Emu Expedition– Outback Australia– Part 1

21 Sep

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It was a warm sunny morning on Wednesday the 10th when we started our outback expedition.

We were heading into the vast dry arid Australian outback, to the Opal mining town in South Australia known as Coober Pedy, a distance of1,075 kilometres,taking over 11 hours driving.

By the time we returned to Mildura on the 17th, we had covered 2,621.4 kilometres taking a total time of 28 hours and 20 minutes.

There was no intention to drive straight through to Coober Pedy, it was impractical and needed an overnight stop at Port Augusta.

Port Augusta is situated on the quiet waterways at the head of the Spencer Gulf, in close proximity to the spectacular Flinders Ranges.

After an exhausting drive, we booked into a small motel that plainly catered for miners who were either coming from the opal mines, or going to the mines.

A deep sleep followed by an early breakfast, saw us depart Port Augusta for the final leg of the journey to Coober Pedy.

We were well prepared for this trip, on board was a Waeco fridge that was connected to the cars battery,I had also fitted a windscreen mounted video camera that recorded every time the car was moving, plus a usb with a couple of thousand songs to while away the monotony of the long straight Stuart highway, connecting Port Augusta to Coober Pedy. The other essentials that are fitted to the car is a Global positioning satellite system, as well as a Uhf two way radio.

The Australian outback can be unforgiving to the ill prepared or unwary. It is not uncommon to have sudden flash floods in otherwise dry river beds, and many areas are desolate for miles, in many cases you can drive many hours and not see another car on the long desolate roads.

Now to the purpose of our trip to the dry arid opal mining town in outback central Australia.

I had been through this area many many years ago, back in my army days when the roads were mainly dirt and gravel, I wanted to see the changes that had taken place over the years.

Also Ana had not seen our outback so I wanted to give her the experience of seeing a different landscape and part of Australia, as well as sleeping in underground mining shafts, the majority of the town lives underground due to the extreme heat. Water is at a premium here as well as food and fuel due to the transportation costs.

The other reason I wanted to visit the mining town was to go fossick and try my luck, my luck held out and after a few hours I had some results.

There is much to share from this expedition so I will post it in instalments as the trip progressed.

I leave you with some pictures of the road from Mildura through to the Stuart highway and Coober Pedy, these will show the varying landscapes as we travel further into the interior of Central Australia.

It is interesting to note that the Stuart highway to Coober Pedy is widened in sections, this is to provide a stable landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor plane, Coober Pedy has no doctor, nor do the outlying vast stations.The only means of a Doctor is through the Flying doctor plane back to Port Augusta.



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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized



34 responses to “Emu Expedition– Outback Australia– Part 1

  1. GP Cox

    August 14, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I knew I remembered correctly!!

    • aussieian2011

      August 15, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Great memory gp, all the best mate.

  2. Sue Dreamwalker

    October 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Emu… my oh my, what a drive, I also noted the Island called Kangaroo Island.. 🙂 which made me smile.. You wetted my appetite and I am looking forward to more wonderful photo’s.. Loved the photo’s and the feel of the vast expanse in the country side. 🙂

    • The Emu

      October 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Sue, Ana also found Kangaroo island on her map, and has it booked in her places to visit diary.
      It was a long drive over seven days Sue, and I still have a few more posts of other places we travelled to.
      It was worth it, as we were able to not drive and miss places , but to actually absorb and appreciate what we were seeing.
      Emu aka Ian

  3. natswans

    September 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Ian that was excellent I really got the feel of being there. The pictures are amazing and I like the washing line! So look forward to part 2 .
    Many thanks
    Best wishes to you both and catch up on your sleeps. 🙂

    • The Emu

      September 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you Sheila, glad you are enjoying my journey, a few more storys to post yet.
      The clothes line was planted in an outback vacant piece of land by a local publican as a joke.
      It has become a bit of a landmark now.
      Emu aka Ian

  4. giselzitrone

    September 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Danke dir wünsche dir einen schönen Donnerstag und ein gutes und schönes Wochenende Grüße dich lieb von mir Gislinde

    • The Emu

      September 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Greetings Gislinde, Sunday evening here now and our weekend is coming to a close.
      We are having hot days now as Summer has started, hope your weekend was great,
      and wishing you a beautiful week ahead Dear friend.
      Kind regards
      Emu aka Ian

  5. lscotthoughts

    September 25, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I’m late here, Ian, but I loved your photos. They all tell a story; esp. the clothes line and the old truck with the sheep in the background. 🙂

    • The Emu

      September 28, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Good evening Lauren, great that you liked my pictures.
      I think the two pics you mentioned really typify a dying part of Australia’s landscape.
      Emu aka Ian

      • lscotthoughts

        September 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

        They really gave me a sense of “being there” Ian…have a wonderful Sunday! Although, I think you’re way ahead of me! 🙂

        • The Emu

          September 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

          Its nice to know that my posts actually make my readers a part of my journey.
          I love sharing my adventures with my friends, its great to show them a part of our Australian world.
          Emu aka Ian

  6. Clowie

    September 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    The pictures are beautiful. It sounds like quite an adventure!

