Our stay in Adelaide continued

Christmas Day 2017

Everyone enjoyed opening their presents from under the Tree.

Lunch at Linley and Clive’s 

Kris Kringle made his annual appearance after a sumptuous lunch lovingly prepared by Linley and enhanced by Bree’s delectable treats.

This is just some of the dessert table!

The obligatory family photos had to happen but without Alannah who was having a well-earned nap.

Oh the fun of camera timers!

All good!


Our stay in Adelaide

Christmas Shopping with a difference

Top of the list was a Christmas tree

Not only was the stress of food shopping relieved by staff handing out chocolates and food samples, but the Foodland Flashmob certainly improved everyone’s mood with their sudden rendition of popular opera classics.

Tara’s 30th Birthday

First we collected most of the guests on a bus with David as our driver and Joshua as his awesome offsider.

Mini golf was next on the agenda.

Our first wine tasting was at Penfolds

We had food-wine matching followed by lunch and birthday cake at the SA Company Kitchen.

From there we proceeded to Seppeltsfield for another wine tasting including a special tasting for Tara of 1987 vintage Para port bottled the year she was born.

I think it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all. I certainly had a great time.

A huge Thank You to Aisling for arranging it all and David for being an excellent driver getting us all safely there and back.

Christmas lights at Lobethal

We took advantage of having the bus overnight and visited Lobethal to see the town’s famous Christmas lights display.

Unfortunately my photography skills don’t extend to taking pictures of lights at night from inside a moving vehicle!

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 10 – Laura to Adelaide

‘Departed Laura 9.40 am’ is the last entry in my notebook and sadly the last time I’ll feel the freedom of the road for a while. From here on, the open road gets shorter as does the distance between small towns; the volume of traffic increases, as does the tension in the vehicle, until we are in the thick of outer city traffic. We detour/escape briefly to have a look at Tara’s investment property, but too soon re-enter the game of dodgem cars. We’re all hungry, we haven’t stopped for lunch yet but we’re in the wrong lane whenever we spot a potential lunch stop so keep going, negotiating a combination of Brian’s hard-copy map book with my feeble attempts at navigating with Google. But then somehow we get there. We’re outside the property we’ve rented. I have the codes to the locked box and the electronic gate in my notebook. We’re all busting for a pee. Brian parks across the street. I suck in my bladder, I get out, notebook in hand, I key in the locked box number, the box door falls open revealing the door key.  I grab it. Now all I have to do is open the gate, open the door, find the loo and pee! But that is not to be. The electronic gate won’t open, so I have to go back to the vehicle, look up the contact details, then, legs crossed, phone the  ‘owner’ to get the correct access code! One essential digit had been omitted. I enter it and we gain access find the toilets and take up residence. The rest, as they say, is history. But not one I want to relate here.

That’s the end of the roadtrip. Almost our entire Australian family is in one city at one time, we just have to get us all in one house at one time, hopefully Chrisatmas Day.

Thank you for joining me on this roadtrip. As time permits I’ll post brief updates and photos of the rest of our trip but this is a time for family, so from my family to you and yours may I wish you the happiest of Christmases and everything you wish for and deserve in the new year. And you do deserve it!

I love youse all!

Joyce xoxo

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 9 Port Augusta to Laura

As usual we checked out, fuelled up and got back on the road.

Today was a leisurely scenic drive to Wilmington and Alligator Gorge where we walked to two lookouts. It was such a change from the open landscapes we’d been through up to now. The tree-lined winding road felt like Nature giving us a big welcoming hug.

After eating lunch and trying out the swing bridge in the picturesque town of Melrose, we drove to Port Germein where the longest wooden jetty in Australia can be found.

The Council caravan park at Laura didn’t disappoint. We’d stayed there a few years ago when we were camping on our way back from Kangaroo Island. The camp kitchen was the best equipped we’d encountered before or since and it still is. I had to borrow a grater from there to grate cheese for our Mexican meal Brian was cooking. It’s probably the only thing our cabin didn’t have. It even had a microwave-safe casserole dish with a lid. This was a first so far on this trip!

We had a walk around town before dinner. It was obvious from the decorations that the people of Laura knew how to get into the spirit of Christmas.

CJ Dennis, author of The Sentimental Bloke is commerated in the main streeet.

