Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 4 – Woomera, South Australia to Marla, South Australia


It was a much later start in the day for me today, departing Woomera at about 7.15am. Being as ill as I was with the flu, I felt I could use the sleep-in. Once I was on my way, it was just off to Pimba for a quick fuel pit stop – Pimba is only a very short distance up the road and took only a matter of minutes to get there. This also marked the beginning of the more expensive fuel prices, with ULP coming in at $1.60 a litre at Pimba. It would be $2.02 at Kings Canyon Resort.

ABOVE & BELOW: Wildflowers Along the Stuart Highway

Once on the road proper, I again searched for a number of geocaches along the way. These helped to highlight the land that I was travelling through and allowed for regular leg stretching, which always helps when on the road for long periods of time. Another thing that helped to break up the day were the wildflowers, with a number of short breaks taken throughout the journey to take in the spectacle at close quarters. The wildflowers were really something that struck me during my holiday travels. They were really something throughout central Australia.

ABOVE & BELOW: Wildflowers Along the Stuart Highway

Coober Pedy was my first major stop as I headed north towards Marla and as I drew closer to the Opal town I visited two monuments along the Stuart Highway – a monument marking the discovery of opal at Coober Pedy and another the explorer John MacDouall Stuart.

ABOVE: The John MacDouall Stuart Monument Near Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy has never really appealed to me and once again I found myself wanting to get my business in the town settled and to be on my way again. There was a fuel stop and some grocery shopping in the local IGA, knowing that prices would become much higher the further inland I headed. The prices in the shop at Kings Canyon Resort took my breath away, and I for one believed it was little more than price gouging given that there was nowhere else to go. But Kings Canyon was still several days away and so that shock was still to come.

ABOVE: Welcome to Coober Pedy

From Coober Pedy it was a pretty straight-forward run to Marla and my first night in the tent at Marla Traveller’s Rest. It was quite a cold night and with the flu I wasn’t really looking forward to it. However, my car-based camping set-up allows me a very comfortable and warm sleeping environment, so there were no real dramas. It was however a very cold night when out of the sleeping bag and out from under the covers. It was probably close to zero.

The distance travelled on this day was 599 km – giving me a total of 2369 km for the whole trip to this point.

Once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning, with the excitement mounting, as I would arrive in Yulara the next day and be within sight of Uluru – the main goal of my holiday.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskFFWHSE

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 3 – Broken Hill, New South Wales to Woomera, South Australia


The day once again started early for me, as I hit the road determined to make Woomera in good time – especially given that I intended to do quite a bit of geocaching along the way again. In fact, on this day I found upwards of a dozen caches as I travelled along. One of the reasons I enjoy geocaching (and believe me it isn’t for the goodies you find in the caches, as most is little more than junk) are the places it takes you to. Geocaching showed me some interesting sites as I travelled along, what is really quite a large and remote part of the country. It really helped to break up some of those vast distances I was travelling.

ABOVE: Arriving in South Australia  BELOW: Old Water Tower

ABOVE: Poor ‘Old Ted’  BELOW: Olary Railway Station

Other than the geocaching locations, one of the first stops of the day was at Cockburn, which marked the New South Wales – South Australian border. It was quite cold there, as it was for most of the journey across the southern stretch of Australia that I travelled on my holiday. But it was Olary that really caught my attention – a lovely old ‘bush’ type of town, seemingly lost in time. I loved the place, not that I saw a sole during the whole time I wandered about there – but to be fair it was cold and early.

ABOVE & BELOW: Morris Commercial at Olary

There were two main stops for fuel throughout the day. One at Yunta and one at Port Augusta – and these really were just quick pit stops to refuel. I then quickly moved on to Pimba and Woomera, staying the night in another cabin as I was still quite sick with the flu. This time I stayed at Woomera Traveller’s Village.

On this third day I travelled 600 km – giving me a total of 1769 km for the whole trip so far.

