We left Broken Hill reasonably early wanting to make good time heading towards Quorn, SA. We were now getting into uncharted territory for us so we were unsure what was ahead.
We found the roads fantastic, compared to back home, and travelled along easily and uneventful. Our girls travelled great and were on the look out for any wildlife but unfortunately we didn’t see anything. We went through Peterborough and absolutely fell in love with the rustic charm of what once was a major rail junction. We both made a note we will definitely be returning here in the near future.
We arrived in Quorn and went straight to the local caravan park where thankfully got powered sites. We were watching the forecasts and knew we were in for a few 0 degree nights. The amenities were great and were fantastically clean. We had 2 nights here where we got a lovely chance to wine and dine with our friends from home who were on their way back from their own Central Australian trip. We spent our entire day looking around the beautiful country town learning of its historical significance on the old Ghan train line. Although we only spent two nights here, it had so much history and character we would love to make it back here in the near future to explore the area more.
While we were having a lovely time in Quorn we learnt Oodnadatta and the area had been receiving some much needed rain which meant all the roads were closed. This meant we were going to have to miss out on completing the Oodnadatta Track and were going to head straight up the Stuart Highway.
After spending our second night at Quorn, we were up early and packed up ready for another day of driving. I remember being so impressed that morning by how great the girls were doing at getting up and ready on these early starts. We found if we got them all ready we would pop them in the car with breakfast and a movie to watch. This would allow us the chance to quickly pack everything up safely and be able to move the 4wd around and hook the van up without worrying about where the girls were.
We were now heading towards the Stuart Highway. As we were travelling I was consulting our Wikicamps app to work out ruffly where we were going to stay. We had been recommended to stop at Lake Hart just past Woomera. Phill and I had made a decision that where ever we are travelling we want to be pulling into camp at about 2-3pm. Even if that meant we wouldn’t make our scheduled stop. There was no need to rush this trip that it would become unsafe.
We found we had jinxed ourselves when talking about how good the girls were travelling. The girls started complaining about being stuck in their seats which made the days drive very long….. This very long trip involved stopping often when Harriet became inconsolable. We decided to stop for lunch at Woomera and have a good walk around. We honestly found this town so bizarre. It reminded me of a ghost town out of a movie. All we needed is a tumble grass to roll across the road in front of us. We had a good look at the rocket displays which Matilda absolutely loved as you could get nice and close to them. Some of the rockets had been recovered from the Simpson Desert many years after being launched, due to being buried in sand in the very remote and isolated desert. The information centre is very informative and has quite a variety of the usual souvenirs. The most interesting thing we found about the information building was it had a bowling alley that was straight from the 1980’s. It was honestly like we had gone back in time and was very strange but interesting to show the kids. Phill managed to get stuck looking at the display depicting the story of ‘the last true Australian explorer’ Len Beadell. He is the famous surveyor that was responsible identifying the site of Woomera for the Australian and British governments as a secret long range rocket test site. Of course, Len Beadell later opened up much of outback Australia with his ‘Gunbarrel road construction party’ where he would aim for his roads to be as straight as a gunbarrel hence the name of the famous ‘Gunbarrel higway’. Len Beadell was responsible for creating over 6000kms of our outback Australian roads.
After a couple of hours we were hitting the tarmac again aiming for an arrival into Lake Hart. The camp was great. We arrived at our ideal time, about 3 in the arvo and found a spot ready to view a spectacular sunset over the lake which was actually a salt lake with a small amount of water in it. An interesting note is this place was used to launch a number of rockets in the past.
Apart from the view, another aspect that made this camp one of the best on our trip was the fact that the Ghan train would come past. Phill especially loved this aspect being a mad train nerd….. Phill even said “This camp is simply amazing listening to the thundering trains roll across the steel tracks into the horizon”. Although Phill may have been teasing me when he said that comment as I was writing in my journal at the time.
We managed to get the girls asleep and sit up looking at the stars. Before we knew it, we were up early and hitting the road again. We had to reach Uluru in a matter of days to surprise the girls and our travelling convoy.