Road to Oodnadatta

28 Oct

Saturday the 13th Sept proved the weather report being correct in forecasting a high temperature above forty degrees.

This was the second day of our visit to Coober Pedy, one of the aims of the outback trip was initially to include a visit to the isolated Aboriginal settlement of Oodnadatta.

Oodnadatta, in the Australian state of South Australia, is a small town surrounded by an area of 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) with cattle stations in arid pastoral rangelands close to the Simpson Desert, 1,011 km (628 mi) north of Adelaide and 112 m above sea level. It can be reached by an unsealed road from Coober Pedy or via the unsealed Oodnadatta Track.

The Pink Roadhouse (so-called because it is painted bright pink) is a focal point for the town, providing petrol, a general store, meals, post office facilities and canoe hire. Although they really do have canoes (also painted bright pink), it is not clear where to use them in the surrounding area unless the local waterholes are recently filled.

Oodnadatta is serviced twice weekly by the Coober Pedy Oodnadatta One Day Mail Run. The OKA mail truck also carries some general freight and passengers.[9] Road trains bring weekly supplies of food and fuel etc. from Adelaide. Royal Flying Doctor Service and charter flights use the Oodnadatta Progress Associations’ local all weather WW2 airstrip which houses an automatic weather station.

There is a museum in the old Ghan railway station, and a staffed medical centre. The railway station comprises a large and imposing Victorian-era home built for the station master’s family, with verandahs on three sides, very high ceilings for coolness, and a cellar. Abutting the station-masters residence is the railway station office itself. The whole precinct has been kept in very good condition since the line closed.

I had travelled the road from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta and back in 1997, a distance over a very rough dirt road of 193.9 kilometres taking a few minutes short of 4 hours.

The length of time to travel over that normally short distance gives some idea of the roads condition. It has been known to be impassable during the Wet season, you need a sturdy vehicle and extra tyres, water and foods, breaking down on this stretch of road is not a good idea, you are fortunate if you see a car or two when driving. I have found a GPS is a valuable asset in the outback.

I curtailed the plan to visit Oodnadatta, as I recalled the harshness of the road and the very sparse accommodation that would be available at the end. Opting for the home comforts we decided not to take the trip, it would have been great for me as I love the roughness and the harshness of the rugged outback, but deferred in favour of comfort this time. However I wanted to show Ana a glimpse of the Moon Plains, which is the name of plains leading to Oodnadatta.

The Moon plains are a vast expanse of rocky plains that are quite unusual to anywhere else. The lunar like landscape is so unusual it has been used as the background and set for many movies including Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Pitch Black and The Red Planet.
One of the interesting things about this landscape is that it is littered with beautiful pieces of clear gypsum crystals and gemstones. These are scattered throughout hundreds of pieces of petrified wood, where it is difficult to imagine a vast forest must once have stood.

I wanted to show Ana a part of the Moon plains, to give some idea of the landscape for the next 200 kilometres without travelling the whole distance, we took the Oodnadatta road out of Coober Pedy and drove about ten kilometres into the plains, you can see the horizon in every direction, not a blade of grass or a tree anywhere, it is aptly named.

After getting an idea of the road and what lay ahead, and the never ending scenery, we turned around and proceeded back to the comforts of the underground accommodation in Coober Pedy.

I checked out the Dash cam and found the relevant footage of that short trip, I have posted it here, again courtesy of You tube which I am getting the hang of, the video shows nothing apart from the road and surrounding countryside. This time I found You tube allows me to add music, which I have done, unfortunately the choice is limited so I hope you appreciate the choice I have selected.

Enjoy my Road to Oodnadatta story.




Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


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16 responses to “Road to Oodnadatta

  1. Sue Dreamwalker

    November 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Good to see you getting the hang of the Uploading of your vids Emu.. And you have got to just Love the colour of that Sky! 🙂 even though temps are Hot HOT… Have a Great Week my friend

    • The Emu

      December 1, 2014 at 12:24 am

      Was surprised in how the videos turned out Sue.
      The colours are really great, especially the sky.
      If I remember correctly, it was a very hot day and we had the cooler going.

  2. sudiste1359

    November 4, 2014 at 10:41 am

    desert , desert,

    • The Emu

      November 4, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Definitely one of Australia’s desert areas, long dry dusty roads.

  3. natswans

    November 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Wide open spaces on this scale Wow! goes on and on . Good idea turning back to Coober Pedy for the night I ‘d say. Wonderful story
    Thank you for sharing
    Sheila 🙂

    • The Emu

      November 4, 2014 at 2:32 am

      Good afternoon Sheila, lovely sunny day here with temperatures at 35 degrees.
      Hoping you are well, that road is certainly surrounded by wide open spaces.
      It was too hot to do that trip, for Ana anyway, so we changed our itinerary a little for the comforts of a cool underground setting.

  4. kcg1974

    October 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed taking the road trip to Oodnadatta, Emu! The open blue skies, landscape and scenery remind me much of the vast western states of North America, So beautiful. Lovely descriptive writing and beautiful choice in music, too. So happy to ride along with you!

    • The Emu

      October 29, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Hi Kim, pleased that you liked my video clip, it worked out better than I thought
      It really did bring out the colour of the sky and the panorama of the scenery.
      Thanks for visiting.

  5. cat

    October 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

    The music is by Edvard Grieg and is called “Morgenstimmung” … meaning “morning mood” … morning mood here too, it’s almost 0530hrs here … still feel dizzy cuz of u drivin on da wrong side of da road … smiles … ya … me know … wha wha wha … 🙂 … how fast are u going anyway? … 100 … 110 … kmph? … just kiddin, Ian … 🙂 … beautiful post … thank you 4 sharing … Love, cat.

    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Cat, yes I just found the name of the song, think it went well with that straight road video.
      I was not driving on the wrong side of the road, it was the middle of the road, everybody drives on that road in the middle, if by any chance, you see a car coming, its a game of chicken to see who goes off road.
      Was going slow along that stretch, about 100 k,s, only trouble with the video films is I cant clean the windshield off the camera clip, hehe.

  6. prenin

    October 28, 2014 at 11:07 am

    WOW!!! 😮

    Screw up on THAT road and you’d be in a world of hurt!!! 😮

    The way there’s nothing out there to the horizon makes you realise just how insignificant we really are!

    God Bless!


    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Good evening Prenin, yes it does make you feel insignificant out on those plains.
      And not a good place to be driving through ill prepared, we did spot a couple of blown tyres and numberplates,
      and that was only into the first few kilometres.

  7. einfachtilda

    October 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Grieg….ich mag es ❤ Mathilda

    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you Mathilda

  8. gpcox

    October 28, 2014 at 10:56 am

    You could easily get a case of highway-hypnosis on that trip! When the sign popped up I was surprised!! 😉

    • The Emu

      October 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Agree with you there gpcog, no white line fever on that road.
      There were a few blown tyres and a couple of number plates in the first few kilometres.
      A road to be well prepared for.


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