Heading East out of Coober Pedy towards William Creek is some of the most desolate country imaginable.
The track crosses the Dingo Fence and passes through part of the Woomera Defence Area.
For a while there are only two things to look at. A huge blue sky and a dead flat absolutely featureless landscape.
The flatness soon gives way to sand ridge country. Dry salt lakes and claypans are dotted through this area
The old Ghan railway used to pass through here. Many of the old stone siding buildings are still standing. We also discovered that some of the discarded rusty railway spikes had found their way onto the track …goodbye tyre number three.
Weird creatures wander about at night…
…and airplanes do strange things as the sun goes down.
The Oodnadatta track ends at Maree where the track south takes you into the top of the Flinders Ranges. The ruins of Farina, once a thriving community, demonstrate just how hard this country can be.
Half way between Maree and Oodnadatta, on the southern edge of the Simpson Desert, is the William Creek Hotel. It was established in 1885 as a watering stop and provider of refreshing beverages for the original Ghan railway.
It is the closest pub to Lake Eyre, which normally doesn’t mean much, but this year the Lake filled with water and the pub was busier than it has ever been.
Entering through the front door is thirsty work if you stop to read all the business cards, student ID’s and numerous other items of social importance.
Once inside it is very hard to leave. Not just because of the excellent beer …
…the abundance of fascinating literature covering the walls, ceiling and any other vertical surface will keep you reading for hours!
A pub not to be missed if you are traveling the Oodnadatta track.
Coober Pedy is a strange town. Half the population live underground and most of what appears above ground is weirdly tacky.
The landscape is sparse, barren and pink
Tourist attractions and opal sales blend into crass, desperate attempts to extract money from passing visitors
Underground houses are burrowed into the hillsides around the town
It is a strange sight, TV antennas, satelite dishes and solar heaters apparently mounted on the ground.
Makeshift structures of corrugated iron and junk are everywhere.
Trashed cars abandoned on the streets don’t look at all out of place
Architecture leans more towards functional than decorative.
The odd time function gives way to decoration the theme of over the top tackiness still triumphs.
The town is incredibly unique and, after a while, the trashy mixture of junk, dirt and recycled tin becomes oddly appealing.