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“Cameron’s Corner 05 Gathering”
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17th July 05
Today was an early start as we only made around 70 km yesterday, which seemed to be the norm for most of the people yesterday and today. There were heaps of people on the road today, all heading east. We had heard nothing of people going west as we were, but as someone had said to us in Innamincka that there is nothing really on the other side of Purni Bore. You have Birdsville when heading east and seems to make it so much more worth while, we didn't really know so we had to take here word for it.
The scenery was to different from the previous day, however the road did change a little for the worse. In saying that I noticed whilst Christie was driving that we seem to be bottoming out a lot today.
So I got out and followed the car on foot for a while to see if I could see what the problem was. After some checking I think the shocks are taking the whole weight of the rear end as the springs weren't holding up to the job. Although we had a spare shock, it was pointless to continue with only repaired one and the other old. So we left it and just persisted.
As there scenery hadn't changed to much we didn't take too many photos today. Towards the end of the day we ended up following some camel prints down the road, it was almost sunset and we needed to set up for the night. So after a while we gave up thinking that they had gone, and it was heaps earlier that they left the tracks we looked for a spot to camp for the night. Just as I was getting dinner ready Christie turns around and there are 4 camels standing there just staring at us. I pass the camera to Christie and she runs off with just a towel around her waist and a jumper.
Our first Camel in the desert
One of the camels that were have a checkers
Here were the other ones taking a gander over in our direction.
18th July 05
It took a couple of hours before were saw anyone today, it was at least 3 hours on the track before we met up with a couple of Coppers heading the other way. We stopped and had a chat, told him about the cars behind us and he did the same. Said our cheerios and headed off in our directions. As we were getting closer to the end of the Simpson Crossing we were getting track updates by every car that was coming the other way. They varied from which gear to be in and what side of the track to take. We took it all onboard and would see when we got there, believing that we would forget all the information that everyone was giving us.
It was 11:30 when we arrived at Poepel Corner, We took a few pic's and signed the visitors log which we were only a few days behind one of the other forum members (Andes - Sorry about the spelling if this is incorrect). As the flies were bad here we pushed on to find a better place for lunch, a few less flies too.
Poepel Corner - Not too much to see here.
Even graffiti out here.
Couple of travelers heading East, they came in from Purni Bore the night before, these were the first guys to tell us about he mud and water.
The road to Purni bore was good, could actually do about 60 - 80 km/h just to make up a little time. We arrived at Purni Bore, I was going to air up the tyres and let Christie to have a shower, but we thought about the time it was going to take us to get to Delhousie and the mud further on. So we did a quick tour (U-Turn) and headed out to see how much water was on the road. We passed a few more cars, all warning us of the water covering the track and as it was still quite early in the day we decided to push on.
The first bit of road underwater, there was another car coming thru towards us. We followed his route in reverse to get thru the first part with no problems. The next water hole we were met by another 4 cars heading East who all told us to keep to the left. The must have had some beginners on the trip as they were telling some of the cars which gear and how hard to hit the mud and where to go. So following there directions we stuck to the left and started to plow thru the mud and water, even though the water wasnt too deep at this point it got to the point where we couldnt see the road anymore and we were driving on endless water.
The second water hole
Driving on water
Look at the concentration
This turned out to be the easy one, although I had no idea where the road went to so we just kept on going as I didn't want to stop otherwise we were going to get stuck. My idea was to start to come right then maybe we would meet up with the road again, it worked only to be confronted with another stretch of road with water all over it. There was no going around this one, so in we went bouncing around and bottoming out. All I could think about was that my tyres were going to come off the rims as they were still on 25 psi and they came off before in these conditions. It was just a nervous bump after bump for about 400 metres. Finally we were out and there wasn't any more mud, thank god.
The track that had no way around, very bumpy.
Kenny copped a hiding in the mud.
Airing up after the water and mud.
After the water goes.
The road to Delhousie Springs - very small track.
Another shot of the track.
After our stop we continued onto Delhousie Springs on a dryer road and a new alternative track as the main one was closed for some unknown reason. This added an extra hour onto our trip before arriving at Delhousie springs. We made a joint effort for dinner with chicken tonight stir fry and coconut rice, was very nice although we didn't have a fire.
19th July 05
This morning we had a slow start as we took an awesome dip in the hot springs, which was just what we needed to start the day. It was a beautiful temp and you could see the steam rising from the surface of the water which looked pretty great. After the swim it was breakfast and pack up in preporation of getting to Mt Dare for some fuel.
It was just like having a bath at the perfect temperature.