    • The Emu

      September 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Was certainly a great adventure Clowie
      I think I am still recovering from the long distance driving.
      Kindest regards
      Emu aka Ian

  7. giselzitrone

    September 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Thank you lieber Emu wunderschöne Landschaftliche Bilder und das adle Auto ist gut mitten in der Einöde.Ich wünsche dir eine glückliche schöne Woche lieber Gruß Gislinde

    • The Emu

      September 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Guten Abend Gislinde, danke für den Besuch und gerne meine Bilder genossen, mein Auto dauert mich auf vielen Straßen zu vielen Orten
      Ich genieße Fahrt.
      Hoffnung haben Sie ein schönes Wochenende hatte
      Emu aka Ian

  8. michiko

    September 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Hi Ian! I was very interlest in you went up out back Mildura-South Australia, I love to going to the Opal mining town in one day ha ha You are lovely to with Ana so much different landscape to as sleeping underground mining shatts. You are very luck wish after some results in the trip progressed Ian! Your pictures show us your travel further into of central Australia.
    Kram coober pedy No doctor has the flying plane back to port Augusta you must has good your body with no sicK…Your very happy man Ian!
    Have a lovely time with Ana!

    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Michiko, thanks for your great visit and beautiful comment.
      I dont know if you would enjoy the opal mining town, it is very hot and dry
      but very cool living underground.
      You certainly have to be healthy travelling into that area of Australia.
      No doctors but small hospitals, if any thing goes wrong then you have to go by flying doctor plane.
      Wishing you well Dear friend
      Emu aka Ian

  9. suzjones

    September 21, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Beautiful scenic shot Ian. Loved the lonely clothesline 🙂 and it seems you encountered a few road trains as well.
    It sounds as if you had a wonderful trip.

    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Sue, certainly passed quite a few road trains on that trip.
      Last time I travelled that road was in my army days and it was all sand and gravel.
      The story about that clothesline is that some isolated town publican put it up as a joke.
      Its in a vacant paddock somewhere up Crystal Brook way.
      Emu aka Ian

  10. Colline

    September 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    You have shown some beautiful pics Ian and I look forward to seeing some more. The land looks harsh and yet beautiful.

    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Good evening Colline, thanks for the visit and comment
      Glad you enjoyed my pictures, it was a great experience
      and I have a lot of storys to share and great pics.
      Kindest regards
      Emu aka Ian

  11. prenin

    September 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Thanks for this Ian! 🙂

    Hope you have a good sleep my friend!!! 🙂

    God Bless!


    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Good evening Prenin, thanks for reading the first instalment of my outback journey.
      A very long and interesting holiday, still suffering from jet lag after all that driving.
      Hoping you are well my friend.
      Emu aka Ian

  12. Eddie Two Hawks

    September 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

    What a very long and exciting journey you had but well for the experience alone. fantastic story and images, Eddie

    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Good evening Eddie, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my post.
      It certainly was a long drive over seven days but have some great storys and pictures to share.
      The road is not as I remembered it over forty years ago, then it was sand and gravel.
      Even so its still a long straight road and you can see about ten kilometres ahead.
      Emu aka Ian

  13. gpcox

    September 21, 2014 at 9:49 am

    What fantastic pictures of such an interesting part of the world. We know so little about it, I’m actually surprised to see a paved road – but lucky for you, eh? Great post, Ian!!

    • The Emu

      September 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Grettings gp, it certainly was an interesting trip, last time I went over that road it was sand and gravel.
      Now its a straight stretch of bitminized highway all the way through, damn long highway though.
      Emu aka Ian

  14. cat

    September 21, 2014 at 5:31 am

    What an excellent report of your expedition, Ian 🙂 … looking forward to part 2 … Love, cat.

    • The Emu

      September 21, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Cat, glad you liked the first part of my story.
      Got a few more parts to write with great pics, was quite an expedition.
      Keep smiling girl and be happy.

  15. Monica

    September 21, 2014 at 2:54 am

    This is pretty awesome, Ian. Sleeping in mine shafts because it’s too hot above ground. Well. I look forward to seeing and hearing a lot more.

    • The Emu

      September 21, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Thanks Monica, glad you liked my story.
      Have a few more to post with great pics
      Was quite an experience overall.
      Hoping you are well my friend.
      Hugs from The Emu

  16. suemacarthur

    September 21, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Beautiful pics Ian, i so miss the bush and how beautiful it is

    • The Emu

      September 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Hi Sue, it was quite an experience and bloody tiring after driving that distance.
      Saw the beautiful outback again but its changed since my army days.
      Got a few more posts and great pics to add, at the moment catching up on sleep.
      Cheers to you both.


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