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Want to know what to get up to and all the best spots when visiting Chinchilla? Read through our handy articles today for helpful information!

Ten Tips for Travelling in the Australian Outback

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Ten Tips for Travelling in the Australian Outback

The Golden Australian Outback offers travellers everything from natural wonders (Uluru), to the historical (Bunda Cliffs), to the stuff of urban legends (Drop Bears).

In this post, we have 10 travel tips to ensure you get the best from your outback Australian experience – visual wonders, dirt roads and all.

1.       Take note of the road rules as many outback roads have their own ‘rules’. For example, it is expected that larger caravans will allow smaller vehicles to past them on the right hand shoulder. This is normally indicated with a flash of the headlights or a toot of the horn. Also remember a smiling face and polite hand gesture also goes a long way.

2.       Prior to your journey let someone know where you are headed, your expected stopovers and when you plan to get back. This way if anything goes unexpectedly wrong, friends back home can know your approximate location in order to notify help.

3.       Bring extra cash to cover water, food and petrol. You never know when you may have to drive an extra 100kms or stay an extra night, so it’s important to have backup cash (coins and notes) as a safety net.

4.       Preparation beats boredom. As anyone with experience will tell you, travelling long distances can quickly become tedious. Plan for this by bringing plenty of music, audio books or car games, which can keep you entertained for extended periods.

5.       Avoid driving into the night. Nothing is more dangerous then a tired driver, so limit any driving after sunset. The daylight will also help you steer clear of roaming animals.

6.       Be aware of the weather conditions and temperature changes on the days of your travel. The Australian Outback can be deceiving as it can get very hot very quickly (40 degrees hot!), yet as the sun sets the temperature also takes a dive. Do some research before your journey to ensure you have the appropriate clothing.

7.       Wear sensible shoes and comfortable clothes. If you plan on making plenty of stops, make sure you have a pair of shoes easily accessible; this way, you will not have to take on any rocks in thongs. Remember to be sun safe – wear sunscreen and hats.

8.       Don’t stray too far away from your vehicle. Walk around only when you intend to sight-see, or along a designated track. The outback sun works quickly, so keep plenty of water on hand when you are spending extended time away from your vehicle.

9.       Take your time exploring. Don’t breeze through the trip – take time to appreciate everything you see. Chances are you will not be back there anytime soon.

10.   Plan your trip ahead of time. The most important tip is to make sure that you know where you will be going and what you can expect to encounter. Research and be prepared.

Plan your Queensland Outback trip, and make sure you stay with us at Kings Park Accommodation along the way. Phone us today on 07 4662 7733 or email info@kingsparkaccommodation.com.au

 

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HOW TO TAKE INSTA WORTHY TRAVEL PHOTOS

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HOW TO TAKE INSTA WORTHY TRAVEL PHOTOS

Travel photographs are memories. You look at a picture and it conjures up thoughts, feelings, and smells that take you back to a long-forgotten place.

Photography is a skill that takes time, effort, and practice to master. It’s also not a question of gear — great travel photography is very much about the photographer.

Here are 8 simple travel photography tips you need to take better pictures right away. If you follow these rules, you won’t go wrong!

1. Composition: Taking Pictures People REALLY Want

Patterns: the human brain is a sucker for them. We’re always looking for patterns — be they shapes in the clouds, symmetry in buildings, or colours that complement each other. There’s just something about a pattern that our brains love.

Understanding these patterns and what pleases the human brain is a nifty shortcut to taking better photos. And that’s what composition in photography is all about. Learn and apply the rules below, and you’ll start taking more photos that people will enjoy.

Before launching into them, though, some important basics. First, ensure that your camera is level. You don’t want wonky horizons. Your brain generally doesn’t like them; they’re the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

Next — stop moving. You want to be as still as possible when shooting to avoid blurry images. Hold your camera with both hands and be steady, or use a tripod.

2. The Rule of Thirds

One of the most important rules of composition is known as the rule of thirds.

I learned recently that this is based on how babies learn to identify their mothers’ faces, which can be split up into three parts, comprising the eyes, nose, and mouth.

The rule of thirds requires you to break an image into three equal parts either vertically, horizontally or both. The goal is to place key compositional elements into those thirds.