ABOVE: Concret Dice Near Yunta

Once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskH4YGLw

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 2 – Nyngan to Broken Hill


The second day of my ‘Red Centre Holiday 2016’ began early, with a 5.30 am departure from Nyngan. I actually tried to find a geocache out the front of the caravan park in the dark, but had to give up because of the waterlogged conditions. So it was on my way early to my next stop – another geocache along the way. In fact I searched for about a dozen throughout the day, finding most of them. So geocaching broke up the trip a little, getting me out of the car from time to time.

At this point it may not be a bad idea to explain geocaching – that way if you have no idea about what I’m talking about, you soon will have at least a rudimental understanding of it.

My first major stop of the day was at Cobar for breakfast. Following Cobar it was Wilcannia and then on to Broken Hill, where I spent the night at the Broken Hill Tourist Park. I stayed in a cabin again as I was still suffering badly from the flu.

ABOVE: Taking a Break

So there wasn’t a lot to report on for day 2. It was just another day of moving closer to my destination really – something which would take 5 days to achieve. On this second day I travelled 587 km (1169 km total for the whole trip so far).

ABOVE: On the Road

So once again it was the usual ‘house keeping’ before bed – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskFnbSGY

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html

Red Centre Holiday 2016: Day 1 – Tea Gardens to Nyngan


I have just completed a 17 day holiday to Australia’s red centre, where I visited Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Watarrka National Park and Tjoritja/West Macdonnell National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. It was a trip I had wanted to make almost every year for the last 5 or 6 years, but was prevented from doing so due to illness, surgery and other reasons associated with those ‘spanners in the works.’ This year I was determined to carry through with my plans, even though I managed to ‘catch’ the flu the day before I left and became quite ill for several days (I still departed as scheduled) during my early travels.

It was an early start from Tea Gardens on the New South Wales east coast (Port Stephens roughly), leaving at 5.15 am on Saturday morning (6 August 2016), the day after I had finished work for my 4 weeks of annual leave. I had originally planned to depart on my holiday on Monday, allowing myself the weekend to pack and get ready. However, I had myself ready in the week prior to my departure, so I decided to get going on Saturday instead. So I was off early, both keen and quite ill.

I decided I was going to do a bit of geocaching along the way, so my first morning involved a bit of this, which slowed my progress considerably. One of the places I found (and had noted previously) was a place known as ‘Split Rock,’ to the east of Dunedoo. This is a very interesting landform just off the road.

Split Rock

ABOVE: Split Rock

Along the way I stopped at Nevertire and visited the Nevertire Cafe, which was quite disappointing. The prices for what they sell are not posted anywhere in the cafe and when I asked for a price list there was none to view. So when I paid for what I ordered I was shocked by the price I was charged – no wonder the prices aren’t displayed. This happened somewhere else on the journey as well and the lesson to take away from this experience is never to order anything without first being told the price. Better still, avoid establishments that hide their prices – it’s a fair bet they intend to price gouge. What really hurt was that the food wasn’t even any good.

ABOVE: Outside Nyngan Riverside Caravan Park

On this first day I travelled a total of 582 km and ended up at Nyngan, New South Wales. Some of the towns that I had briefly stopped at during the day included Merriwa, Dunedoo, Dubbo, Nevertire and then Nyngan.

I stayed the night in a cabin (I originally planned to stay every night in a tent) because I was ill. The cabin was at the Nyngan Riverside Tourist Park, not far from the flooding Bogan River. Having booked into the cabin, I decided to pop down to the local park and take a look at the minor flooding that was then occurring.

ABOVE: The Flooded Bogan River at Nyngan

After settling in for the night, it was time to do some ‘house keeping’ – updating the daily journal, reviewing the holiday budget, checking in on social media, and editing and uploading photos. Then it was off to bed for an early start the next morning.

View the Photos at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskCo9t1f

Visit the Red Centre Holiday 2016 web page at:
http://kevinswilderness.com/NT/redcentre2016.html