Me having a bath, first one in 4 days.
Mt Dare, tiny place with little more than a pub but they were in the midst of constructing a shed and had a few campers in the campsite. We passed half the worlds population of Corellas and filled up with fuel, took a few shots and brought the obligatory souvenirs which was a stubbie holder for me and hate badge for Christie. Whilst we were at Mt Dare we had lunch in the carpark in front of the pub, meet the locals (horse) and watched the guy build the shed.
Mt Dare Homestead (Pub).
The local, had to come in and see what we were having for lunch.
Kenny at Mt Dare, not liking the way we are driving at the moment.
We had an interesting time leaving Mt Dare as there wasn't really a designated track except for the on that was closed due to water, so it was kind of find your own way. Back on the track but not too far on we saw a car stuck in the mud, (Narooma Tyre Service), So not wanting to suffer the same fate and be able to give them a hand getting out. We tried to go around them, what a big mistake that was. If I have learnt one thing and that is to stay on the track, no matter what. It's going to be easier then getting stuck and trying to get yourself out again in a worse position.
So after 2 hours of recover work we were both on the road again and a little causes of going off the road again. I thought I was going to be there for ages, it was only because we had enough people to push take photos and drive that this was all possible.
There were a few rough patches and water crossing in the road ahead and a bit of really windy stuff thru the small trees as the road was impassable. The road conditions didn't get any worse after the big bog, but we make it to Finke. However after arriving at Finke we decided to it was better off to keep driving as the town looked a bit scary for just the two of us.
Now we had in front of us The Old Ghan Track, first thoughts weren't too bad. A lot of sand and a little windy. Then we got to the corrugations, not much over 20 km/h was possible without bottoming out or shacking the car to pieces. We tried every speed up to 95 km/h and they were no better so we stuck to the 20 35 km/h range for a slow trip to Chambers Pillar.
Around 5pm we stopped off on the side of the road, it was one of the outpost for the railway to have some dinner whilst it was still light and we didn't have to worry about cooking in the dark with no fire.
Dinner on The Old Ghan Track.
We were back on the road in no time as we only had Jaffles for dinner with a bit of salad, as we had been on the road for a while and hadn't seen the turn offs on the map yet we were getting a little worried that we might have to head all the way up and come back down to Chambers Pillar. We got to a gate, which was directly 90 degrees from the Chambers Pillar track so instead of going thru the gate we followed the fence line down. In hindsite it was fairly stupid as it may have been someone else's property and it might have gone no where. It was getting dark and we were getting worried that we would have to turn around and go thru the gate delaying our arrival into Chambers Pillar even longer.
Luckily with Oziexplorer working well we could see that we were getting much closer to the road we wanted to be on, so we pushed on. Finally we got to another gate and the Aboriginal Community just outside of the Chambers Pillar park, very relieved we went thru the gate and onto Chambers Pillar in the dark.
We arrived at Chambers Pillar to find that the SA 4WDing Club had taken up all the sites, so we found somewhere just outside where there were a few others that must have come in late. We set up camp fairly quickly which whilst doing so the group next to us offered there fire for us to cook, but we had already eaten so declined the offer nicely. We had a short chat as it was cold and he went back to the fire and we hid in our doona's.
20th July 05
When we woke up, we could see where we actually were. Our campsite was quite different in the day time, it was the bus parking area.
Our campsite the next morning.
After breakfast and packing up again, we went for the touristy walk. Took a few photos, we had a few problems with the photos here. Some of them didn't turn out, corrupted files. So we have no photos of the Pillar close up, only from a far. We also tried to take some photos of the names carved into the rock, they didn't turn out.
The Pillar from our campsite.
Looking back at the campsite, and the rock in the background where we camped.
Christie as big as the Pillar.
Just a few graffiti marks.
After the Pillar it was off to Alice Springs for some repairs and some rest. The roads back to Alice were great, really enjoyed them. We actually by chance found a great place to have lunch, was still a little windy but really spectacular cliffs. Just too bad there was a whole heap of crap everywhere, plus the odd fire bombed car.
Kenny having lunch, well he was watching us.
Kenny feeling like a model in a photo shoot.
The wide angle - well as wide as we could get 17mm
It was onto Alice from here, set up tents and have a look around town again. We stayed at the Mac Donnell Campground again as we did the previous time, however we were able to get a powered site to give the battery a rest.
I started to get dinner ready as the sun was going down fast, the only problem was that we couldn't get the light workig as the corrugation of the Ghan looked like to have broken the light so dinner was to be cooked by torch light, this turned out to be fairly hard.
