Nearly at the state border

Yesterday we drove in the rain from Lake Hart up the Stuart Highway (Explorers Way) to Coober Pedy, the opal capital of Australia. Having spent time in Lightning Ridge last year, we didn’t feel the need to view more opal mines. We topped up our water ($1 for 40 litres), put our clothes through the washing machine and dryer, and shopped at the Miners Store ($7.99 per kg for kangaroo tail, skin on). We bought steak.

Dinner was at the Opal Inn bistro, where we chatted to a couple from Lorne who also like walking.

Today we stopped for coffee (from a Thermos flask) at an ugly roadside pull-over, but as we walked, we realised that a few metres away was a wonderland of wildflowers. I counted seventeen different types on a short walk to the Central Railway line. Lunch was another picnic stop, then on up that long, straight highway, listening to Len Beadell’s tape to Shepparton Rotary. Over several decades from the 1950s, Len had surveyed many of the roads out here in the outback for a rocket range, atomic bomb testing and general access.

We then found a side road and settled down for the night. As often happens, two other campers have pulled in nearby. After sunset drinks and dips, we barbecued sausages and had them with veg and peaches and custard for dessert as a windmill from a nearby bore cranked away. Tomorrow we begin the Northern Territory part of this trip.






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