Friday, October 31, 2014

Alice Springs NT to Port Augusta SA.

We have been in 'transport mode' for two days now. Moving South to Port Augusta to reach a different Starting Point for our Westerly Trek.

First night out we stopped at the NT/SA Border Rest Area, but we were still in NT. Seventeen years ago we camped in the very same area and there were no facilities of any description there, just an open space. The area must be a popular stopping place because now there are toilets, Information Boards, 6 caravan bays and about 16 car bays all level and all sealed with bitumen. There were two caravans already parked. One of them we already knew. We unpacked our fold-up chairs and settled in for the Grey Nomad's favourite past time, forming a Chat Circle.

The second day was a full-on driving day for us, about 5.5 hours. We had chosen an earlier stop-over on the map but when we got there it was completely "open" and perched on top of a hill. We went on to Ingomar North RA at about 50 km South of Coober Pedy. Here we had a roof-top camper and two trucks for company. I slept twice as long as I drove the previous day!

Nights 3 and 4 we stopped at Pimba Rest Area. Pimba now has a population of about 40 people. It was once the base camp for the Railway Construction Crews. As Woomera is a Restricted Area, Contractors were also based here at one time. Pimba also hosts "Spuds Roadhouse". This place is a popular meal stop for the many truckers driving The Stuart Highway. Jude also had her Birthday Dinner there.

The road side up to The Ayres Rock turn off is quite spectacular, you are driving through a series of colourful ranges. After that point most of the distance to Pimba was a "wasteland". The only trees being on the sandy rises, otherwise it is completely treeless. About 20 km North of Pimba you start to see Dry Lakes. Lake Hart is quite spectacular as it is a shimmering white salt lake. From Pimba to Port Augusta, a distance of 173 km, we were seeing a series of dry lake depressions, treed sandy rises and more wasteland treeless flats that can carry up to 16 sheep per square kilometre. The first sign of civilisation only became evident at the 6.3 km point from Port Augusta.

The wide open spaces at Ingomar Rest Area late in the evening.

The North section of Lake Hart.

The South section of Lake Hart with an Ore Train passing in the foreground.

Spud's Roadhouse Pimba.

Well equipped amenities at The Pimba Rest Area.

Coffee Break about 68 km North of Port Augusta with The Southern Flinders Ranges in the background.

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