Sunday, 26 July 2015

Road Trip Part 1: Barellan to Uluru

Day 1:
We said our sad goodbyes to the Booker family and left the farm at Barellan. We headed to Griffith to pick up the food supplies and then started to make some tracks. We weren't quite sure what route to take to get to Uluru, but thanks to NavMan (our trusty SatNav) we decided to head towards Mildura, passing through Hay. It wasn't long before we had a problem with Maggie (Yes we named the car!), she wouldn't go over 80km. But there is a benefit travelling with a mechanic and it wasn't long before we were up to normal speed again.
We didn't see a lot along the way and only travelled through 2 small towns until we got to Mildura. To pass the time I thought I would count how many wild emus I could see. I got to 56 and then even that game got tedious as there was so many. 
We arrived in Mildura at 4pm. We didn't realise how big Mildura was, as we were both expecting another small town, but we found a holiday camp site, parked up the wagon and set the bed up for the night. Luckily we downloaded some movies on our iPads, so we chilled out watching Hurt Locker. We cheated on dinner and bought KFC on the way through. We did also buy a kettle for $7.50 (Bargain!) from Target so we could have a proper cuppa tea in the morning.
First day of travelling wasn't too bad but we definitely need to gain some kilometres tomorrow.

465km completed.

Day 2:
We woke up at 7am, made the most of a hot shower, plugged the kettle into the plug adapter to find out it doesn't work (literally heart broken!) and then jumped back in the old girl and set off. Our aim for today was to travel 600km to Port Agusta. 
We drove through lots of small towns as well as the quarantine area for crossing the border (where they confiscated my green beans for my stirfry but I managed to keep my apples). Leigh has decided that he now only waves at other fellow caravaners and travellers, so has begun to judge people by the vehicles they drive. Now I know how tedious it can be when you get stuck behind a lorry at home and have to try and over take it, but how about being stuck behind a road train (a lorry with more than one trailer) and having to try and over take them. The further we travel into the central of Australia the more common these monsters were becoming. 

We arrived at Port Agusta earlier than expected, so we decided to keep driving until we reached Pimba where we knew there was a Roadhouse we could crash at for the night and get a few beers from.
We arrived at 4.30pm, set up camp with the other fellow travellers, raided the bar for some beers and played the traditional Mayhew holiday card games. 
Sausage pasta for dinner, cooked on the stove and obviously another beer in hand (why not, we are on holiday!).
Lots of driving today, I don't envy the Aussies having to do this all the time.

Animal count: Only 6 emus today.

465 + 735 = 1,200km completed.

Day 3:
Our aim today was to get as close to Uluru (Ayers Rock) as possible. Another Roadhouse would be nice, so we had no time to waste! We grabbed some breakfast, a cuppa tea and set off on our travels by 8.20am.
We didn't do much but drive through the barren outback today, driving through Coober Pedy and Marla. However we did encounter problems with Maggie again. The engine got too hot and boiled all the coolant. A nice Aussie man did stop to check we were ok and that we had enough drinking water in case we were stuck for a while. But after a little rest and driving a little slower, we arrived at Kulgera Roadhouse by 5.30pm. Because we were now in Central Australia the clocks had gone back 30 minutes due to time difference, but this gave us an extra 30 minutes of sunlight to drive in.
Tomato soup for dinner tonight as the Roadhouse smelt too bad but had a lush warm shower, so I could finally wash my hair. 
We only just realised we have travelled through 3 States in 3 days, as we are now in Northen Territory. Looking forward to Uluru tomorrow as it means we can spend some time not driving and sitting on our backsides all day.

Animal count: 3 wallabies, 4 emus and 1 gigantic eagle eating a dead cow.

1200 + 800 = 2,000km completed.

Day 4:
Oh my goodness it was so cold this morning. I thought the weather was meant to get warmer the further we travelled North! It was way too cold to get out of my pyjamas, let a lone get the stove out to make a cuppa. So we packed up and set off (in our pyjamas) on our travels by 7.20am. Our aim was to get to Uluru today, we decided not to do Kings Cannon this time around as we weren't sure whether Maggie would make it after yesterday. This meant we should hopefully be able to get to Alice Springs by nightfall.
On route to Uluru we drove past Mount Conner and Kata Tjuta, so had lots of photo opportunities. 

Once we arrived at Uluru, we parked up and took a walk around the rock. We didn't climb the rock as it looked way too steep in our non hiking boots and the park try to encourage people not to do it. Instead we took plenty more pictures! You can't truly appreciate the size of the rock until you see it for yourself. It was good to get out of the car and walk about for a change, especially as the weather got warmer.

We knew we weren't going to make it to Alice Springs by nightfall, so we stopped at Erldunda Caravan Park for the night. We decided to treat ourselves to a couple of ciders and a nice cooked meal at the Tavern.
Next stop (after a few more days of driving), Darwin.

Animal count: We saw another gigantic eagle today eating another roadkill animal and tons of emus but they were at an emu farm (so technically that's cheating).

2000 + 606 = 2,606km completed.

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