it is a long way from the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula to Uluru so we decided to have big first day of 585 Km and then a couple more of around 400 Km and then a final 320 Km which would get us to Uluru in a reasonable time and not too worn out. We also decided that an 8 o’clock start was early enough so at that time we set off from Port Lincoln on our journey which was to go through Kimba where there was some silo artwork. The trip to Kimba was enjoyable as that part of the Eyre peninsula was a bit hilly with lots of mallee scrub and trees. The silo art was OK but nothing spectacular.
The theme is about the growing of wheat which is the main agricultural activity on the Eyre Peninsula. Every town on the Peninsula has a set of silos which stand out in the flat terrain of the Peninsula.
After Kimba we bypassed Port Augusta and headed north toward Woomera where we stopped for an overnight stay. The next day we headed to Coober Pedy through dreary flat treeless plains. Everything was a dull olive green which was a reflection of the good rains we have had, normally we would be travelling through brown country. Not many highlights but Island Lagoon was one, otherwise there was nothing to note in the journey except for a few more salt lakes
So to Coober Pedy. We were first here in the 1980s and not much has changed, maybe a bit bigger, maybe a few more trees, but still a dirty dusty outback town. The name “Coober Pedy” comes from the Aboriginal Australian kupa piti, meaning “boys’ waterhole.” However, another type of hole has become quite a hazard. Over the years, miners have dug over 250,000 shafts, making Coober Pedy a dangerous place for people to walk around. For 50 Km either side of Coober Pedy the landscape is dotted with mullock heaps
We stayed at Rudy’s caravan park which was a bit out of town but an experience. The camp sites were caved out of the hillside which gave us some protection from the wind.
The sunset was a typical beautiful one, the photo on the left is one of Deen’s Photos taken half an hour or so after mine, the change of colour was amazing.
We toured Coober Pedy before sunset and on a small ridge running parallel to the main street were lots of dugout homes overlooking the town, but it was difficult to get a good photo so here is just a segment of the row of dugouts. Most have a structure at the front with lots of rooms carved into the hill behind the entrance room.
The caravan park had a dugout TV viewing and eating area which was interesting as we had never been in a dugout before.
This room even had a fireplace. I forgot to mention the sculpture on the approaches to Cooper Pedy. It is of a blower truck which has is a vacuum blower with a large motor. It functions to draw the dirt in from the bottom of a tunnel in the mine and brings it to the surface into a drum shaped cyclone where the waste is separated from the air and dumped.
On the way to the caravan park we passed an unusual tree, the fruit must have been ripe as there was a fallen example on the ground. I often wondered where these hats came from!
On the next day we left Coober Pedy and journeyed further up the Stuart highway through flat fairly uninteresting terrain to Kulgara, a Roadhouse and caravan park 20 Km over the border in the NT. Once inside the Northern Territory the terrain seemed to improve with more and healthier Mulga trees, such that in places they were touching each other. Tuesday saw another early start but a bit shorter drive to Yulara where we will be stopping for three nights. As we got closer to Yulara there were thickets of desert oaks which are a Casuarina. They are an interesting tree as the juvenile form is different to the adult form as shown in the photos below.
The young trees develop a long strong tap root which eventually reaches the water table. The tree then matures and puts out branches and starts to look like a normal tree. The young trees look like fuzzy icy-poles. If the young tree fails to reach the water table it will die, the tightly wrapped foliage directs any rain falling on the tree to the root zone and helps the young tree conserve water.
About 100 Km from Yulara is Mt Connor often confused by visitors as Uluru. The photo of Mt Connor in the distance shows how flat and treeless much of the country is that we have travelled through.
The Lasseter Highway runs from the Stuart Highway Yulara and it was an easy drive through unusually green country. The predominant grass visible from the road was Wallaby grass which grows about a foot high with lots of seed heads.
So our 1700 Km journey to Uluru from Lincoln National Park is behind us which feels great. Tonight we are going to see the field of lights display with Canapés and sparkling wine before to enjoy. Our camp is a very pleasant one, we have sites 2 and 3 as we booked them many months ago, plenty of space and some nice trees and bushes. Water is on tap, which is good, and it tastes OK. Water was not available at either Coober Pedy or Kulgara, so if you are travelling this way and need water you need to check if the caravan park supplies it. Water can be purchased from bowsers in Coober Pedy for $1 for 40 litres.
More on our experiences at Yulara to follow. If you would like to receive an email notification when I publish a new blog, just enter you email address in the box below and click Subscribe. I will not send anything else apart from the blog notification.