Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for August, 2022

Day 56 Arckeringa Station to Coober Pedy

Our fellow campers were not social beings. Each chose a site far from others and even when passing on the way to the amenities there was no acknowledgement. There was a big area set up with a campfire spot and logs were placed around for seating. I think when the place is busy and the fire lit the atmosphere would be very different.

Although the big sign at the beginning of the road to Arckeringa said the Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta Road was closed the Station Manager told us the sign has a mind of its own and the road is in fact open and a good one. That meant we didn’t need to backtrack to reach Coober Pedy. We think it was a bit of an exaggeration to say the road was like a highway but it was certainly better than the road in to Arckeringa.

We decided to stay at Riba’s Camping because it offers some underground facilities and we thought they would be interesting to see. Our camper is shaded by a cloth covered frame but most are quite exposed. There is an underground section where people can sleep in a big open room in their swags. It’s big enough to accommodate a busload of people and I was told by another camper that snorers can be an issue. There are also individual rooms where people can sleep in their swags.

There is a TV Room, kids’ play room and lounge type room with WiFi access. It was impressive.

The Big Winch is a restaurant with views over the whole town and is owned by the same family who own Adelaide River Resort and Daly Waters. I was able to get a GF Tart unlike at the Bakery where Alex bought a pie but there was nothing for me.

The Breakaways at sunset are supposed to be a brilliant sight so we went out there in time to see it. Unfortunately there was too much cloud so we didn’t see bright rays lighting up the different coloured rocks but they are still a spectacular natural feature.

A section of the Dog Fence passes by The Breakaways. There are 5300 kms of Dog Fence still in place out of the original 9600 kms.

Day 55 Marla to Arckeringa Station

It was cold overnight and I was glad of my Shawn the Sheep socks again but there was no condensation on the Camper so packing up was easy.

On the road a few cars passed us pulling trailers with Supercars on the back and I was keen to see if any were stopped at Cadney Park, a Station owned roadhouse. I wasn’t disappointed though motorists filling up would have been, fuel there was expensive, 40c dearer per litre for diesel than at Marla.

After Cadney Park we turned off the Stuart Highway and onto the Painted Desert Road which goes through to Oodnadatta. At first the road seemed to be recently graded so in good condition but after Evelyn Station it deteriorated and there were corrugations. Now we have problems with our back door, something has come loose in the locking mechanism, it rattles constantly and is finicky to open.

At Evelyn Station work was being done with young cattle.

When we reached Arckaringa Station we were greeted by dogs but no people appeared. There was a sign on the house yard gate warning NOT to let the big white dog out and what problems that causes. I was VERY careful at the gate but after I manipulated myself back through a tiny gap and walked back towards the car. The white dog was there, I thought it had to have transmogrified.

The boss of the outfit was actually the tiniest dog but there were no problems with Fergus. When the Station Manager came home about 4:00 he admitted they hadn’t been able to keep the dogs contained but they don’t seem to stray which is just as well. The Station covers 2,745 square kilometres!

We drove out about 10 rough kilometres to the Arckaringa Hills Walk which provides stunning views of the landscape before coming back for refreshments and we thought we’d have showers during the day rather than at night or in the morning when it’s cold. Alex tried the showers but only a trickle of water came out instead he tried to fix the back door and I went wandering around the campsite. There were Zebra Finches and other birds drinking where water was spurting onto trees and shrubs but they took off as soon as I came near.

After we spoke to the Station Manager, on his recommendation, we went back to see the Arckaringa Hills Lookout. Rather then waiting for sunset.

My Panasonic camera (number 5, I think) is having zoom issues just like its predecessors and I’m not sure it’s going to last the distance. I do have a backup camera but am not confident I’ll get the long shots I have before. :-(­

Day 54 Alice Springs to Marla

I was wrong about it being a doddle today, we travelled 454 kms sitting down all the way! I’m going to check out seat and back cushions when I get back home!

The countryside varied, some areas were hilly and rocky, others very flat and the vegetation ranged from dry grasses to dense shrubby trees. Although we didn’t see any water today, in the past we have seen water covering vast areas of the flat terrain.

Most of the traffic seemed to be travelling south including several vehicles carrying BMX bikes. Coming north were a few flash cars being transported to Alice for the Summernats event on the weekend and one was even pulling a caravan.

Our first stop was in a Truck Rest Stop, it’s the first time we’ve been forced to do that but we’d driven on and on hoping for a Rest Stop but it was one Truck Stop after another. A caravan pulled in a few minutes after us then, of course, a road train came in, luckily we were ready to move on by then.

We stopped at Kulgera for a snack and drink. The last time we were there the place was buzzing, some people were stopping then carrying on trying to beat the SA Border closure because of Covid. The Caravan Park has only about six powered sites which were taken and people were camped out in No-man’s Land far away from the amenities. There was constant demand at the fuel pumps because Marla, the next place south, had no diesel. Today was a very different story, there were only about three campers in the whole place.

We stopped at the border for the necessary photo, I think it’s time some maintenance was done on the artwork, “Welcome to South Australia” side. The Sturt Desert Peas are looking less than vibrant.

We noticed some signs indicating that “Emergency phones” were available at certain spots along the road. I think it would be a miracle to find yourself in just the right spot when you needed it.

We arrived at Marla about 3 o’clock and like Kulgera it was very, very quiet compared with last year when police were manning a Covid checkpoint here. There isn’t a lot to see but we walked around the place and were surprised to see an oval with lush green grass. A man was exercising his dog there and Fergus was able to join in. The man was a “local” as far as we were concerned because he’s lived here for 10 years and we were able to ask him about the school etc. It looks well maintained but he told us there hasn’t been a functioning school in Marla since he’s been here, the building is used by various community and government groups.

Tomorrow we plan to go down the Stuart Highway then turn off to Arckaringa Station which is not far from the Painted Desert. We might stay a couple of nights at the Station.