Town number 93 of 94!
Well, I was humpin’ my bluey on the dusty Oodnadatta road,
When along came a semi with a high and canvas-covered load.
“If you’re goin’ to Oodnadatta, mate, um, with me you can ride.”
So I climbed in the cabin and I settled down inside.
The night before heading off for Oodnadatta I actually had a sense of excitement about my trip to the following day. It was like the night before Christmas as I tried to sleep in my underground hole in Coober Pedy. Whether it was the fact I was visiting the first place mentioned in the ‘Everywhere’ song, or the thought of travelling along 189 km of dirt track I’m not sure – possibly both.
Oodnadatta is one of the most remote locations in an official remote area. Whilst the trip has always been reasonably well planned, this destination required a little more care. I’ve encountered two punctures whilst travelling around and the thought of having one in the middle of the trip to Oodnadatta was not a pleasant thought. So, in good tradition I ensured my spare tyre was good and also carried not one, but two puncture repair kits. I also carried a PLB should the worst happen and had a friend keeping close watch on my travelling progress (thanks Dave!). Four new tyres had also been fitted to my car over the course of the last month.
I left the dusty township of Coober Pedy a short while after sunrise to give the roos the opportunity to get tucked back into bed. It was then onto the even dustier track from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta. It is this track that has been closed for much of the summer and autumn due to flooding and only recently declared open. Having checked with the tourist information and my helpful hotelier, I was relieved to learn that not only is it passable but also in good condition for a dirt track.
The road is almost like a rainbow as it changes colour at random intervals as different repairs have been conducted over time. It can be dark red, white, black or grey depending on the materials available at the time. Floodways occur frequently and evidence of heavy rain remains by way of a few extra ruts and topsoil washed onto the road. But like the reports, the road is certainly passable.
The scenery from the window, like the gravel beneath, changed texture and colour every now and again. From grasses to shrubs, flat terrain to mountain backdrops the changes occurred all be it at a very slow and gradual pace.
After about three hours of travel I finally reached the junction with the actual Oodnadatta track which is just a short distance outside the township of Oodnadatta. So, I turn left and head into the metropolis.
Oodnadatta is small. You could walk from one end of the main street to the other in less than five minutes. It is dominated by the Pink Roadhouse, not so much by the colour of this travellers friend, but because of the hustle and bustle going on there. Yes, your in the middle of woop woop, but the Pink Roadhouse is doing a roaring trade selling fuel and supplies to mostly 4WD travellers going along the Oodnadatta track.
After purchasing and consuming my Oodnadatta burger with the lot (Roll, lettuce, burger,cheese,pineapple, bacon, beetroot), I head across the road, over some disused rail tracks to the museum located in the old train station.
It’s here that I learn that Oodnadatta became the terminus of the Great Northern Railway in 1890,and remained so until the line, which then became known as the Ghan, was extended to Alice Springs in 1929. It was not until as recently as 1981 when the line was moved further west that the towns association with the rail road ended. It is this tourist trade that keeps the town alive today with its population over 200 people.
Other than the Road House, museum and a general nosey about there is not too much to do in Oodnadatta so I pick up my bluey head back along the dusty Oodnadatta road to my underground hole in Coober Pedy.