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.
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.
Monday 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!!
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.
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!!