Day 134 – East Eyre Peninsula to Coober Pedy

It’s amazing how well you can sleep when you’re tired enough! Best night sleep I’ve had in a while.

20130924_20130924_082103 20130924_RCH_2825We’ve started getting in to a routine recently of waking up and driving to the nearest bathroom and having breakfast there. This lets Risa have some time to wake up in the passenger seat and as a result, lets us get going earlier in the morning. We stopped for the night about 15km south of Tumby Bay, which is quite a nice little seaside town – nice beach, and cute old colonial buildings. A friend of mine has family heritage in this town, with one of the streets actually named after one of his forefathers, who was one of the original settlers in the area.

As we continued our drive north along the eastern-side of the Eyre Peninsula, we passed by giant paddocks full of wheat, and others with sheep. The flowing agricultural hills looked beautiful against the deep blue sea just beyond.

20130924_RCH_2826 20130924_RCH_2827 20130924_RCH_2830 20130924_RCH_2834 20130924_RCH_2833Our next stop was at Wyalla, which I was surprised to learn is South Australia’s second largest city! Today was the first I’d heard of it. Its rise was fuelled by the rather large iron mine/smelter in town. During World War 2 it supplied all of the steel for Australia’s defence. So, it’s no surprise that there was a significant military presence.

What was the real surprise about this town was the amazing beach/water. It was such a weird sight to see so close to such a dirty and ugly industrial building. In the space of a week we’ve gone from 15˚C days to +30˚C days, so the desire was certainly there to jump into this amazing looking water. It was refreshing enough just standing knee deep.

20130924_RCH_283620130924_RCH_2837As we started getting closer to Port Augusta we could start to see Flinders Ranges. Our first view of them was as we crested a small hill and an expansive plain opened up in front of us with these amazing mountains off on the horizon. We’ll check them out on the way back south next week some time. We restocked on supplies/fuel in Port Augusta and re-joined the Stuart Highway once again.

20130924_RCH_2839The first 50km on the Stuart Highway were desolate, with barely more than a few small clumps of shrubby grasses growing. There were enormous dry lake beds, some of which still had a little water in them.

20130924_RCH_2841 20130924_RCH_2844 20130924_RCH_2846After another fuel stop we went to visit Woomera, the site used by American and British during the 50s-80s to test rockets. More recently it was also the location of a large refugee detention centre (it’s so hot/dry and remote out here. It would have been a horrible place to be detained). There are a few museums in town, but sadly they all shut at 3PM (it was now 3:30…), so we wondered around the rocket park, which had monuments of many of the rockets that were tested here. They even had recovered debris from some of the launches, including the enormous first stage of the rocket that put Australia’s first satellite in to space (trivia, I didn’t realise that we were the fourth country in the world launch a satellite in to space, behind USSR, France and USA – wish we’d kept up the space development…). I’ve always been interested in rockets (I’m sure that’s a natural boy/engineer thing), I just wish I could have seen some of the work that was carried out here.

20130924_RCH_2849I wanted to carry on to Coober Pedy, but due to the risk of animals on the road, we stopped about 160km south as the sun was setting. Risa pan fried that fillet of Kingfish that we’d received yesterday and it was amazing.

I’m really surprised at how far we travelled today. It didn’t feel like we were only driving, either. Plenty of small stops along the way.

20130924_RCH_2850 20130924_RCH_2853It’s good to see the Milky Way again after all these weeks (of it either being rainy, in Perth, or having a full moon.

134日目  9月24日(火) 海岸から砂漠へ

今日は、大移動日。 結局700km程を走行。

ポートリンカンを出発してまずは、Tumby Bayへ。

ここはロスの友達のカービー君の出身地で、彼の名字と同じ名前の通りがあるのでみておいで! と教えてくれたので、GPSで探すと本当にあった!

ここは、彼のひいおじいちゃんが、ヨーロッパから移民としてやてきた場所で、ひいおじいちゃんが開いた農場の跡地は、住宅街になっていますが、カービーくんの名字”Nankivell St.”って本当にあった!


お次ぎはWhyallaという町へ。  ここは近くに鉄鉱石の鉱山があり鉄の町として開拓された場所です。 地中海気候で降水量がさほど多くないのですが、鉄を作るには、大量の水が必要なので現在は、1000kmほど離れた川からパイプで水が送られてきますが、昔は湾の反対岸から船で水を運んでいたようです。

工場は、海に面しており、鉄鉱石を運ぶ列車が走っており、港には鉄を運ぶ船が停まっていますが、この海がとってもキレイで驚き!   工場のから町を挟んだ所にあるビーチは遠浅で波も一切なく人口のプールのようでした。

その後は、Port Augustaという町。 ここは、Eyre半島の付け根に当たる部分でオパール鉱山と地下都市で有名なCoober Pedyという町へ行くまでの唯一の町なので、砂漠での数日に備えて買い出しをしてきました。

ここからアデレードに到着するまでの数週間は、砂漠の風景になるので、青い海岸の景色とは、しばしのお別れ。  Port Augustaを出発するとすぐにノーザンテリトリーで見慣れた懐かしい、赤い岩と土の乾燥地帯となりました。

土壌は塩度が濃いため植物が育たないので、なにもない乾涸びた土地が丸出しになっています。時々雨や遠くの川から水が流れ少し水が溜まっている時もあるようですが、ここは海面度がマイナスです。 ちょっと不思議〜


ここは、この広大な空っぽの土地柄を利用して、第二次世界大戦後の50年代から宇宙ロケット等の研究と実験場所であったようで、様々なミサイルやロケット、飛行機などなどが展示されていました。 中には、この辺りの砂漠で、実験で打ち上げられ本体から離れ落下したエンジン等が展示されていました。



今日は、思ったよりかなりの距離を移動できたので、明日は予定よりも早くCoober Pityに到着できそうです!


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