Wednesday, May 12, 2010


8 May 2010


There were more cars here this morning. One car had come in late last night as it had pierced its petrol tank. As a result they were very short of fuel and had to organise a petrol drop from Mt Dare at great expense as none of the vehicles here at Dalhousie were petrol vehicles.

We started the morning by going for a walk along the Irrawanyere Nature Walk. The trail was signposted with informatinon about edible food sources. It was interesting to find out that one could eat the leaves of the Old Man Saltbush. The views were a constant reminder that we were in a part of the continent that was millions of years old.

There were many track marks in the ground. Amongst them these prints that we thought were those of a dingo. We have not seen any animals on the trip so far. The birds were increasing in numbers as we went further north. Flocks of Fairy Martins were constantly being observed around here.

We walked past an area where warning sighns warned you to keep to the walking trail as a new mound spring was forming in the area.

At the end of our walk we reached the springs and went for a dip. The water was very warm – about 34C. As I was in the water I thought about what I had read - that it can take up to 3 million years for the water from Queensland and Northern Territory that soaks into the underground artesian basin to escape through mound springs. So how old was the water that I was swimming in?

I did not like the feel of the Dalhousie Goby. It is a 3cm long fish that grazes on algae, snails and picks at human hair.

After our swim we packed up and hit the road. We were not looking forward to the 35km of corrugations to the intersection to Mt Dare. In compensation at least the scenery was forever changing.

We stopped to check out 3 O’clock campsite. There was good tasting drinking water here so we filled up the tank.

Bounce, bounce, bouce we did along the corrugations once more.

The broken windmill reminds one of the harsh land we are in.

Along the way we came across a vary badly shredded tyre on the road that had not been there when we came in to Dalhousie yesterday. A bit further on we saw the tour bus that had come in fter 8.00pm last night and had left at 7.30 am. We had felt sorry for the tourist who were all from overseas as they had not had a chance to experience Dalhousie. They had told us last night that they had had lunch at Oodnadatta and then come all the way to Dalhousie without any stops finishing the trip in the dark. For the same component of the trip we had had an overnight stop. Well here they were by the side of the road with a trailer whose axle had moved. We also found out it was a tyre from this bus that we saw on the road and after that they had punctured another tyre. Some of the passengers were doing the work as the driver looked on.

The driver told us that they were right and that we could not help so we continued on. The second part of the trip to Mt Dare – 35 km was rough. Besides a churned up trackin places it was mainly gibber to start with and later very stony track. So we had to take it slowly and steady.

Parts of the track were still wet and the detours around these areas also at times were a bit churned up.

Finally we got to Mt Dare for lunch. An intersting menu: pies, pasties or sausage rolls. The people here were very friendly. We asked about Molly’s Bash at Old Andando. We were under the impression it was on Sunday. We soon found out that was incorrect. It was on tonight. The manager of the hotel had just left for it with his family. After checking out the state of the track and how long it would take us to go there we decided to go to Old Andado rather than stay at Mt Dare. It was the best decision we had made.

We had to take the track past New Crown Station as the Binns track was still closed. I never thought I would have to opena gate to cross the border form one state to another. But there you are – the crossing from South Australia to Northern Territory through a closed gate. Another chapter of our trip started here as we enter NT.

The track was much better across the border and it was lush and green in many places along the road.  Hard to believe this is the dry outback.

The Finke River is very wide. I would have hated to have crossed it when it was flowing.

The track across it was softish sand but we got across it alright.

The most spectacular scenery greeted us the closer we got to Old Andado. Old Andado is on the edge of the Simpson Desert. The sand dunes were spectacular. They were so red and the lush green countryside and blue sky provided such a contrast of rich colours.

The dunes were typical of the Simpson Desert – long parallel dunes approximately 500 metres apart. As you crested a dune

an amazing vista opened up. Impossible to capture that fleeting moment on camera.

We made our way past Andado to the famous Molly Clarke’s homestead. The scenery was dramatic, stunning. There was just so much water - more than we had seen anywhere else.

We were told that it is 30 years since they have had rain. Not sure whether they meant decent rain or just rain per se.

We got to a part of a track where the road forked. We couldn’t figure out which we to go. Track marks of vehices were not much of a help in deciding. We opted to go right. We did not get very far as there was just water and more water ahead. So we turned around and went back to the fork and tried the altrnate route which ran along this ‚lake‘.

Stunnng sand dunes were in the foreground as we travelled further in to the property.

The ripples on the dunes were just wonderful. Many quilting ideas from looking at these ripples.

The track had washouts in places that we had to circumvent.

After crossing one sand dune a clap pan opened up that was just a sea of green.  At the end of the clay pan the airport awas quite a surprise. Apparently the ‚international airport‘ hanger was built this weekend as part of the working bee proceeding the bash.

We approached what was to be the final sand dune before the homestead.  When we reached the top we just went WOW! What a sight! Apparently in February the water totally surrounded the homestead.

We wandered how do we get to the homestead as the track led straight into the ‚lake‘ and we had no intention of crossing that expanse of water. As we got down the dune we found that a detour was available to the left to get around the ‚lake‘.

So around we went, then past fences going into the lake before getting to a clearing where many more had assembled with their campers, tents, swags for the bash.

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