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Thank you Australia. See you soon Xtractor

Mission done. The incredible journey of 8500 km across Australia has been accomplished. A special greeting to this land and its wonderful people. An honorable mention to our unstoppable McCormick and to the whole team Xtractor. Continue to follow us on Facebook (link fb) waiting for the next chapter of Xtractor Around the World.

Thank you Australia. See you soon Xtractor

Mission done. The incredible journey of 8500 km across Australia has been accomplished. A special greeting to this land and its wonderful people. An honorable mention to our unstoppable McCormick and to the whole team Xtractor. Continue to follow us on Facebook waiting for the next chapter of Xtractor Around the World.

Day 40: Ayers Rock/Uluru – Alice Springs

Officially the Xtractor’ journey ended at the foot of the sacred monolith Uluru, but actually we need to take our tractors (and ourselves) to Alice Springs. We decide to choose a dirt track apparently shorter than the comfortable – but boring – motorway. In the process, we find we made a bit risky choice risky which on the other hands shows, if ever we need more evidence, that there is no obstacle for our tractors. We arrive late at night in Alice Springs after seventeen hours of driving. So the first chapter of Xtractor comes to an end. See you to the next adventure!

Day 39: Erldunda – Ayers Rock/Uluru

Today we wake up at 6 and as always, and until sunrise the air is fresh and cold. The temperature on board of our tractors is red-hot instead. This is the last day of our adventure, at least according to the roadmap. Our goal is the red monolith, Ayers Rock or Uluru, how local Aborigines call it – the symbol of Australia. Just after breakfast we set off to our 250-kilometer leg, which means an almost seven-hour drive – and we don’t want to risk missing the sunset at Ayers Rock! The unmistakable profile of the sacred mountain suddenly appears a few dozen kilometers before the destination, hidden by a chain of red dunes, still in the distance, while the afternoon light begins to turn golden. We arrive at the bottom of the mountain just in time to see it glowing in a complex play of lights and shadows while the sun goes down. In a perfectly clear sky perfectly clear a crescent moon rises slowly. Mission accomplished!

Day 38: Alice Springs – Erldunda

Today is the second last leg for the crew of Xtractor. Desert, here we go again. But here the landscape is different, much less desolate as compared with last days’ burned moors. The blackened trees were replaced with low bushes, deep green against the bright red of the sand dunes. Day after day, the temperatures are grown up to 37 degrees, fortunately dry and always a bit windy. Probably the environment seems to be less hostile simply because are get closer to the civilized world, starting from an excellent highway which goes ramrod straight to the south. This time we chose the most direct way to the goal post, the amazing landscape of Ayers Rock. Thanks to the tens of thousands of tourists that follow our today’s 200 km. route every year, we will find at least three places to stop on our way. A real luxury!

Day 36: Tobermorey – Alice Springs

The plan was to stop at another farm – again in the middle of nowhere – in Tobermoray, the only option in hundreds of kilometers. We are on Road 12, obviously dirt, also known as Plenty Highway although in fact the only thing there is plenty of is… the nothing. Or perhaps the name refers to the incredible amount of dust and flies. As a matter of fact, at around 2pm we get to the ranch of Jervois and no one is prepared to spend the rest of the day here in the hot sun, covered with flies, watching the wind raise dust devils in the withered bushes until time comes to get into the sleeping bag. No discussion, we decide to refill the vehicles and leave immediately, no matter if we need to cover another 340 kilometers to Alice Springs, which add up to the 228 of this morning. We skip lunch, we skip dinner too. Anything to get away from this nothing! We keep travelling till sundown, astounishignly beautiful, and keep bouncing on the bumpy dirt road, then after dark we hit tarmac and get to Alice Springs at around midnight. What a relief! 570 km, 15 hours of driving: it was worth it.

Day 35: Mount Isa – Tobermorey

The journey into the nothing continues, this time down a narrow road, paved, which after a few dozen kilometers turns dirt. Apart from that, the scenario does not change: the desert. Then suddenly road works materialize – lots of signs and graders at work. The track becomes even for a while, then everything falls back into nakedness. It’s back to nothing.

Another hundred kilometers and a tiny town appears. An oasis of life gathered around a bizarre little bar that looks straight out of a movie. Veranda discolored, old saddles thrown around carelessly, a few sleepy customers with Aborigin traits. We stop for a cold drink and then – again – we are in the nothing. Flies, warm wind, silence. We feel like we are the only humans in this planet, yet after a hundred more kilometers there is a farm. In front of the house, side by side, a few cows and a small helicopter (everyone has a small, for emergencies). There is a petrol pump, a surprisingly green lawn for camping, a few trailers with toilets and showers. Unbridled luxury over here. We set up out tents under a sky glittering with stars.

