Oodnadatta Track – Day 5

Tues – 17th – It was a cold night, we woke to a bit of a frost. We met a really nice young family from Victoria who travelled from Vic to Darwin and are heading back home over taking 4 weeks all up. They have covered a lot of ground.

We stopped at Mt Dutton ruins before doing the last leg to Oodnadatta and the pink roadhouse. Most of the ruins have the same design they are just in different stages of decay.

Mt-Dutton-Ruins Mt-Dutton-Water-Tower

Fuel was a tad cheaper at the Pink Roadhouse at $2.21 but it was days since we were at William Creek so it might be cheaper than it was too.

Pink-Roadhouse

We bought 1 hour of wifi for $6 to connect back home and upload some posts as there is no Telstra here.

We left the Oodnadatta track about 17kms from Oodnadatta and took the road to Hamilton and  Dalhousie Springs 163kms. The roadhouse said the last 80kms was pretty rough. We have seen 3 broken windscreens on the side of the road since we have been on the Oodnadatta track. This road is corrugated and very very dusty, bull dust in places.

Fogartys-Claypan Crossing-Fogartys-Claypan

Fogartys Clay pan.

We stopped at Pedirka Ruins about 58kms from Dalhousie. The building was like dorm style accommodation.  Was nice and quiet, we were there alone camped in the middle of nowhere again.

Pedirka Pedirka-Ruins

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Oodnadatta Track – Day 4

Mon 16th – Was a great camp spot literally in the middle of nowhere. We had a leisurely start this morning, wiping dust from seals, putting tape over locks as the dust is making some hard to open. The back door of the ute is letting dust in (due to the attempted break in) so it’s a daily task of wiping seals down so it doesn’t spread everywhere in the ute. Tighten up screws, nuts and bolts that shake loose on the bumpy roads. We have moved the hand cream to the front of the ute where we can apply it to our dry hands throughout the day, dust dries everything out.The breeze is back and it’s a bit chilly.

Peake Creek Crossing, salty creek with steep soft banks. Downstream is a bridge. 30 feet of water ran through here in 1989.

Peake-Creek

It’s got quite warm. We stopped briefly at the Algebuckina Ruins before heading down to the bridge for lunch. Last time we were here it was dry, amazing the difference some water makes to the place.

Algebuckina-Ruins

We then crossed the track and went a few short km’s to Algebuckina Water hole. There were heaps of birds in the trees, also a popular fishing and camping spot. Decisions, decisions where to stop for the night. Bridge won out, to get some sunset shots.

Algebuckina-Bridge-3 Algebuckina-Bridge-2 Algebuckina-BridgeChris-on-the-Bridge'

Well the sunset was a fizzer, no clouds but we chooses the right spot as the waterhole ended up with lots of people.

Having-fun

Beaut-camp-spot

Near the bridge there is what’s left of Fred’s FB Holden, in the 1976 floods, Fred put sleepers on the rail bridge to cross the river. Every few meters he would stop and move the sleepers in front of his car, bit by bit inching across the bridge. The road was closed so Fred was not expecting the works trains gang to appear, which ran over his car, but Fred lived to tell the tale.

Fred's-FB-Holden

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Oodnadatta Track – Day 3

Sun – 15th. It was a quiet night despite 4 other campers and one lot with kids. No wind either. It took 1 hr and 40 mins to do the 60kms back out to the main track. It is one rough road but whether there is water in the lake or not it is well worth the rough, jaw breaking, very corrugated road to see the amazing sight that is Lake Eyre. One plus it makes the Oodnadatta Track seem like a hwy.

William-Creek-Hotel

Fuel at William Creek was $2.30, we opted to fill up at Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse in the hope it was a bit cheaper. We had lunch, checked put the hotel with its copious amount of memorabilia, hats, business cards and everything else.

William-Creek-Hotel-1 William-Creek-Hotel-2 William-Creek-Missiles

We made a quick stop at the old Lov Zero car, where we stopped for the night last time we where here.

