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.