Daylight returns so i go sit on a rock overlooking the Devils Marbles and the camp ground and wait for the sun to rise. it’s cold this morning and not what we are used to. The sun is dragging its heals a bit so I climb back down and go make myself a coffee and return with warmer hands.
I am just after a good shot of the line of caravans with the backdrop of the marbles. The sun finally rises and instantaneously, the Devils Marbles waken and light up.
Within minutes, the people down below in their caravans rise too and reappear and one by one start packing up and moving on. This place is like a daily tidal movement, it floods caravans in the mid afternoon, then by the next morning, the tide goes out and there’s practically no one left.
We hang around a little as we have 414km to go to reach Alice Springs so no rush this morning.
DRIVE: Devils Marbles to Alice Springs (414km).
As often is the case, we stop off on route, usually at a roadhouse to top up on fuel. The total length of the Stuart Highway is just over 2,800km from Port Augusta to Darwin and roughly follows John McDouall Sturt’s route when he travelled across the continent in 1860s. So the roadhouses are an important break and are often a bit quirky to entice you off the road.
Barrow Creek is one of four remaining telegraph stations in Australia and an important part of Australia’s pioneering history. (see tomorrow’s footprint to learn about the telegraph). Jen takes a peak inside the station whilst I fill up with fuel at the Barrow Creek pub (where else?). A sign says “please pay for fuel at the bar”. Being midday, it’s quiet at the bar but they have a good little business going on. Wall to wall there are money notes of all currency and denomination, each one signed by their previous owner and pinned up on the walls. Some go back years and some are recent currency and there’s a fair bit of Aussie dollar in there too. I have no cash of my own and ask if they take credit card for the fuel. All good.
Further down the track, we see a sign for Aileron Roadhouse. Aileron is about 150km north of Alice Springs and includes a roadhouse, accommodation and an art gallery, but these features are completely overshadowed by two massive statues.
High on the hill behind the roadhouse is the first of two giant statues next to a Hollywood style sign for AILERON. The Anmatjere Man, or Big Aboriginal stands 17 meters tall and weighs about 8 tonnes. The Anmatjere Woman And Child stands to the side of the roadhouse and equally impressive.
With 150km to go to Alice Springs, i look on the sat nav and basically see two straight road lines with one gentle curve in between. Its the home straight but the road goes monotonously on and on and it just gets lost on the horizon until finally we see a sign for Alice. I am looking at the fuel gauge and it’s going down whilst Jen is looking at the temperature gauge and well, it’s going down too and it didn’t get over 23 degrees today even though the sun was beaming and the skies were a flawless blue.
CAMP: Alice Springs Holiday Park / 3 Nights
We are well on track so will take a break for a few days in Alice before pushing on to Uluru (Ayres Rock). There’s lots to explore in Alice Springs and The Ghan comes in at the railway station on Thursday so looking forward to that.
Jen has every item of clothing on including her beanie and i make hot water bottles for bedtime as tonight the temperature will drop to three degrees. Brrrrrrrr!Read more