Love-Zero

There is nothing much between William Creek and the Warrina Ruins apart for wide open spaces. There is some other ruins but the only gate says no public access.

Warrina-Relics Warrina-Ruins

Mmm Oodnadatta Track strikes again. The anderson plug on the trailer side has come undone or been hit by a rock and was dragging on the ground, so we lost half the plug. So no charging off the Ute until we get that fixed. Bit of a surprise as it is pretty protected where it is, just some random rock. We also had a passing 4×4 and trailer throw up a big rock that hit the drivers side, side mirror and left a scratch.

Along the Oodnadatta Track there are pink information signs that have been put there by the Pink Roadhouse, they have been there for a while so some signs are hard to read the information on them. Handy to let you know that there is a place of interest up some track.

Signs

The track into Peake Hill ruins is about 20kms give or take, there are three km’s signs all saying something different.  Its 4×4 only, rough, corrugated, lots of big ruts, dips, windy, rocky a slow trip but well worth it.

Copy (1) of Rough-Road

Rough-Road-1

This place is really isolated, they must of been tough in the olden days.

Peake Peake-Hills-Ruins-3Peake-Hills-Ruins-2

We left Peake Hill ruins and drove a few km’s back along the track and found a nice open flat area near a dry creek bed and set up came for the night. While our roast was cooking we got a small camp fire going. We sat around the fire enjoying its warmth and looking at stars and planets using the iPad and  the Transformer tablet. Lots of fun.

Fire

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Oodnadatta Track – Day 2

Sat 14th- We were grateful for our heater, it was a very cold night, coldest so far. This morning that cools breeze is back. We went for a morning walk back up to the ruins, this time visiting the cemetery. Amazing the head stones are still in such good nic.

David-RandallStrangeway-Ruins Strangeway-Ruins-1

The 70km road out to Lake Eyre is very corrugated and bumpy, worst than last time we were here. It shook the CB antenna loose so we had to stop and put it back on and check everything else was still tight. Chris does a check every morning on the Ute, trailer and an engine check, making sure everything is as it should be. Goes to show that in these rough conditions things can shake loose very quickly. We took the side tracks when suitable even though they were less corrugated  they still had their issues with even bigger holes, bumps and bull dust.

Rough-Road

There is a memorial to Caroline Crossmueller who got died after she left her car after it got bogged to walk to William Creek.

In-Memory

Wow that was a bit freaky. We stopped to adjust the kayak after it had moved on the bumpy road. I turned around to see a female dingo sauntering past. It stopped just in front of us and laid down on the road watching us.

Friendly-Dingo

We have made camp in the over flow area as its a bit more protected from the wind. We are sheltered a bit by a large bush we have camped by. After lunch and several cuppas we made our way down to the lake, walking out onto the salt. It got softer as we went and when we started to sink too much we stopped. We picked up some lumps of salt of varying thickness, Chris picked up some that was nearly 2 inches thick and pink on the bottom, not sure if will survive the trip home let alone the drive back out.

Lake-Eyre-1

We had someone tell us not to bother coming out here as there was no water in the lake. Boy they miss the beauty of the large flat area of lake all white with salt. Water in the lake is great but the salt with all it’s crystals is so fascinating.

Lake-Eyre

Back for arvo tea, sitting in the sun is wonderful and gets quite warm until the wind came back up, the flies aren’t much fun though, we had to get the fly hats out to drink our coffee in peace.

Campsite-at-Lake-Eyre

Pizza for tea tonight.

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Oodnadatta Track– Day 1

Friday 13th – Last night the wind really came up and was blowing the canvas about waking both of us up. It stopped after a while letting us slumber to nearly 8am.

We stopped  for morning tea at Maree and chatted to some others travellers finding out some good info about Alice Springs, costs of staying at parks etc. we need to free camp as much as we can to pay for the expensive accommodation.

Want-a-drag

Yippee down the Oodnadatta track, we had so much fun last time we went down the track.

Oodnadatta-Track

Wangianna-Ruins

Dingo

Alberrie Creek ummm art ??

