Thursday, 28 October 2010

Kings Canyon to Broken Hill via Coober Pedy and Port Augusta

When we made our decision to go across the Great Central Road to Uluru, one of our considerations was whether we had left it too late.  We were afraid that we would arrive at Uluru to find it too hot to be able to tour comfortably.  It was warm during the day, but dry with cool evenings.  We were very lucky, and probably shouldn't have pushed our luck.

From Uluru (Yulara) we drove 300 kilometers north to Kings Canyon.  When we arrived it was hot.. very hot in fact, and the flies were out in full force.  Having originally planned to stay for two nights, we decided to just spend one and wait to visit the canyon in the cool of the following morning on the way out and spend what was left of the afternoon updating the blog.  This, as you may recall, posed a whole new set of difficulties.

We packed up and headed out early the next morning looking forward to the rim walk over the canyon.  As we drove the mercury rose sharply and our enthusiasm began to take an equally sharp dip.  It was over 30 degrees and not yet 9am.  As we stepped out of the car we were assaulted by both the heat and the very persistent flies.

Holy heatwave, Batman!
It was at this point that we decided to forgo the hike.  We took a couple of photos of what we could see from within a short walk of the sanctuary of our car and called it a day.  I suppose we have to save something for next time! :)




Heading south, we stopped at Eridunda for fuel and lunch where we learned that this section of the Stuart Highway had been recently flooded by rains not usually seen in the area.

With the road closed people were stranded at the roadhouse for several days and the roadhouse had run out of food.  Between you and me, this probably wasn't such a bad thing considering what our lunch was like.

Emus at Eridunda
A bit further along and we reached the South Australia border.  The South Australia/Northern territory border is marked by a large sign significant to us because on the other side of the SA sign it says "Welcome to the Northern Territory".  I was so excited to have reached the NT on the way through here going north that I hopped up for a picture and completely forgot about the step on the way down resulting in a spectacular face plant!  From that point forward Mike referred to the NT as "Nice Trip".

Of course I had to take a photo at the other side of the infamous sign.  This time I managed to get the job done without injury.


We spent the night at Marla and then another in Coober Pedy where it poured all night.  It never rains in Coober Pedy, which is why there isn't a blade of grass to be seen anywhere, yet it rained when we were there on the way up and again on the way through this time.

The surface was uneven and there were several groups with soft-floor campers and tents desperately trying to dig trenches to divert the water away from them.  It was useless and they eventually made their way into on-site cabins.  I really felt for them.  Our outer canvas was wet, but we stayed high and dry.  After a soggy pack-up we drove on.

We spent two nights in Port Augusta where we dried out, re-stocked the fridge, got the laundry done, and relaxed after the long drive. 

It was bittersweet being there.  We kept thinking back to the last time we were there on the way up.  We were only about 4 days into our trip, and there was so much to look forward to.  Now we are heading home and our adventure has nearly come to an end.

Broken Hill bound
We arrived at Broken Hill late yesterday afternoon (making this a 5 state trek!).  Shortly after we set up a couple that we met at Pilgramunna campsite (in Cape Range NP) pulled up next to us.  It was nice to catch up with them, and surprising since there were only 9 sites at the campsite.  Another lovely couple set up near them and the six of us enjoyed happy hour (or three).  A few drinks and plenty of road tales made for a fun evening.

Off to explore Broken Hill.

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