Day 50: Sat 16 Aug 2014: Coober Pedy to Port Augusta
Port Augusta, South Australia
We packed up and pulled out of the Stuart Range Caravan Park this morning around 9am but instead of heading straight out onto the road, we went back into town for a while. The Umoona opal mine museum deserved a longer visit that we were able to give it last night. They have lots of fossils found in the area (from all the mining I guess you'd expect them to dig some up) including opalised shell fossils from when this was an inland sea.
Andy made a wild miscalculation about how long the drive was today. Didn't matter too much in the end as we made it into Port Augusta Big 4 around 5pm which was okay. It's a nice place with ensuite but was full and we were across from a sporting team of teenage boys who were noisy.
The drive down was another eye-opener. This was 500km of mostly flat dry barren stuff. Very few trees. It was overcast and cold and windy. You drive over gentle rises to reveal huge lakes, some with water and some just mud or salt pans. The sky is so vast and the land so flat and unbroken that A thought she can see the curve of the Earth at times! We pulled up at one lookout to enjoy the view and were nearly blown away by the cold wind. It's hard to take a photo of this place. You need a fisheye or a panorama shot and even that wouldn't really capture the feeling. The landscape seems to completely surround you. The SA outback is bigger, flatter and drier that I imaged.