Ghan-Hover-BusHanging-BallRobot-familyThe-Funky-PunkyTwin-PlanesWee-Robot

There was also some sort of protest “Lizard Revenge” there that we couldn’t figure  out what they were protesting about but they had put up all sort of weird alien cardboard cut-outs, too much waky backy me think.

Beresford-Dam-RuinsWater-towerThe-Bubbler

We stopped at several ruins along the way before stopping at Strangeways Springs for the night. We only had one other person in here with us who invited us over to their camp fire later.

Strangeway-Springs

We got to photograph the ruins in the changing light, past sunset until we went back to camp having a late quick tea before visiting our neighbours campsite.

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Day 20 – 27th April

Wow what a day. We woke early for our 8am flight over Lake Eyre; it was a beautiful sunny day, blue skies, and no wind. We were booked in for a 1hr flight, we were waiting out the front of Wright Air with some of the other passengers doing different flights, we were the only ones booked in for the 1 hr flight. Trevor the boss called Chris and I in and said he could do us a special deal for an extra $50 each he could put us on the 2hr flight, we jumped at it. It was easier for him, than putting another plane up for just 2 people, so worked out best for both parties. We were thrilled to bits, the 2hr one gets us out further into the lake and right up to the mouth where the rivers enter the lake.

Our plane

I was a wee bit nervous as it was a small plane, 7 seater, the pilot was only 21 one and to top it off a KIWI. Take off was smoother than I expected and the flight in general was pretty smooth. It was awesome to be up there, looking down on the flat earth below, you really get to see how little vegetation there really is up there, as we approached the Lake we could see the water, wow. It seemed we were nearly at it with our walk yesterday, and in fact 48 hrs early and we would have been walking in water. Lake Eyre is tidal so if we were there when the tied was in we would have seen water from land.

Flight-over-Lake-Eyre-3

We went further into the mouth of the river; we followed the river upstream for a while before turning back towards the lake once more. The best bits were seeing the water coming in from the river and the first sight of the water on the lake.The flight took us over the lake, passed several islands with Pelicans nesting, we could see them clearly from the air, as we got further up the lake the water became muddier where the water was running into the lake. We were got a bird’s eye view on some birds flying; wow it was so exciting, and so breathtaking to see the expanse of the lake. It is only at 4% capacity and the water is covering 40% of it. They expect the capacity to reach 7% and covering 50%, with it peaking in June or July. They also expect the water start to disappear Oct/Nov.

Flight over Lake Eyre

After the flight we headed towards Marree, stopping at a few ruins on the way and the Mound Springs. Which are hot springs on these funny mounds, really strange, these mounds are surrounded by flat ground for miles. We also stopped at Lake Eyre south for a brief look.After a little while I did start to feel a wee bit sick in my tum, my tum didn’t like it when he banked back around to give us another look and at one stage when we were coming into land the plane did a big drop, tum did a loop with that one. The landing was very smooth though. The whole flight was really fun and it was so great to see the water on Lake Eyre.

Flight over Lake Eyre 2 Flight over Lake Eyre 4jpg

The road from William Creek to Cowards Springs, is very gravelling, we were warned by several people it was not a good road and was pretty rough. A well place rock can do a bit of damaged and we had a couple of well place rocks. The gravel was being thrown up underneath the van; it put a hole in the white water waste pipe, so there is no point us putting a hose on that any more  Gravel also cut the cable ties on the A frame that hold the wires that runs from the car to the van to charge the batteries while we are driving. The wire dragged on the gravel and got cut up a bit, Chris is not sure if he can fix that on the road yet. And a really well place rock hit a T piece between the 2 water tanks and we lost the rest of the water in our tanks. Thankfully we have the water in the tank in the car. We are able to plug a hose into the van from that tank and pump it in while we use it, but not put it into the van tanks. We have to pick up a T piece tomorrow. Because of this we pushed on and drove to Leigh Creek tonight, so we are closer to civilizations and parts. We didn’t pull in until nearly 8pm so we are a little worn out. So glad to be off the gravel road and onto this black stuff, so smooth.

