Monday, June 11, 2012

Coober Pedy to Curdimurka

Friday  - Saturday 8 - 9 June
After two nights in Coober Pedy we set off for Oodnadatta past the Dingo Fence again, via the Painted Desert, otherwise known as the Arckaringa Hills, which are reached by a 45km detour off the main road. I don’t know the geology of these hills, but they are quite beautiful. They are very like the Breakaways closer to Coober Pedy, and I think these may be part of the same group of hills. 

What they have broken away from is unclear as there are no other ranges in sight.

The Dingo Fence near Coober Pedy
Above and below: The Painted Desert at Arckaringa Hills

Anyway, despite our ignorance, we did the walk around these formations, and the colours and views from the top were magnificent.  We had lunch fighting off the flies – a normal event – and headed for Oodnadatta. The Pink Roadhouse is very pink, and sells a variety of items from coffee and cake to spare parts. The girl who served us was Japanese.
The Pink Roadhouse, Oodnadatta

After coffee and a photo of the roadhouse we headed south to Algebukina Bridge, our free campsite for the night, about 50km south of Oodnadatta. A few others were camped there, but we had the best spot, right next to the river and the bridge. This steel bridge is the longest single bridge in South Australia, and was originally used by the Old Ghan. You could walk across it if you were a tightrope walker, as the rails are still in place, but many of the sleepers are missing.
Algebukina Bridge, late afternoon
Our camp viewed from the bridge
The bridge early in the morning

Railway sleepers are outback South Australia’s second favourite building material after stone, and those that haven’t been used are free to collect for firewood – if you can lift and transport them. We haven’t collected any yet as we left the chain saw at home, but we did have a successful firewood foraging  excursion.
David changing flat tyre number 2 south of Oodnadatta

The old Ghan rail siding where we camped
The water tower and water softening unit at sunset

  Galahs getting ready for the night
Our warm and cosy fire in the old fettlers cottage

You may have been wondering why we have this enormous log in an indoor fireplace. Well, tonight’s free camp is at Curdimurka Siding, about 90 km north-west of Marree, and we have lit a fire in one of the fireplaces inside this abandoned Ghan fettlers cottage. A bit warmer than outside. We have it to ourselves as no-one else has decided to camp here tonight.  Table inside, camp oven cooking and protection from the weather. It’s nice to economise after another non-repairable puncture today. The sunset colours were stunning. Time will tell whether the galahs poop on our tent overnight.

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