A Cold Sweat on a Hot Day

Leaving Elliott we noticed that the oil pressure took a bit longer to reach the usual spot on the gauge and some 150 kms later it nose-dived to low casing an instant cold sweat.

Pulling over we checked the oil level which was fine and cautiously re-started the chariot which was running smoothly and showing no change in temperature.  A bloke who pulled in suggested that it may be the oil pressure sensor, as he had experienced a similar problem.

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We opted to push on slowly and arrived at Daly Waters Pub with no further incident.

 

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termite moundsThe further north we go the more termite mounds we see and the bigger they get. There is also more wildlife than we have seen all the way up the middle.

 

 

 

 

A couple of local bush mechanics from the pub had a look to see if there was a loose connection on the sender but could see nothing there.

Our only other hassle (unrelated ) is the power steering is becoming heavier at low revs, making backing the van a bit awkward. When we get to Mataranka in a few days we will get both checked out.

The Pub is an interesting one and we have enjoyed happy hour and the entertainment each evening and have also met some lovely people.

Saturday will see us on the road to Mataranka and a week of relaxation and floating in the hot springs..

Heading further North to warmer weather

Sat 11 June

After a cold night it was coffee, brekkie, a shower and pack up and leave Temple Bar and Alice Springs at 9.45am.

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We arrived at Prowse’s Gap rest area and were number one in line for an overnight stop.

After a restful afternoon we were joined by 6 others pulling in for the night.

Just on dusk a carload of 8 “locals” pulled in after driving 20km on a blowout.

They needed a jack to put the spare on and replace a shredded tyre and rim. Once done they were on their way again heading to Alice.

 

 

 

HotelSunday morning we drove further north to Wauchope ( pronounced “walk up” ) and set up camp behind the pub.

 

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We drove out to The Devils Marbles and hiked among the granite boulders taking a camera load of shots.P1090436

 

 

 

 

 

Monday we arrived in a deserted Tennant Creek and discovered that it was Queen’s Birthday holiday. 25 km further on we reached The 3 Ways where the Barkly highway meets the Stuart highway.Road sign

We booked in behind the roadhouse for 2 nights and drove back to Tennant Creek to shop on Tuesday. After a look around we re-fueled and drove back to The 3 Ways which was packed for the night, stopping at Mary Ann Dam on the way.

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We have driven into warmer weather with low 30 deg and warmer nights.

 

This morning (Wed 15th) we have driven to Elliot and are here in Midland Park for the night. Our stop on the way was at The Renner Springs Desert Pub.Renner Springs Hotel

 

Tomorrow it is off to Daly Waters.

The sunset this evening was brief but brilliant and the distant sky was filled with tens of thousands of bats.

A town like Alice and a Country like no other

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Our camp at Temple Bar was a good one we were right on the Roe Creek,

which when flowing feeds into the Hugh River.P1090289

 

The Alice Springs area has had good rains over the past month and everything is green. We have had more bird life than we had seen for a while. A visit to a caravan repair shop confirmed that the non-return valve on our water system had failed. Bought and fitted a new one.

Our nights have been cold and days have been cool with a mix of sun and overcast.

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Sunday 5th June saw us setting off to Ormiston Gorge in the West MacDonnell Ranges where we hiked up to the Ghost Gum lookout and some magnificent views.

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There was quite a lot of water in the gorge and Ormiston Creek.

The loop walk required some wading and swimming to complete so we gave it a miss.

 

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Next stop was Glen Helen and a walk to the gorge which again was full of water and the pampas grass was about 2m high.

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We stopped at The Ochre pits for a picnic lunch and explore then on to the Mt Sonder lookout P1090334

 

 

 

 

and further on to

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Ellery Creek waterhole where there was still water over the track in places. Back at camp by 3.45pm we extended our stay to a week.

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P1090377Tuesday 7th and A 130 km drive out to Hermannsburg where we looked through the historic precinct which had its beginnings as

The Finke River Mission.

