Week two of Australian adventure- Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

On the road again….

Day 8 – Waking up in William Creek (no mobile or internet coverage) planning to go to Oodnadatta, but roads still closed and the fine for driving on a closed road is $1000 per wheel.  Debated waiting it out or doing a 500k backtrack detour and glad we did the waiting.  Decided to go to Coober Pedy (opal mining town) and that road opened up just after 2pm so we were the first car out and drove to Coober Pedy.   Staying in a van park on an opal mine where we got free camping if we do the night time mine tour, which we did.

Day 9 – Explored Coober Pedy-The Opal Capital of the World, well at least visited five opal shops, one gallery and one kangaroo rescue centre.  Landscape around the town is continuous mine sites identified by piles of dirt and the big danger is falling down a mine shaft.  Highlight of the day was seeing ‘The Breakaways’- spectacular, colorful flat top mounds about 33 k’s out of town, and a sacred area to the local aborigines (as are many places we have visited).  Overnighting at a free camp just before Marla and next to the track that the Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin train) passes by on.

Day 10 – Drove from one bush camp to another along the Sturt Hwy and this one is special – Rainbow Valley Conservation Park. 23 K on corrugated, dirt road but worth it.  The rock formations are stunning and in the sunset they glow as if on fire – great photos.  As we were just looking for a campsite before we got to Alice Springs we feel like we scored a bonus.  So far Wiki Camps has been excellant in helping us select stops.  Had our first campfire tonight – had to see why everyone else deems this a necessity. Reluctantly Dick made the campfire; and then conceded sitting around it was enjoyable. This is a very well set up campsite with a donation box for our $6.60 fee.  What an amazing country we live in – two days of stunning rock formations that we had never heard of before!

Day 11 – More exploring in Rainbow Valley, including a walk around the clay pans, before we drove to Alice Springs and checked into the Big 4 caravan park. Laundry, tourist info, Woolworths(supermarker) and Bunnings(hardware store) – almost like a Saturday at home.  Big change is the hot weather – goodbye to trackies and ugg boots and hello to shorts and thongs!

Day 12 – Domestic chores all day so we never left the caravan park, but did take in an outback singer, Barry Skipsey, performing in the Big 4.  The focus of the day was getting ready for the Larapinta walk.

Day 13 – A few hours on skype with Lesley, then Eileen & Darcy and then Liz. Lots of red dirt over and under the van so we found a car wash intending to get it washed for us.  In the end, Dick had to wash it using a high pressure hose.  We’ve been recommended to get it washed regularly, so now we know how to go about that. Visited the Olive Pink Botanical Garden and climbed a hill for an end of day view of  Alice Springs.   Had our first dinner out since we left home and having an early night as we start the Larapinta walk at 7:30am, which is super early for us.  The Larapinta Walk is a 223k walk thru the West MacDonnell Ranges.  We are doing a 5 day guided walk though the best parts of it.  More on that in the next post.

Good night,

Pat & Dick

This is a public phone booth – only communication from William Creek, calling about road conditions.
The long awaited sign change….
Divining for opal in the mine.


Opal mine site outside Coober Pedy and danger signs which are everywhere.
Breakaways lookout


The Breakaways


Breakaways from the first lookout

Rainbow Valley about 5pm
Rainbow Valley 5:25pm
Rainbow Valley  5:28pm
Mushroom Rock in Rainbow Valley
Rainbow Valley 5:42pm


Rainbow Valley & clay pans in the day time.
Clay pans in Rainbow Valley
Lookout in Olive Pink Botanical Garden in the middle of Alice Springs


3 thoughts on “Week two of Australian adventure- Coober Pedy to Alice Springs

  1. Oh my god – Rainbow Valley looks amazing. I’m glad you enjoyed Coober Pedy and the Breakaways. They are both great too.
    I’m getting lots of tips from you about what to do out there – thank you.
    I look forward to the next instalment.

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