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.



Travels with the Winnie: Day 26

Tour of Coober Pedy

The featured image was taken from the tour bus and shows a typical opal mining landscape of dumps.

Today we got up a bit later than usual and had a quiet morning at the caravan park. I got washing done and backed up our trip photos from one hard drive to another. At home, I back up everything to the cloud, but am relying on external hard drives during our travels as it would be much to expensive to upload everything as we go.

I handwashed yesterday’s clothes, hung them on the line, then when they stopped dripping, hung them in the shower recess. Stephen went for a walk, but just locally.

Our tour was most comprehensive. We explored a couple of the opal mining areas whilst our driver explained what everything meant. He spoke from experience of having been an opal miner himself. He now does guiding/driving, some shifts at the Caltex Station, and some community work. We were being shown around by someone who loves this town. He came here when he was quite young, and has lived here most of the time since. His wife lives in Adelaide, and even though they are discussing retirement, there is still the issue of him wanting to live here (he has an underground home) and her wanting to live in Adelaide.

We went out to a beautiful scarp called the Breakaways, which is the edge of the Stuart Ranges. He said that he and other people would go there for picnics and camping, but that is no longer allowed as it is a protected area.

CP Red Capped Wanderer with Tour Bus (1 of 1)
The Red Capped Wanderer with the Tour Bus
CP View at the Breakaways (1 of 1)
View from the Scarp – The Breakaways
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Another view at The Breakaways – note the wavy lines of vegetation

He showed us around the town, community projects, and explained that all of the trees in the town had been planted by residents and were watered by the town’s waste water.  We saw the Dingo Fence, the Moon Plains, an underground home, and an underground mine and museum. At the end of the day we went to a beautiful Serbian church – also underground.

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Underground Serbian Church

The tour ran from 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. and we felt quite fulfilled by the end – that if we missed anything, well it wasn’t because he hadn’t tried to show us everything. It was tiring and the cup of tea came rather late in the day (note to self, take a thermos of tea with me next time).

I have lots more photos from today, but maybe this is enough for now. I’m very tired and it is after 10.00 p.m.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 25

There has been high cloud today, making for a pre sunrise show of pink clouds.

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Tuesday morning

Today the landscape went from lots of bushes, some with yellow flowers, and small trees to a desert landscape, with sparse and dull vegetation. Very like northern WA.

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Stephen and landscape


Driving into Coober Pedy, we saw lots of evidence of digging holes in the ground, as you would expect.

There are quite a few signs warning about animals on the road since we started on the Stuart Highway. This one amuses me:

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self explanatory

We are in a Big4 caravan park here at Coober Pedy, chosen because they had room for us. It has good facilities, including a dump point and water point for filling tanks (20 cents per 40 litres, I think). We will be able to fill up our tank when we leave. There are no water hookups, but we can get drinking water from the laundry, and lots of people are availing themselves of this opportunity. Showers are 20 cents for 2 minutes.

Water is the most precious resource here, forget about opals. However, here at the caravan park all of the taps have drinkable water, unlike last night when taps only had rather smelly bore water.

We have free wifi and I am able to write this blog using their network. The photos take a little time, but actually upload.

We’ve done  a load of washing, dumped the toilet, and ordered a pizza for tea. We have also booked into a tour tomorrow afternoon. We have good TV reception here.

Our plan is to stay two nights, then free camp on our way to Alice Springs. We will have our tank (100 litres) and water bottles (total of about 30 litres), and it will depend on how well it lasts. It is more relaxing to be at free camp sites. I don’t think any of the free camp sites have internet access in that section, so we may have to spend a bit of time at roadhouse during the day to catch up on our emails and this blog.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 24

Ranges View Rest Area to Glendambo Caravan Park

The featured image is from the Ranges View Rest Area yesterday evening.


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Another view to the ranges from our rest area
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The Winnie. She likes to be noticed.

Today has been a day of surprises. No sooner do I get used to the idea of the landscape being flat and fairly uniform than it changes. We go through a range, or come across attractive lakes.

This morning was a surprise as well as there was mist.

Ranges Rest Area - morning colours (1 of 1)
Ranges View Rest Area
Ranges Rest Area - morning mist (1 of 1)
Ranges Rest Area - sunrise on plants better (1 of 1)
Golden Light

Today has been a day of surprises. No sooner do I get used to the idea of the landscape being flat and fairly uniform than it changes. We go through a range, or come across attractive lakes.

