Thursday, August 13, 2015

Melbourne to Alice springs Roadtrip: Day 4 Wilpena to Coober Pedy

This post continues the series on our two week roadtrip from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back during the July school holidays.

Depart Wilpena Resort: 7:30am

Unfortunately, not having a 4WD, we had to head back south to Port Augusta to join the Stuart Highway passing through the town of Quorn on our way south. The historic town has been the backdrop for numerous movies.

Morning Tea at Arid Lands Botanic Gardens: 10:05-10:55am; 165km
We picked up some supplied in Port Augusta before hitting the highway, but not for long because our morning tea stop was just out of town. We had a leisurely stroll around the gardens and milkshakes for morning tea. They even had some of South Australia's state flower, the Sturt Desert Pea in flower.

Lunch at Woomera: 12:45-1:55pm; 344km
We had lunch at Breen Park. There were picnic tables, lovely grassed lawn, some birds including a talking cockatoo who kept the kids entertained but no toilets. The open air rocket museum was a highlight of the trip for The Boy and we had a look in the Woomera Museum which had all sorts of displays detailing the history of the Woomera Rocket Range. 

We had a quick look at Lake Hart, a salt lake close to the highway but time was short so we thought we'd have a closer look on our way back. Not too much further north is Glendambo. We stopped here for petrol and toilets as it is the last town before Coober Pedy 256km north. The highway passes through the Woomera Prohibited Area and you must stay on the highway.

Although the distances are long the driving is easy. The road is excellent, in good condition and wide and the flat landscape offers easy passing when required.

We arrived at Coober Pedy before dark ... just, which was lucky because I'm not sure how we would have found our accomodation. There was no cell coverage, and the gps maps lost us. The way was well signed though and we had a gorgeous sunset view over the opal fields from the Down to Earth driveway. Our hosts Rose and Alex waved us into our carpark and Rose showed us through the 2-bedroom underground apartment. The girls were pleased there was raisin toast for breakfast ... they'd been pestering me for it and the chocolates were well received too. Wifi is included, there are board games, books and magazines, cooking facilities, a plunge pool ... really everything you could want. 

We popped into town for dinner at John's Pizza Bar. It was packed so pizza had a long wait but we had nowhere to be and the food was good. Driving back we had a few issues finding our accomodation in the dark, ending up in someone's yard ... or mine ... not sure which ... there was excavating machinery there ... but we headed back and started again from the highway making sure we followed the exact path we came in on in the afternoon and got home on our second try.

Total Distance Traveled: 716km

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