On your device, find the setting to enable a grid over the preview screen. Four lines will appear, two vertical and two horizontal.

3. Leading Lines

When composing a photograph, you want to make it as easy as possible for the person looking at it to figure out the subject and focus of the image.

One way to do this is with leading lines — the use of natural geography or other features that the viewer will naturally look at first and which will lead their eyes to the main subject.

Roads and railways are excellent as leading lines, particularly in big landscape shots.

4. Foreground, Midground, and Background

Have you ever taken a picture of a mountain or city skyline and then looked at it later and wondered why it doesn’t manage to convey the majesty of what you were looking at?

This is likely because your photograph is a two-dimensional image and you have lost the sense of scale that is apparent when you are present and in the moment.

When composing a shot — and this is particularly true for landscape photography — think about the different elements in the foreground, midground, and background of the shot.

When you are out and about in the world, think about everything around you. If you see a far-off mountain you want to shoot, look around and see if you can find something interesting in the foreground or midground to incorporate into the shot. If you’re near a river, maybe that could be a canoe. Elsewhere it could be a house. Or a group of sheep. Or a car starting to scale a winding road.

If you’re shooting a city scene, look at what is happening all around you. Street vendors, different modes of transport, and signs and storefronts can all be incorporated as foreground to provide context and scale for your city skyline or that interestingly shaped building.

If you can’t find something, be creative. Find someone to stand in your shot to provide that scale. If you’re travelling with a tripod, do what I did in that railway shot and use yourself as the subject. Just remember not to confuse your viewer too much with too many compositional elements, and keep it clear what the photo is of.

Thinking beyond the big background parts of the image and focusing on the smaller elements will help you create more balanced, pleasing images.

5. Framing

This compositional technique isn’t about hanging a picture in a frame; it’s about using what’s around you to “frame” the subject you are trying to capture, illustrating to the viewer what the shot is of and drawing their eyes into the scene.

When you have found your subject, look around to see if there’s a way you can frame it creatively. Some good options for framing include vegetation, like tree branches and trees, as well as doors and windows.

6. Focal Points

One way to be sure that people look at the part of the image you want them to look at is to have only that part of the image sharp and in focus and the rest blurry.

This is particularly effective for isolating people or animals in shots — take a look at wedding or sports photos of people, and you’ll see how often the subject of the shot is the only thing in focus.

To start with, you can achieve this effect with the “portrait” or “people” mode on your camera.

7. Use of Colour

Colour is really important in photography, particularly how different colours work well together. For example, blue works well with yellow (sunflowers in a field), and red works well with green (Christmas!).

To figure out which colours work well together, take a look at this colour wheel.

Generally, colours opposite each other on the wheel will complement each other. These colours don’t need to be evenly balanced in a shot — often images work best with a small percentage of one and a greater percentage of another.

When you are on your travels, keep an eye out for contrasting and complimentary colours that you can incorporate into your shots. Spice markets, old European cities, rural meadows, and old colourful barns in green fields are a great place to start.

8. Storytelling

Remember that when you are taking a picture, you have all the background and surrounding knowledge of your trip in your mind. When you look at the image later, all of that will come back to you.

No one else has that advantage. To them, that shot of a waterfall is just that — a shot of a waterfall. The story of the five-hour hike there through a leech-infested jungle? Lost. The feeling of how refreshing it was on your skin when you took the plunge in to cool off? Also gone. It’s just a two-dimensional image on a screen, likely quickly flicked by to be replaced by the next image in the stream.

It’s your job to bring all that lost context to life.

We’re often told that a photograph is worth a thousand words. As a photographer, it’s your job to convey those words. Figure out how to tell that story with your image. Get the shots that pull your viewers into your stories. Use emotion, find and freeze moments, and incorporate the human element so your shots resonate with your viewers.

Spend time thinking about the shot you are trying to create, the moment you are trying to capture, and the story you are trying to tell your viewer. Put yourself into their shoes, imagine you are going to be looking at the shot with no other context, and try to build the shot from there.

Practice makes perfect – and travel photography is no different in this regard! The more photos you take, the more you will learn how to compose and capture great shots. While reading some travel photography tips will definitely help, the key is to actually go out in the world and practice them. The more you practice, the faster this will all become second nature. It won’t happen overnight, but over time your skills will improve — I promise!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start taking some photos!

