Posts Tagged With: andamooka

Day 9 – Andamooka to Glendambo

We both slept like logs last night – the diesel heater worked a treat and we were snug as a bug in a rug!  It was crisp but bright and sunny this morning and even at 7 am the solar panels were doing a great job replenishing Bertha’s batteries.

The local community certainly looks after this park and a cleaner came bright and early.  We noticed that even a few locals came down and had a coin in the slot shower!

After breakfast and a quick pack-up we headed off into Andamooka to explore.  First stop was a display of mining equipment from the 1950s and 1960s – very inventive and creative people live here.

Display of opal mining machinery at Andamooka

There is a nice park and a wide variety of houses ranging from tin sheds, rock and stone buildings, to very modern.  Some are no longer occupied but are left in place as a reminder of how things used to be.  The mullock heaps are everywhere.

Scenes around Andamooka

Andamooka is deceptively large and quite spread out, but the bitumen only goes up the main street so we had some limits as to where we were prepared to go in Bertha.  The mud on the main street and the tyre tracks down most of the other streets suggest that Andamooka has very recently had a LOT of rain.

Heritage Museum

There is a “commercial” strip with shops, cafes, a Post Office and the Bottle House with a very interesting underground display, and a very historic museum set-up.

Shops and bottle house

Views of the shopping area

From Andamooka we drove the short distance to Olympic Dam.  BHP operate here on a large scale and mine copper and uranium, and maybe some other minerals as well.  BHP have a large “Olympic Village” with rows and rows of accommodation huts for their workers, plus shops and other facilities. Even the car park is huge.

Entry to BHP complex

BHP’s Olympic Village

Massive water tanks

There are many sporting clubs and facilities in town, although football is currently not a very viable option.

Football not currently an option

There are many signs around town indicating that BHP is engaged in an “Arid Lands Revegetation Program” and it has to be said that this is a very well maintained place.

BHP has an Arid Lands Revegetation Program

A short drive from Olympic Dam found us in Roxby Downs, which was a town created in 1982 for mine workers and their families.  We were surprised to find a well maintained modern town with established education complexes and other community facilities.  Even as tourists you can feel a strong sense of community here.  Roxby Downs is apparently connected to the SA power grid, which probably explains the power lines that we noted yesterday.

Roxby Downs – Suburbia in remote SA

From Roxby Downs we continued heading South along the fence for the Woomera Prohibited Area until we reached the Woomera township.  There is caravan-park here and several double storey blocks of units.  We parked Bertha in the allocated RV parking area and went for a good long walk around town.

Oops – don’t go there!

Woomera was created in 1947 as a joint venture between Australia and Great Britain, and is billed as “the World’s Largest Test and Evaluation site”. As might be expected, displays of rockets and missiles are everywhere, mostly with explanatory plaques.

Welcome to Woomera

Plenty of missile displays around town

There are shops, a theatre complex, a heritage centre which really has to be seen to be believed, a bowling alley, a medical centre, school, and more.

Decent shopping facilities

Theatre complex

Heritage Centre

Some features, including the museum, weren’t open today, even though we are currently experiencing the SA school holidays.  As interesting as this place is, it does seem a bit “tired”, and it appears that the hospital has recently been decommissioned.

After having our lunch in Bertha at Woomera, we continued South to Pimba and Spud’s Roadhouse where we topped up the diesel.  I paid $1.599 per litre!

We then headed North-West on A87 towards Coober Pedy.  A family of emus looked up calmly as we went passed.

More emus

Along the way we stopped for a photo opportunity from the other end of Island Lagoon that we saw yesterday.  It was amazing and it was quite surprising to see how far back the water had receded from recent high water marks caused by very recent rain downpours.

Island Lagoon from the other side

After kilometres of saltbush we were next surprised to pass by Eucolo Creek which seemed to be several kilometres wide and still containing heaps of water.  Again, it was easy to see high water lines and gauge how much this creek had subsided.   There really must have been some absolutely tremendous downpours in this area not very long ago.  It does seem a pity that all that water can’t be better managed to cater for dry periods at other times of the year.

Eucolo Creek – waters receding

Next we came to the Lake Hart Lookout.  It was a beautiful place and obviously several caravans and motorhomes were planning on staying for the night.  We were tempted ourselves.  What makes this place so nice is that not only can you look over Lake Hart and admire the view, you can actually walk down to the lake.  Several people even appeared to be either wading or swimming!

