Day 5 & 6
We left Farina yesterday morning with some final pictures taken in the Ruins. What a great place to visit.
The next stop was Maree.
Another small town that has an active community preserving history. We pulled up outside the pub and started chatting to a guy outside that was having a coffee. He turns out to be the owner and offered a guided tour of the building. Each room was really a work of art being beautifully restored with and with a theme of famous people or events from the area. The main rooms showed images of Donald Campbells’ world speed attempt on Lake Eyre, John Stuart – The ealy explorer that according to ol’mate the pub owner was a much better operator that Burke and Wills. Completed the South to North trip across Aus without losing a man. Well done to him!
There was a range of aboriginal art in other rooms as well. Very nice of the guy to show us through.
We then visited the shop and was surprised at the amount of stock on hand. They had absolutely everything in there. As you can imagine in the middle of nowhere, the prices were higher than what we were used to.
There were old diesel locos at the railway station with one even for sale. I couldn’t find a way to hook the Jeep up to it so we had to leave it there. Maybe next time 🙂
It was then back on the road heading towards Williams Creek.
Out in the middle of the desert there was a major art exhibition that was constructed of old cars, tanks and just about anything else they could put their hands on. At this stage we haven’t found out who did it but definitely some work went into it. We stopped at an old homestead next to the site and it looks like it was used by the artists as they did their work.
The house itself was interesting on its own, and we wondered what sort of people would have built it and what their dreams were when they did. Sad that it is derelict now. Hopefully they made their fortunes before they moved on.
The next stop was at the viewing platform for the southern edge Lake Eyre. What a massive thing. It is the dried salt lake bed from the water that flows inland from the rains that occasionally fall in central Aus. It is approximately 12 metres below Sea Level so it was to rain more often it would in effect be an inland see. But apparently the major rains only occur every 3 years or so and are quickly evaporated leaving the salt behind.
Jo and I then moved on by ourselves to make a window to visit Cooper Pedy, leaving the rest of the group to explore the lakes edge.
Our next stop was Williams Creek where we met some locals at the pub who helped to track down what is in reality the owner of the whole town. Trevor Wright came to the area 30 years ago with one aircraft to start a business. Now he employs 20 pilots, owns the pub and other buildings and has scenic flight businesses in Cairns, Williams Creek and a few other places. He organised us a pilot and off we went on a flight around the Lake. Our pilot, Laura, had only been in the area a month, and today was her first day of taking paying customers. The flight was fantastic and showed just how majestic the lake is. The airstrip has runways on both sides of the main road so we actually held up traffic as we taxi’d back lol. Not often you get that experience.
After the flight we hit the road again to Cooper Pedy and arrived just before dark. We booked a room at the Under Ground Hotel with the first item on the agenda a nice shower. Cooper Pedy is famous for Opals and having made use of old mine workings for housing as well. The underground theme is all through the town. I’m not sure if there are any other examples of this in the world, but I can imagine that in the heat of summer it would have been a great thing before air conditioning became wide spread.
We had a nice meal at the Hotel restaurant and probably too many bourbons at the bar, but hey…we’re on holidays. Met some interesting characters with one guy being the spitting image of Allan off “The Hangover” movies. I think we had some Italian ladies convinced it was actually him. Funny as!
It’s now Friday morning and we are going to explore the town before hitting the road to Oodnadatta to catch up with the other guys