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National Parks and Botanic Gardens

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National Parks and Botanic Gardens

The Western Downs region has access to unique national parks and botanic gardens where you can experience the natural beauty of our special part of Queensland. We are home to the world famous bunya pine as well as one of Queensland’s unique botanic gardens that contains many of Australia’s botanical treasures.

Located within a two hour drive from Chinchilla is the Bunya Mountains National Park. Declared a National Park in 1908, the Bunya Mountains is the world’s largest remaining bunya pine rainforest and is linked to the Jurassic era. Until the late 1800s, Aboriginal people travelled up the mountain during bunya nut season to feast and celebrate. Notches still mark the tree trunks where young men cut footholds with stone axes to scale the trees and bring down bunya nuts.

Only an hours drive from Chinchilla is Lake Broadwater Conservation Park. Lake Broadwater is a natural lake 27km south-west of Dalby. Surrounded by cypress pine, eucalypt and brigalow woodland, it is a refuge for our waterbirds and native wildlife. Bring your friends and family here for picnics and relax under the shady river red and blue gums on the shores of the lake.

Another drive under 2-hours from Chinchilla is the Myall Park Botanic Gardens, Glenmorgan. This internationally recognised botanic garden was established in the 1940’s and is located 7km outside the town of Glenmorgan. Focusing on arid and semi-arid plant species, the collection was the vision of Mr David Gordon (1899-2001) and was developed during the wool boom years when Mr Gordon sent collectors across Australia to source plant propagation material. Walking trails, day trips, campers and caravans are welcome.

Here at Kings Park Accommodation we recommend making a weekend of it, and booking our Botanical Gardens package to explore these gorgeous National Parks and Gardens at your own pace. To book contact us on 07 4662 7733 or click here.

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Road Tripping 101

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Road Tripping 101

People fly everywhere these days that you might think the classic road trip is a thing of the past. This is not actually the case. While it does seem that the “On the Road” experience of getting a car and just going for the sake of going is in decline, the statistics (and the number of cars all around you) prove that more Australians than ever are taking to the roads for vacations and family visits, albeit apparently for more frequent but shorter trips.

There is a richness to traversing the land an inch at a time that is absent from the experience of climbing into a plane and climbing out at your destination. To get the most of your experience, don’t miss these road trip tips.

1. Clean your car before and during your trip.

Go ahead, leave the napkins and gum wrappers under your seat. Leave the receipts from your last business-related drive in the glove box. Don’t sweat the dog hair in the back bed … but you’ll be sorry. A few days into your trip, when the old gum wrappers are joined by new fast food wrappers, when the glove box starts overflowing with hotel receipts and local maps, when dog hair starts sticking to your luggage and your gear, you’ll rue the day you failed to pull out the Shop-Vac.

As your trip proceeds, take time every couple of days to purge your car of undesirable flotsam and jetsam. Even if you can tolerate some chaos (as I can), the accumulated junk and minor filth will start to drive you mad in the close quarters that define a road trip.

2. Check your vehicle.

About a week before you leave for a long road trip, have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires and anything else that could cause problems. Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables and extra wiper fluid on hand.

3. Have a loose plan.

Delays are the one thing that you can count on when driving significant distances. If you overschedule your road trip, you’re almost guaranteed to find yourself slogging the last few miles long after you had intended to be asleep, trying to cancel one hotel reservation so you can pay for another well short of your originally planned destination.

On the other hand, having no plan at all is only recommended for the most hardy souls. On a trip a few years ago, our plan was simply to pull over when we got tired to crash in a hotel; after taking three exits without success, we finally stopped at a place at which the front desk person asked, “Are you staying the whole night?” Ugh.

4. Get off the highways

Unless you have a specific destination and a strict schedule, there is little point in hitting the roads to see the country if you don’t spend some time on the back roads.

However, that being said…

5. Preload your phone with entertainment options.

The days of regional radio offering a musical or informational palette that you can’t find anywhere else are almost all but gone, so tapping into the local vibe via radio is far less satisfying than it used to be. That means you’ll want to make sure your phone is set to keep you entertained over the long hours of driving, whether you’re tapping into your own collection of music, streaming tunes via an app like Spotify or Pandora, or listening to your favorite podcasts.

