with him, and with several aborigines here, it's exactly the same thing”.

extraterrestrial, Wycliffe Wells, Australia

Extraterrestrial creatures depicted at entrance to Wycliffe Wells, Stuart Highway

Positions remain extreme. The most skeptical analysts say it's all actually due to the Northern Territory's high alcohol consumption and the need for locals to add thrills to what are considered the most monotonous lives in the country.

On the opposite side and without any complexes, the locals rejoice with the frequent visits of reputable UFOs, participate in conventions and describe experiences to the specialized international media.

As you pass by the Devils Marbles – two huge yellowish rocks, round and sacred to the aborigines who balance on a rocky platform – the sun is more scorching than usual. It provokes a desperate search for the shadow that ends up precipitating the match.

marble devils marble party, Stuart Highway, Australia

One of the Devil's Marbles split in half forces that may or may not be believed to be natural

Daly Waters to Catherine Gorge: The Australian Red Going Greener

Three hours later, Daly Waters is announced. The arrival is accompanied by a smooth transition to the tropical climate of the Top End and clouds now cover the sky. Trees worthy of the name appear and rivers extrapolate the bed that force us to deviate and cross field bridges.

The village reveals itself to be another cluster of abandoned wooden houses that have nearby what is left of Australia's first international airport, built to fight the Japanese invasion, in World War II.

Daly Waters shows signs of life only in the pub of the same name, yet another aberrant and welcoming Outback den that seduces and retains ozzies and foreigners as if the Stuart Hwy's function were just to get there. The chaotic decor of any thriving junkyard and the offer of the best Australian beers are repeated.

Puzzle Daly Waters, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Decor with the historic evolution of the Daly Waters pub

Beside the counter lie the inevitable snooker table and a TV on which the same cricket test issued the previous afternoon at Barrow Creek is about to last.

The accumulation of kilometers and the thickening of the rainy season leaves the Red Outback behind. The long-awaited Top End inaccessible territories appear.

With no way to reach Matarranca and the curious hot springs of the same name, we went straight to Nitmiluk National Park (a place where the cicadas dream, in aboriginal dialect jawoyn). There we discover that his Katherine Gorge is also largely out of reach.

Overflowing, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

The Katherine River is inundated by the permanent rain brought by the monsoon that washes over the northern coast of Australia.

There is a panoramic view from the top of the cliff, right at the entrance to the gorge, which reveals the green expanse of the stewed bush, broken by the overflowing flow and full of crocodiles from the Katherine River.

Lichtfield and Kakadu Parks. And the Top End Tropical Appears Flooded

The scenario is repeated throughout the neighboring national parks, Lichtfield and Kakadu, irrigated by suffocating humidity and rain, sometimes scarce, sometimes flooding, always present.

Only the main roads, such as the Stuart and Arhnem Highway, escape flooding and impose frequent amphibious crossings whenever we deviate from them.

Flooded Crossing, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Bus prepares to cross a flooded road in Kakadu National Park.

The Nadab plain is a territory privileged by nature. From it are projected ferrous plateaus that contrast with the dominant green.

They were long ago chosen by the aborigines as shelters and supports for their art.

Ubirr, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Travelers look for paintings left by the aborigines in the vicinity of Ubirr, a good detour from the Stuart road.

The Intriguing Aboriginal Rock Art

Ubirr stands out for the number of inscriptions in a surprising state of preservation describing hunting scenes, ceremonies, mythology and magic.

To the ecstasy of lovers of Australian fauna and prehistory, among drawings of local fish, turtles and wallabies (small kangaroos), a painting of a thylacine, the recently extinct Tasmanian Tiger, stands out.

Rocky Thylacine, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Aboriginal rock painting of a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger) that once proliferated in Australia.

Due to its location, in the extension of the Arhnem plateau, the flow of the Mary river overflows from December to April.

It creates around a huge area of ​​swamps, marshes and river ponds which, with the arrival of the Gurrung (one of the six Aboriginal seasons, from mid-August to mid-October), become the great Australian oases, the billabons.

Mary River croc, alice-springs-darwin-stuart-hwy-path-top-end

A boat crewman makes a crocodile jump out of the Mary River near Stuart Hwy

Until then, a conflicting community of salt and fresh water crocodiles share the green and waterlogged landscape with a varied fauna that includes herds of brumbies (wild horses) and water buffaloes.

