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Published: January 11th 2016
The next morning Ruth and I decided to take a scenic flight over mighty Lake Eyre fortunately for us there was actually some water in the lake which is generally dry. It was certainly a worthwhile experience we were able to see much more of the lake and the landscape surrounding it then we could have hoped for. We departed William Creek after the flight, passing through the dog fence on our way to the partially underground city of Coober Pedy which supposedly means “white fellas hole in the ground”.
Coober Pedy is an opal mining town and like any mining town is full of peculiar and often dodgy people live here and a few people have disappeared down mine shafts over the years and bombings are not uncommon. Apart from that for the traveller the town is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. Good restaurants, a great hotel and a few interesting sights including five underground churches and many homes and businesses some of which were used in movies such as Mad Max 3. The Umoona Opal mine and museum was worth a look as were the underground churches and homes such as Crocodile Harry’s Place. We stayed
in an underground hostel and visited the Desert Cave Hotel for drinks.
The next morning we moved on to the Breakaways Reserve, an arid area of hills and scarps about 33km north of Coober Pedy, it was definitely worth the diversion as the landscape including the Castle was most dramatic. The Stuart Highway continues north to the small town of Marla before visiting the aboriginal community of Indulkana where I purchased a spear. Not long after we stopped to assist a couple who had rolled their caravan on the Stuart Highway, a long way from anywhere, I really felt for the poor old couple.
Later we crossed the SA-NT border stopping briefly at Kulgera and then Erldunda which is located at the intersection of the Stuart and Lassiter Highways. Here we headed to Uluru which is several hours west toward the WA border. On arrival we set up our tents at Yulara, where everybody must stay, before heading out to see the rock at sunset. The next morning we again went out to see the rock as the sun rose before walking around the base of the rock and then later climbing it. Although I had been here
many years before I was too young to climb it then so this time up I went, it was challenging and I didn’t expect to see trees and also pools with little creatures in them on the top. We walked to the memorial before returning back to the edge for the climb down my legs were a bit wobbly by the time we reached the bottom.
Next we headed out to Kata Kjuta (The Olga’s) and did the 8 kilometre Valley of the Winds walk which was a lot of fun and very scenic, on the way back to camp we stopped at the sunset viewing area where I caught a large skink to show the foreign travellers before releasing him. The rock and the Olgas are an incredible sight they look different every time the light changes.
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