Thursday, May 13, 2010


9 May 2010


A slow start this morning as a communal breakfast was organised.

Then it was time to pack up and leave. After we drove out we stopped at the top of the first dune and explored it. There were so many tracks in the sand.

The dunes are just stunning. We could have stayed here all day.

We finally got into the Oka and the bend at the top of the dune took us out of view of the home paddock.

It was a 120 km west to Finke (Aputula).

We retraced our path from yesterday and crossed the Finke again. A grader was there working on the track. As it was Sunday everything was very quiet at Finke.

We turned onto the Old Ghan Track. I don’t think I have mentioned but we have had our hubs locked in now for quite a few days and used 4Wd a bit. It was 165 kilometres to Chambers Pillar from here. The track on the Old Ghan was interesting. We had been warned the the Finke crossing just after Finke was somewhat dicey. When we arrived a grader was a work finishing the last section of the crossing so it was good for us. NT seems to take more care of its roads in the outback than does SA.

Whilst waiting for the grader to finish I enjoyed the flowers near the bank.

The bank on the east side of the river particularly was high and well defined.

In places the Old Ghan track was raised above the surrounding area. It felt peculiar to drive along such a raised road. The only other place we had driven on a raised road was in Alaska many years ago.

The scenery here was different to what we had seen so far. Spindly desert oaks stood out.

There were occassional remnants of the heavy sleepers of the former Ghan tracks.

Several siding ruins still stand along the track. At Engoordina the ruins are quite intact.

The views through the windows were like framed paintings.

At Bundooma very little remains.

The environment kept changing as we travelled down the track.

At Maryvale we topped up our fuel and someone forgot to put the tank cap on. The error was only discovered when we got to Chambers Pillar. You would not have liked to be around when this was discovered.

The last 40 km into the park was a full on 4WD track.

It was interesting terrain and hard driving requiring lots of concentration. When we got onto the jump up the panorama in front of us was spectacular. It was already sunset and the outcrops, pedestals, Chambers Pillar and its companions were all aglow.

Several sand dunes and gates later

we got to the camp ground at the base of the pillar and the castle as the last rays of sun sailed over the horizon.

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