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Day Five & Six

Uluru (Yulara) - Kalgoorlie

sunny

After enjoying the restful day of not travelling yesterday, this morning it was time to get packed up on the road again. We refuelled at the local Service Station before heading off - $2.05 per litre!!!!! With the road headed to WA passing back through the gates to Uluru we were very surprised and annoyed to read the sign saying that the rock was OPEN for climbing today! Typical! Making the quick decision to keep driving the extra 5 or so kilometres further, we found ourselves back at the base of the enormous Uluru. After a few minutes discussion we decided that we were not going to risk letting Mack climb and since Mark had climbed it when he was 10 or so – that left me! I scampered up the first incline and had a good look at the view. Amazing! The surface of the rock itself is deceptively slippery from all the tourists’ feet smoothing it over time. Been that it was relatively early in the morning the crowds were only starting to gather. After re assessment I decided to not continue the climb – who was I going to share the accomplishment at the top with? From where I was the incline got incredibly steep, practically vertical!, and even if I did make it to the top it was the coming down that scared me!

We had spoken to a few other people about the road we were about to travel – The Great Central Highway - and all had told us that we were crazy and the road was horribly bumpy and really corrugated. Well, of course that is like a bull being waved a red flag for Mark, and the challenge was on! Turning our backs to Uluru we turned off the bitumen highway onto the red dirt. After 30kms or more we started wondering what all the fuss was about, maybe it turned bad ahead? Travelling along at 115k/h for a couple of hours we finally concluded that the road was great! It had recently been graded and apart from the occasional corrugations it defiantly wasn’t anything to get excited about.

Apart from the many burnt metal sculptures (Mark was horrified to identify that one of these sculptures was once a two-door Monaro) that decorate the landscape at least every 10 kilometre the drive is relatively boring. Of course the road has various dips and turns, inclines and a few spots where you lose your stomach driving over. We did spot some wild brumbies and a few camels and a donkey or two – giving Mack some new animals to learn about. Quite surprising is the fact that we are yet to see a Kangaroo! Driving 5 hours that day, we finally pull in at Warburton where Mark’s cousin Bethia lives. We wait at the roadhouse for her to escort us into the ‘community’ as unauthorised access is strictly prohibited. Giving us the relatively short tour of the community we then pull up at her house – surrounded by a lockable floor to ceiling barred veranda. We secure the camping trailer and ute inside, before setting off to see where she works.

We walked (half) the length of the two kilometre runway that sits alongside Warburton as is the nightly ritual for most of the white fellas in the community. Bethia had invited one of her friends over for dinner and we chatted the night away learning about this community. Needless to say it was all very interesting and eye opening to see how these people live.

The next morning we met Bethia’s friend for a tour of the Arts Gallery. A space that the Aboriginal artists can sell their hand made arts ranging from paintings to carved wood and glass. We fuel up before we leave, this time paying $2.45 for diesel!

Back on the dusty red dirt road we again resume the pace of 115k/hr chipping away at the kilometres that lead us to Kalgoorlie. Once again, not much to say about this road – very much the same as the last day! Last night when we retrieved some fresh clothes from the trunk on top of the trailer we soon realise that they are NOT dust proof and all our clothes are now RED. Oh I do HATE red dirt! I will now have to wash the lot :(

We decide that we will push on and make it to Kalgoorlie tonight rather than pulling up half way. Coming to the end of the Great Central Highway at Laverton, we are finally back onto Bitumen and that makes me (Delle) happy! It’s not the dirt that worries me; it’s the RED dirt that is covering EVERYTHING! This end of the GCH driving through Laverton and Leonora you get the very convincing impression that you are now in mining country. A large majority of the cars in the towns have the tell-tale orange flags, big aerials and vehicle identification numbers in reflective tape. Both of the towns are relatively small with a large part of the non-mining population made up of indigenous Australians.

The trucks over here seem to have a minimum of three trailers (most trucks) with the biggest going up to five! Of course Mark is loving them and even Mack it would seem, whenever we pass one with a few trailers in tow he proclaims – “BIG truck”! Once in Kalgoorlie (about 7:30pm WA time) we hit the sack! Good night :)

Mark, Delle and Mack x

p.s. We have travelled 1125kms on dirt across the Great Central Highway!

Posted by WanderingWilson 01:50 Archived in Australia Tagged ayers_rock warburton kalgoorlie great_central_highway

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