Dinner was on tonight, I had some Barramundi that we haven't used yet and made a melody of potato, sweet potato and onions to serve with the fish which was pan fried with a bit of butter and lemon.
The Campground had a small business working there for the last night, they were selling pancakes and strawberries. So we had coffee and Christie had pancakes with strawberries and cream. I was just interested in the coffee as it was freezing.
21st July 05
Today started out with a bad note, although we were none the wiser. There had been a few people robbed during the night, even a couple of little girls were heavy handed for their money. Luckily it was only the money they were after and nothing else, but it did put a dampener on the stay that day. Mind you there were a few gossip mongers running around. The were funny to watch and listen as the stories changed, we were lucky to not have been broken into or the car taken as the keys were in the ignition and my wallet was in the glove box and being unlocked would have made an easy target.
After all the hustle and bustle and the cop interviews, which we were of no good as we slept straight thru it. Christie decided she needed to go shopping by herself, which suited me as I was in the search of new parts. We left the post office in our separate directions, Christie to the shops and me to the 4WD and Camping stores. After some looking and some negotiating I picked up 4 OME shocks at a price I was never going to get in Darwin also was talked into this 12 volt camping light for a little more then what I wanted to pay. I returned to Christie and we had lunch then returning to the campsite for the repairs to start.
First it was the shocks, after taking the old ones off I realised how bad they were. ARB Darwin told me they were fine, I should have argued the point a little more and they would have been replace under warranty. Well that was my fault. After the shocks it was the roof rack which had been giving me troubles from the start. Poorly designed I think, once again my fault. Should have thought it thru a little better, but with a few washers and a hammer all was good and it was back on the roof again.
Due to the repairs and the chin wags that happened when anyone saw someone working on there car, we almost missed getting ready for dinner as we booked a table at Kellie's Restaurant. Very nice food, a little under served but very nice. I had the Indian Fish Curry with Barra and Christie had the Barra Fried fillet. We even had dessert which was a waste of money, they gave us the smallest portion you could possibly dream of. Then charge like a wounded bull.
After dinner we went for a walk and drive around Mt Anzac and took a few photos.
Night shot of Alice
A picture of the monument on top of Mt Anzac
The it was off to bed as we were off again to Kings Canyon in the morning.
22nd July 05
Late start today, only toast and coffee as we needed to get on the road to make up the distance. Fuel was the next stop and we needed to air up the tyres because I was lazy and hadn't done it since the desert, mind you didn't matter too much as it made the roads better to drive on and there wasn't too much tar between Chambers Pillar and Alice Springs campgrounds.
There was lots to see on the way to Kings Canyon, I think this road would have the most Gaps and Gorges on one road in the world. Oh by the way the road is the Larapinta Drive. I am not going to mention all the stops just have a few pics of the ones we visited.
Due to the amount of stop off we had, and the speed at which we were traveling we made for Glen Helen Gorge Resort for the night and to get some beers, plus talk to some people.
What a night was had here, firstly we set up camp and sat around having a few beers. Then we went into the bar for a chat to the locals, who were all here for a jolly. The actual bar tender was in from Alice as he was maxed out on his credit card and needed to pay it off. Was funny.
After a few beers and it was getting dark we headed off to have dinner which was going to be hotdogs, so with some fried up bacon and onions we made some hotdogs with all the gear. Hmmmm hotdogs, very nice. Only problem with hotdogs is I can't eat them without spilling it everywhere especially on my shirt of shoes.
We then returned to the bar for the live music, which was a couple up from Adelaide. It was a little jazzy with a trendy cafe feel to their music, really easy to like. We actually brought one of their albums we like it that much. This was one of the best nights we had, it wasn't too cold and the company was great. The music was sensational, with the wonderful hotdogs. I would have to say this was my best day yet, there was so much to see and hear. Really enjoyed it.
23rd July 05
The morning was a warm one today, so it was back into shorts - yippee. So after breakfast and packing again we headed for Kings Canyon, we tried not to stop too much today as we had a few km to go and wanted to get into Kings Canyon before dark. Once again I will just show the places we visited as it was pretty much a driving day, with only a few stop offs, although we did run into a herd of camels on the side of the road just out of Kings Canyon. Here are some pics
Kenny at Kings Canyon.
Just after lunch was probably the worst part of the day, due to the fact that I was too lazy to check my tyres after filling them up in Alice. I found that the pressure was about 10 psi too high. This caused us to have a flat, which must have been punctured by a rock and because the tyres had no give in them, it went straight in. But luckily I had all the spares and we were only off the road for about 30 mins max.
