Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beyond NT - part one

When we left Uluru we said goodbye to our travelling friends with the plan to do our last two weeks solo. After some teary and melodramatic goodbyes we only spent one night apart before ending up back together at Coober Pedy.

Coober Pedy was one of the parts of the trip that I was really looking forward to. I have fond memories of visiting there when I was a little girl. I have a vague recollection of walking down the street holding my mums hand and then bending over and picking up a rock that had a vein of opal in it. Coober Pedy hasnt changed much. My children were delighted to find rocks with opal in them. They spent a good two hours going through rocks finding opals and fossils. They had a brilliant time!

We explored an old mine and visited one of the underground houses. Simply amazing!! The house we visited had been dug out by hand by a single lady who had also dug herself a swimming pool in her living room. Of course all my kids decided that they wanted to move to Coober Pedy to live in a cave, including Ben who said he would quit his job and move there in a heartbeat. But no, I put my foot down and said I wasnt moving.

As we had met up with the others again in Coober Pedy we had to have another farewell dinner followed by a million goodbyes the next morning. We were off to do the Oodnadatta track (dirt road) while the others had chosen a more civilised route home via bitumen roads.

Off we set, along a dirt track into the Tirari Desert. The desert in SA is way more harsh than the desert in the NT. There is just 100's of kilometres of absolutely nothing. Actually, that's a lie... there are lots of flies!! If it wasn't for my new found appreciation for desert eco systems and interest in fossils and rocks I would have been bored shitless on our extremely long and bumpy drive. I have included a few photos of the nothingness that we saw out our windows.

We arrived in William Creek, a town who boasts a population of 7, and I headed into the local pub to enquire about permits (my real intention was to enquire about whether they sold ice creams). Who should I meet in the pub in the middle of no where???? My very own mother!!! The same mother I had said a tearful goodbye to a few hours, and couple of hundred kilometres ago. Mum was doing a scenic flight over Lake Eyre and the pilot had landed here to take his passengers to the pub. Thankfully there were no more teary goodbyes because my mum bought me an ice cream, which was enough to distract me while we headed off.

We decided to stay in a place called Coward Springs. Arriving there later in the afternoon I was very surprised to see this little patch of vibrant greenery in the middle of the desert. The water coming up in the spring brought to life hundreds of trees in an area about the size of a football field. It was a lovely place to camp. Probably my favourite place so far. (I wil add a pic of it below)

There was a spa in the campground, which was really just a hole where the water was bubbling up from the ground. Some thoughtful person had put railway sleepers around the edges and you really did feel like you were in a spa. The water was flowing in at such a rapid rate that it massaged you. All 6 of us soaked in there for ages - it wad perfect!!

After a yummy dinner we all sat around the campfire talking and toasting marshmallows. I think I saw about 5 shooting stars. A wonderful end to a lovely day!!

Oops, I almost forgot to mention. we had a picnic lunch in the middle of a claypan. It was delicious chicken and salad followed by an hour of hunting for fossils and rocks.

Will write more soon. I have just been to see Lake Eyre and have lots to tell you but typing on my phone while driving on a bumpy road is making me feel ill.


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