Stuart Hwy heading South of Alice Springs
Port Augusta, South Australia
18th June 2016
This morning we saw the Todd River flowing rapidly. Speaking to some locals, it is much higher than prior rains. One idiotic person went off in his Kayak, fully clothed and no life jacket!
The supermarkets were packed, not sure if it was panic buying or people like us who put off buying last night due to the roads into conditions making getting into town very difficult.
We continue south along the Stuart Highway. There are still lots of caravans heading north!
We pulled into Kulgera Roadhouse around 3pm, refuelled the car in preparation to head off to Lambert's Centre of Australia in the morning. Whilst asking if we could organise a late check out of the van tomorrow, the guy advises against going out to Lambert's as the roads were wet, due to recent rains and a truck was rescued out of there a day ago (my searches on the internet didn't report they had had rain, so we were again disappointed!). The next stop is too far to continue driving today, there is nothing here to do and cold outside so we pull out the TV for the second time this holiday and sit and watch an old western movie.
19th June 2016
This morning we farewelled the Northern Territory and cross back into South Australia. As we arrived in Marla we were able to get internet signal and get an update on Oodnadatta road conditions. Sections of the road are open, we access via from Coober Pedy, however, the road is then closed further on, meaning we could not go into the Flinders Ranges as we had planned. Plus there is more rain forecast. We do not want to wake up one morning and find ourselves trapped, in surrounded in red mud and with two boys who can't avoid finding all the mud!
So we continue south along the bitumen into Coober Pedy. In Coober Pedy the boys are interested in the Opal mining equipment; we see a demonstration of the blower (the machine that sucks the loose rocks at the bottom of the mine up to the surface) and they are able to have some rocks sucked off their hands into the machine. We then visit the Dessert Sands Hotel and explore their underground mine exhibits.
The main street of Coober Pedy doesn't look like it has changed in the last 13 years. The only noticeable difference we see around town is that there are a number of houses built above ground that weren't there before. The houses are cheap kit style homes. We are told it's were many Aboriginals are living, Coober Pedy recently being identified as an area to set up support services for them, with 26 different Government Bodies there to assist them now. Many campers have posted comments warning other travellers of the high levels of theft in the area, caravan parks being a target. The caravan parks don't yet have razor wire security fences and gates like the ones up north.
20th June 2016
Onwards south we continue. The country side over today's drive is probably the most barren we have seen on the whole trip. Kilometre after kilometre there are no trees, only small grasses and the odd shrub. There are a few lakes with water; these would normally be salt lakes.
Today's drive finalises our loop of Australia on this trip. Just north of Port Augusta is the turnoff we took west towards the Nullarbor, today we arrived back at that intersection. The navigator, tried to tell the driver to turn right at that intersection (so we go round again…if only we had the time!).
The roads into the Flinders Ranges are still closed. We have decided we will head towards Mildura then home via the Great Ocean Road.