West MacDonnell Ranges

Once we had restocked and done a couple of loads of washing, we set off for the West MacDonnell ranges just out of Alice. Had a beautiful drive up to Ormiston Gorge. Well folks I must say, when we walked 5 minutes from the campsite to the swimming hole I really believed we had found paradise!  
We picked our spot, raced back and put the togs on and immediately went in for a very refreshing swim. Absolutely divine. 

The next day we meandered up to the lookout and generally took it easy. We decided to do the Pound walk which involved four river crossings. We attempted to have an early rising but Lynn wouldn’t get out of bed. It was fortuitous really as we were then given some good advice about the final river crossing. We packed a small towel, changed into shorts and grabbed a plastic bag. It was a fantastic walk, with great views and lots of hopping over beautiful rocks. We were in the river up to our chests, me with the backpack on my head. Lynn had a wee slippage but recovered quickly. We waded through to the other side with all our vital bits and pieces like cameras etc dry albeit with cold numb feet. 

  We have met some lovely people in the campgrounds, including 2 couples from Geelong. We sat around tonight and indulged in some of their home brewed gin. (can you tell?). Off to do the Mt Sonder lookout walk tomorrow at Redbank Gorge. 

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Coober Pedy and beyond

Coober Pedy – a town like no other. Can’t say I’ll be rushing back any time soon. But after a long drive, and a night by the highway, we were due for a stop-over. One just has to see it. Hang on the dishes need drying. Back soon……

So there is really not much to say, although one word does spring to mind. Ugly. But we had a nice pizza there and the folks were friendly, particularly those who sold opals. I decided they look much better in the rock.  

A typical view in the area.

Underground

I think Lynn missed her calling. She looks right at home here!

One of the more interesting bits of info

Doing it 1940’s style.

This is what diversification is all about.

From here we ended up travelling through to Erldunda. Roos and emus broke the monotony and I have taken on the role of audio books. Our iPod I had spent so much time loading up didn’t connect to the carπŸ˜–  We are reading “Wrong way round” by Lorna Hendry. A great yarn about a family who take a year off to travel with their two young sons. 

The next day we finally came upon Yulara, home of Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas)  

AMAZING !! No picture or film can really convey the sheer size, beauty or sense of the place  We began our exploration with a talk and walk by one of the indigenous Rangers  Well worth it, something that should be compulsory for all visitors! 

I was surprised to discover that people are still allowed to climb the rock. They choose to ignore the signs everywhere asking them not to. 

 

And Kata Tjuta

 

And just one more of Uluru

Needless to say, we are both fighting fit now that we’ve walked and climbed all those kms. It was great training for our next adventure πŸͺπŸͺπŸͺ….

And then…….

 

 
 
From Arkaroola we travelled through to the lovely town of Quorn about 60km north of Port Augusta. As a stop on the original Ghan railway, it was a thriving town and has now become quite the tourist destination. We ended up staying in a lovely caravan park there and enjoyed indulging in a bit of ‘civilisation’. 

 

Quorn Railway St

Now run for tourists from Port Augusta through to Quorn

One of the originals still in the yards.

 

 

 

The Yellow footed rock wallaby

 On a visit to nearby Warren Gorge we finally had the privilege of spending time with the endangered Yellow footed rock wallaby. 

Superb markings

They were hunted down for their furs that fetched a good price back in the no so good old days. 

This one was happy to pose for us.

They are now only found in a few managed National Parks. We were both SO thrilled to spend nearly 15 minutes or so watching this little one out in the wild  

Far more dextrous than your average wallaby, they use their front paws for food prep etc

From a distance they blend in beautifully with their surrounds.

 We popped into Port Augusta and had the leaking power steering fluid issue fixed, then started our trip up the Stuart Highway towards Coober Pedy. On the way we had an overnighter at Lake Hart. This lies right next to the Woomera/Maralinga area. There is a desolate, eerie beauty to the place. 

Lake Hart

The remnants of an abandoned salt mine that was left in the early 30’s. No site cleanups happened then.

The current Ghan railway now runs through this area. Lynn felt the urge to lay upon the tracks, as you do!

Salt, salt, salt…..