This was our last night on the road.  Adelaide beckons tomorrow and we must exchange the tranquility of the bush for the hustle and bustle of the city which will be even more overwhelming due to Christmas being just days away. But we have Tara’s 30th celebrations to look forward to and many reunions of family and friends along the way.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 7 – Erldunda to Coober Pedy

No toaster meant bread and Vegemite for breakfast and the bread wrapper served as a plate to make the lunches on again. Drove past the cages before we left, to see Chook Norris, the chicken that thinks it’s a kangaroo, actual roos and a camel.

Then it was on to Kulgara with the tyre and beer can Christmas tree.

Fuelled up and headed for the border where Joshua enjoyed practising his tradition of standing in two States/Territories at the same time, the Northern Territory and South Australia on this occasion.

We lost an hour moving to SA time so it was about one o’clock when we stopped for lunch at Marla, but it was so windy and dusty we had to eat inside the vehicle.

Saw another goods train after we left there – still a novelty especially as it was about 100 units long. Other than that there were a few lakes and some cattle with calves but nothing of any great interest between there and Coober Pedy.

Joshua was delighted with our ‘cave’ at the Underground Motel in Coober Pedy. This is a gorgeous place. We received a very warm welcome and were taken to our room and shown the kitchen which we were free to use and where breakfast would be available next morning free of charge.

We went for a drive to the Serbian church of St Elijah but it was closed so we returned to the cool comfort of our underground room. It was about 44 degrees outside.

We had dinner at John’s Pizza Shop and Restaurant. The food was delicious but the flies we very annoying.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 8 – Coober Pedy to Port Augusta

Before we left we went for a tour of the Old Timer’s Mine which combines the mine, a museum and an example of an underground home.

We tried to visit the Serbian Church again but Elijah must have gone home for Christmas because it was still closed.

We fuelled up at Shell where the diesel was 2c a litre cheaper than Brian expected, then headed for Port Augusta.

We had a pitstop at Bon Bon which was pretty basic to say the least.

Our lunch stop was at Glendambo, a large roadside stop with two petrol stations and a hotel but very little in the way of facilities otherwise. We managed to find a rickety old shaded table and made the best of it.

We passed Lake Hart which Joshua said looked like ice – the sky was overcast and grey.

We stayed at the Shoreline in Port Augusta. We were hoping to catch up with a friend there but she was out of town so we just shopped and Brian and Joshua had a swim while I tried to pay the recharge for my iPad with help from Aisling on the phone from Wagga. Why does it always have to be so complicated!?!

The water was a bit colder than expected!

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 6 – Uluru and Kata Tjuta – Erldunda

Made our tea in the room but had to go to the communal kitchen to make the toast. Showed Joshua how to make a bowl out of his cereal box, you know, the individual serves that come as a variety pack of eight. They’re perforated on one side and when you open that you can then pull the inner bag apart then add the milk. Made the sandwiches for lunch with his help, using a bread wrapper as a plate and the individual salt and pepper packets that have been in the emergency lunch kit forever.
Brian was reloading  all our gear into the vehicle. With the temperature in the forties we had to bring the fridge and esky inside which meant unpacking the contents first then repacking once inside, then the same in reverse when we were leaving. Not the best way to spend our time in this iconic location!

But of course it was all worth the effort. Joshua was thrilled to have his photo taken wearing his Solid Rock t-shirt from his school performance, at the actual Rock. We all enjoyed driving around the base in the comfort of our airconditioned vehicle looking at the different formations such as The Tail and The Brain.

We drove to Kata Tjuta, previously known as the Olgas, and ate lunch before undertaking the walk to the first lookout through the Vally of the Winds. The walk to the second lookout was closed because of the heat.

It was very hot and the flies were annoying but it was a good walk otherwise with great scenery. If you look carefully at the top photo above you can see Uluru in the distance.

Our Olgas history

I always remember the Olgas as one of the places Brian tried to get rid of me. It was about 1981 when we went to Central Australia for the first time. We climbed Ayers Rock first, then another day the Olgas. It was late afternoon when we started our descent but somehow Brian got us off track. As a result we ended up negotiating our way down the sheer rockface and I had to jump the final section. It’s a wonder we’re still alive to tell the tale!

On this trip we tried to find which part we’d come down but the surrounding area is so different now, it was impossible. It will just have to remain a distant memory.

Back to Yulara to fuel up, then the return to Erldunda where the pool was a welcome source of relaxation, followed by dinner in the restaurant. Bring on tomorrow and South Australia!

