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Edge of the Desert

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Ok…we are getting close to the purpose of the whole trip…The Simpson Desert.

We left Eringa early morning heading towards Mt Dare. As it turns out, Mt Dare is a Hotel/Store/Camping Ground with an airfield. And not much else. Power is supplied by a Diesel Generator and as expected we reached the high water mark of the price of Diesel at @ $2.20/litre. Given the remoteness of the place, I thought this was pretty reasonable. We topped up with fuel, had an ice-cream for a treat and took some obligatory pictures in front of the store.

The next stop was Dalhousie Springs.
What an amazing place. First impressions are of another desert oasis with multiple lagoons being fed from natural springs.

It’s only when you jump in for a swim that the craziness becomes apparent. The water is at around 38 deg C! That’s 100 deg Fahrenheit. Does your head in being in a hot bath out in the middle of nowhere.
Getting out was an equally strange feeling as with a slight breeze blowing, we actually felt cold as we dried off. Weird.

We camped the night at Dalhousie with tomorrow being the start of the actual desert.

Eringa – Desert Oasis

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We left Oodnadatta heading for Eringa. No one was really sure what to expect, but we were all amazed at what we found. I’m not sure I have the words to do it justice, so my backup plan is to show some drone footage. Have a look and probably start planning your trip to check it out in person 🙂

Day 7- 8 Coober Pedy & Oodnadatta

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Friday morning we looked around Coober Pedy. A very interesting place totally focussed on Opal Mining. The highlight for me was a visit to the Old Timers Mine and Museum. We went underground in an old Opal Mine that has been set up to show how the old timers lived and worked. They uncovered a very large seam of Opal when excavating for the Museum that the original miners missed by “that much”. Worth about $40k in todays market but left in place as part of the exhibit.

After the museum it was time to refuel and head to Oodnadatta to catch up with the guys from the 4WD club. The trip was just over 2hrs through some of the most barren country we’ve seen so far. The highlight was seeing a wedge tail eagle taking off from the side of the road with a large snake in its talons. It may have been offering a lift to the snake, but I suspect things did not end well for the reptile 🙂

Oodnadatta is a very small town with a well stocked roadhouse, a smaller general store and a railway museum.  We refuelled again, adding a further 40 litres to the Jerry cans on the roof. The fuel was reasonably priced at $1.60/litre. The locals had a good little thing going given that there was no local radio station. One of the houses played very loud music until the sun went down, then another house took over and played music until around 3 am. When the music stopped they had a very good rendition of “who let the dogs out” with every dog in town joining in barking for around 30 minutes. (Note to Self – Get fuel and provisions then camp outside of town next time)

Day 2 & 3

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Hi Again,

I’ll do a couple of days updates in one hit as bandwidth was none existent at our last two overnight stops.

Day two was what could be called a travel day, leaving Bollon to travel towards Innamincka.

It was during this day that we started to get a real feel for how bloody big Australia is! Limited animals to see we think maybe because of the lack of water, but that’s just a guess. The scenery varied once again from dry forest through to wide open plains with what looked like good quality grass. Not sure how they got it to grow there, but well done to whoever did that.

The first town we came onto was Cunnamulla. A very nice place complete with a statue of the Cunnamulla Fella which is a tribute to Slim Dusty and Stan Coster who sang and wrote the song of the same name. We met a guy that was with a party from the University of New England that were doing some environmental research in the area and were staying on a nearby station. Anyone could camp at the station which would be something I’d be interested in when I come back this way.

The next town was Thargomindah which was a very small place and looked like it might be in decline. The shop had very little stock on the shelves. We filled up with fuel and was on our way. Still a long way to go before the day was done.

As we got closer to Innamincka which is we plan to meet up with the guys from the 4WD club we saw signs to the Bourke and Wills Dig Tree so decided to take the detour in to have a look. When we arrived at the information centre there was another couple just signing in so we struck a conversation. They had been travelling for 50 days so far up through the Gulf of Carpentaria and were heading back to Victoria through the centre of Aus. As it was getting towards dark we decided to camp at the site, and ended up having a great time with our new friends Brett and Sue. The beer and wine was tasting very good after our days travel.

The next morning we went exploring around the Dig Tree site. A very interesting place where Bourke and Wills stopped during their trip to become the first Europeans to travel the length of Australia North to South. The Dig tree itself is the site where their supply teams buried food etc in the hope that Burke and Wills would find it. The trip ended in tragedy for them but is a part of Australia’s history. Well worth Googling if you would like to know more.

We then travelled into Innamincka with Brett and Sue and had lunch the Innamincka Hotel. Good food and cold beer. What more could you ask for.

We then met up with the 4WD club that were camped just below the hotel and set up camp. After a shower at the public ammentities, we went exploring around the very small town. There is a historic building commemorating the nurses who lived and worked at a health facility on the site in the early 20th Century. We also visited the local cemetery and which has recently been restored by the local community. The area is rich in history with Bourke and Wills travels as well as local cattle stations etc.

It is now Tuesday and we are heading south towards Lyndhurst and are presently stopped at the viewing area for the Moomba gas and oil field. They have bandwidth so everyone is catching up with facebook and calls .





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