Day 19 – 26th April

We had a nice quiet night last night all by ourselves. We drove the 100km straight into William Creek as there wasn’t anything to see on the way. We arrived about morning tea time, Chris filled the car with very expensive petrol, $1.85.9. We then had a quick cuppa, unhooked the van, checked we were all booked in for tomorrow’s morning flight, paid and then drove out to Lake Eyre. There is a booth to pay for a day Parks Pass at $8 a few km’s down the road. The road either side of William Creek is quite corrugated, and the 69km out to Lake Eyre is mostly corrugated with some rough mud patches.

The closer we got to Lake Eyre the more desolate the landscape became, at one point there was just small black rocks for as far as the eye could see, and no vegetation, it looked like a bomb had gone off in the place. It stayed this way all the way to ABC Bay. There was nothing much to see at ABC, black rocks and a muddy looking lake with bits of white patches of salt. Further out you could see big white patches of salt. There were no flies there because it was blowing a gale and was freezing.

ABC Bay Lake Eyre

ABC Bay

From there you drive another 10km to Halligan’s Bay. As we drove towards Halligan’s Bay the ground became sandy and there was a bit more vegetation. At one point the road runs right along the lakes edge. At Halligan’s there are toilets, a shelter shed, and a camp area, which was an area just fenced off from the rest of the sand and rather small. We saw a lonely Plubber that let us get very close for some photos, there is the bird migration, not really. You walk down a sand embankment towards the lake, from there we could see off into the distance the salt flats. We didn’t see any water, but did see some reflections but can’t really say what caused them.

Lake Eyre 1 Lake Eyre 2

We walked out to the salt flats, the further you go out the wetter the ground became. It we stopped we would start to sink into the salty, sandy mud. We could see the indentations where others had walked. Salt had crusted over some of them, making quite fascinating patterns. In some other places salt had formed around the edges and then it had filled with clear salty water. In was a nice thought to think ours foot prints would leave the same fascinating patterns for others to see. As the saying goes take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints. Once we got onto the salt flats the ground became firmer, it was awesome to be standing there on the salt flats of Lake Eyre. The salt had formed many intricate patterns it was different with every step you took. It was quite crystallized in places, we broke the salt surface where we were and it was nearly a centimetre thick, it would be thicker further out. The sky was very overcast and stormy, which just added to then eeriness of Lake Eyre. Also gave us some concern as to whether it was going to rain. Out on the lake there were no flies as it was rather windy. Once we back at the car park the flies swarmed us again. We had our lunch in the car away from the flies and wind.

We hooked the van back up, drove back out of town a short distance towards Oodnadatta, saw a car wreck in off the road and have stopped next to it for the night. It is quite open, as is everywhere around William Creek, so it is howling, we hope the wind dies down for the night.We went back into William Creek, filled up with fuel again and went in to check out the William Creek Hotel which is the only shop in town, and has the only fuel pump. The pub is full of memorabilia if that’s what you call it. The walls, doors, window frames, ceiling and any spot you can stick something to and write on is filled, with business cards, old drivers licence, student ID’s, undies, g stings, bras, all forms of underwear, t/shirts, hats, x-rays, pictures, letters, newspaper articles, if you could write on it, wear it, read it, it was on the wall, anything goes at this place. You could spend hours and hours reading it all. Things were hanging down from the roof, there was literally no space left anywhere, and in some places things went back 4 or 5 deep.

Lov-Zero2

Upgrade 1 Upgrade 2

It’s been great being here, something everyone should see and experience at some point in their lives, it’s very hard to describe in words what we see, how annoying the flies, wind, dust, and dryness can be. It is an experience, and an eye opener, it gives a real appreciated to the pioneers of this land, the huge difficulties they must have experienced. We keep wondering why people would choose to live out here, we are really pleased we have done this trip and would recommend it to anyone, at the same time we are ready to on and leave the wind and flies behind.