NOW: COOBER PEDY TO DALHOUSIE SPRINGS.
We had a little run up the Stuart Highway from Glendambo to Coober Pedy. The car was very quiet on the smooth tar road, nothing shaking or rattling. We even had the radio on for a while! First stop in Coober Pedy was the Visitor Centre but ìt’s closed on Sundays and we arrived on a Sunday. You can fill your water tanks at the pay station next to the Visitor Centre for 20 cents per 3 minutes. It’s about preserving the water not covering the cost. We also called in at the IGA Supermarket. We’ve found IGAs have everything we need and a selection of local produce as well.
Our lunch in the underground cafe was enjoyable and like many people before us we had to touch the waĺls. There were little piles of dust around the edge of the “room” where everyone just has to feel the walls of what was once the mine! There are homes and shops in the centre of town which were once working mines.
Just out of town are The Breakaways which we visited twice – once during the day and again at sunset. These natural land formations look surreal out on the plains but the action of wind and rain has produced these spectacular scenes. We took our wine and cheese up to the lookout to watch the sunset and so did a number of others.
The mulloçk heaps stretch for miles around Coober Pedy showing where miners have tried to make their fortune from opals. You can look at and purchase opals in dozens of different places.
Our next day was completely different as we travelled from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta on a smooth, recently graded superhighway! Once on the Oodnadatta Track the corrugations started so we had a slower but reasonable run to Hamilton but then the Pedirka Road! 75kms in 3 hours. It’s been raining on the desert and there were lots of boggy sections, detour tracks and washaways.
We’d agreed before we started that if we didn’t like the road conditions we would turn around and go back. When we got to Stephensen Creek we could see recent wheel tracks in and out on both sides with several streams and sand mounds for 150 metres. Off with the boots and a walk through the water to find the best way. The knee deep track seemed the best – follow me!
We always carry at least a fortnight’s food, keep our water tanks fairly full and have spare hoses and fluids for the car but you get another reminder of the isolation in the outback when you see things like this trailer abandoned in the middle of the track. Something has gone wrong!
After a 100km detour we arrived at Dalhousie in time to set up and have a swim before dark. Was that wild road worth it? When you are soaking in the 42 degree water of the spring, of course it is! Our last visit to Dalhousie was freezing as no fires were permited in the campground. The weather was much warmer this time but we noticed that solid fuel fires are now allowed in containers like braziers (we have an ozpig) so that will make it more comfortable in the winter.
NEXT: BINNS TRACK.
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David