Just checking where the leak is.
Still trying to find where the tyre was leaking from.
Once found it was now time to fix the leak so we could get back on the road.
I had pushed the tyre repair part too far, so was trying to pull it out a bit - was futile so left it.
All the things you have to get out before you can start to work.
Never leave home without one of these joey's.
Kenny getting impatient and wanting to get back on the road again as we were running late.
It was back on the road in less then 30 mins so that was a pretty good pit change. It was off to Kings Canyon again, with a few stop offs on the way.
These would have been the biggest ant holes we had ever seen.
The Conservation Reserve.
We got into Kings Canyon Resort early afternoon, so the tyre did alright. Have been checking it every time we stopped, it was holding up real good. No drop in pressure yet.
Didn't really do too much tonight as we had a big walk tomorrow at Kings Canyon, we thought that we had 2 days here so will be able to get up to the pub later the next day. Probably enjoy it a little more after the hike.
24th July 05
We started getting ready and have breakfast, we weren't in too much of a rush as we didn't have too much on other then the hike at Kings Canyon. So about 10 we headed off to the Canyon for a bit of a look around. We decided on doing the 4 hr hike as appose to the 23 km 2 day trek one way, although we were tempted (not).
The walk was a wonderful walk, really got the real view of the Canyon and the treasures that lay within it. Little water holes and the bird life to the barren hill tops with only the lizard to share the space. There were some great views and time to relax at your own pace too.
The start of the 4 hr walk, near on straight up.
Only half way up.
The view from the top of the stairs.
Just admiring the view to the carpark.
Think he was waiting for us to go away, he didn't move for ages.
About 1/4 the way round, still heaps to go
A little oasis in the middle of no where.
Left overs of the rain they had recently.
The barren tops.
Only 1 km to the carpark and it all day hill.
Once we had finished the walk we sat down at the car and opened (well I opened) a beer and sat there for a while just talking about how nice it was. A couple people came up and had a chat and said that out set up for the car was really good. Another fellow came up asking about the track that we just took to get to Kings Canyon, we said that it was fine and that it would take much to get back to Alice.
We arrived back at camp and just sat in the sun drinking beers and watching the other campers setting up tents, as it was about that time that all the campers were pulling in.
After dinner we went up to the bar and had a couple more beers and watched the live act, was set more for tourist's as it was fair dinkum aussie humour, was good for a laugh, but we were here just to chill out and listen to some music so moved back into the main bar.
The bar shut at 9pm so it was off to bed ready for Uluru tomorrow.
25th July 05
Uluru here we come, we left Kings Canyon about the same time we leave every other campsite at 10am, didn't need fuel so it was off straight to the highway. It was black top all the way so made it easy to get there, could do 100 km/h. It had been a long time since we had been able to get those speeds, only problem was the mud on the wheels was causing a lot of shudder in the car and steering.
As per everyday we arrived at Yalara at 3pm to find it was going to cost us $52 for 2 nights camping there, we really didn't have a choice, however the amenities are very worth it. Lots of green grass too.
We thought we would get into Uluru for the sunset for the first night and then do the walk up the rock followed by the walk around, in turn we would then head over to the Olgers for a look see there in the afternoon. This was going to change tomorrow as we didn't know what we were in for.
On the way in we could believe it was $25 per person into the park, we thought may be vehicle not per person. So we paid our $50 and headed for the sunset area to take a few photos. Once there we set up the table and had some wine and biscuits just to pass the time as we had an hour to wait.
Sunset shot, we took about 30 of these. Well worth the wait.
Just a shot of the side with some of the broken off rock.
26th July 05
Off to climb the rock, we had a big breakfast for the task ahead of us today. We got to the rock around 10 am, Christie wasn't talking too much and she seemed a little worried about walking up the rock. So we went for a nervous piss and got all the stuff ready for the trek.
We started the walk up and it was fairly steep and we hadn't got to the chain yet, Christie wasn't doing very well at all. So she pulled out and I gave her the keys as there was water and food there and I took her water then started the long climb up. About halfway up I was thinking the same thing, it was steeper then I had imagined, but looking down I had to make it to the top so continued till I got there. I had a few breaks as it was a big climb and I am not as fit as I used to be.
It was an exhilarating climb and really enjoyed it, although the owners ask that you don't climb it. I believe it is our choice and I made a choice to climb the rock as a challenge which is no different then there walk up the rock.
The View from the top of the chained walk looking down to the carpark.
The top marker
Looking towards the Olgers
The sheer drop from most of the walk.