Day 34: Julia Creek – Mount Isa

One day’s journey through the usual bleak monotony of the dry flat, and we cover the distance between the small rural town of Julia Creek (two roads, a pub, nobody around at seven o’clock in the evening) and Mount Isa, one of country’s main industrial centres. In over 250 km. we cross only one town, then the traffic increases, mostly made of trucks and special vehicles for transport of mining machinery. Founded just ninety years ago around a mine, Isa is the center of a region that produces copper, lead, silver and zinc, as well as high-quality beef. We frankly do not like it so much, but probably tomorrow we’ll miss all this. We hit again our dirt roads where human settlements can be counted on the fingers of one hand – eight hundred kilometres in the middle of nowhere with a specific goal: Alice Springs. The finish line is approaching.

Day 33: Hughenden – Julia Creek

We take the Flinders Highway, the road that we will follow for hundreds of kilometers, an asphalt ribbon that from the coast points to west, straight to the red heart of the continent. The landscape can be even more desolate than yesterday: no more trees in the scene, leaving behind an ocean of yellow grass. Traffic today is a bit more sustained, roughly fifty cars in total. The big event of the day is the passage of two trains. It’s hot, the wind rolls dry bushes like in western movies. But when we complain about the temperature with the locals, they look us with fun – is this hot? Try to come back here in summertime…

Day 32: Lyndhurst – Hughenden

If yesterday it seemed we were travelling in the middle of nowhere, now it is even worse (or better, depending on your point of view). The road started well, but a few kilometers from the roadhouse where we spent the night the asphalt ends and begins a long dirt track, perfectly straight, flanked by the usual vaguely spooky landscape made of withered trees darkened by some old fire. For all the 263 kilometers of today’s leg the road alternates asphalt and dirt sometimes white, sometimes red, but does not meet any towns. We meet a dozen of vehicles, including a huge truck. For the rest just lean cows, termite mounds and several kangaroos crossing the road hopping. Dry wind, dust and silence.

Day 31: Mount Garnet – Lyndhurst

The first surprise of today is the cold: at 6am, at the alarm ringing, the air is definitely cool, but within a few hours everything is back to normal and at midday there are the usual 28 degrees, perhaps slightly more. We drive along a secondary road with very little traffic. Mount Garnet, the tiny village where we spent the night, is the only town in the next four hundred kilometers. The landscape is dead dry, dotted with withered trees and huge termite nests made of red earth. It’s the drought. It didn’t rain for three years – according to an old farmer we routed out of his ranch down the road – and the cattle starts to suffer it. The rainy season should start in November: hopefully this year our friend Don (and everyone else) will get rain… Tonight we sleep in a roadhouse, a kind of inn that combines gas station, restaurant and rest area with a few rooms and pitches for campers. Literally, in the middle of nowhere. We share the area with giant trucks: 3-4 trailers, 18-wheeler beasts. It’s the outback, baby!

Day 30: Cairns – Mount Garnet

Today, the last chapter of Xtractor Australia begins. We head back to south, but this time we get away from the coast and lead inland. The endless outback, literally “the behind”, covers most of the Australian territory behind the 3,500-km. long mountain chain that borders the east coast and forms a watershed between the green countryside and the desert. We travel for a few hours through pastures and cows along a curvy road that goes up and down through woods and hills, and has nothing to do with the rainforest we’ve seen just yesterday. Then the fields begin to turn yellow, the woods become less dense and suddenly the landscape changes again. The land now is red: welcome to the outback. Steak for dinner as usual, you never run short in this nation of farmers, in a tiny village inn (which sounds quite like a flattery for that one…). The beer flows freely between billiards, eccentric customers with a splash of Aboriginal traits (glad to see them at last!) and a blaring jukebox.

Day 29: Great barrier reef

Today, finally, a very much needed day off! The drivers can take a rest, do the laundry, walk around the city, take a nap next to the pool. Just relax. Someone goes a bit further: our filming crew, lucky them, leave for a cruise to that wonder of nature that is the Great Barrier Reef. It’s our last chance, tomorrow we leave the coast to head west, towards the red heart of the continent. Towards the end of the day we go to the supermarket to stock up on food. Xtractor shifts into a new gear: desert, we are coming!

