South Australia

I thought the scenery was a bit dull in the Territory, but it possibly got even more monotonous in South Australia. The area around Coober Pedy is especially dull, with no vegetation. Heading south of there is tough – 252km before Glendambo, no roadhouses along the way, passing through the Woomera Prohibited zone. Things certainly picked up when I got to the coast – but then I started to miss the desert.

No great drama or quarantine zone at the border crossing – but there was water.

SA-NT Border

This plaque marks the spot where the last section of the Stuart Highway was finally sealed – only in 1987. The main (only) road from Alice Springs to Adelaide, and it wasn’t sealed until 20 years ago. By now an equivalent road to this in China would be a four lane expressway

Plaque marking sealing of Stuart Highway

I did stop and eat – neither of us starved

Cadney Park sign

Several tankers like this go past me every day

Roadtrain

Typical South Australian rest areas. Note the sign on the water tank – I never had any problems from drinking it.

Singapore MallDodgy Water signRest area in the middle of nowhere

When you come from a small country, your mind finds it a bit hard to take in the concept of building a fence thousands and thousands of kilometres long, to keep dingoes out.

Dog fence Dog fence

Coober Pedy is a bit of a strange place, the monotony of the landscape only broken up by the piles of spoil from the opal mines. Extremely friendly locals though, particularly at the Italian club.

Mineshafts warning sign Coober Pedy main road Coober Pedy landscape Coober Pedy landscape

The Woomera Prohibited Zone, an old rocket testing range that stretches all the way to the West Coast. Not exactly interesting though – the most exciting things were seeing an emu, and seeing a strip of road marked as an emergency airstrip for the flying doctors. I was pretty happy to make it to Glendambo – population 2,000,000…flies.

Woomera Prohibited Zone Emergency Airstrip on road Emu Empty landscapes End Prohibited Area Glendambo Population sign

Crossing the railway is a notable geographical feature out here. This is the combined Ghan and Indian Pacific lines, a little south east of where they split.

Railway track

The salt lakes were pretty cool – but they also show how hard this land is. When you do find water, it’s too salty to use. Note the roadside campsite I stopped at.

Salt Lake Salt Lake Salt Lake Roadside Campsite

It was a bit unusual to see geographical formations like this – often the horizon was just flat

Big Rock

After four weeks on the road, I finally made it back to the coast at Port Augusta. This would mark my last crossing of a continent. I quite liked the town, but I couldn’t work out why no-one used the lovely area alongside the river. I also liked the sign at the Greyhound track – no dogs allowed.

Port Augusta Port Augusta Port Augusta

A few random shots from the road between Port Augusta and Adelaide

Port Augusta Port Augusta Port Augusta Port Augusta

Ah, this is more like it, wineries in the Barossa Valley.

Wolf Blass Chateau Tanunda

I was very impressed by Adelaide, and the surrounding area. There was something nice about a city centre surrounded by parks, and then the ride out of the city was great – a bit of traffic, then I was up in the hills, nice countryside around me, little bakeries to stop at for lunch…fantastic

Adelaide Adelaide Adelaide Hills Adelaide Hills Country Town Country Pub

I couldn’t quite work out why this place was so happy to be “Phylloxera free” – until I read the signs in town, explaining what it was, and why it was so important to protect the local vines.

Phylloxera Free sign

And I thought that crossing rivers by ferry would be a thing of poorer countries – but the cable ferry still runs across the Murray here, and for free!

Murray River Cable Ferry

Random bits of machinery along the way – a monument to an unsuccessful oil drilling project, and a wind-powered water pump still in use. Most of them have now fallen into disuse, but I think that the rising cost of diesel might cause a rethink there.

Oil rig monument Windmill water pump

Mt Gambier was nice stop, a respite from the cold weather. The lake above the town turns a brilliant blue at certain times of the year. I of course went at the wrong time of year. I did like the taps they had – rather than hot or cold, you could choose town or tank water. They take water conservation seriously in Australia.

Mt Gambier Pumping Station Mt Gambier LakeTown and Tank water taps