Our second (but first proper) day in Flinders we spent at Wilpena Pound and driving a few 4 wheel drive tracks. I am not really up for a 21km hike to a peak at the moment, so instead we settled for cruising the ever flowing landscape. The kids quickly got bored with emu and kangaroo spotting – doesn’t bode well for the rest of the trip! I am reminded of the frustration of my parents when as kids my brother and I would rather slump in the backseat, headphones in, than look at the window at the African landscape. Awe inspiring landscapes are wasted on the young! But they perked up after a quick shower and some geocaching hunts.
That evening the sky produced the most amazing colours as a thunderstorm skimmed past us. Jamie and I climbed to the nearby hill top to take pictures and the boys quickly followed to scream at the lightening strikes. They hit the ridges all around us, jagged trails of lights, and I got lucky with one. Need to do some google research for the next time. We snuggled in for our first movie night, Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure. Apparently exactly on their wave length! It was fun, although I can’t wait for night when we can set up outside beside a roaring fire.
On our final day the kids decided to brave the nearby creek, it’s only just a trickle but bitterly cold. They won a vitally important bet with Jamie – $5 each. I could have told him that he was never going to win – when it comes to money they are willing to brave anything!
We ate pancake to start our journey to Woomera, yummy. Packed up in record time and hit the road. It’s all slowly starting to come together. The kids take turns in using the drill to run the legs of the camper up – apparently the most sought after job!
We hit up Port Augusta later than morning to replenish supplies and fix a few things that were broken. Apparently our tyre pressure gauge wasn’t reading correctly so we have been driving around on 45 rather than 40. Means nothing to me but Jamie was horrified. He also managed to snap the clip off our waeco fridge freezer which gave us a momentary heart attack – lucky we weren’t somewhere it was 30 degree or more! We also purchased a vital piece of equipment – pizza stone for the baby weber Q. Tonight is Pizza night! We made good time to Woomera and headed to a free camp in the middle of no where. Apparently it was us and every other grey nomad on the road! It’s a massive area next to a petrol station and place called Spuds. Coin operated showers, free toilets and lots of room. As we rolled in, 3 caravans rolled in behind us so we snagged a good spot while we could. I have sorely underestimated the joy of a hot shower. I made the kids shower with Jamie so I got one all to myself later on – ha ha! No idea how he fell for that.
The next day we did a quick drive into Woomera so the kids could make explosion noises around the rockets and be repeatedly told not to climb on the exhibits. Jamie spent most of it on the phone trying to get a spare part for the jayco sent to Alice Springs. Apparently we had the door tensioned too tight and it snapped the lock (not sure how it was missed in the service it just had but hey ho). Luckily for us a nice guy called Justin at Brookley RV in Darwin packaged up the new door piece, ran it round to the local greyhound bus and they are driving it down for us to pick up in Alice Springs. Then we got back on the road for Lake Hart and the most amazing salt lake. The kids paddled out into the water, crunching through the salt before realising salt water itches when it dries. I left Jamie playing with his drone and instead we climbed a huge salt pile and watched a train go past. Even better they sounded their horn and waved out the window to the kids. The boys are now proud owners of lumps of salt which I had to remove from them after about 10 minutes because they kept licking them, and waffling about how they were going to eat their salt with everything.
We made Coober Pedy by 3:30pm and after driving randomly around ended up at Riba’s underground camping and motel – although we opted for the cheaper unpowered site. We threw the jayco up and raced into town to zoom through a few things. We had a drink in an underground bar – apparently a must for Jamie – went to an opal shop, visited an underground Church, saw a couple of movie props from Pitch Black and Mad Max before finishing the day at Josephine’s Art Gallery and Kangaroo rescue. They rescue kangaroos and a few other creatures, mostly from road kill so they currently had 10 larger roos and 6 little babies between 5 – 7 months. The kids got to feed a few of the larger ones wasabi peas and banana chips before a little 7 month old kangaroo was brought out for a bottle feed and a little hop around, apparently after every feed they need to practice their bouncing before getting back into their sack. Imagine a toddler just learning to walk, the little roo would take a couple of little hops then suddenly bound forward, her back legs propelling her faster than she could keep up with so she skittered into walls and slid over. The kids got to give her a little stoke and as they were covered in peanut salt from our bar stop they all got their fingers licked.
The next morning we were up early, packed and hitting the road at 8:30am. We headed back to Coober Pedy to visit the Old Timer’s Mine, set up as an underground treasure hunt. The kids had a ball. I, on the other hand, realised after I wandered around the underground house section that I could not live there. It was a relief to step into the sunlight! We finished off with an opal hunt out the front, Jamie doing most of the hunting, and the kids are now proud owners of some shimmering rocks.
We’re aiming for Alice but could not pass the Oodnatta track without a bit of a go. We headed to the Pink Roadhouse at Oodnatta, apparently we were the only silly people in residence attempting the track with a trailer! Picked up the obligatory sticker for the van and hit the road. The track was pretty good, we eventually dropped the tyres a bit but probably could have gotten away with it. But better safe than sorry.
As we zoomed along, we shot up on a tiger snake sunning itself on the road. Unfortunately we could not miss it and ran straight over it. Jamie insisted on going back for a look – I discovered later it was to make sure it was still on the road and had not flicked up under the car where it would sneak up and eat us later! Information I am pretty sure I never actually wanted to know. It was still there, definitely on the lifeless side so Jamie hopped out to take a picture. All the while Abi and I are screaming at him to get back in. The boys are egging him on and then the snake moves, twisting its head towards Jamie and I promptly turn into a crazy banshee. Jamie is struggling to get into the car with hysterics as I am envisioning attempting to do a 72 point turn with the trailer to get back to the nearest help point – there is no service out here. But all is well, no one got bitten, pretty sure the snake is dead and I will probably spend the rest of the trip shrieking every time something brushes against my leg in the car.
We pushed on and came across a dead kangaroo with around 12 wedge tailed eagles feeding. We managed to stop and pull off and then sneak back some pictures. Pretty awesome really, apparently made more so because the boys got to see the insides of a kangaroo. We spotted goanna tracks in the sand and I kept a beady eye out for long slithering things. We finished our night, quite late, at a rest stop on the NT/SA border. Rolled in late, and got lucky with one last spot. It was filled to bursting with caravans but everyone was friendly and didn’t mind the feral kids we released to blow off steam. We then discovered we had knocked the electric breaks off the trailer and dislodged a grease nipple (no idea what that means just do what I did and nod with a knowing look). Luckily we hit Alice tomorrow and Jamie will be using his magical fixing powers to get it all back up and running. I will be his amazing co pilot and hand him tools – quite possibly the wrong ones but it’s the thought that counts.
So into Alice, picking up Dad and getting ready for the next part of the adventure to Uluru and Kings Canyon.
Best Moment: The magical lightening storm in the Flinders
Tip for the week: The jayco has matting underneath as well as a stone stomper protection – and we still ran into trouble, but a lot less than it could have been. Check out stonestompers.com.au
Week 2 Spend – bit of an explosion this week!
Cost of petrol: $591
Kms done: 1,410