June - August 2016
  • Day48

    Oodnadatta, South Australia

    August 4, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Marree To Oodnadatta (SA) 4.8.16
    From Marree to Oodnadatta is 410klm on the dirt, so I drove the first half to Williams Creek, where we stopped for lunch at the pub. On the way we called into the southern section of Lake Eyre and walked down to the edge of the salt pan. There were some interesting flowering plants both along the roadside and by the lake. Lake Eyre, Australia's largest salt lake and lowest point below sea level (15.2m).
    Haydn then took over and drove the remaining 200klm to Oodnadatta where we stayed overnight at the Pink Roadhouse. Often our trip has run alongside the Old Ghan railway line including the railway bridge over the Neale River just before Oodnadatta. Oodnadatta is a historic pioneering town with a large Aboriginal population and a number of overseas visitors on a working visa.
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  • Day47

    Marree, South Australia

    August 3, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Marree (gateway to Lake Eyre Basin) 3.8.16
    Driving back along the dirt road, we called into Copley for an infamous quondong tart. We then followed the B83 Outback Highway to Lyndhurst calling into Talc Alf's place (a National treasure) to see his artwork and purchasing a small souvenir. The highway between Copley and Maree is mostly dirt with some bitumen sections. We booked a room at the Marree Hotel for the night. A beautiful hotel with one room filled with memorabilia associated with Tom Kruse, iconic mailman who drove the mail run along the Birdsville track and the subject of the film "Back to the Bush". Marree is also the junction of the iconic Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks.
    We stayed in the units behind the Marree Hotel which was built in 1883. About 60klms out of Maree, are remnants of the 4.2klm long image of an Aboriginal man, known as the Marree Man. The figure has been ploughed into the top of a plateau on the edge of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. It was spotted by air in the 1990's and its origin unknown.
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  • Day46

    Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary

    August 2, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary has rugged peaks, outback plains, waterholes, gorges and an unmistakable landscape. In 2012, most of the 60,000 hectare pastoral property was made a Protected Area by the South Australian Government. It contains the oldest part of the Flinders Ranges, granite and sedimentary rock that was laid down in an ancient sea nearly 1600 million years ago.
    Located in the North Flinders Ranges, the Ridgetop (Sillers Lookout overlooks a 1000m deep Yudnamutana Gorge, Lake Frome salt lake and plains) and Waterhole tours are world renowned. We went on the Ridge Top tour turning around at Sillers Lookout. Rick, our guide, was passionate, knowledgeable and a skilled 4WD driver. He drove us 4.5hours along the track pointing out rocks, fauna and flora as well as giving us the abridged version of the history of Arkaroola and the area surrounding it. Fascinating!
    Arkaroola contains some plants unknown elsewhere, the rare Menzel's Wattle and the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby. We saw dozens during our tour. :) There are five main walking trails which highlight different terrains and a range of vegetation. I walked the Acacia Ridge trail which is made up of Blue Mine Conglomerate (coarse crystals containing quartz, a mineral found in granite, and igneous rock). The summit was 566m and the ridge walk was 5.6klms. Views were great!
    Within the NP are hot springs formed from an enormous geyser explosion...a phenomenon not find anywhere else in the world...amazing. You can't swim in them though as they are radio active.
    They have two observatories with computer aided telescopes. It is supposed to be one of the best places in the Southern Hemisphere to gaze at the night sky with over 300 clear nights per year together with the elevation and location within Australia. I took the opportunity to go stargazing and it was mind boggling.
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  • Day45

    Wilpena Pound to Arkaroola, S.A.

    August 1, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    As the rain continued to drizzle, we farewelled Wilpena Pound and drove up to Blinman for lunch at the pub. Our plan was to travel inland through the ranges to Arkaroola however the publican at Blinman told us the road had been closed with the wet weather and it was $1000 per tyre fine for any vehicle who traveled on a closed road. Therefore we had to drive back to the main road (part of the Outback Way drive) and continue up through Leigh Creek and back inland at Copley. Arkaroola is 129klm from the turnoff on dirt road. Parts were mushy and we even got a bit sideways in one section! Other than sheep, cattle, horses, and the odd emu, we were lucky enough to see an echnidna run across the road. As I approached, the echnidna poked its nose into the bush and froze.
    The further inland we went the drier the road became however the rain followed us in so we are tucked up waiting to see what the weather brings tomorrow.
    Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is located in the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. It is 640klms by road from Adelaide; 100 klms from the nearest small town over the western horizon. This makes it one of Australia's most isolated villages.
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  • Day44

    Wilpena Pound Flinders Ranges NP

    July 31, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Wilpena Pound (Ikara) is located in the Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia (429 kilometres north of Adelaide). Adnyamathanha people have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years and the region remains of enormous significance today. It supports natural and semi-arid ecosystems.
    Wilpena is very popular for bushwalkers with half a dozen walking trail options in and around the surrounding ancient mountain ranges. These ranges are very unique, adding to the variety of terrain we've seen, and not like anything we have come across to date on our trip. The rivergums are huge and majestic. Plants and animals offered a welcomed distraction from the cool, drizzling weather although it was a pleasant walking temperature which seemed to add to the whole atmosphere of the pound. So glad we stayed overnight to see more of the area.
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  • Day44

