Travels with the Winnie: Day 30

Sunday 18th June, 2017

Kernot Ranges Rest Area to Uluru

What a difference arriving here was to last night. It was difficult to work out exactly where to go to find our camping area, the signage just not clear enough. Then it was difficult to work out where our site was from the map, especially as we paid for a powered site and were given the map to the unpowered area. When we found the site it was sloping down, correctable if you have a caravan, but rather tricky for us. So, we found a flat site and rang the reception to request it. Oddly enough, we are next door to a Starcraft van which is almost exactly the same as we had.

On the way, we stopped off to photograph Mt Connor, famous for being mistaken for Uluru by tourists, including me the first time we came here.

Mt Connor (1 of 1)
Mt Connor


The Olgas (1 of 1)
The Olgas – a view from the road

We had lunch and a rest, but still found it difficult to work out what to do. Still, we got to the main shopping centre, went to the Visitor Centre, had a coffee/chai latte and did a little bit of shopping in the rather good IGA.

Then it was time to set off for the Rock to enjoy the sunset. We found the car parking/viewing area quite easily and settled in for the show.

Sunset at Uluru - better (1 of 1)
We were all waiting for this to happen, and it did, not long after sunset, the clouds lit up

I tested the internet (Telstra 4GX) during our rest time. According to Speedtest, we have download speeds of 150mbps, 50 more than at home on our fibre to the home NBN broadband. The technicians did say our home service is capable of much higher speeds than we’ve been able to access, but that is the speed that home NBN is allowed. Anyway, it will work for a Facetime session with Matt.





Travels with the Winnie: Day 29

Saturday 17th June, 2017

A Travel Day

SA/NT Border Rest Area to Kernot Range Rest Area

Earlier in the trip we thought that we wouldn’t go to Uluru. Too touristy, and off our route. But, as the turnoff came closer, we started to think again. At Erlunda Roadhouse we took a break, checked our emails, had coffee, and decided to go after all.

It’s 250 kms off the Stuart Highway, so adds 500 kms to our trip and 2 – 3 days, which will all seem worth it when we get home and wonder why on earth we wouldn’t go.

We stopped near a roadhouse on the way to have lunch and planned to go to a rest area with a view of Mt Connor, the famous flat topped hill that regularly gets mistaken for Uluru. But, at about 3.00 p.m. when we pulled into a rest area to change drivers we were very taken with this location. It has water (probably not safe to drink, but handy for washing) and clear sites in a grove of desert oaks. The sound of them is enticing.

There were two motorhomes already there, and after we arrived three caravans came quite quickly and settled in as well.

I put up a line and used the provided water to rinse out some shirts and bras. I rigged up a line between a couple of trees to hand out the shirts to drip dry and put the bras discretely in the shower cubicle.

washing (1 of 1)

There is a sea of dry grasses waving in the breeze and views of the Mt Ebenezer range and what I think is Mt Connor in the distance from a nearby small hill.

It’s very peaceful, and the presence of other vans means we feel quite safe here.

a view to the Ranges (1 of 1)
A view to the Ranges




Travels with the Winnie: Day 28

Friday 16th June, 2017

A Travel Day

Marla South Rest Area to SA/NT Border Rest Area

This has been our first warm day. We don’t know what the official temperature is because we are internet free at the moment, but possibly 26 or 27 degrees. The sun has set and it is still very pleasant, just cooling down a bit.

With warmth come flies. I find myself making the acquaintance of people as we wave, apparently at each other, but actually at the flies.

We had a very peaceful night last night. In the end there were about six different sets of campers, three caravans, one bus, one couple with a car and tent, and us. Three of the people had campfires.

We were only about 30 kms from the Marla Roadhouse, so after our very relaxing (no internet) cup of tea, we had our washes and set off for the Roadhouse. We filled up the Winnie and had our first gas bottle refill of the trip. We started with two full bottles, and considering all the free camping we have done, this seemed a very good outcome.

The fridge was smelly on the gas, which was a sign that we were getting low.

Then, we drove to a quiet spot and had breakfast. We had 3g internet, but it was very slow. I managed to connect with Della on WeChat, but could not upload my blog. I tried for some time, but then gave up. We caught up on a bit of the news and read our emails.

I had two lots of postcards to send to Mum and Matt, so sent both at once. I’ve got some extra stamps to make it easy for sending the next ones.

After a rather frustrating time with the slow internet we went to the dump point.

And then, on our way. We tend to stop at most rest areas, just to check them out. The nicest was at the Agnes Creek Rest Area, which reminded us of the Pilbara.

Agnes Creek Rest Area (1 of 1)

We had choices of what to do, but opted for another free camp site, and have ended up at the border rest area. It is sealed, so no red dust tonight, but we have close neighbours, including someone with a bad cough, so not sure if this is the right place for us. There is camping across the road, but the drive is deeply rutted and we didn’t think we had enough clearance.

on the way to the border (1 of 1)
a view from the road

We are next door to another Winnebago Free Spirit, rather newer and shinier than ours. I took a photo of them together, covering up their number plate for privacy.

A tale of two Winnies (1 of 1)

Travels with the Winnie: Day 27

Thursday 15th June, 2017

A Travel Day

Cooberpedy to Marla South Rest Area

We completed our tasks at the Stuart Range Caravan Park (Big4), including filling up water containers and the tank. We did not have to pay at the filling station, for some reason the water flowed anyway. I also had this experience in the shower again.

Something to remember about Coober Pedy is that we could free camp and still have access to a water station and dump point near the Tourist Information Office. We would have to pay $1.00 for 40 litres, but that seems OK to us.

We got diesel and did some shopping at the local IGA before heading on our way at about 10.30 a.m. I went the wrong way at first, fortunately Stephen picked this up and we headed back up past our caravan park and on to the Stuart Highway.

We stopped for a cup of tea and fruit cake at about 11.30, then for lunch at about 1.00 p.m.

Marla South Rest Area is about 187kms from Coober Pedy, a fairly short distance, but a good idea when we have a few things to do before leaving town.


We arrived here at 3.30 p.m. There were already 3 caravans here, and one more has since arrived.

This is our spot on the edge of the graveled rest area. We chose it because it is flat. Everyone else here seems to gravitate to the edges as well.


We have had some varied scenery on the way here, at first lots of evidence of mining, then very flat and bleak, then some areas of shrubs and small trees, but where we are at the moment is typical – shrubs and red earth.

GeoWiki said we would have a phone signal here, but it is not the case. I am hoping that the next roadhouse, which is a major stop, will have a phone signal. According to GeoWiki it does, but the app is not always accurate.

We see quite a lot of towers that further south would have guaranteed a phone signal, but now appear to be for some other purpose. At the moment we don’t know what that is.