The impossibility of traveling through the flooded territories to Kakadu's famous Jim Jim Falls makes Lichtfield National Park's many waterfalls an alternative itinerary, sought after by Australians in the capital Darwin and by all travel agencies operating in the Northern Territory.

One after another, Wangi, Tolmer, Tjaetaba and Tjayanera appear invaded by groups of restless young people who, armed with glaciers full of beer, celebrate every minute away from Darwin and its punishing jobs.

Dark Lagoon, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Group of travelers refresh themselves in a natural lake in Litchfield National Park.

1500km of Stuart Road Then, Finally, the Uncharacteristic City of Darwin

With 120.650 inhabitants, the most modern and populous city in the inhospitable Northern Territory, it is, at the same time, the smallest of the country's state capitals.

Erected, facing the Timor Sea and the Indian Ocean, as Australia's northern gateway, Darwin has a complicated past and a promising future.

It was destroyed and rebuilt on two separate occasions. In 1942, 188 Japanese fighters – the same fleet that would then attack Pearl Harbor – began a series of incursions that left the city in ruins. In the seventies, Tracy, the most devastating of the cyclones that visited it to date, destroyed 70% of the buildings erected or recovered after the end of World War II.

The new reconstruction underlined the modern features of its architecture, which welcomed a multi-ethnic society enriched by immigrants from the four corners of the world who continue to settle down to work in the mining industry and in the growing local tourism sector.

Crocs News, Alice Springs to Darwin, Stuart hwy, Top End Path

Mary River Tour participants wait at a panel with news of crocodile incidents

Darwin makes an effort not to disappoint those who reach the end of Stuart Hwy. Lives up with original festivals and other events. This mission proves to be thankless.

It's just that, from Alice Springs to this distant Top End, the strange Australia of the Northern Territory has always made a point of dazzling us.

Magome-Tsumago, Japan

Magome to Tsumago: The Overcrowded Path to the Medieval Japan

In 1603, the Tokugawa shogun dictated the renovation of an ancient road system. Today, the most famous stretch of the road that linked Edo to Kyoto is covered by a mob eager to escape.
unmissable roads

Great Routes, Great Trips

With pompous names or mere road codes, certain roads run through really sublime scenarios. From Road 66 to the Great Ocean Road, they are all unmissable adventures behind the wheel.
Uzbekistan

Journey through the Uzbekistan Pseudo-Roads

Centuries passed. Old and run-down Soviet roads ply deserts and oases once traversed by caravans from the Silk RoadSubject to their yoke for a week, we experience every stop and incursion into Uzbek places, into scenic and historic road rewards.
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Great Ocean Road, Australia

Ocean Out, along the Great Australian South

One of the favorite escapes of the Australian state of Victoria, via B100 unveils a sublime coastline that the ocean has shaped. We only needed a few kilometers to understand why it was named The Great Ocean Road.
Discovering tassie, Part 1 - Hobart, Australia

Australia's Backdoor

Hobart, the capital of Tasmania and the southernmost of Australia, was colonized by thousands of convicts from England. Unsurprisingly, its population maintains a strong admiration for marginal ways of life.
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
Red Center, Australia

Australia's Broken Heart

The Red Center is home to some of Australia's must-see natural landmarks. We are impressed by the grandeur of the scenarios but also by the renewed incompatibility of its two civilizations.
Wycliffe Wells, Australia

Wycliffe Wells' Unsecret Files

Locals, UFO experts and visitors have been witnessing sightings around Wycliffe Wells for decades. Here, Roswell has never been an example and every new phenomenon is communicated to the world.
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Perth to Albany, Australia

Across the Far West of Australia

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Sydney, Australia

From the Exile of Criminals to an Exemplary City

The first of the Australian colonies was built by exiled inmates. Today, Sydney's Aussies boast former convicts of their family tree and pride themselves on the cosmopolitan prosperity of the megalopolis they inhabit.
Atherton Tableland, Australia

Miles Away from Christmas (part XNUMX)

On December 25th, we explored the high, bucolic yet tropical interior of North Queensland. We ignore the whereabouts of most of the inhabitants and find the absolute absence of the Christmas season strange.
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

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Melbourne, Australia

An "Asienated" Australia

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Discovering tassie, Part 3, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania from Top to Bottom

