Day 77 – Nice Place, Without John Jarratt

Still weird waking up before 6AM… And, even weirder being on the road at 8AM!

We camped in a rest area about 105km north of Halls Creek, and for some odd reason we had Telstra reception. It allowed me to ask some questions from DelicaClub members about the rattle from the front calliper. General consensus was that it was probably safe, but at earliest convenience I should replace/repair the worn sliding pins (or whatever it is that is worn). But, to be safe, I asked a mechanic in town who also agreed that it’s OK to drive with for a while. He also plugged the rear tyre that had picked up a nail (glad I found that early two days ago and didn’t destroy a tyre).

And, we didn’t do much else in Halls Creek (waited 30 minutes for a shower in a service station, restocked on food/fuel) but before we knew it, it was after 1PM. We’d planned to head to Wolfe Creek Crater to watch the sun set, but it was 150km from town, and 135 of that on unsealed roads. Remembering how long it took us to travel the 55km to Purnululu National Park when the road is in poor condition (2 hours) I started to panic and thought we were going to arrive in the dark.

The first 115km is along the Tanami Track, which is an inland route between Alice Springs and Halls Creek, travelling past the Tanami Desert. It was a track that I would have liked to have taken, but we’d miss too much of the Northern Territory with the route that we were on. I held my breath and made a wish as we turned off the bitumen highway to Derby onto the deep red road… and couldn’t believe that it was nice and smooth. I didn’t get too excited for risk of jinxing out luck, but after 10km the road was still in good condition and we were comfortably travelling at 75kph. Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot to see on the drive – it was flat, dusty and only small scrubby plants and spinifex.

Then we reached the turnoff for the national park, and right on cue the killer corrugations began. We still had 20km to travel, and all the great time we’d made on the Tanami Track was going to be lost here. There were stretches of a few kilometres at a time of reasonable condition road, but when the corrugations started, they were horrible.

20130729_RCH_9893Oh, and lots and lots of dust. To give you an idea, I cleaned my glasses before leaving Halls Creek, by the time we arrived at the Wolfe Creek car park, I could barely see out of them. We have to keep the windows down while we’re driving (broken air conditioning), but close them any time we pass another car. And, even so, everything is dusty – the bed, our clothes, our hair, the food… everything.

20130729_RCH_000320130729_RCH_9899Enough with the complaining. We’d made it with about 45 minutes to spare before sunset (camera batteries were flat, so had to wait 15 minutes to put a little charge in them – leaving me with 30 minutes). The crater doesn’t look like much from the car park, just some small grassy hills. In fact, it wasn’t even discovered (by white people) until the late 1940s when it was spotted from the air.

The facts: Wolfe Creek Crater is the world’s second largest meteorite crater; A 50,000kg meteor collided here 300,000 years ago; crater is 850m wide, and 50m deep (though, at the time it was 150m deep). Now, in the crater has been filled with sand/dust from the Tanami Desert, and a salty lake (due to evaporation) after rains.

20130729_RCH_9928 20130729_RCH_998420130729_Untitled_Panorama1It was only a 5-minute walk from the car park to the rim of the crater up a stony path. I was worried that it was something that you had to view from the air to appreciate, but it was unmistakably recognisable as a crater when viewed from the rim. It was interesting seeing the different vegetation inside the crater (spinifex, trees lining the outside of the wet-season lagoon, and different (salt-tolerant) shrubs living in the very centre). It looked like a crater within a crater (There’s a Pimp My Ride joke in there somewhere…). Also, sorry for the average panorama…

20130729_RCH_0001The sun set, and it was beautiful and serene. We lapped it up for a while and enjoyed the afterglow before returning to our car and hoping that it hadn’t been sabotaged (movie reference).

20130729_RCH_0008 20130729_RCH_0011Though, to be honest, it would have been just as beautiful from the car park or campground. The skies tonight were amazing – it made for a welcome distraction while I was cooking dinner.

20130729_RCH_0013Oh, and speaking of dinner, I mentioned that I was going to keep track of dinner, so tonight was mash potato with pepper steak (which was pre-marinaded with way too much pepper, but we purchased it because it was the cheapest option).

And now, Risa gets to watch Wolf Creek (the movie) for the first time! As far as I’m aware, she believes that it’s a real movie. I haven’t told her that it is, nor have I corrected her about it…

77日目 7月29日 (月)       ウルフクリーク!

今朝、またもデリちゃんの不具合発見。タイヤがもしやパンク?との事で、朝タイヤ屋さんでチェックしてもらったら、釘がささっていました!
イタイ!

大きなものではなかったので、パッチをしてもらいすぐに元気になりました。
ブレーキパッドもなんか変な音がするので、見てもらったけど、これは心配ないらしいので一安心。。
ガソリンスタンドにシャワーがあったので、一人$4でシャワーを浴びて、超すっきり〜♥  食材ショッピングのあとランチを食べて、今日の目的地ウルフクリークへ向けていざ出発!!

ここは、こわーい映画 ウルフクリークの舞台にもなった場所です。
オーストラリアの友達に、オーストラリア1周旅行をすると言ったら、ほぼ全員からこの映画を見なきゃね!といわれる程、車旅行と言えば、、、の恐ろしい映画らしい。

もちろん私を驚かすのが大好きなロスくん、今晩は、ウルフクリークでウルフクリークの映画を見るそうです。

ウルフクリークは30万年前に、隕石が衝突した際にできたクレーターで、現在残っている隕石クレーターとしては、世界に2番目に大きいものです。

ここまで来るには、175kmの未舗装のガタボコを走行してきました。 最初の150kmは、今までで一穏やかなガタボコで、時速80kmくらいで走行できる程、とても快適走行♫

しかーし! 国立公園入り口のサインがでた後の、残り25kmがヒドかったー! 場所によっては、史上最悪だったかも。

なにはともあれ、ほぼ大体は想像以上に快適で、時間も思ったよりかからなかたので、良かった〜(約2時間)

夕焼けの少し前に到着したので、一息ついてクレーターを登ってきました。

/秒15km(/時間じゃないよ!)の早さで衝突した衝撃は、巨大な戦艦が空から衝突したのと同じインパクトだったそうで、直径約850m、深さは、150mのクレーターを残しましたが、30万年の間の地形の変化により(主に砂の堆積)現在の深さは、50mです。

クレーターと聞くと、月や火星、もしくは火山のような、地面がむき出しの巨大な穴を想像しますが、ここは古いクレーターなので、小高い丘を登ると背の低い草が生い茂り、クレーターの底には、リング状に木が生えていて、中心部は乾いた池があり、乾燥により塩が白く見えました。

アボリジニの人々は、ずっと昔からこの場所を知っていましたが、最初の白人がこの地を発見したのは、なんと飛行機から。なので1947年までこのクレーターは世の中に知られていませんでした。

この周りは、地変線の先までずっと平らなサバンナの風景が広がり、今日の夕日もショッキングピンクの素晴しい空が見れました。

あぁこのオーストラリアの夕日。ほんと美しくて、見飽きないなぁ。

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