Saturday, November 8, 2008

From Uluru

Been ages since I've been online so this will be a piecemeal blog, highlights as I recall them.

*Cheesy self portrait - sunset at Uluru. Please note Payniac's hirsute mug! We had 3 very hot days at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and managed to fit in 2 sunsets and a sunrise along with the cultural centre and lots of walking. No we didn't climb to the top - it was closed every day we were there and wouldn't have climbed it anyway. A BIG BIG red rock that seems to just rise up out of the scrub, it is very impressive I can't imagine what the first people to see it would have thought.
Another highlight of Yulara (toursit village/resort) was the swimming pool where Andy and I spent approximately 4 hours everyday after all our mornings exertions.

*This is what it's like to drive into an electrical storm-dust storm combo. We passed one road train in this! Terrifying as a wall of pink water enveloped the troopy. This is on the (sealed and therefore boring) Stuart Highway from Erldunda (we just made it here as the fuel light came on) to Kulgera where we ended up camping for the night out the back of the Kulgera Pub/Roadhouse. The wind just blew and blew that night and we were both surprised in the morning when we awoke to find the cubby (rooftop tents name) still safely perched atop the troopy with us inside - feathers ruffled but no damage done.

I should make a note here that after leaving Uluru we hadn't fully committed to a northerly (via Plenty H'way to east coast Qld) or southerly (via Stuart H'way + Flinders Ranges) route back towards Dangar and Christmas. This came to a head after a VERY hot visit to some meteor craters which we'd picked as our campsite for the night. The lack of shade and facilities made this a no brainer for me but Payniac was sad as he had been very much looking forward to this site. They had even sent US astronauts here for research such was the significance of the place! I was NOT impressed, this led to disappointment and a long drive ahead of us to the next town for camping as well as the big north or south decision. I'm not 100% how the decision was reached but I think the heat had a lot to do with it and at the Stuart H'way T-junction we turned south. The heat does funny things to you - besides seeing water mirages everywhere, it can make normally rational people somewhat...testy. Enough said on that matter. We are now very happy with our southerly track.

*The Breakaways near Coober Pedy. This was consolation for the Painted Desert road being closed due to rain. Rain? I hear you ask, in the desert? What? Yes, it's true, after 35 days of perfect blues skies (oh, and a few wee electrical skirmishes) we have seen rain. The smell when the rain hits the dirt/sand is just incredible.

The Breakaways are about 20km north of Coober Pedy and provide relief to eyes tired of flat scenes. The colours in the soil and rock are quite something and continually changed as the clouds and sun fought each other. Quite famous as sites for Mad Max II (or III, I can't member) and Priscilla. Spent a night at the Oasis Caravan Park in Coober Pedy with obligatory visits to the Underground Bar and a working Opal Mine before making for William Creek to head south down the O'datta track towards the Flinders. Little did we know this would be the last hot shower for some time.

*The Rock in the afternoon.

* A very hot and bothered VJ at the beautiful meteor craters. The green drink is an adaptation to drinking funny tasting, sometimes treated, sometimes not, water. It works a treat. I have to say that drinking untreated water is akin to some detox programs.

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