A Travellerspoint blog

Day Three & Four

Cooper Pedy - Uluru (Yulara)

sunny 22 °C

We managed to get on the road a little earlier this morning and after packing up (I defininatly think i will be sick of this setting up and packing up every single morning and night!) are headed to Ayers Rock!! The scenery hasn't changed much at all....still pretty stark, arid and dry. Despite the freezing cold at night the day is absolutely glorious. The sun is out and we have even taken our jumpers off. That perfect kind of weather that makes you want to sit and soak it all up.

About half way between Cooper Pedy and Marla, we come across this old Ford Falcon parked half on the road half off the road and as we get closer we can see somebody standing in the middle of the road waving. Slowing down to investigate we soon realise it is an Aborigional man flagging us down for assistance. It would appear he has had a tyre blown and it is absolutely shredded. Sitting off the road under a shady tree is two aborigional women next to a camp fire! Winding down the window we ask the man if everyone is ok and he greets us by saying "you got a smoke?". After a few exchanges explaining that we don't have any cigarettes, he then asks for food. Having half a loaf of bread in the car we give that to him before making an effort to head off. He keeps asking for a smoke and then says, "PLEASE! I'm desperate, I'll pay you!!", so we ask him if he would like us to call someone and tell him that he is broken down. When we finally get some phone reception further down the road we ring the number he has given us, only to be told by the bloke (aborigional also) on the other end of the line - "Johnny Ulu, yeah i know him. Marla, na dunno where that is". Oh well, we did our best!!

Almost every 20kms or so there is a burnt out shell of a car, a dead give away you are now in the proximity of indigineous people! Stopping further up the road at the Northern Territory Border crossing, we take a break and have some lunch. The amount of camping trailers and caravans is unbelievable! Approximately 95% of all vehicles that we pass are towing something related to travelling. The other 5% is comprised of trucks and non-towing cars. With the rest area full of fellow travellers, all having lunch and getting their picture taken next to the NT sign, it wasn't hard for Mark to get stuck talking to several people! Everyone is keen to have a chat and share their story of where they have been and where they are headed, so it doesn't take much prompting to get a conversation started.

Stopping once again at Curtin Springs for an ice-cream (of which they don't sell!) we came face to face with some of the more "traditional" aborigionals squabbling outside the roadhouse. Mack was very keen to watch what was going on, asking "whats that?"

Pressing on, we finally made it to Ayers Rock! The caravan park here is absolutely chockers, it would appear it is quite the tourist destination! We have been quite impressed with the infastructure and facilities here at the Ayers Rock Resort (although their signage has a bit to be desired). In total there is 10 eating places to choose from, all ranging in price. Even the choice to eat next to Ayers Rock under the stars, for only $260pp! Tempting as it sounds, we decided that some Pad Thai from the Ayers Wok take away would be more within our budget.

The next morning after a lazy sleep-in we got ourselves organise and drove the extra 10kms out to the famous rock. After paying the gate fee of $25pp we were almost there!! Driving around the bend in the road we came right up close and personal - breath taking is the actual size and height of the rock. From afar it would almost appear that it is made up of sand and red dirt rather than rock, but as you get closer you can see that it is definately rock! Amazing how the grooves and caves have formed over time. There is something rather beautiful about such a massive rock. Unfortunately for us Uluru is closed for climbing today :( After talking to one of the tourist information ladies, it is lucky to be open anymore than 50 days a year! Chatting to a tour guide later in the day, we have since found out that last week a young indigineous boy commited suicide by throwing himself off the rock and everyone was attending the funeral today - hence the closure.

Another chat with a different tour guide, told us that also last week a tourist climbed the rock depsite it been closed for climbing, with the penalty for that misjudgement been $10,000!!!!!!! I don't think we will be risking any climbing today!! We drove around the base, stopping at one of the little walks into a water hole (completely roped off of course). After the excitement of seeing the rock and taking it all in, we headed off to investigate the Olgas, a further 40kms down the road.