After the walk up the top, not thinking that it was going to take as long as it did. 2 1/2 hrs. We had lunch in the carpark, then decided to drive around the rock as appose to walk as we only had today to see Uluru and the Olgers as well.
Kenny at Uluru
With the limited time we had left as we had to make the Olgers and the sunset camel ride, we then headed off at high speed to get to all the places we needed to be.
We didn't spend much time here, as we thought we would have nothing to do when we came back next time. So we returned to the campsite and got ready for the sunset camel ride that Christie had been waiting for the whole trip.
On the way to the pick up area, we ran into a fellow having problems with his mobile phone so we had a look at that. We also had another group of campers try and have a conversation about where we had been and how come the car was so dirty, we felt really bad, but we had to brush them off as we were going to be late for the pick up to the camels. We were already late.
Once on the bus everything started to slow down a bit, we introduced ourselves to everyone on the bus. Found out where everyone was from and where they had been. We were the only ones that had crossed the Simpson in the bus, so they were all keen to ask questions.
Shortly after we arrived at the camel depot, we met out tour guide Kate who had only been working there for 6 months. Who kindly put us up front of the tour and we had a really good chat, which once again we were only a couple of days behind as we weren't the only ones who knew to mention Al's name. Once we were all on our camels, we were on Salty. Kate then told me not to pat the one behind me Moosha as he is a bit like me and isn't the touchy feely type, however he was walking real close and kept brushing me which then provoked him. Was funny to watch him try and bite me and flash his teeth every now and again.
After the camel ride it was a beer and a few smallie eats. Just enough time to have a chat and look thru all the photos at the farm, and to have a few photos of the camels.
It was back to camp then prepare for dinner, which was the rest of the Barra fillet cooked in foil in the Bedourie with a few assorted veggies. Was very nice, first time I used the Bedourie on the campover. Worked really well, steamed all the veggies really well.
27th July 05
Today was our last day on holidays, it was now the start of the return trip which we only had 2 days to get back to Darwin so Christie could get back to work again as they had been calling for the last 2 weeks trying to see when we will be back.
It was a straight thru drive today, we were aiming for Devils Marbles if we could, however we would stop off at a homestead or park if it was getting too late. Around 4 pm we decided it was time to pull in so we turned into Ti Tree caravan park, which was cheap and had lots of grass plus the amenities are in good order too.
So it was put dinner on, get ready for bed and see what the pub was like. The pub at Ti Tree, which is clamed to be the most central pub in Australia. I disputed it as the most geographical spot in Australia is a 35 km from Finke. Ti Tree is about 400 km away from finke, they said it was. I still disagree.
Ti Tree Caravan Park
The petrol station at Ti Tree
28th July 05
We left Ti Tree for Mataranka today, not stopping in anywhere. We did stop at Katherine for Fuel, but that was it. It was a race to make it to Mataranka tonight as we wanted to have a swim in the thermal pools. The only time we stopped off was when the aircon decided to crap it in. I could smell smoke, but thought it was the recent burn-off from the side of the road. After the burnt sides were gone I could still smell the smoke so pulled over to investigate. The clutch in the aircon unit has burnt out causing the fuse to blow and for it to heat up.
So disconnecting the fan belt and getting back on the road 2 days out of Darwin and it was getting hot. Not happy Jan.
Undoing the pulley, as you can see by the black stuff on the underside of the bonnet, it's U/S.
The road on which we pulled over.
Trying to get the fan belt out of the fan
Here you can see the black stuff that was making the smoke smell.
Later on when we were really getting hot, we pulled into Mataranka Thermal Pools Resort for the night and had a swim. We don't have any pics of the pools as we didn't want to leave the camera where we couldn't see it and that there was too many people around.
29th July 05
Arrived in Darwin around 1:30 pm, was great to be home but it was truely a great trip. It was just unfortunate that we only caught up with one other member of the forum for the whole month. We did follow a few people as we were signing the visitors logs only a couple of days later. The next thing we had to do was wash the car and get all the repairs done.
Thanks to the Army, 2 1/2 hours to clean just the underneath
Another 2 hours to clean the top.
These were the things that were repaired or required to be repaired upon return:
Rear Diff oil seal
Sway bar rubbers (Front and Back)
Tie rod arm (Drivers side only)
LCD Screen (Which was later stolen, Which resulted in)
Window (Front passenger)
Removal of the old tint
Rear driver side passenger window rattle out
20D Canon Camera (Warranty Claim - Damaged Image Sensor)
17-85mm Lens (Warranty Claim)
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