Friday, March 21, 2014

Oodnadatta Track!!!

After chatting with a friend in Broken Hill, Chris is persuaded to take the Oodnadatta Track.  We would never have thought to do this with our other van, but decided since this van is smaller, lighter and off road, we'd give it a go.  It was also great to go on a different road to what we had done before.

This was sunset on our first night on the Oodnadatta track.  We had only gone a short way along the track to our stop on the first night as we had driven through the Flinders Ranges and up to the start of the track.
 Our first stop was opposite the Dog Fence. This is the world's longest fence stretching over 5000 kms.  We had also seen this fence in Cooberpedy.
 Along the Oodnadatta track we see these huge sculptures from a distance.  We jump out and take a look around.  Very interesting!
 A windmill made into a flower

 We spotted this dingo right alongside the road.  We quickly stopped and hopped out to take a photo.  He was as curious about us as we were about him.  He just stopped and stared at us.  We also saw another dingo a little further down the track.
 This is South Lake Eyre.  All you can see is salt.  From what we've heard, Lake Eyre is now dry.

As you travel along the Oodnadatta track, you would think you are journeying over waterless plains, but beneath them is the Great Artesian Basin.  This spring is at Mound Springs.  The contrast is just amazing with the lifeless, empty desert behind and a green, lush spring in front of you.
Time for a swim at Coward Springs.  We all jump in the warm bore spa.  We are thankful we're the only ones here as I wouldn't like to share such a small place with people I didn't know!!
 More springs along the track

Driving along, we noticed lots of people had written messages using old railway sleepers (the Oodnadatta track runs alongside the Old Ghan Railway track.)  It was VERY easy for us to come up with our message!  Our number one memory of the Oodnadatta track will without a doubt be FLIES!!!!  We had never experienced flies this bad.  As soon as you got out of the car, they attacked you!! When we pulled up for the night, we had to race to the caravan and stay there.  They were really that bad!  We could venture outside again after dark when they disappeared.  Next morning, they were out and about well before sunrise and the fight against the flies started again!!
 Some of the scenery as we drove along.  The nice thing about it though was that the scenery always changed.
 Algebuckina bridge and waterhole
 We enjoyed another swim.  It was very muddy getting in and out of this waterhole, but we were hot enough to do it anyway!!
The sign that we had made it to Oodnadatta was the Pink Roadhouse.  Lucy posted a postcard to her class at school from the Oodnadatta Post Office.

 It was just amazing how far you could see.  The land just stretched out before us and we came over each crest.


The next morning we left Oodnadatta and drove towards the painted desert. The morning light is just beautiful as we look across this vast land.

Looking in the rear view mirror you can see why we ended up with dust all through the caravan!!  Every stop I had to sweep out all the dust and air out the whole van.  There's even dust in all the cupboards, our beds, everywhere!!! Aahhhh!!  Oh well, that's what comes with the adventure on dirt roads.

Chris couldn't get over how shiny and healthy the cattle looked along the track, especially considering how little there looked for them to eat!

Panorama of the Painted Desert

 The Painted Desert was absolutely stunning!!  We loved it.  The variety of colours in the rocks was just amazing. What a creative God we have!

 Just an indication of what the flies were like.  You were covered like this within seconds of stepping outside!! And then more and more and more kept coming!
 More pics of the Painted Desert

 Poor Lucy slipped on the rocks here and cut two of her fingers quite badly.  There was blood everywhere.  I tried to stop the bleeding and hold the skin together with streri strips.  We decided to drop into the nurses station in Marla to have it checked out as the cuts were quite deep.  Being in the middle of nowhere, it was about 200kms 'til we reached the nurse.  The funny thing was that this was the same place we stopped at for Chris's white tail spider bite two and half years ago!
 After over 600kms of dirt we came to the end of the Oodnadatta track.  We survived and it was definitely a lot more interesting and exciting than going up the tar road! I think the caravan was very happy to be back on tar again!
We camped the night on the SA / NT border.  A gorgeous sunrise to take us into the Territory!

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