Once back at camp we did a re-pack and re-stock (from the surprisingly big supermarket) of food and ute contents. Chucked a load of washing on (I'm still a little scared we might catch something, I don't think those machines have ever seen a cleaning cloth) and then relaxed in the once again beautiful sunny afternoon. Mack has had fun playing on the play equipement and socialising with the kids from next door. After a day of playing in this red dirt, we now have a light redy/brown coloured child! Showers done for the da, we are off to check out the local entertainment at one of the various pubs.

Delle, Mark & Mack

Posted by WanderingWilson 16:55 Archived in Australia Tagged ayers_rock Comments (0)

Day Two

Port Augusta - Cooper Pedy

semi-overcast

Mack has learnt a new sentence "I'm freezing"!! and Freezing it was this morning when we got up! Having booked a powered site last night we the luxury of a heater to keep us warm all night :) Although when we are camping in the middle of the boon docks we do have a genset to keep us powered.

After breakfast was done and dusted and Mack had finished terrorising the birds at the Big 4 with his camping shovel - chasing them around saying "I chase you"!! We turned our nose for Cooper Pedy.

It wasn’t long after we had left Port Augusta that we saw the first of many Road Trains which had Mark jizzing in his pants. Enthusiastically pointing out the different combinations and reminiscing his days of driving them. The terrain soon turned from lovely rolling hills into flat arid land, the only covering been that of small bushes and half dead shrubs. We passed a few salt lakes, inland lakes and interesting looking mountains, but that was about the sum of exciting things to see!

We passed through Woomera but didn’t bother to stop, instead pressing on to Coober Pedy. Once there, we stopped for fuel and a few essential items from the local Supermarket. I think its fair to say the town had a working class feel to it, not much more than a few shops (basically all selling Opal) and motels. Not feeling the need to explore the town beyond the main street we kept heading west to a Parking Bay area about 70kms down the road.

Pulling up for the night we set about getting our camp sorted and dinner started. Now that the monkey is in bed we have settled next to our raging fire (thanks to Mark) sipping on Hot Milo’s, watching the glorious display of stars and of course, watching all the road trains go past!

Mark, Delle & Mack xx

Posted by WanderingWilson 23:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day One

Mildura - Port Augusta

semi-overcast 5 °C

The Big Trip has begun! We are off on our four week adventure around Western Australia. The hilux is packed to the hilt with every nook and cranny full of stuff. I am assured that it is all "essential tools", but I am yet to be convinced. The fact that we are off on a holiday didn't really hit us until we turned off for Morgan, just after Renmark. As Mark nor I have never been out this way before, the exitement started to build (well not that Mark can remember any way).

It wasn't more than half an hour down the track and the faithfull old Hilux started playing up! The Auto Temp Light started coming on and we had only been sitting on 100k/h. So Mark decided to pull some bash plates off the front to improve the air flow through the engine bay as fitting a winch had slowed the air flow up. So far so good, we haven't had any more issues...YET! Lucky Mark had packed a grinder, so he can cut some vents in the bash plates tomorrow as a more permanent solution (essential tool #1 to the rescue!).

The country side has started to change from desert to beautiful rolling green hills and lush paddocks full of budding crops. Such a gorgeous site after seeing flat dry country in Mildura for so long. We even passed a paddock (in South Australia) full of YELLOW sheep!!! They certaintly do it different over here. Im guessing that it was the effect from drenching or the like, but certaintly not something we have seen before. Mack has been a well behaved little traveller so far, entertaining himself with books/toys/drawing and watching DVD's or 'bc' as he calls it!

The weather has been FREEZING!! There were patches of rain earlier in the day but it seems to have cleared up for the night which is good as we are sleeping under canvas after all :) We have pulled up at Port Augusta Big 4 Holiday Park for the night, seems like a nice enough place although it would want to be after getting robbed for $50 bucks for a powered site - for 1 night! I thought this place was reasonably safe but there is a 12ft barbed wire fence around the park just to make sure i suppose. Tomorrow we are planning on heading for Ayers Rock, see how we go. Will add some more tomorrow.

Mark, Delle & Mack

Posted by WanderingWilson 03:00 Archived in Australia Tagged port augusta mildura hilux Comments (0)

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