 

 

 

The hardships they endured in the latter two decades of the 1800’s, and the severe drought of the early 1900’s, were astounding.

Albert Namitjira grew up there and some his and his relatives’ paintings are on display.

 

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We called into Simpson’s Gap on the way home and it also had a surprising amount of water in it.P1090412P1090400

 

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We took some photos from Anzac Hill overlooking the town and had a lovely meal of Barramundi at “Barra on Todd”.

Friday the chariot got a surprise wash and we packed up ready to leave Fiona and her team at Temple Bar the next morning.

What a day!!!

Packing up at Curtin Springs to head towards Kings Canyon we had arranged to meet Zarc and Jurre at Salt Creek camp. It had started to rain and we had co-ordinates for the camp from Jurre and left about 15 minutes after them. The co-ords were incorrect and we passed where they would have been waiting in steady rain.

By the time we realised that we had gone too far we were committed to push on to Kings Canyon or run out of fuel if we turned back. We couldn’t return and get back to Kings Canyon with what we had on board.

The rain continued and became heavier with water over many of the floodways. We opted to pass Kings Creek Station and head for the resort which had both LPG and petrol. Kings Creek was flowing across the road about 8 inches deep. Reaching the resort we were told that he forecast was for more of the same so quickly refuelled and headed back towards Salt Creek. Kings Canyon walks will be closed due to the rain. Kings Creek was then over a foot deep over the road and flowing quite fast. We made it across with a number of others. We found and stopped at Salt Creek to find only a couple of campers as the rest had bailed out due to the rain.

We decided not to stay and drove on to Mt Ebenezer, where we set up camp with a number of others in a mud hole behind the roadhouse. No one can believe that we are in the middle of Australia, in the desert, in the dry season. Everywhere is so green it is amazing. We have seen very little wild life as they have so much feed they have no reason to come to the roadsides for a bit of a pick. It continued to rain and we waited out the night and awoke to a drizzly Friday morning. After brekkie and a hot shower we drove to Erldunda where we refuelled and made a phone call or two with the brief window of reception.

P1090284P1090285 Driving north on the Stuart Highway we pulled into the Finke River rest stop at about 11.30am. Just in time as it filled up quickly after that. We set up, had lunch and walked in the river bed where there was a reasonable amount of water. We have an issue with our water pump system which is leaking water through the mains filler point. I suspect a non-return valve has carked it.

Sat 4th June was a foggy morning after a cold night and we left the Finke camp at 8.40 am heading for Alice Springs. About 45 mins into the drive and the fog cleared to a fine and cool day.

 

 

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P1090288We are at Temple Bar, about 12km out of Alice and have just squeezed into the park here. They have had good falls of rain and everything is green with quite an abundance of birdlife.

We are basing ourselves here for a week with day trips planned to explore the wide green yonder.

Central Australia here comes The Burrow

After filling our water tanks we left Coober Pedy on Fri 27 May and drove north to Marla and The Travellers Rest behind the roadhouse. This was our first time connected to water since leaving Adelaide. It was very hard bore water and the facilities in the camp were OK. I was awakened between 4 am and 4.30 am by a rumbling which got me out of bed to check outside. Seeing nothing untoward I went back to bed. We found out later that there was 6.1 magnitude earthquake about 165km west of Yulara at about 4.20am. It was felt over a wide area of central Australia.

Filling up with LPG and petrol on Sat morning set us back $169 and we drove the next 185km to the NT/SA border rest area near Mt Cavanagh where we spent a relaxing afternoon and night along with half a dozen other campers.

Sun 29th May we drove to Erldunda at the junction of the Lasseter Highway and queued for 40 minutes to get fuel.

Lots of Army vehicles were pulled in and some of them were refuelling too.