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We had a pie at a roadhouse at Pimba, then drove to Woomera. Stephen looked at the Museum whilst I had a coffee
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A map of lakes in South Australia. We were at Lake Hart, which is tiny compared with Lake Eyre. Still, it looked big to us. There were lots of caravanners making this there stop for the night.
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Lake Hart. The sun was in the wrong direction for good photos.
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At Island Lagoon Lookout this morning
Island Lagoon lookout Stephen (1 of 1)
The Sign, the Island and the Red Capped Wanderer

And tonight we are at Glendambo Outback Resort Caravan Park, with electricity for the first time since Adelaide. Red dirt is the main feature here. Power is not the issue really, but our water tank is getting low, so we need water for showering/washes and doing dishes. It is bore water here, of course. There are rain water tanks, but we were told the boil the water before drinking. I’m not sure when we will be able to fill up our water tank again, but we can still free camp some of the time using water jugs and buying drinking water.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 23

The featured image is of the dawn at Horrocks Pass Rest Area. You won’t actually see it unless you click on the title of the post and go to it in a web page. It doesn’t show up in the email version.

We have camped tonight at the Ranges View Rest Area – so named because of the view, of course. We haven’t gone very far today, maybe about 100 kms.

We drove from Horrocks Pass to Port Augusta where we went to a dump point, fed the Winnie and checked the tyres. We also did a bit of shopping, getting bread, rolls and bananas. We started out on the Stuart Highway, then stopped at a lovely Botanic Gardens. After a bit of a walk around we had lunch, then drove to a lookout nearby. That was definitely worthwhile.

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Red Cliff Lookout
from Red Cliff Lookout towards Augusta

Stephen isn’t feeling very well, he has a headache and just not his usual self. That is party why we have chosen to camp early (by about 2.30 p.m.). The other is that the view is quite special, there is internet access, and I am also feeling a bit tired. We have a long way to go and it will all be interesting as we haven’t been this way before (or at least, not since I was a small child).

Ranges View Rest Area

We are approximately 1,300 kms from Alice Springs.


Travels with the Winnie: Day 22

I’m a day late with this blog. We didn’t have internet at our Rest Stop last night.

We got away from Adelaide in good time and were heading for a rest stop that is in Mt Remarkable National Park. I was following Geowiki, which conveniently forgot to mention that we needed a vehicle pass and camping permit to being in the national park. We couldn’t book online as all the camping spaces were filled. It is a long weekend!

Geowiki said there were rest stops on the road we could use, one on each side of the highway. However, there was a sign at our left hand rest stop which said we couldn’t camp there. We were feeling upset at this stage. Driving into the park was very attractive, with trees and views of the ranges getting closer and closer. I didn’t get photos of this, but have some video taken on the GoPro.

We didn’t want to drive into Port August late in the day, so opted for a caravan park on the way. It was somewhat off the main highway. As we got to the turnoff, there was a sign saying that there were no vacancies. There were a couple of caravan parks further on, but also a rest stop. We were on the Horrocks Pass road which we recognised from our trip a couple of years ago.

The rest stop had one other caravan/camper, at some distance from where we chose our spot. We were trying to find a completely flat spot, but ended up with a slope – hence putting chocks under the wheels. Not that there was any real danger, but it made us feel better.

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in the morning

We had a very peaceful night. There was a full moon, so it was almost like being in a camping area with a security light. Because it was so bright we didn’t get a good view of the stars.

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We were sort of enfolded by hills. This is the view one way
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And this the other
Gateway to Augusta – we remembered this rest stop from our trip two years ago

Travels with the Winnie: Day 21

Not a busy day. We went to our local cafe for the first time in the morning.

Trump’s new word

We had lunch in the Winnie for the first time this week, then went to Port Adelaide, a bus and train journey of about 50 minutes.

Red Capped Wanderer and mate


Stephen wanted to visit the Maritime Museum. I just wanted to have a cuppa and wander around with my camera.

Maritime Museum

The town has many interesting buildings, but the overall effect is rather shabby and neglected. Cafes shut at 4.00 p.m., that sort of thing. The man in the museum had recently visited Perth and Fremantle. His view was that they needed a university campus in the town to bring it to life. Certainly Adelaide City benefits from having two university campuses (or campi) – I did check on Google. The city is full of young people wearing backpacks.

Still, Port Adelaide has character and the man said that Port Adelaide is an extremely busy port, very productive indeed.

Deciduous trees with berries attract the birds


Stephen noticed this sign, with the name of the ship, that he and his family travelled on when they came to Australia. The Ranchi.
The museum is one of the old stone buildings, typical of the area
The building on the left is where I had a cuppa
Quite a grand building
old alleyway
The chiming town hall clock

Quite noisy traffic noise in this video.

We came home to an easy meal, reheating some of the food I cooked last night. I did a last load of washing (before we leave Adelaide Caravan Park), processed photos and videos for this blog, and then relaxed. Goodnight.