Day 28: Cape Tribulation – Cairns

Not a very interesting day today. We have breakfast outside, surrounded by rainforest, then take the beautiful road to Cairns. Sun is back after yesterday’s clouds, and it starts to get hot. There is people on the postcard-picture beaches, and somebody even swims, despite the warning signs of deadly jellyfish and sea crocodiles. We haven’t spotted crocodiles so far – which we regret a bit – so we stop in a park where they have 2,500 (they grow them too, to make bags and the alike). They pounce on food, their jaws snapping like steel traps. We are not sure we still want to bump into them…

Day 27: Cairns – Cape Tribulation

Cairns could even be the tourist center of north Queensland, but it is little more than a collection of not particularly attractive hotels. Cairns is our starting point to push north until the asphalt ends and there is only jungle ahead. We cross the Daintree on a barge, a beautiful forest road leads to the tiny settlement of Cape Tribulation, so named by the explorer Cook who was about to sink right here in 1770. We keep on for a few kilometers along the legendary Bloomfield Track, a dirt track that follows the sinuous profile of the Coast, running in between the green of the vegetation and the blue of the sea that we intermittently spot through the mangroves. Regrettably, there is a steady stream of big trucks and frequent road works, it looks like a motorway under construction… What a disappointment. We give up and finish the day on a forest-bordered beach of white sand which looks set up for Robinson Crusoe. The Road Menders are gone, cell phones do not work, there is also full moon. The perfect evening!

Day 26: Cardwell – Cairns

Green, green, green. Today we travel in the green, the bright green of new grass that stands out on the dark tones of the forest. We managed to escape from A1 to take a small country road through plantations of sugar cane and banana. We spot countless large flowers which turn out to be plastic bags, perhaps for protection of the bunches of bananas. The plain is all cultivated, but on the surrounding slopes the nature is lurking, ready to regain its territory. Like in Paronella Park, the estate which belonged to an extravagant Spanish immigrant of the 1930s, relinquished to the jungle and discovered again – almost by accident – twenty years ago. A few kilometres further we find a village bar that looks straight out of a movie, a bit western, a little horror, a little retro. A glimpse of rural Australia so fascinating that we do not want to leave. The whistle of the train carrying the sugarcane cut wakes us up: it’s time to get back to civilization. Pity!

Day 25: Townsville – Cardwell

Today we have gathered sufficient satisfaction for two days and it is fortunate because today there is nothing special to report except that we passed the Tropic of Capricorn. We arrive in Rockhampton, Australia’s capital of livestock and cowboy that today, Sunday, are on a trip elsewhere: the city is deserted and even the famous arena for the rodeo is dark and silent. Day uninteresting, sometimes happens.

Day 24: Bowen – Townsville

Twenty-fourth day of the expedition, hit the 4,000 km. mark, we are more than halfway through. In Melbourne, when we left a bit more than three weeks ago, it was cold winter. Here, beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, we begin to smell summertime and exotic seas. Yesterday a flock of colourful parrots wandered in the motel’s garden. We arrived in Townsville, so tomorrow we enter the crocodile area: another potentially deadly enemy to the list of dangerous creatures that live in Australia, a continent where you always stay on your guard. It’s not just about animals: Townsville residents have witnessed at least eight devastating tornadoes in just over a century. But when the weather is nice like today the city is very pleasant and we enjoy it. Better seize the moment, because it will not always be so…

Day 23: Mackay – Bowen

Today we hit the A1 again, in the absence of alternative routes. Which is yet another evidence that we are gradually moving away from the most populated areas. We cross a large plain planted with cane sugar, mangoes and vegetables. It seems that most of the early fruits consumed in Australia come from here. The traffic is again rather intense, chiefly because of the road trains that exceedingly speed with no care for other road users. This is actually a big problem since this chunk of A1 is not even close to what we consider a highway: it’s simply a two-lane road with alternate overtaking lanes! We are forced to pull on the left to let them pass: we do not want to go the way of the dozens of kangaroo carcasses laying on the tarmac. We reach Bowen in early afternoon in time to relax at the beach for one hour. Fantastic and deserted coves, warm and then seafood in the harbour. Why asking for more? The Xtractor Team can well be happy with the day!

Day 22: Clairview – Mackay

The backwater we crossed yesterday has taught us an important lesson: when you find a petrol station you would better refill because the next one could be VERY far ahead. Today we managed to get to a petrol station by a hair, but it’s a risk that we cannot afford once in the outback. We know that as we go north, away from the popular swimming sites, we will drive through less and less populated regions. The town of Mackay is not a typical swimmer destination, but it reserves at least a nice surprise: a beautiful beach just a few steps from the city center. Hard to believe that yesterday’s desolation is just a hundred kilometers from here!

Day 21: Rockhampton – Clairview

Suddenly today the landscape turns to dry, a wasteland dotted with stunted trees sheltering dusty grazing cattle thin, apathetic, that barely bother to turn their head to watch us pass. The changing face of Australia. There is nothing in the range of tens of kilometers, even Route A1 – usually so busy -  is almost deserted. We stop for lunch in a little village that looks like stolen from a western movie set, a shabby little shop run by Sergio, second-generation Italian who speaks only English, a small miniature station, four houses. It feels like a frontier town. It feels drought. But in the evening we get back to the seaside, to have dinner on the beach. Another day full of emotions.

