Alright, so our adventure’s nearly at the end, and I can hear you all breathing a sigh of “Oh my goodness, its nearly over?! Thank goodness for that!”. But we’ve had fun and there have been some adventures and misadventures! But we’ve got through them and had a ball, so we’ll finish the story or it just wouldn’t be complete.
Now, the kids and I are on the chase. We are on the chase after Kirsten, because she had left on the RFDS plane to Adelaide when we were driving out of Alice, to the point where we watched her leave. We waved, she didn’t wave back…I don’t get that, I’m sure she’ll tell you she waved! Now there was no point in us racing her because that was no contest, and there was no point in cutting out some of the things we had planned to do, because she would have been upset with us and all it meant was that we would have to do them a bit quicker to enable us to get to Adelaide to see her.
So we did. The kids and I had planned a couple of things and in fact, we had planned them in Coober Pedy before Kirsten got really sick. And as we were leaving Alice, Josh said to me “Dad? Are we still going to fly over Lake Eyre?” I contemplated this for a few seconds and mustered up my best Fatherly voice and said “Son. If we can find the time, we will!”. Now some of you may be thinking “that’s a bit harsh!”. Your wife is on a plane being airlifted to Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH from now on in my blogs!), and all you lot can think about is wanting to fly over Lake Eyre! I can understand your thoughts. But, I also know my wife and I know that she would have been more upset if we didn’t fly over Lake Eyre, and drove straight past it.
We hotfooted it from Alice to Coober Pedy and arrived about 3 in the afternoon. Something I do have to mention here is the NT speed limit! How good is that? 130kmh. It’s a shame people aren’t responsible enough drivers to be able to do this elsewhere in the country. And I hear the not as much traffic and better roads, but come on, what it really boils down to is people’s abilities or inabilities! This enabled us to make up heaps of time, and I’m very appreciative to the NT lawmakers for this fact!
On arrival in Coober Pedy and after a quick van set up we decided to go out to "The Breakaways". An unusual rock formation just out of Coober Pedy. We’ve been to Coober Pedy all up 4 times now and never took the time to go and see them, in fact now Kirsten has never seen them! Out we head, and really they are very spectacular and worth the trip. They were actually used for some filming of "Mad Max 3 Beyond Thunderdome" or so I am led to believe.
Now the purpose of coming back to Coober Pedy, apart form it being about half way between Alice and Adelaide, was to fly over Lake Eyre. I’d gee’d the kids up for an early start so that we could get moving and get back to get moving again and booked our flight for 9 in the morning which meant we’d have to be on the road at around 7, 7:30 at the absolute latest.
So with all the excitement I’ve woken up about 5:30 and thought lets go! It was still pretty dark and anyone with teenagers will agree that its pretty near impossible to get them up before sunrise, but I decided to give it a crack! So with a little effort and a lot of complaining, we found ourselves heading off at about 6:30. This is good because I’m hoping we can fly earlier, which means we can get on the road quicker and heading to Adelaide! And also because we witnessed one of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen! Well, I did. The kids were still asleep! But not for long….
As we are heading over to William Creek in the distance I spy what looks like a dog. Now from where we were it looked like a kelpie. You know, black and tan, and only a young pup maybe 6 months old. as we get closer I decide to stop and see if it’s a lost dog fallen off the back of a ute. This wakes the kids up and we’re checking out this “dog”, when Jamie yells “It’s a dingo!”. Sure enough, from what we could tell it was a black dingo. Well at least that’s what we reckon anyway! Only young and at one point it’s curiosity nearly got the better of it and it started to head towards the car, only to wake up and realise this black noisy thing may not be all that friendly! So we sat and watched this dingo for about 10 minutes before heading off again!
Finally we hit William Creek and its about 8:15 so we are early and as we walk into the flight office this young blokes coming out with a coffee. This bloke turns out to be our pilot and I ask him, nicely of course, if we can take off ASAP because we have to get to Adelaide, and wonderfully, he leaves his coffee and leads us out to the plane to fly over Lake Eyre.
Now I’m not sure if many of you have flown over Lake Eyre, or whether you have seen it with water in it or without, but I can tell you from where we took off, which is approximately 40km as the crow flies, it looks enormous! Yes, we could see it when we took off, and yes, it was huge! Now I’m sure the pilot said it was only %20 full when we flew over it, so when it is full it must be massive! It was massive and it wasn’t full, so in my mind I cant imagine how it must look when full.
It was spectacular and we didn’t see any wild life, so the parts that have wild life must be even more amazing. But we did see the different colours and depending on the how long the waters been in there depends on what colour it is. Pink for long term and salty, brown for not so old, and blue for less, and we could also make out the way the flow comes in to the lake from the patterns you can see from the air. Amazing! To say the least. In fact I would have loved to pay for the longer flight which takes you nearer to the areas of wildlife in the lake, but time was of the essence and we’ve seen it and it was amazing! ( Did I already mention that?!)
Two pieces of trivia here was : 1. “Landline”, the ABC TV show was filming around the lake, and they actually filmed our plane flying around, so that was TV hit number two for this trip! Must have been something in the water, I didn’t catch the show, but if you did and saw a plane flying over Lake Eyre, that was us! and 2. Lake Eyre butts up to one of the largest cattle stations in Australia, Anna Creek station.
Anna Creek station just happens to be the largest supplier of beef to Maccas! Yep, McDonalds and they run 18,000 head of cattle! That’s massive! When the drought hit they went down to only being able to support 2000 head of cattle, which by any means is still a large amount of cows, but 18,000? C’mon! That is enormous! No wonder they are blaming global warming on cows! And as large as it is, and as many head of cows there supposedly is on Anna Creek station, we only saw camels! Even the pilot thought that was pretty special! He didn’t see them, the kids did and I have photo evidence in case you don’t believe me!
So our flight over Lake Eyre was pretty special, not as special as Uluru, but certainly up there as an experience not to be forgotten. I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity. So we landed back at William Creek, said our thanks and goodbyes to the pilot and hooched it out to Coober Pedy to head off to Adelaide. One thing that struck me on our trips to William Creek was the prohibited area signs.
Now how the heck would they know if I set foot on that land……
They would? Wouldn’t they?!