Lake Hart Lookout

Another 70 kilometres or so along the highway and we came to tonight’s destination at Glendambo Outback Resort.  Glendambo itself appears to consist of a Shell Roadhouse, a BP Roadhouse, and the Glendambo Hotel-Motel.  Not bad a place this size having two servos!  The “Outback Resort” – by which they mean caravan-park – is located behind the hotel.  We weren’t really expecting a resort, but this place is a disappointment.  It doesn’t have all the promised facilities – we have power but no water – the amenities are in sad disrepair, there’s no camp kitchen, etc.  In fact the only good thing about this place is the location – it is a very convenient near mid-point between Port Augusta and Coober Pedy.  Having said all that, it’s OK and we’ll stop here tonight and head off tomorrow. We were relying on being able to top up our water here before reaching Coober Pedy so we’ll just have to be a bit more careful with our water usage from now on.

Glendambo Outback Resort

Sunset was pretty spectacular!

Spectacular sunset at Glendambo

We have thoroughly enjoyed our outback detour to Andamooka from the direct route from Port Augusta to Darwin and we’re glad that we made the effort.  The outback can be so different yet so calming and relaxing.

Watch out Coober Pedy – we arrive tomorrow!

Categories: 2017 Up The Centre Adventure | Tags: , , , ,

Day 8 – Port Augusta to Andamooka

Today was a very exciting day as from now on we will be in unfamiliar territory!

We woke up to another very cold morning but the sun came out and wow, what a lovely day!

After a farewell chat with our neighbours, packing up and refuelling, we were off – heading North along the Stuart Highway, a road we haven’t travelled on before.  Not far out of Port Augusta and we were in saltbush country – that is all there was to see.  It was a great road and ideal driving weather, but the scenery was a little boring.  There were some large road trains occasionally, a few sheep grazing here and there, and cattle grids to keep us awake.

View just after we turned onto Stuart Highway at Port Augusta

Our first stop for a coffee was at Ranges View Rest Area (SA418) where we took a few photos of the scenery.

Views from Range View Rest Area

As we continued North, the scenery changed and then changed again – it wasn’t boring any more but continually changing from low saltbush scrub to more bushy scrub, to orange sand dunes to rocky patches, and even what may have been lakes.  Although on the surface things looked pretty dry, the edges of the road and the paddocks were actually that lovely red sticky mud that all travellers love to hate.

Water pipe and light-poles always seem to follow the road.

Views along the way showing different vegetation and conditions

At one stage we were passed by a bunch of bikies, who we caught up with and were overtaken by several times during the day.

Bikies on the road – we saw them several times

Just for added interest, we drove over a very long train.

We drove over a very long train

Somewhere along the way we stopped at another un-named and unsigned roadside stop for a quick stretch of the legs and to take a few photos of views across to what we’re pretty sure is “Island Lagoon”.

Views of (we think) Island Lagoon

First multi-lingual road sign we’ve seen

We stopped for lunch at Spud’s Roadhouse at Pimba.  Very much a typical outback establishment, Spud’s serves fuel, food, alcohol, is a general store, offers accommodation and has pokies.  A great all-rounder.  It was cold and windy so we couldn’t resist a small bag of very fresh and tasty hot chips – we did have some healthy stuff for lunch too!  The roadhouse also offers free camping and there are clean toilets and showers available for a small fee.

Spud’s Roadhouse at Pimba

From Pimba we headed north through Woomera.  This is very much dry, arid country with red rocky soil.  With only low vegetation, the power pylons stand out against the sky.  We assume that they take power to Roxby Downs and Olympic Dam.

Pylons contrast with low scrub

Other than occasional road traffic there are virtually no signs of stock or wild-life, although we did see a family of emus.  There is also surprisingly little road kill, which is probably a good thing.

Family of emus

We arrived at Apoma Camping Ground at Andamooka.  This is an opal mining town near Roxby Downs. There are piles of mining waste everywhere, even around houses.

Views coming into Andamooka

Coming into Andamooka

Apoma is a very “outback” camp ground but does have good clean amenities including pay showers, BBQs, a playground and a dump-ezy dump-point.  There is no power or water, and no TV reception.  At the moment it also has lots of red mud, so we made sure that we stopped on high ground.  There were three vans here when we arrived and a group of three vans travelling together set up camp not long after and immediately commenced a noisy happy hour around a big fire.

Free Camp at Andamooka

Across the road from us is a “Public Noodling Area” where loads of rocks are dumped and the public has a chance to go through looking for the elusive opal.  The chap in one of the established vans here told us that he has been coming here for years and has made some quite good finds.

We were quite weary after arriving here so we settled inside in Bertha as soon as it started getting cold.  The diesel heater might have to go on later.  Tomorrow we will do some exploring in town and then head back to the highway at Pimba to continue our trip North.

You can chart our travels today on this map

Categories: 2017 Up The Centre Adventure, Free Camping | Tags: ,

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