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It was fine and warmer as we drove west to Curtin Springs and our free camp on the station which was our base for the next 5 days for day trips. Showers cost $3 a head here and facilities were rough but the water was hot. Sunday evening was lovely and mild and we were surprised to be woken at 1 am Mon with rain.P1090280

 

 

 

 

 

 

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P1090229Monday saw us driving to Uluru in light patchy showers which set in as light rain. We spent the day in raincoats and saw it raining on the rock. Our walks included The Marla Walk and walk into the Mutitjulu Waterhole which had much more water in it than when I saw it 10 years ago. We had lunch at The Cultural Centre and drove around the rock before heading back to camp where we had dinner outside on a cool but clear and very starry evening.

We were entertained at Curtain Springs by some of the other campers such as a young Asian couple who set up their tent without pegging it down. They then held it aloft and tried to shake the red dust out of it before hammering the pegs in with a rock. They then sat in the doorway and ate dinner from cardboard boxes with heads poking through the flaps of their tent. Then here was an old guy with a little dog which had its feet washed and dried before going into the van, and the French backpackers who gave up trying to hammer pegs into the hard ground and all 6 slept in their cars. At Uluru we saw a young Japanese couple who we had seen at Coober Pedy. The young lady still carrying the same bunch of artificial flowers while clutching him with the free hand. Ah young love is grand!!

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Tuesday 31st May we awoke to a thick fog which didn’t lift until midday, and it was 2pm before we had glimpses of the sun. We took a run out to the Mt Connor lookout and drove 12km down the old Gun Barrel Highway and then back to camp. We went to bed with thunder and lightening in the distance and woke again to fog on Wed June 1st. Welcome to winter!!

 

 

This was our day to visit The Olgas and we arrived there as the cloud was lifting. There had been heavy rain overnight, which we missed at Curtain Springs. As we walked into Walpa Gorge the waterholes were full and there was water running off some of the domes. We had a picnic lunch before driving to The Valley of The Winds and hiking in to the first lookout.

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Again it was awesome to see these natural wonders and such majestic landscapes as it was with Ayer’s Rock.

Home via Yulara, where we bought some bread and refuelled the chariot. Having mobile coverage we made a few phone calls and were home by 4.45pm.

After dinner we watched the first State of Origin match in the bar at Curtain Springs Roadhouse with our camp neighbours Zarc and Jurre.                                                                                                   We planned meeting them the next day at a camp about half way to Kings Canyon….. That’s another story!!

From Andamooka to Coober Pedy

P1090060Emu Walking TrailAfter leaving Andamooka we spent some time exploring Roxby Downs and Woomera.

 

 

 

 

 

P1090066P1090062Dry Lake near Woomera

Woomera was particularly interesting with it’s displays of rockets, armament and salvaged remains of satellites. Rejoining the Stuart Highway, we pushed north again into a headwind and spent the night with about 20 other travelers at the Bon Bon rest area.

Heading for Coober Pedy we had planned to camp behind the Clothes Barn. On arrival they were wall to wall with vans and the manager suggested we join a number of others and “circle the vans down by the creek.” We would be safe, he said, as there was a total ban on alcohol in public places and there were plenty of police in town.

There was not a sole camped by the creek and we found out later that they had been moved on by police for safety reasons. We stayed at the Stuart Park where we were warned to keep everything locked as there had been several robberies from cars and caravans with some while occupants slept.

Happy hour was entertaining with some good live music and company.

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Our time in Coober Pedy was spent visiting an opal museum, an operating opal mine and “Crocodile Harry’s”place.

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We also spent time noodling for opal and took a run out on the Oodnadatta Rd to the dingo fence.

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We didn’t get to the Breakaways because the roads were closed after rain the night before we were planning to go. The 3 underground churches are each worth a visit and some time in the local cemeteries was also interesting and in some instances amusing.

Water is precious and we had to pay to fill our tanks and pay for showers. We enjoyed our stay in Coober Pedy and on Friday 27 May we were packed and ready for the next stage on our Journeys.