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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are many sporting clubs and facilities in town, although football is currently not a very viable 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Sunset was pretty spectacular!
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!