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 5 Alice Springs to Yulara and Uluru

We were pleasantly surprised to get a refund when Brian dropped the keys off at Reception as we were checking out.

Drove up Anzac Hill for the view; fuelled up at Liberty, Gap Road; then left for Yulara at 10.25 am.

Made a detour to show Joshua the Meteorite Craters on the way.

Had a pitstop at Desert Oaks roadside stop, then ate lunch and fuelled up at Erldunda.

The road from there to Yulara had stretches of pink wildflowers, a couple of small herds of horses, a salt pan and lake and views of Mt Connor.

We passed through Mt Ebenezer and Curtain Springs, past Desert Oaks young and old and arrived at Yulara around 4.00 pm. Then it took forever to unload as we couldn’t park near our room.

We eventually drove to Uluru, got our Parks tickets – $62.50 for the three of us – and checked both locations for sunset viewing, then waited and watched as the Rock changed colour. 

We cooked our dinner in the communal kitchen. We used our own equipment but we could have hired a set for a $40 deposit. After dinner we had an early night in preparation for a big day tomorrow.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 4 Alice Springs

The intention was to get up early and visit the Desert Park before it got too hot but we woke to the sound of thunder and found our swimming towels and bathers that had been hanging on the verandah strewn around a wide area. We think it must have been a whirly wind.

So it was close to 11.00 when we got to the Park and hot – already 39 degrees – but between the aviaries, the nocturnal house and the cafe, we managed not to overheat. The new barn owl encounter was particularly enjoyable and informative.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 3 – Tennant Creek to Alice Springs

Checked out at 8.40 am , fuelled up at United and left town around nine-ish.

A rare bend in the road!

Passed the turnoff for the Davenport Ranges and made a mental note to visit there sometime.
Got to the Devils Marbles, had a quick walk around and connected to the free Wifi there.

Next stop Wycliffe Well, the UFO Capital of Australia.

Passed Barrow Creek, then had a pitstop at Prose Gap roadside stop.  This is a well set up stop with paper, soap and hot water in the toilet.

It was around 3.00 pm when we got to our accommodation in Alice Springs but again the aircon hadn’t been turned on despite the 40 degree heat, although there was cold bottled water in the fridge; Brian had to defrost the fridge before we could open the freezer compartment; there was a big dirty knife in the cutlery drawer, someone else’s food in the cupboard and yet again no suitable bowl for the microwave; but worst of all, there was no toilet paper whatsoever. To say I was upset is an understatement. I complained to reception and was offered another cabin which I declined because we’d already spent the afternoon moving into this one.

We drove into town and shopped, came back and had a swim before cooking dinner.

Darwin to Adelaide Roadtrip – December 2017

Day 2  Mataranka to Tennant Creek

Checked out at 9.35 am and fuelled up.

Along the way we started seeing what looked like small people by the side of the road. They were in fact dressed termite mounds. Some of them are quite realistic. I believe it’s something started some years ago by backpackers. 

We passed the smouldering remnants of a few bushfires – not what you’d expect with the place looking so green and lush – then the Pink Panther hotel at Larrimah, then through Daly Waters and Dunmarra. 

Had a pitstop at the George Todd Memorial. Hot water came out of the cold tap in the toilet, quite hygienic!

It was 12.30 pm as we got to Newcastle Waters and we were going to stop for lunch but there was no shade so we continued on to Elliott where we found enough shade to cover us and the vehicle. After fuelling up at the supermarket we hit the road again heading for Tennant Creek. We went through Renner Springs at 2.00 pm, then on to the Telegraph Station, stopping briefly at the Three Ways to see the memorial to the Rev John Flynn, Royal Flying Doctor founder.

Telegraph Station

Fighting off flies makes it hard to pose for photos!

The Rev John Flynn Memorial

Dressed termite mounds

The long unwinding road

Lunch at Elliott

Our hosts at the Tennant Creek Caravan Park while welcoming, advised us that it was 42 degrees and those cabins were like hot boxes – they hadn’t turned on the airconditioning in advance – and then handed Joshua his bedding, telling him he could make his bed himself. 

They were right, the cabin was like an oven and it took both the old and new aircon units to eventually cool the place down. There was no cold water in the fridge and the glasses were hot. 

Again, there was no microwave-safe bowl and, in terms of crockery and cutlery, there was exactly three of everything.  So miserly! 
All this for just $150 a night.

There was a shaded swimming pool which we all took advantage of while we waited for the hot box to become habitable.