Coober Pedy

Tuesday 15th April, (Coober Pedy).

I have decided after spending last night at Glendambo that if we are only staying overnight in an area that there is little, if not nothing, to see or do, which would be the case being overnight, then we will stay in free camp areas if possible. Staying in parks like we did last night was basically a waste of money.

We are now at Coober Pedy, and this town, being an opal mining district, is very much like Andamooka but on a bigger scale and in a bit cleaner state; Meaning this town is more acceptable to stay at. We have booked in for three days, which should give us plenty of time to see what we need to.

We had a warning from a fellow traveller last night about the aboriginals in this town and when we arrived here we could see what he meant. This led us to chose a caravan park other than the Top Tourist or the Big4 that are in town. These parks were either too close to the town centre, or possibly troublesome locals, or too close to the actual mining centres, so we chose the Stuart range park that is on the approaching outskirts of town. Another traveller that we had words with today on the radio during out travels, who is also staying in town at a friends place, visited us on his motor bike this afternoon and said he had checked out the other parks and assured us that we had picked the correct one. What he actually meant in his statement he did not elaborate, but I would agree that he is correct.

The awesome aspects of our introduction to the centre has ended, as far as today’s travels, as the scenery was about what we had expected of it all, although the countryside was reasonably green due to the recent rains. I guess this was a reminder that we can expect boring monotonous trips from now on.

Glendambo

Monday 14th April, (Glendambo).

We have now moved to Glendambo, a couple of houses and a couple of roadhouses, one with a caravan park, on the side of the road. I think for some reason that I had already decided that we would stay at this park, and now wonder why. The park is not at all what we expected; it is surprising how they can over sell something in advertising brochures. Being a Top Tourist park is what convinced me, I think, but it is not of the same standard as the Top Tourist parks we have been used to. The park is nothing more than a large gravel paddock with, what looks like, horse tying up rails with the occasional power box, scattered through the paddock and one is expected to back vans up to them as if they are horses. There are no water taps or drains, so apart from the amenities one is paying only for power and seeing we have our own, we would have been just as well off in a rest area. The fact that this would have been only one night in several weeks we would have camped out probably had an influence on choosing to stay here.

Oh well it is probably not really all that bad and it is only for one night.

We are both still at awe over the lakes, dry with salt flats or with water, in the district. The highway passes several and provides a lookout, rest area, looking over several. Looking at the map there does not seem to be any more, or many, from here on north.

This is another lake.

Roxby Downs

Sunday 13th April, (Roxby Downs).

More on Roxby after a walk around town today, it was left for today because yesterday was too wet and we were tied down to the caravan. We summed up the township as being an oasis within a desert. The mine must have placed a lot of thought and spent a lot of money in setting up this town as it is, because it is too well laid out to be built as it goes, like most towns.

The walk we had today was a pre marked tourist walk around several park in the town and it became apparent that the town is set up so all houses are built in the low areas between the sand dunes as there are no houses at all above the level of the dunes, which are not very high.

A contrast to this town is another small one to the east called Andamooka. This is an opal-mining town and it was obviously built as, and how people personally wanted, as it grew.

The town is also dirty and messy. The main road is bitumen and all the others consist of the local red dirt, and after the rain we had yesterday it seems as though one would need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to negotiate them. As a result of this the bitumen road is hardly recognisable, covered with the red dirt.

This town was an eye opener to us as in these times one would not expect to find a town anywhere in this condition, unless they intend it to be a tourist attraction.

Roxby Downs

Friday 11th April 2003, (Roxby Downs).

We started on our journey up the red centre today. We, especially Linda, are quite surprised at what we have seen so far of the centre as we expected it to be rather baron, dry and sandy, even though we are not far into the centre. It is sandy, red, but it is rather picturesque with varying scenery, which is fully unexpected. One sight to be seen is a lookout over Island Lagoon just before Pimba, on the highway at the turnoff to Woomera. The lagoon is actually an inland lake and like most of them at this time is dry and covered with a layer of salt on the lakebed.

We are now at Roxby Downs 80 odd kilometres north of Woomera. We have been taking note of this town name in watching for temperatures in this district over the last few weeks so we decided that we should at least visit. There may not be much to do here but at least we have been here. It is not such a bad little town actually, a housing community for the Olympic Dam mine a little further north, laid out rather well and while in the town one forgets what the surrounding terrain is actually like.

Port Augusta

Friday 11th April, (Port Augusta).

We have had our overnight stay at Port Augusta and are now on to our first leg of our Red Centre trip.