Days 1 - 3 : It’s been a long time coming, but the WA leg of our around Australia trip is finally underway.
|Packed up ready to head north|
The days have been mainly driving, as the start of each big trip seems to be. It gets us out of the cold as quickly as possible. The first day saw us leave Canberra and head westward towards our first stop in Mildura. We did this same leg coming home in a single day at the completion of our Central Australia trip so we thought it should be ok to do again! Turns out leaving at 7:30am still means a long day covering over 800 kms. We headed for a free camp called Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve (Wiki camps : http://wikicamps.com.au/site/57867/34216069) on the banks of the Murrumbidgee river.
Trickiest part of the day was finding the Philpots, as they had left the Berra at 5:30am the same morning so were the first ones at camp around 4:00pm. We finally arrived at 5:30pm after some end of the day crankiness between navigator and driver to figure out the best way to find them. Once arrived though saw a quick setup for an overnight camp followed by dinner of a fairly warm evening.
The next day we rose to a beautiful morning. We had the fish jumping and the birds singing.
View from camp 1
We broke camp at 9:30am, like usual, and a quick stop at the pump house just down the round saw us meet the first challenge of the day.
The Philpot’s truck had a flat main battery whilst we checked out the pump house, not sure what was causing it and more importantly it happened relatively quickly. Still haven’t solved the problems with this one.
We continued our trip towards Renmark, about 10 minutes from the border when Jamie mentioned over the radio that a tyre on the trailer looked a little flat.
Resembling a pancake, the tyre didn’t have much air left. On closer inspection a repair was possible. So a tyre repair was in order, first time for us doing a plug on a tyre not at a 4wd show! Although taking 40 minutes, it seemed to work and a quick trip through the fruit and vegetables inspection station and we were South Australia bound.
The obligatory picture of border crossings was in order.
A stop at the lovely Renmark saw the boys rattling off to the information centre staff a range of questions. The info centre were great and the information they shared I am sure will be remembered! (Note to Nana - we’ve already picked up some more blanket badges!) A play on the paddle steamer PS. Industry released a bit of energy for the kids
Of course the morning yoga/gym session in the street was a must. Lucky we are tourists!
Renmark was a lovely place, but onwards we must press to a free camp called Camp Lawrie near Port Pirie some 3 1/2 hours down the road. With device time not yet allocated for the day, the boys plugged in and we travelled on and arrived at dusk.
There is sea in the background if you squint!
Nice camp, clean loos and amenities were good, can’t complain for a free camp.
Before we broke camp, we did a quick tyre switch as we noticed the repaired spare had deflated again, the other trailer did some break adjustment. Jobs done, we were back on the road making our way due north for the first time, making tracks for Coober Pedy.
Interesting things on the way included the SolarFarm using solar and sea water to grow fruit and vegetable with hydroponics! Very smart SA! Apart from the large light that seems to be able to seen from miles away and a small sign as you go past, you wouldn't know its there.
A quick fuel stop at Port Augusta saw a lucky break in that the tyre deflator which was left between the jerry cans on the trailer was still there! 100kms of highway and somehow it didn’t fall off! Chalk that one up to good luck.
Filling a few Jerry cans in addition to the tank to make sure we got to Coober Pedy without refill and we were off, heading to Woomera for lunch before making the final stretch into Coober Pedy that afternoon/evening.
Woomera was a funny town, amazing history but very quiet and it seemingly doesn’t get busy from speaking to some locals. Although signage says there are permanent 200 residents, we didn’t see many of them or the 5000 - 6000 personnel that supposedly transit it through it. Still a unique place!
We arrived at Coober Pedy around 5:30pm as the sunset. Arriving at Jam B&B, we were greeted by Julie and Michael. As we had the whole place to ourselves we took the campers down into the car parks below. Equipment had a lovely frost free sleep for the night.