Last you heard from me I had been doing some very efficient fishing (while admittedly not actually catching any fish efficiently…) and visiting the SA museum and getting seduced by promises of honours projects in Fiji and the like. Oh dear! You might be happy to hear that I have indeed left Adelaide, and then managed to return (like I did in Perth and will in Melbourne) before leaving again. But Adelaide of course, being another city, isn’t really the exciting part of the journey (perhaps excluding my visits to the SA museum and Flinder’s Uni).
I was given some advice by the good entomology people of the SA museum that Lake Eyre was currently holding water (a fairly uncommon occurrence I am told). As such, I decided a trip there might be warranted and was advised on a route to take (which I didn’t completely take in the end). Essentially it would entail quite a bit of unsealed road, and a little bit of dodgy-windy-rocky-roady-stuff… Which naturally was quite stunning! After quite a bit of dirt roads and [often surprising] bitumen roads, I made camp at Marree, next to the pub (for free!)
A few bits of salty dirt… yes I had to see what it looked like up close, who do you think I am?
Before leaving Marree the next day, I was given a bit of a warning in the shape of an advisory sign prior to the next c.a. 400km of unsealed road. Nothing says, “have fun” like a long list of ‘precautions’ under a bold ‘WARNING’ sign…
The unsealed road WAS actually quite fun and beautiful, with the added bonus of seeing oncoming vehicles (for the few that I saw) well before they got to you due to a giant cloud of dust on the horizon! The only drawback was the occasional hidden bump and bottoming-out of Ron… Ooops! Getting to Lake Eyre (South.. the dry part) was really quite amazing. With miles of white stretching almost to the horizon and a two-inch thick salty crust to walk on (after a bit of walking through vaguely salty mud), it was truly a sight to behold [and occasionally taste].
The question remained though as to whether or not I could see Lake Eyre filled with water! To be answered, I would need to travel to William Creek; the home of $2/L fuel, 6 people and a dog (you can’t make this up people).
At least here my question could be answered! It was a no. Oh well, off to Coober Pedy then! A very interesting town home to some very friendly people and very pretty rocks. For $5/ night I was given a place to park and sleep in my van, have a shower and take some photos (to the curiosity of some Portuguese hitchhikers in and adjacent vehicle and a perpetually hungry [fat] dog). After this stay I went to visit one of the local underground churches, where I met the Pastor, Brian. Now I know that I have not met many pastors before (in fact Brian may be the first), but he was undoubtedly the friendliest pastor that I have ever met (or at least can remember meeting… crap). He shared with me the history of his church (half hand-dug by the people in Coober Pedy from various religions on volunteered time and half dug by machine). Followed by bringing me to a nearby larger church, entirely dug by machine (and in my eyes not as nice as Brian’s church).
After Coober Pedy, there was nothing to it but to return to Adelaide and continue south before heading East again towards Victoria. The road south is quite long and so I stopped at Weeroona Island (near Port Pirie), which at times was overwhelming with mosquitoes, but otherwise quite beautiful (And home to a few bees). But after that, it was off to Adelaide in the morning to replace my blower fan for the aircon, which I managed with a tarago blower. Subsequently I thought that there might be some further underlying problems with the air actually getting to my face in any meaningful amount (that’s for later I guess).
Of course, before getting very far, I had a failed blinker globe that I needed to replace. Naturally the afformentioned blinker was in the least convenient place ever and I needed to spend the night in Gawler awaiting a mechanic that I was recommended at Supercheap Auto. I found a really nice (and somewhat secluded) park around the corner to camp in overnight. When I made it to the mechanic at ~8 AM, it only took 15 minutes and a bit of head scratching to have the globe replaced (by turning the wheels to one side and removing the mud guard in the wheel well!).
The road south of Adelaide (once I got on it) is also really quite stunning and considerably less flat and straight! It was even at points, “ALL COVERED IN BEES!” (- Eddie Izzard, thanks Jem).
Today then I have made it as far as the Cooroong, a 130km long stretch of coastal lagoons, really quite nice. I believe that I have made it to the same campsite as the one that me and some of my friends stayed at last year on our road trip south! If it is the same, it has changed a bit with the seasons – no longer covered in mossy ground and a lot drier! BUT Very close to quite a few flowering Melaleucas… Excellent!
Bee count: 139
Kilometers travelled: 18 300