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Perth, Australia

the lonely city

More 2000km away from a worthy counterpart, Perth is considered the most remote city on the face of the Earth. Despite being isolated between the Indian Ocean and the vast Outback, few people complain.
Perth, Australia

The Oceania Cowboys

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Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

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Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

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Okavango Delta, Not all rivers reach the sea, Mokoros
safari
Okavango Delta, Botswana

Not all rivers reach the sea

Third longest river in southern Africa, the Okavango rises in the Angolan Bié plateau and runs 1600km to the southeast. It gets lost in the Kalahari Desert where it irrigates a dazzling wetland teeming with wildlife.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Adventure
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

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Saida Ksar Ouled Soltane, festival of the ksour, tataouine, tunisia
Ceremonies and Festivities
Tataouine, Tunisia

Festival of the Ksour: Sand Castles That Don't Collapse

The ksour were built as fortifications by the Berbers of North Africa. They resisted Arab invasions and centuries of erosion. Every year, the Festival of the Ksour pays them the due homage.
Gray roofs, Lijiang, Yunnan, China
Cities
Lijiang, China

A Gray City but Little

Seen from afar, its vast houses are dreary, but Lijiang's centuries-old sidewalks and canals are more folkloric than ever. This city once shone as the grandiose capital of the Naxi people. Today, floods of Chinese visitors who fight for the quasi-theme park it have become take it by storm.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Culture
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Sport
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
DMZ, South Korea, Line of no return
Traveling
DMZ, Dora - South Korea

The Line of No Return

A nation and thousands of families were divided by the armistice in the Korean War. Today, as curious tourists visit the DMZ, many of the escapes of the oppressed North Koreans end in tragedy.
Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Ethnic
Inari, Finland

The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

The Sami Nation comprises four countries, which ingest into the lives of their peoples. In the parliament of Inari, in various dialects, the Sami govern themselves as they can.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

At the end of the afternoon
History
Ilha de Mozambique, Mozambique  

The Island of Ali Musa Bin Bique. Pardon... of Mozambique

With the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the extreme south-east of Africa, the Portuguese took over an island that had previously been ruled by an Arab emir, who ended up misrepresenting the name. The emir lost his territory and office. Mozambique - the molded name - remains on the resplendent island where it all began and also baptized the nation that Portuguese colonization ended up forming.
Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Turtle
Islands
Aruba

Aruba: The Island in the Right Place

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Geothermal, Iceland Heat, Ice Land, Geothermal, Blue Lagoon
Winter White
Iceland

The Geothermal Coziness of the Ice Island

Most visitors value Iceland's volcanic scenery for its beauty. Icelanders also draw from them heat and energy crucial to the life they lead to the Arctic gates.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Literature
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Hammock in Palmeiras, Praia de Uricao-Mar des caraibas, Venezuela
Nature
Henri Pittier NP, Venezuela

PN Henri Pittier: between the Caribbean Sea and the Cordillera da Costa

In 1917, botanist Henri Pittier became fond of the jungle of Venezuela's sea mountains. Visitors to the national park that this Swiss created there are, today, more than they ever wanted
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Natural Parks
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
UNESCO World Heritage
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Characters
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Drums and Tattoos
Beaches
Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti Beyond the Cliché

Neighbors Bora Bora and Maupiti have superior scenery but Tahiti has long been known as paradise and there is more life on the largest and most populous island of French Polynesia, its ancient cultural heart.
Kongobuji Temple
Religion
Mount Koya, Japan

Halfway to Nirvana

According to some doctrines of Buddhism, it takes several lifetimes to attain enlightenment. The shingon branch claims that you can do it in one. From Mount Koya, it can be even easier.
Serra do Mar train, Paraná, airy view
On Rails
Curitiba a Morretes, Paraná, Brazil

Down Paraná, on Board the Train Serra do Mar

For more than two centuries, only a winding and narrow road connected Curitiba to the coast. Until, in 1885, a French company opened a 110 km railway. We walked along it to Morretes, the final station for passengers today. 40km from the original coastal terminus of Paranaguá.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Society
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Asian buffalo herd, Maguri Beel, Assam, India
Wildlife
Maguri Bill, India

A Wetland in the Far East of India

The Maguri Bill occupies an amphibious area in the Assamese vicinity of the river Brahmaputra. It is praised as an incredible habitat especially for birds. When we navigate it in gondola mode, we are faced with much (but much) more life than just the asada.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.