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Published: July 18th 2013
Of the Oodnadatta track, all 620 Kilometres of it
The Best Monday Morning ever
With Van Morrison on the iPod we are whistling our way up the Oodnadatta track, a Monday morning like this is the best Monday morning ever. The sun is shining, the temperature is currently about 16 degrees and the traffic is light, no sign of gridlock anywhere, we have seen about 4 vehicles! We were on our toes this morning a quick breakfast not much to pack away and we were driving out of Muloorina Station by 8.45, we left our camping fees in the honesty box, made a donation to the RFDS and we even spotted a dingo on the way out of the station.
There is a dog fence that comes around the edge of this property and we pondered which side of the fence wild dogs/dingos are meant to be on, is there a right side or a wrong side?
Heading back toward Marree, we have no choice, as there is no other way through the Lake Eyre National Park, and even though the turn off is a kilometre north of Marree we decide to go back in to fuel up and grab a
The Oodnadatta Track
Out here, no one can hear you scream.!!
Our intention was to get some internet access at the same time, but the Marree Hotel was all quiet, the telecentre did not do wireless, so we topped up our tanks with diesel and hit the Oodnatta Track.
The Oodnadatta Track, Australia is an unsealed 620 km outback road between Marree and Marla via Oodnadatta. Along the way, the track passes the southern lake of the Lake Eyre National Park, and the outback settlements of William Creek and Oodnadatta
The track follows a traditional Aboriginal trading route. It provides us with stunning semi-desert scenery, the Oodnadatta Track roughly follows the former railway line as far north as Oodnadatta, and then turns to the west, meeting the sealed Stuart Highway at Marla. The road's surface is rough, with plenty of bone-jarring corrugations, especially on the stretch of road
We were chatting about the different conversations we just had with people in Marree, I told Andy that Marree got the same storm as us a couple of nights ago, but that only gave them about 2mls of rain. Not a lot considering the extent of the lightning and the thunder.
Andy chatted to another chap who
The technology centre
This is where the blogs are typed whilst I am driving and Caroline does all our on and off road mapping,
was also filling up his Landcruiser at the bowser, we saw them yesterday when they did a drive round the camp site at Muloorina, but they did not stay there, they were just having a look, but we all do that at times, just to see what a camp site is like and make a mental note for next time. He said they shot kangaroo's for a living, so the kangaroo meat we see in supermarkets could come from them.
I just need to explain, you cannot just go around shooting kangaroos to sell meat to supermarkets, the industry is heavily regulated and in order to continue to provide kangaroo meat, they must comply with regulations. It sounds like they have more administration involved that actual shooting.
Regulations include things like what you wear on your feet, time, date, sex, species, temperature (must be taken at timed intervals). You need to be a first class marksman as you have to accurately shoot the kangaroo in the brain, with a kill shot with the first bullet You must have all your appropriate gun licences, including licences to shoot in national parks, forms need submitted monthly to account for the
number of kangaroo's shot. Very different to how it was in the 90's before regulations came in. I could go on, but I won't as I don't really want to get anything wrong and really there is a lot to comply with.
I was chatting to his wife, she showed me on the map where they were heading, they only have one week and have to be back in the Yorke Peninsula by Friday night, they will get to Dalhousie Springs and make their way back South again.
We stop at Plane Henge, Andy checks the tyre pressures, which is a must on these tracks and the best way to look after your tyres, on such a rough track forcomfort and safety and tyre care we reduce the pressure to 20 PSI and the pressure needs to be taken when the tyres are hot or else you wont get an accurate reading
Cruising at about 80kmh the track is easy going and we have just been overtaken by two vehicles, they vanish in the distance and in clouds of dust.
Eventually we catch sight of Lake Eyre South, it looks like there is water, but it
is so hard to tell, that shimmer could also be the sunlight catching the salt crystals. We stop at the lookout, the view is spectacular, I wish we could see it at sunset I expect it would be amazing.
Whilst we were there the family we were talking to back in Marree turn up, so we chat again, finding out more about the regulations of shooting kangaroos for meat and then we move on again.
Taking a stop at Curdimurka Railway Siding, where the old Ghan Railway went through, as we took the turn we see the family with the Landcruiser go past again! We all waved and figured that would probably be the last we saw of them as we will be going separate ways soon.
I saw some water at Warriners Creek, Andy stopped for me here so that I could grab a photo, it is just unusual to see so much water in a creek, and there is the old Ghan Railway bridge over this one.
The views today are magnificent as the scenery changes from flat scrub to red sand dunes and dry flat salt lakes, some of the track toward William
Only a bit of rain,
And the track is chopped up
Creek is still a bit soft and looking a little bit chewed up in places, we wondered if this was due to the rain on Saturday night.
There is a vast area that looks as if it has been washed out over a significant number of years, when we get out of the truck to have a look, we smell something very dead, but cannot see a carcass anywhere!
Arriving at William Creek during the afternoon, we go to the hotel, a french guy is at the bar, he is on a working visa and will be there for 3 months, yesterday was his first day, we book a night at the caravan park, we grab one hour of internet at $10, double the price than Marree, we laugh about this and have a chuckle when we think we have more chance of picking up a lump of gold than we do Telstra access.
I thought I would just tellyou about William Creek, it has a population of 6 people and is a mecca really for outback travellers, William Creek is a good halfway stop along the Oodnadata track, with accommodation and meals at the Hotel, if
somewhat dusty campground. In the Memorial Park it is possible to see diverse items such as the first stage of the Black Arrow Rocket, Britain's only successful independent space launch that was recovered from the surrounding Anna Creek Station. More sobering is the commemorative inscription to a young Austrian woman, who lost her life in 1998 trying to walk back to William Creek from a 4WD vehicle bogged in the sand beside Lake Eyre
Once we had set up, we chat to our neighbours, they saw us pull in and were really excited because they wanted to watch us set up, we said that they would have to be quick as it would only take us 2 minutes. They have a Bushtracker caravan, it is large, we discuss the intricacies of both of our set ups, the guy telling us that they looked at the Vista and would still consider one to do some of those more remote and tricky areas. We obviously sing it's praises and said that this was the best thing for having some of that camping luxury and of course accessibility to those lovely little remote areas, we think we have the best of both
worlds with this rig.
We discussed the storm on Saturday night, they were camped at Coward Springs and said it rained there, when they left on Sunday morning the Oodnadatta Track was quite slippery, I think we have been seeing the remnants of that storm on the way to William Creek, far more water up here than Marree.
Taking advantage of the lovely hot showers this afternoon and Andy headed off to the laundry and dumped a load in the washing machine while we had the opportunity, dinner is easy because we are having left over chicken satay, however my eyes light up when Andy suggests he wander over to the hotel to see if they will do take away chips! I am not arguing with that suggestion, he takes a while to come back so I knew he would be successful.
The chips went down well, followed by a hot chocolate for our bedtime drink, while we waited for the washing to finish in the tumble drier before heading for the comfort of our bed.
A cooler evening but still not cool enough for the hot water bottles.
Tomorrow is another day.
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