Australia · 16 Days · 36 Moments · June 2018

2018 Central Australia

16 July 2018

Waffles for breakfast. In Coober Pedy even the cafes have opals for sale and they're all run by grizzly old miners. Also an old VW beetle like the one I used to have!

15 July 2018

Lunch at the SA border

14 July 2018

Spaghetti a la Skippy (made with Kangaroo meat)
Our last afternoon before we start the trek back to Melbourne. We had planned to hire bikes to ride around the base of Uluru, but we got the too late so we did the 'Mala' walk instead. Very interesting learning about how the Aborigines used to survive in such a harsh environment. Finally we sat, ate some snacks and watched the sun set.
Our single biggest extravagance of the trip .. a helicopter flight over Uluru and Kata Tjuta! They split us into 2 copters, Emily and I in one and Nic, Chloe and Amy in the other. Needless to say it was breathtaking!
We got up very early to see the sunrise over Uluru. Not as impressive as the sunset somehow (maybe because we were frozen stiff)

13 July 2018

Sunset viewing of Uluru
This morning we saw Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). We did the Valley of the Winds walk, about 7.4km. Very spectacular, in some ways it is hard to understand why they are not as well known as Uluru.

12 July 2018

We're camped at the Ayers Rock resort campground. They put us in the overflow area, which resembles a landfill site with people camping in it cheek by jowel. Luckily we nabbed a spot up near the dune that rings the site.
Lunch Stop at Curtin Springs

11 July 2018

After a bit of a slow start, we did the Kings Canyon rim walk today. It's an amazing place, the scale of it had to be seen to be believed. Look closely at some of the scenery shots, you will see tiny dots which are actually people on the cliffs! It is a bit scary as there are few handrails to stop you from plunging to your death! Luckily we all survived.

10 July 2018

In what must be the coincidence of the year, we bumped into the Osmonds (another Lloyd St family) while queuing up to order dinner. What are the odds??? Here you see the kids attempting to use a payphone (which none of them had ever used before!)
Now we are camped at the Kings Canyon resort. Seems very commercial compared to what we have been used to. Hundreds of campers here. The stuff in their shop seems to have been deliberately selected to prevent you from finding a combination that you could cook into a meal. About 50 cans of spam but no rice, pasta or potatoes (except for a couple of packets of gluten free pasta which must have been gold plated if the price is anything to go by).

9 July 2018

Drone shot from the boggy hole track.
Today we drove up to Boggy Hole, which is in another part of the Finke River NP that you reach by taking a very challenging 4WD track from Hermansburg. The track runs right along the river bed making for some amazing scenery. The track alternates between rocks and treacherous sandy stretches. We saw quite a few other people who had been bogged, mostly those trying to pull trailers through the sandy bits. We managed to avoid getting stuck.

8 July 2018

Bush Paella (my favourite)
Rounded the day out with a walk up to the Kalkarra lookout. We then walked uo the valley where I was a one to take some great drone footage.
Aaagh! Snake!
This morning we drove up from the capsite to Palm Valley (real 4wd track, needs high clearance). The palms there are thought to be the same type as those in Mataranka, possibly brought there by the Aborigines trading the seeds.

7 July 2018

On the way to Hermansburg, we stopped off at Gosse Bluff, a very impressive meteorite crater. It is approx 300m years old.
We visited the historical Lutheran mission at Hermansburg. Amazing old buildings, must have been very hard to build them all considering how isolated it is even now, let alone in the 1800s. We had afternoon tea with apple strudel at the cafe.

6 July 2018

This is serpentine gorge.
The Ochre pits.
This morning we set off to explore a few of the local sites, starting with Ormiston Gorge. There is a walk running along the cliff (the ghost gums walk) which had outstanding views. It eventually descends right into the gorge from where you can walk up further.

5 July 2018

Marshmallows around the campfire
Today we are camped at Redbank gorge. The campsite is lovely, in amongst the bush and very spacious. After setting up camp we set off for the gorge, a couple of clicks up the track. Amazing red rock cliffs either side.

4 July 2018

In the afternoon we visited the original Alice Springs telegraph station, part of the overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin, that was completed in 1872. Quite an achievement when you consider the terrain!
We visited the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum this morning. They have a replica of one of their planes which the girls could pretend to fly and/or be transported to hospital in. Also an interesting display of old radios.

3 July 2018

Finally we've reached Alice!
We stopped for lunch about 50km south of the NT border. Tuna & rice all round. As you heas north of Coober Pedy the bush gets steadily less barren. The rest stop is near a dry creek bed with stands of gum trees.
Incredibly desolate landscape around Coober Pedy. Those mounds are all over the place, above the gem mines.

2 July 2018

Pretty uneventful drive up to Coober Pedy. Tonight we are staying in an underground motel (different one to the last time we were here). We scored a free room upgrade! Girls v. excited that they have their own TV. After a look around town we sat down to pizzas at a place called John's Pizza which apparently is the 5th best pizza place in Australia

1 July 2018

After a really long day's drive we stopped for the night at Baroota Ruins campsite, just north of Pt Germain. We'd stayed here before on our Kimberley trip - very nice bushy campground.
Hello South Australia!
We drove until well after dark, so we decided to spend the night in a cabin in Horsham rather than set up the trailer.

30 June 2018

After a miserably cold morning on the netball courts, we set off after lunch. First night's destination is Horsham.