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19: Abandoned rocket range and waterless lakes

Coober Pedy - Port Augusta - Menindee

sunny 20 °C
View Hinchinbrook and Centre on Farhorizons's travel map.

South from Coober Pedy the scrub continued at mid-calf height and the land quite flat for a few hours. I was excited to see the first of many Emus seen on this leg of the trip, as so far we'd only seen one being rounded up among a herd of cattle somewhere back near Erldunda. We stopped to boil the billy at Lake Hart, fighting off ants and flies. We had turn off to see Woomera of course, and fancy being allowed to drive in there! It is a bit of a ghost town now, but has really good exhibits of the history of the sites, including both real rockets (some busted by impact) and models. We spoke to Roger who maintains the display and was practically inside one of the rockets checking details for someone in America who is writing a book. Len Beadle did a lot of the surveying for the site, and there was a lot of stuff about him as well - another icon of the 1950's.
After the Woomera turn off, the land fell away, becoming hilly and the scrub higher until we could see the Flinders Ranges in the distance, and Spencer Gulf - the first time we've seen sea since the Gulf of Carpentaria.
We got into Port Augusta as evening was falling, moved into our apartment at the Majestic Oasis on the foreshore of Spencer Gulf. From our room we could even see a bit of Spencer Gulf with effort. We walked through the old part of town, past many substantial old stone buildings to dinner at the recommended hotel in Gibson St.
We left Port Augusta early, heading towards Broken Hill. We wound through green hills on Horrocks Pass Road and drove 7 km through paddocks up to Hancocks Lookout with great views back over Spencer Gulf and Southern end of Flinders Ranges. Breakfast was bacon and eggs in a cafe garden at Wilmington with a caged magpie for company. Down as far as Peterborough, then a flattish drive through low scrub to Broken Hill where we refuelled with petrol before heading south again to Menindee.

Posted by Farhorizons 22:04 Archived in Australia

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