Monday, October 17, 2011

Travelling the Stuart Highway via Woomera to Port Augusta

Landscape as we drove south of Coober Pedy
We had initially planned a third night in Coober Pedy but as we were finished at the mine by 4 pm we decided to commence the trip south.  We have been having a lot of wind each day which is very frustrating when you are towing a caravan.  One night in Coober Pedy it was so windy it was as though we were in a desert sand storm so much so that Peter checked that I knew an evacuation plan from the caravan if it was rolled over!  Fortunately we didn’t need our evacuation plan.
Info about salt lakes

 Lake Hart - a dry salt lake
 Lake Gardiner - another dry salt lake
 Dry river feeding dry salt lagoon
As the wind was less late in the day we commenced the journey planning to travel about 100 kms.  From the road you see the various mining areas which are apparently on crown land.  It is quite some distance before the first signage of a station appears and we see the occasional cattle.  We stayed overnight at Bon Bon Rest Area which is 168 kms south of Coober Pedy.  On Sunday morning we hit the road by 9 am (quite early for us) and continued south.  We saw our first salt lake which was pretty impressive – Lake Hart and soon after Lake Gairdner where there have been attempts at the World Land Speed Record.  From a distance these lakes look as though they are full of water yet when you get closer they are dry and very white in areas where there are salt deposits.  We stopped off at Lake Hart and would love to have been able to take the 4wd tracks down to the lake edge (where we understand there are great camping spots) but they were not suitable with the caravan hitched.  
Info on Woomera rocket range
Military trucks on road train at Pimba

 Rocket display at Woomera
Our next stop was at Woomera – Peter had visited Woomera back in April/May when he was on a trip with a group of friends.  We visited the missile park in the centre of town before going to the heritage and visitor information centre.  Woomera is a purpose built town for the Defence Department and other contractors and none of the homes are privately owned.  It was also the centre of Australia’s activities in rocket and missile testing during the 1950’s and 1960’s.  There is currently a detention centre situated at Woomera.

 Display at Woomera

Info on Woomera

 Info on display equipment Woomera
The wind had increased throughout the day but we decided to continue to head south to Port Augusta which is a small city at the top of the Spencer Gulf on the Australian south coast.  We plan on a few days break in Port Augusta hoping that the wind would cease before we head into the Flinders Ranges for a few days.  We are staying at the Motorhome Park which is adjacent to the rugby club rooms.  This is a community park for totally self contained vehicles and there have been about ten vehicles staying each night. 
 Plane on display Woomera

 Caravan in sun shelter at Bookaloo Rest Area
adjacent to the Stuart Highway

Welcome to Port Augusta
 Aerial view of Port Augusta - taken from the Flying Patrol!!

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