• Days 5 to 7

    Aug 9, 2017, 4:09:36 PM

    Day 5


    7 August 2017 Monday


    Woke to a very clear morning even if it was a bit cold. As the sun rose it warmed up very quickly.

    We packed up and headed towards the Information booth to find out about the Breakaways. I had never heard of them let alone seen any photography of them. A brochure at the caravan park caught my eye and we just had to go and explore. There was a loop road that would take us out of Coober Pedy, through the Kanku-Breakaways and then back onto the highway 20 ks north. It cost $10 for a permit that funds the conservation area maintenance. We happily paid and the guy behind the desk said “now go out on the highway and travel 20 ks north and then turn off”. Up pipes me “ I thought I would go out on the loop road” . “Why in the hell would you do that” he replied. Don't you want to be surprised by the splendour when you get there”.


    We followed his instructions turning off the highway as directed and the 17 kilometre drive along a dirt road through flat uninteresting country and suddenly out of nowhere we came to a cliff and there was the splendour. Words can't describe the feeling. I posted some iPhone photos on my Facebook pages and they do not do the scene justice. I will upload some pics onto my website from the Nikon when I get a chance to process them. We spent 2 hours driving around stunned by the spectacular beauty of the place. Part of the area is like a mars landscape and has been recognised as the most like mars landscape on this planet.  Also parts of Thunderdome and Mad Max 4 were filmed there. But the strangest thing is I don't remember seeing any reference to this place in any landscape photography sites or books. It would be magic to photograph at sunrise or sunset. We will come back one day and do it as we just don't have the time this time. 

    As for the rest of Coober Pedy you can keep it. Outside the caravan park there was nothing of interest.


    We have been monitoring our fuel usage and doing some tests before we head on the Tanamai where we will be doing 1200 Klms between fill ups. On the first day averaging 100 Klms an hour we used 17.7 litres per hundred. Next day we dropped back to 90 Klms an hour and the usage dropped to 16.7. Yesterday we dropped down to 80klms an hour and consumption came down to a very respectable 14.4. So guess what speed we are doing today.  The savings over the 23000 Klms of this trip will be quite substantial and most probably adds 30 minutes to travel time each day. So we are re ally becoming the 80kph grey nomads.


    Anyway we arrived at Marla at about 3.30pm and booked into the caravan park and set up in a lovely private spot and cracked a few coldies. Marla is a service town and nothing else. We watched the moon rise in the clear outback sky and had dinner and turned in for an early night and an early start in the morning.


    Day 6 and 7  8 August 2017 Tuesday and Wednesday


    Up early and boy have we got the pack up down to a fine art. We were on the road at 8.30am.

    The drive from Marla to Alice was pretty uneventful and really nothing to report except that at 80 Klms an hour our fuel consumption is down to 14 litres per hundred kilometres. We arrive in Alice at a little after 3pm and booked into a caravan park we stayed at 2 years ago when we did the Simpson Desert . We got the last space and the town was booked out.


    After setting up we were straight into town to resupply. And then back to the caravan park a few  coldies and then dinner. We have decided that in the morning we will not rush, get refuelled and fill the jerry cans as the next leg is 1000klms up the Tanamai through the desert. We are now doing the first leg to Tidmouth Wells where we stay the night, double check all equipment before the rough part starts. We will also have free wifi so I will upload these blogs as that will be the last chance until we get to Halls Creek.b



    We have arrived at Tilmouth W Ellis and what an oasis it is and free wi fi to boot but no phone. Oh well in the desert you can't have everything. It is a nice balmy 28 degrees so there will be less blankets on the bed. Tomorrow we start the real adventure as we head up the Tanamai. We will be off air for 2 or 3 days until we get to Halls Creek, so until then. This afternoon we are just vegging out.


  • 2nd to 4th Day of the big WA trip

    Aug 7, 2017, 7:08:41 PM

    4 August to 6 August 2017

     Day 2 was pretty uneventful on the road to Broken Hill. Stopped at BH for some supplies (read beer) and then on the road to Peterborough. Got to Oarly which is a blip on the map with a pub(sort of) and a rest area with facilities so we stopped and set up for the night. Rain was starting to close in and the wind was howling . Well we thought looking at the front entrance to the pub which said “open and warm log fire” we will duck over there and watch the swannies play The Cats. Problem was the door was locked and there was no sign of life anywhere. Plan 2. Early dinner and early to bed and read. And watch the scores on the app. At least we had one bar phone reception.

