We said our goodbyes to Kev as we left Cobourg Peninsula and started to make our way back through Arnhem land.
Our original intention was to head west to the Kimberley, however on our way back to Jabiru we had a slight change of plan, due to the weather (above 40 degrees C every day) and most attractions closing in the kimberley at the end of October.
We weighed up our options and by the time we got to Jabiru we’d decided to head to Tasmania!
We stopped at Katherine on the way through to book a spot on the ferry to Tasmania and then continued south into the desert.
We mostly stayed at rest stops or drove a little into the bush off the Stuart highway at night. One night we woke up to some very tanned locals telling a story to some backpackers camped nearby about the murder of Peter Falconio which happened on the Stuart highway between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. The locals were saying there’s no way they’d camp out here.
The murder was an inspiration for the movie Wolf Creek and was also an inspiration in my decision to buy a Toyota Landcruiser. Part of the murderers alibi was that he was seen at Fitzroy Crossing in his Landcruiser the day after the murder, more that 1000km away from the murder scene. Only a Landcruiser would be able to drive 1000km through desert tracks unseen in such a short amount of time.
While we weren’t worried about abduction or murder, we did see a backpackers van that had been pushed down an embankment behind a rest stop and stripped of almost all possessions except for a French copy of an Australian lonely planet and a broken surfboard. A little suspicious..
Anyway, blogging about backpacker murders inspiring vehicle purchases is clearly rambling…
On the way south we stopped off for a walk around Kings Canyon.
From here we went to Uluru. I was really surprised at how impressive it actually is. I think because it’s such a well known icon I didn’t expect to be impressed, but I really was.
And we also checked out the Olgas.
Those tiny dots in the bottom left of the photo above are people. There sure are some big rocks in the middle of Australia.
We also stopped to see some more big rocks at the Devils marbles.
In between all this big rock viewing there’s hundreds of kilometres of desert, so no matter how you do it you can’t avoid spending a few nights sleeping in the desert. And that’s when the spiders come out… Every place we stopped, as soon as the sun went down the spiders started crawling out and making their way towards the camper. And they are all big, muscly and angry..
Now spiders generally don’t worry extreme men, but they do tend to worry extreme mens girlfriends. Katie was on edge as soon as the sun went down and the arachnid assault commenced every night.
But luckily there were other things to cheer her up. I could almost feel her ovaries pulsating when this little guy came to visit.
We turned left off the Stuart highway at Coober Pedy and headed down the Oodnadatta track towards Lake Eyre.
I’ve seen a few salt lakes in North and South America, but Lake Eyre was the most impressive I’ve seen, generally they look a little dirty in real life, but Lake Eyre was pristine white.
The salt continues all the way to the horizon. It’s 77km wide! I’d really love to see it with water in it. Apparently it only fills up once every 8 years on average.
We stopped nearby for the night and it rained all night. The next day the drive to Roxby Downs was pretty exciting. The surface of the road became a 5cm thick clay based goo that didn’t hold direction too well. We had our first crash for the trip, a slow motion 30 km/h crash into a bush.
We needed four wheel drive engaged and both diffs locked to stay in the centre of the road after this. Even then the steering wheel only very weakly suggested to the road which way we wanted to go.
Loo with a view.
How to get there:
Kings Canyon is 320km South West of Alice Springs.
Uluru and the Olgas are about 460km South West of Alice Springs.
Lake Eyre is approximately 230km East of Coober Pedy
Kings Canyon is free to visit
A $25 per person 3 day pass is required to visit Uluru and the Olgas
A $10 entry permit is required to enter Lake Eyre national park