Glen Helen Gorge to Paruna.
On the way back to Alice Springs we stopped at the Ochre Pits where the Aborigines obtained the various colours for their ceremony's and paintings and then we stopped at Ellery Waterhole, another beautiful spot. When we arrived in Alice Springs we decided to head out to the East Mcdonnell Ranges and what a bonus that was, we went into Jessie gap and Emily gap and Corroberee Rock before heading for the Ross River Resort. (the term “Resort” is used very loosely in the Northern Territory) where we found a great campground that had fireplaces with barbecue plates and wood supplied and good facilities with plenty of hot water.
We had planned to stay for one night, but liked it so much we booked in for three nights, which was just as well because we got to know one of the staff, a lady from Geelong who spends 4 months every year working at Ross River Resort. Lee took us out in one of the 4WD utes to to see some amazing rock formations one day and the next day took us to Ndalia Gorge, places we could not have gone in Jazzabout. This resort is owned by Rino Grollo and he has a new house on the property that Lee has to have ready for him at all times, although he only comes about once every two years to visit. There is also another weird shack here that I tried to send a photo of, but it did not go through but the photo of the guy that lives in it did.
Left Alice Springs with a new appreciation of the area and we would not hesitate to come back again. Headed down the Stuart Highway and free camped at Finke River overnight.
Stopped for lunch in the grounds of the Barrow Creek Hotel and realised later that this was the hotel that Joanne lees was brought to by the truck driver she hailed after she and Peter Falconio were held up, pretty creepy place. Then on to Cadney Park Homestead for the night.
Left Cadney Park and headed for Coober Pedy, we had a good look around and went through one of the opal mines, very claustrophobic. Opal miners must be a different breed of people and driven by the chance of a major find. We had planned to stay in Coober Pedy, but the campsites were not very inviting so we took off down the highway again till we came to the Ingomar rest area about 90 Km south and settled down for the night.
After leaving Ingomar we were going to stop at Pimba just before Woomera, but we came upon a very scenic spot at Lake Hart. We went for a walk to the lake to find it was solid salt with signs that warned there could be unexploded ordinance from Woomera and not to pick up any strange objects. Walking on the salt lake was different and there were signs of old constructions visible.
The next morning we went on to Woomera and I went to the Museum and found some of the old rockets that I worked on at ARL ( Australian Research Laboratories) my first job for 7 years after I left school, it turned out that because it was a defence establishment, I was exempt from the ballot for service in Vietnam so it was a good choice of employment. I must say I was a bit emotional and I guess this was where I developed my love of aircraft and flying.
20 - 21st August
On to Port Augusta to a caravan park because we were almost out of clean clothes and needed to wash. Port Augusta, like Alice Springs has changed for the better and is trying to reinvent itself as a holiday destination as apposed to a place you drive through on the way to somewhere else, they have made a difference to the town and it feels comfortable to walk around and the streets have been landscaped with nice gardens.
Left Port Augusta and drove to Burra, a favourite little town of ours with a lot of history and lovely old buildings, got in early and spent the afternoon wandering the town, then back to the caravan park as this strange stuff started to fall from the sky, turned out to be rain but we had forgotten what it was!
23rd - 24th August
On the road again, feels like we are on the way home now, drove into Morgan for a look, pretty little town with a beautiful waterfront with lot's of houseboats, made us envious and reminded us of the great times we had on the Murray River at Echuca in our houseboat, (Touch of Paradise) but never mind because Jazzabout is able to take us to many more places than the river. Continued on through Waikerie and Loxton until we came to a great camp spot at Paruna on the road to Pinnaroo.
Paruna is a tiny town with one store, but in the middle of town they have created this great little camp spot with about 6 powered sites, a nice shelter and toilets and shower, all for $10.00 per night.
We met a lovely couple from Maryborough, Marg & Phil Dalziel who were on there way to the west for the first time, so we were able to suggest some good spots to stay along the way. We had a great evening, played a bit of music because they were country music fans and also consumed a few glasses of red.
We are stopping here for 2 nights so I can catch up with this travel journal, I have been out this morning collecting firewood for a campfire tonight, so hopefully the wind will drop so we can enjoy it.
Graeme & Lorraine.