     At about 6pm a semi and pilot truck pulled up. The lady who was driving the pilot van came over for a yarn. I asked where she was from “ no fixed address” she replied.  Although I do own a house in Perth.  Turns out she and her husband are on the road all the time with him driving the semi with her the pilot warning vehicle as there specialise in long or over wide loads.

     As soon as we were snug in bed suddenly the pub lights went on and two trucks pulled up with the occupants disappearing into the pub. We were snug and warm and it was bloody cold so we stayed put . Anyway the night was not a waste of time as the Swannies won.

    We slept ok despite some road and train noise as the stop was between the Barrier highway and the main western rail line. 

    We were up before dawn next morning to a minus 2 temperature and the wind. Quick breakfast and on the road to Port Augusta. That trip was also uneventful as we had spend four days there two years ago so we just filled up with diesel and the up the Sturt Highway to Woomera where we arrived just after 3.30pm. Stayed at the caravan park which though basic was clean and comfortable and two beers cost $7. What more do you want.

    We are now on the road to Coober Pedy where we will stay tonight before we head to Alice where the real adventure begins.

    As we are driving along these treeless stone filled plains commenting how barren it is suddenly there is a sign saying photo opportunity. We pull up and there in the distance is Lake Hart. I only know that because Facebook told me.

    Well Facebook was wrong as we has just come to Lake Hart which is a massive salt lake. The other Lake was Island Lagoon. Pays to check the Hema maps.

    Finally arrived in Coober Pedy at about 3.30pm and booked into the Big 4 Caravan Park. We heard that they had great Pizzas.

    Well what a great place. Everything you need and a camp kitchen that was huge and had every home facility including top of the range stove and oven. We had pizza for dinner and it was great but my eyes were bigger than my tummy when I ordered a large.  In the morning we are going out to see the Breakaways so won’t make Alice tomorrow. We did a drive around Coober Pedy and it was a jumble of a place. White Clifffs was far more interesting. While sitting in the sum sucking on a beer the cops came around and asked us to ensure we locked everything up. They were having trouble with young kids watching the caravans and when someone went to the toilet ducking in and stealing what they could get. We took the advise and had no issues. 

  • Day One

    Aug 7, 2017, 5:59:41 PM

    Thursday 3 August.

    Well the day has finally arrived. Up e a rly to finish the packing, move a tree (don't ask) and get on the road.

    We were meant to leave the previous Sunday, but with me getting the flu during the move to Scone saw the leave date being put back and back.


     As well well had an issue with our Patrol after an exhaust gas temperature monitor was installed which was showing unbelievably high temperatures when doing 100klm an hour. A visit to Nissan led to a suggestion that we get the Vehicle onto a dyno and check the motor out as it was a new vehicle with only 12000ks on the clock and things did not look right.  So on Wednesday after some twisting of arms of  DieselCare Tamworth they agreed as a special favour to look at the truck on  Wednesday  and fully check things out for us. Turns out the Redark gauge was faulty that was doing my head in as it was over  200degrees over in its readout. That wasn't $500 well spent. I will be having some discussion with them about the gauge not being fit for purpose. Anyway while at DieselCare we had a Steinbauer chip unit installed which has made towing the Tvan a breeze. After the first 800 kilometres i can say with certainty it was money well spent. Wayne at Diesel care was a champion and wears very grateful for his help. Highly recommend him.


    The drive to Cobar was fairly uneventful except for good Steady rain between Gilgandra to just past Nyngan. However it came back with a vengeance at about 6pm with gale force winds just as we were preparing dinner. And it was freezing. Luckily we had got a powered site so connected up our little heater and we were snug and warm in our tvan. We don't the miss tenting.


    We were up early after a very comfortable night and got away from Cobar by 9.00am. Bit slow for the first packup but will  improve as we sort things out.

    Today we head for Broken Hill and then down to Peterborough. I don't know how far we will get but will only pass through BH as we had to spend a week there a couple of years ago. We may free camp along the road tonight.

    I'm writing this while Louise is driving and she keeps hitting bumps so excuse the spelling and punctuation. We also have he iPod going with our extensive collection of 80’s music ….. rocking while we roll.


    I suppose that what being a grey nomad is all about. Anyway until the next post all enjoy working as we are enjoying the country of the free.