If you’re road tripping in your own car, you probably already have a phone charger that will plug into the console and keep you powered up. If you’re renting a car for your road trip, be sure you have the right technology to plug into whatever power outlet is available in that vehicle (cigarette charger, USB port, etc.).

6. Tend to division of labor.

Some people are good at navigating; others couldn’t read a map if they tried. Some people are good at planning meals, while others think a big bag of chips counts as a good dinner. Know who does what well, and what really matters to your traveling companions, and you will divvy up tasks in a way that gets things done efficiently and to the satisfaction of all.

7. Join a roadside rescue service.

If you take enough road trips, eventually you will end up stranded on the side of the road. Having that 13-number that immediately ties you in to approved local tow services and mechanics is going to save you a lot of hassle, and also shield you from some of the dangers of the road that none of us wishes to encounter.

8. Eat local and stay local

Give the local grub a go – even if you have no idea what it is. After all, it might be the only chance you get. The same goes for accommodation: check yourself into the local motel, like us here at Kings Park Accommodation and get to know some people who work in the community you are visiting.

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Motorcross - For the Physically Fit!

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Motorcross - For the Physically Fit!

Here's the question for the day - is motocross riding the most physically demanding sport? It's a good question and depending on who you're talking to, the responses may be across the board.

Motocross riding in and of itself is demanding on so many levels. Anyone who participates in the sport of motocross riding already knows, firsthand, the physical and mental drain on the body. Those contemplating getting involved with motocross riding should know what's in store and plan accordingly.

There are two sides of the coin when it comes to "getting ready" for motocross competition. The sport is definitely for the physically and mentally fit, meaning, body mass, muscle tone and strength, along with a positive frame of mind need to be in tip-top shape. The ability to be flexible, versatile and move as quickly as a cat when it's called for is also part of the "must have" package in order to handle everything thrown at you on the track. The body is its own "lean, mean machine" and must be super fit to endure the rigors of the track. This includes the strength and stamina to maneuver a 200+ pound piece of machinery with precision around the track using every muscle from head to toe.

Along with "getting ready" for motocross, riders also need the strength to handle "getting geared-up." Simply try walking around wearing a helmet, boots, chest and back protection, a neck brace and gloves and you'll wonder how it's done on two wheels.

The flip side of the coin is all about your mental state of mind. Riding motocross takes concentration and lots of it. While whipping around the track at top speeds taking on the challenges, your mind is constantly shifting - just like your body - to meet the needs of the current or next move. Your mind is in "strategic think mode" all the time as you must plan for the current move while thinking about the next move down the track. It's much the same as if you were playing in an intense game of high stakes chess where the wrong move means your competition will take home the prize.

A good, solid diet that goes beyond the scope of burgers and fries and a few brews is also essential to feeding both the body and the brain. As you can see, riding involves much more than putting on a helmet and racing around a track.

If you've ridden for recreation along a trail or competed in an enduro, think about the strain on the hands, wrists, arms, legs, back and spine as you're jostled left to right and up and down, sometimes seated other times standing, while doing a balancing act on the pegs. All of these "movements" take a hefty toll on the energy levels.

With motocross, ramp it up even more by adding the need to keep the speed amped while negotiating the track, staying ahead of the pack and taking on a number of challenging obstacles while still maintaining absolute control of the bike. Add a few whoops and the demand on your body, especially the arms, goes to a whole other level.

Studies of motocross riders in past years have compared riders against athletes from demanding sports such as NFL football, professional basketball, track and soccer with results showing that riders, overall, were at a higher level of physical fitness. A 2002 study confirmed the previous results. This in no way takes away from the fact that those participating at high-level supercross competitions, timed trials, arenacross or enduros aren't in a demanding sport. Each takes a toll and for those who are ready, willing and able to take on the tracks and trails and provide all the physical and mental energy it takes, we salute you.

Chinchilla’s Motorcoss Club regularly holds race days for those fit and enthusiastic motorcross fans. The next one will be held on October 21, from 7am at the Brigalow Motorcross Track.

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