No peace for the wicked - the return 3-day trip back to Adelaide started at 0630 after 2 nights-on-the-town in Alice Springs. This time the bus was nowhere close to full with only 7 of us in the new well-air-conditioned mini-bus. Nothing like the fun atmosphere that was there on the way up, but plenty of room and very comfortable.
Did retrace much of the route up, but stopped off at a few additional places, staying the nights in Coober Pedy (redid the Opal Mine tour in case there was any point where I lost concentration and didn't listen last time) and Quorn. This time wine tasting was at Annie's Lane and didn't think too much of that wine either!!
Took a gentle morning stroll down Alligator gorge, spotting a few kangaroos jumping across the rocks. Had a proper stop off and walk to the edge of Lake Hart, a salt flat approx 1 million years old which formed as there is no drainage from the lake which collects all rain and stormwater and then evaporates leaving only the salt. Missile testing has been conducted over an area the size of England in this region and particularly over Lake Hart.
This theme was continued by pulling up in Federal territory at Woomera. Woomers was established in 1947 as a site for the launching of British Experimental rockets. The most famous of these was the Europa, launched by ELDO (European Launcher Development Organisation) between 1964 - 70. Also between 1960-72 NASA operating a deep space tracking station at nearby Island Lagoon.
The testing range which extended across the Great Victorian desert into Western Australia encompassed some 270,000 square Km and is known as the Woomera Prohibited area.
Today, Woomera is still administered by the Australian Department of Defense and services the testing range.
Access to Woomera township was restricted to the public until 1982 but is now open to visitors again, displaying rockets, missile remains etc...at the cross-roads.