Drove to Daily Waters to check out the WW2 Aerodrome and the famous Pub for lunch probably the busiest pub in the middle on nowhere that you'll ever find!
We reached Mataranka and stayed 3 nights, swimming in the hot springs, they were like a warm bath and inevitably we spent hours in the water turning to prunes. We swam day and night, only finally being forced to come out when we needed the loo.
We also swam in the roper river, which they clear of salties after the wet, - but there are no guaranties!! The huge trap just a 20m away from the pontoons was a bit concerning. It was here we went for a 4km walk to the Mataranka falls, then decided to walk further on to a beautiful billabong which the locals often swim at and swing off a rope into the river.
When we came back we were told by a camper that they only clear the crocs to the falls and don’t recommend swimming past them!?!? Well we survived and the locals don’t seem too worried.
Hi everyone it has been a long time since I last published a post so let me give you a update of what's been going on. Well, when I was writing the last entry on Alice Springs the computer crashed while I was downloading the pictures and we couldn't get it run again. When we reached Darwin we discovered the Mother board and hard drive were fried. The short version of the story is it took a few weeks to fix and we lost everything on it, the moral of this story is to avoid disappointment never every forget to back up your computer regularly!
So we left Alice Spring heading north for Darwin, after a few hours we drove 70km off the Stuart Hwy and stopped at Gem Tree for 2 nights. Fantastic remote spot with Garnet and Zircon fields, we had fun fossicking and met some great people, we left we a nice little selection of Garnets. Determined to reach warmer weather we drove 5hrs to the Devils Marbles. A spectaular sunset over amazing rock formations, some loitering dingos and an even more spectacular sunrise to morning yoga on top of the marbles. it is no longer cold
Another 5hrs north to a road side stop at New Castle Waters (we dont unhitch the car on these one night stops), very busy spot that is so close to the Hwy that you could almost feel the van shake as the road trains drove past! - not recomended, though the boys loved getting the road trains to toot there very loud horns as the flew past. Its feeling warmer.
We packed up and said good bye to Uluru in the rain and drove 6 hours to Alice Springs.
Low cloud and the occasional bit of drizzle the first 2 days here so we walked and rode our bikes around the town, went to the Reptile Park and held a Blue Tongue lizard, Breaded Dragon, Frank the Spencer monitor and the highlight an Olive Python – cool!
Had a BBQ dinner with Mark, Annie and their family and friends, Mark and his brothers are old school friends of Mike and they hadn’t seen each other for 20 years. It was a fun night with lots laughs and reminiscing. It was great meeting you, thanks for the wonderful welcome and we look forward to seeing you in Adelaide.
With the sun now shining we walked the Botanical Gardens and lookouts, spent a day at the Desert Park which had a great bird show. Then of course the MacDonnell Ranges, definite wow factor, this is where the locals come to swim at few of the many incredible water holes hidden amongst the ranges. This place is worth more of our time but we are ready to get to warmer weather, where we can actually swim in the water holes. The sun maybe shining but its freezing here!
We went on a walk called the ‘Valley of the Winds’ at the Olgas, I caught a small lizard that we thought was a skink but its head was too big and its tail too thin and his legs and fingers were bigger. We tried to find it on the internet but we couldn’t. Maybe we found a new species. There were so many finches there was over thousands.
It took us 2½ hours to finish the walk, at the 2nd lookout the view was amazing and it looked like it was from Jurassic Park.
Yulara - Caravan Park
The first day we went to the pool and went swimming, it was freeeezing!!!
I meet Riley at Coober Pedy and he was at Uluru too. We rode our bikes together Tommy rode his scooter with
us. It was great to see him again and we might even meet him again at Darwin.
We climbed Uluru the biggest monolith in the world and only one 7th of its actual size is above the ground. A monolith is a single massive stone or rock. I felt so excited the whole way up and down, it took us 3 hours. The first part was really steep so there was a chain to help us get up the first part. Someone must have been sick because we could see the throw up and we think it could be from being scared of heights.
On the top we followed the white lines but it still wasn’t flat so there were parts that we had to climb up instead of walking. It was pretty tricky for most people climbing. On the top we could see MT Conner, which some people mistake for Uluru. We could also see MT Woodroffe and it is the biggest mountain in South Australia. Another one we could see was called the Olgas which also have a great sunset and turn red too.
We had lunch on the top and made a video and then had a little meditation. On the way down we saw a falcon from above, it was awesome!!! Tom and Mum slid down the rock on their bottoms and me and Dad walked down holding the chain.
We watched the sunset on the top of the car, sitting in the basket. We also watched the sunrise I felt really tied because we were up so early it was still dark. We drove around the rock and walked some of it. It looked spectacular, we took lots of photos but most places we couldn’t because it was sacred sites.
Long drive today, we played lots of games to try pass the time such as; I spy, taking turns in picking music, lots of singing and car seat dancing, counting old wrecked cars, who can make their barley sugar last the longest (Mike won-38mins), times tables and word association.
Please any suggestions are welcome.
After 5 hours on the road we decided to have our first free camp in a rest area right on the SA/NT border. There were about 8 other vans already parked when we arrived. Bob in the van next to us let the boys have a try of his Shang-hi (a full on sling shot). Potently a very dangerous weapon, Mike and the boys enjoyed it immensely as they flung some marbles into the bush.
We meet Pierre, a lovely young French tourist riding his bike and trailer for 7 months through central and eastern Australia. We invited him to have dinner with us and we had a great evening sitting around the campfire chatting and sipping hot chocolate with marshmallows. Pierre we wish you a safe and exciting journey.
The next day was another big drive with a few stops for lunch, toilet, leg stretch and Mt Connor lookout. Finally getting to Yulara around 2.30 we saw Uluru in the distance and it looks amazing, almost unreal. We are all so excited; we are actually in the Northern Territory at Uluru!! At the camp grounds lookout we watched the sunset in awe, can wait to get out there tomorrow. Sooo good!
An interesting place Coober Pedy feels like a modern cowboy town, a glitzy Andamooka (I don’t mean pretty). Lots of Aborigine’s here with little to do, Coober Pedy comes from an Aboriginal word which means white man in hole - and there is certainly a lot of that here. We did some underground mine tours which were great; kids liked the tunnels going in all directions trying to get lost. And of course the kid’s favourite digging and playing in the dirt (noodling), we were all extremely dusty, dirty and smelly.
Last day in Coober Pedy and boys had their lesson on line with their teacher Ginny. They were really disappointed to have missed the last few weeks as we were out of range. They have about 30mins each with her on Wednesday arvo’s, using an interactive programme called Centra and they love it.