Day 20: Agnes Water – Rockhampton

Yesterday we got enough emotions for two days and this is very lucky because today there is nothing special to report except that we passed the Tropic of Capricorn. We arrive in Rockhampton, Australia’s capital of livestock. However today, Sunday, cowboys are on a business elsewhere: the city is deserted and even the famous rodeo arena  is dark and silent. Flat day – sometimes happens…

Day 19: Bundaberg – Agnes Water

Today we enjoed an almost-holiday atmosphere, it was a short but very intense leg. We leave the busy highway and turn into one of those countryside tracks we so much love to we find ourselves immersed in a fantastic world of water, palms and eucalyptus trees that instantly remind you of the tropics. We happened to help a boy whose car broke down and he couldn’t believe our tractors pull down to the dirt road to help him, in the middle of nowhere. Every cloud has it silver lining! We close the day on a postcard-worth beach, watching the surfers play in the waves, while the sun goes down. A great day.

Day 19: Bundaberg – Agnes Water

The 19 day sees the trip from Bundaberg to Agnes Water. In the video the story of the journey and step into the wonderful Reedy Creek Reserve, a 452–hectare nature reserve on the coast of south-eastern Queensland.

Day 17 – Fraser Island

Our expedition today takes us on legendary Fraser Island, in the Great Sandy National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. The Fraser Island, in Aboriginal language K’gari (paradise), is the largest sand island in the world, with an area of 1,840 km². Only 4×4 vehicles are allowed as there are no roads, just beach and sand tracks. This is really our 4 McCormick’s bread and butter! Fraiser Island is renowned for its pristine nature with its beautiful freshwater lakes and the many species of wild animals and birds. An unspoiled paradise inhabited in the past only by Aboriginal and shipwrecked.

Day 16: Overcome 3.000 Km

3,000 kms milestone overcome!
In today’s tour, from Brisbane to Tin Can Bay, the team on board our 4 tractors McCORMICK enters the 16th day of expedition reaching and exceeding one third of the total journey. Arriving in Tin Can Bay, a seaside resort that is located in a sheltered and deep bay of the Wide Bay – Burnett, famous for its fishing of shrimp and seafood and beautiful wild dolphins that live there.

Day 13: Port Macquaire – Arrawarra

The video story of the journey completed by the Xtractor Team from Port Macquarie until Arrawarra, the two main cities of the New South Wales, for a total of 240km. From the State of Victoria, the state where the expedition has began, the Team moves along the coast to reach the Queensland state.

Day 12: Bush

The exciting images of the expedition’s twelfth day: our team along the way from Heatherbrae to Port Macquarie, a 212-km leg, is crossing the bush, typical Australian landscape nested in the woods, a demanding path for our 4 McCormick tractors that enthusiastically fight their way through.

Xtractor Day 9: Blue Mountains – Sydney

The beginning of the second week of the expedition bring the Xtractor Team from the Blue Mountains, fascinating and unpredictable, to Sydney.

Xtractor – Firts week video sequences

Here we present some excerpts from the journeys of the first week of the expedition: in order Camper Down, Bendingo, Finley, Wagga Wagga, Cowra, until Katoomba, very famous in Australia for its spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, the Blue Mountains.

Day 2: Apollo Bay – Camperdown

190 kms along the Great Ocean Road, from Apollo Bay to Camperdown. In the most inaccessible ride, the natural spectacle of the 12 Apostles rewards the Team  splendidly: limestone towers and pinnacles that since an immeasurably long period of time arbitrates the match between land and sea. Watch the spectacular aerial shots.

Xtractor teaser

The raid aboard the 4 McCormick tractors for over 8.500 Km of Australia has just started but already gives us beautiful images of Australia. Discover how technological excellence translates into respect for the environment and for natural resources, thanks to McCormick. This video tells us about these aspects and the preparation stages of the expedition which started Tuesday, September 1 from Dandenong to Apollo Bay, a total route of 227 km in 7.6 hours.

McCormick presents the world of agriculture to the Tv-viewing public

McCormick introduces Xtractor Around the World. Experience the thrill of a unique expedition. 10 team members on board 4 tractors drive to World’s End. An exciting trip across Australia that will stir your heart and prove how technological excellence becomes respect for the environment and for natural resources thanks to McCormick’s experience with the LIFE+ programme financed by the European Union. McCormick introduces Xtractor Around the World.

Experience the thrill of a unique expedition. 10 team members on board 4 tractors drive to World’s End. An exciting trip across Australia that will stir your heart and prove how technological excellence becomes respect for the environment and for natural resources thanks to McCormick’s experience with the LIFE+ programme financed by the European Union.