    Adelaide to Wilpena Pound Flinders Range

    July 31, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    As we drove out of Adelaide this morning, the weather was definitely warming up however there were predictions of more rain and cold weather for S.A., and southern parts of Australia, on it's way. We passed through a few light showers of rain until we turned off at Port Augusta to drive inland through the Flinders Ranges.
    As we drove through Quorn, we stopped at the iconic Pichi Richi Railway Station which was built in the 1870s. Many of you will have seen Quorn in films such as "Gallipoli" and "The Water Diviner". The Pichi Richi Railway is narrow gauge and the last remaining portion of the original "Old Ghan" railway line. You can still catch the steam train and do a few different trips which would be fantastic. Alas we have a schedule and onwards we drove.
    Stopping for lunch at the century old Hawker Hotel (notice the xxxx sign out the front) we then headed onto Wilpena Pound. Wilpena Pound is a natural amphitheatre of mountains and is in the North Flinders Ranges.
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  • Day41


    July 28, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Whilst in Adelaide, we took the opportunity to fly to Perth for 2 days to see Haydn's Aunty Betty who at 87, was recently hospitalized. We stayed in Alexander Heights with Haydn's cousin Josephine and her husband Jo and caught up with some of his family and friends.
    Haydn lived in Perth from when he was 18months old, and his family arrived by ship from England, until he was 24. Haydn's mother and father, and his father's two brothers and wives, all emigrated to Australia. I had only been to Perth once before, with Haydn in summer, early in 1990. Perth had obviously changed and grown considerably.
    It was great to see Aunty Betty, cousins and their children and grandchildren as well as friends, Rex and Mary. Although it was a short trip, we really appreciated how welcomed we felt and the time we were able to spend catching up and sharing memories of "the good old days".
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  • Day39


    July 26, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Adelaide is the only Australian capital to be named after a woman. In 1836 Captain Hindmarsh submitted a request to His Majesty King William IV that the new capital be named after his Majesty or his consort Queen Adelaide. The king chose Adelaide.
    Adelaide greeted us with wind, rain and a cold snap however lucky for us, Stephen and Leah Arrizzo and Mandy Mattiske and Lee, were warm and welcoming. We hung out at Stephen and Leah's beautful home, repacked the FJ and had it serviced in preparation for the final leg of our trip.
    Today saw us head into The Basin Haircutters (Mandy and Steve's Salon) where we met several of the staff and enjoyed some hair pampering and terrific coffee. Haydn caught up with Spencer from nak and we wandered the Central Markets in the city.
    The first South Australians in the Adelaide region were the Kaurna (pronounced Garna) people. The area was known to them as Tandanya - the place of the red kangaroo. Part of the Kaurna people's spiritual connection to the country is Tjilbruke, an anesteral warrior, the keeper of fire and peace, who journeyed through the landscape in the dreamtime leaving his mark where he rested - thus his tears became springs.
    We visited Henley Beach and had a bite to eat at Swedish Tarts. The wide range of tarts and my savoury crepe was delish with prosciutto, sundried tomatoes and parmesan...yum!
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  • Day37

    Port Augusta South Australia

    July 24, 2016 in Australia ⋅ 🌬 11 °C

    Overnighting at The Standpipe Golf Motor Inn, we enjoyed a well earned rest after a long days driving.
    Port Augusta was named after the wife of the first Governor of South Australia. It sits on the Spencer Gulf and was a traditional meeting place for Aboriginal peoples. More recently, Port Augusta has prospered as an outback shipping port.
    The weather was cold, overcast and drizzling however we headed to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens for brunch. Such a gorgeous area with all manner of natives.
    Before leaving Port Augusta we spent some time in Wadlata Outback Centre, both informative and interactive. Off to Adelaide now to get the FJ serviced, call in on some friends and repack and reorganise for the next leg of our travel.
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  • Day36

    Kulgera NT to Coober Pedy SA

    July 23, 2016 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We farewelled Finke Gorge and once again drove through Owen NP onto the Stuart Highway, staying overnight at Kulgera on the border of NT/SA. We met a dozen or more retirees and visitors to Australia, driving Citroën CV2 from the southern states as part of an organised driving tour. 66 of these little cars are spending several weeks driving around NT.
    We left Kulgera and headed across the border for lunch at Coober Pedy South Australia (846klm north of Adelaide). John's Pizza Bar is rated No.5 in Australia by Trip Advisor...so Capricciosa Pizza it was! (Yum) John has several walls of fame in his shop, showing the celebrities who have eaten there and the awards he has received.
    Coober Pedy is the world's major supplier of opals and is unique in its underground living...homes, shops, churches and accommodation. More recently prehistoric marine creature fossils, as old as 115 million years old, have been found including those of an Umoonasaurus named after one of the mines.
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