Oasis in the desert

It was a very quiet night apart from the dingoes howling. Yummy pancakes for breakfast while we discussed our plans for the next few days.

First up was secure the tent as we had some serious soaking to do. A soak in the hot spring before we had morning tea.

Then we did a walk around the camping area, some great spots but all very dusty. During the day the wind came up and several willy willies formed with dust being lifted and spread about.

The grader has been grading the roads in and out which is making the roads smoother but more dusty. We have more dust on the Ute and inside it than the whole time on the desert. It confirmed our decision to stay at 3 O’Clock Creek was the right one.

Checked out the info station which had some info boards and then went for a walk around the springs.

Then back in for another soak before lunch.

After lunch we went and checked out the Dalhousie Ruins. We love coming out to these remotes areas but we can all complain about the dust, flies how drying it is on our skin etc but when you see the outback ruins you are reminded how lucky we are to have vehicles with air conditioning to explore the country.

Then it was back to the springs for another soak, we found floating on your back with the aid on the noodle to be very relaxing, ahhh.

Then it was back to camp, we had a few things to do before racing back to the ruins for some sunset shots.

All up we had a very busy day.

Blood Creek and Federal Station

We have been up to watch every sunrise since we have been in the desert. My friend would be proud, just don’t tell her it rises later over here 😛 We had a big day ahead of us and wanted the option of being able to camp on route so we packed everything up and headed off early. We have also divided the day into 3 posts otherwise it would be too long.

We knew from past experience that the road to Mt Dare was pretty rough, several other people confirmed this at Dalhousie and suggested we take the road that leads past Blood Creek and Federal Station. We were considering going past them anyway so if it was a better road then that sealed the deal, only 13km longer.

All that is left of Federal is the old stock yards.

At Blood Creek the old windmill is still standing and turning next to an old well and some old water tanks.

Mt Dare Hotel

The word had obviously spread that coming the way we did was the better road to Mt Dare as there was a bit of traffic on it going both ways. The road was pretty good, apart from the last 10km to Mt Dare.

We filled up both tanks at Mt Dare, the guy had a grin on his face when we were filling up. Diesel was $2.17L we filled up with 113L, so $245 we travelled 871 km from Birdsville. Chris was thrilled at the fuel mileage we got.

Chatting to the bloke at Mt Dare he said the way we came was the best way to go back. Over the Finke Race weekend they had ran out of fuel for several days. He said even Alice Springs ran out of fuel. One night they made over 200 meals for dinner. He also said the grader was on it’s way to grade from Dalhousie to Purnie Bore but don’t know if it would be done by tomorrow when we are going back on it.

He also said the French Line was pretty torn up, rough and slow going and said we would be fed up of it by Birdsville and suggested another route. Have to say that we are advocates to not taking trailers across. Most people may do the right thing and lower tyre pressures but it only takes a few who don’t that ruin the track for other travellers.

After a bit of a look around inside we jumped back in the Ute for the next part of today’s journey.

Old Andado Station

We were told by a traveller at Dalhousie that the road up to Old Andado was really good and they had gone at 70-80kms an hour but you could go even faster. There are two ways to Old Andado, one is up the Binns Track, the other is via Charlotte Waters and New Crown. One is longer in kms and one has large sections of bull dust, lots of them. Only one of them allows you to get over 60kms hrs. We did both.

The Binns track has large sections of bull dust like we have never seen before, we could see in the mirrors the amount of bull dust being dumped on the Ute, the road does improve in the second half but is still very dusty. When we got to Old Andado and opened the back doors and saw the red dust sitting on the fridge and other areas we decided we would go back the longer route. Just as well we like to take different routes when we can.

The camping area was pretty dusty so we elected not to camp here. There are several fire pits and a camp kitchen. But for those interested it was $10 pp and that included hot showers. You can also pay just to have a shower.

As you approach the front gate of the house there is an information board that starts of saying “Imagine living in a house with no closed in veranda’s, no windows, no flyscreen and no doors. The temperatures in summer can escalate to over 50 degrees …… no plumbing, no power, kerosene lanterns for lighting and fridge’s, wood stove cooked the food and boiled the water ” There is no doubt the conditions were harsh, when Kate was younger living with her parents we lived in the bush and built a house out of flitches that had no windows, doors, flyscreens, no plumbing, we used kerosene lanterns and even had a kerosene fridge, we also had a wood stove that we cooked on and heated the water. The wind used to howl through the windows over our beds. Thankfully we didn’t have the 50 degree heat, or the dry conditions, we did have the snakes and mice.

The difference between Old Andado and other old places we have seen is this place is not set up like a museum, this is someone’s home, who just walked out and left it the way it was for others to see and appreciate the way life was. Donations are asked for and if you do visit I think you will find you are more than happy to donate a few dollars to help keep the place going. It was very interesting and bigger than we expected.

Anotherr traveller who knew Molly personally told us a few fascinating stories about Molly, one was how she started off training as a nurse and due to ill health at the time had to stop her nursing. She so wished to be a nurse. Another story was Molly opened the kitchen cupboard one day to find a brown snake in there. She got the shot gun and shot the snake putting a hole in the back of the cupboard. When Molly and her husband first built the place they had a bad sand storm and ended up with meters of high sand in the house they had to cart out with wheelbarrows. The caretaker is also filled with stories about Molly. Molly sounded like a read character.

The road through New Crown was a better road, through several closed gates and cow paddocks. You could get a bit more speed up on this road, it was still dusty and a few areas of bull dust as most of the roads out this way are.

We decided to head back to Dalhousie and camp at the springs campground and then have a dip in the warm waters after tea, which we did and it was lovely.