It was time to leave Coober Pedy. Let’s just say … we weren’t sad. But today was one of those tend-to-Sherwood days, as we were heading deeper into the Outback and needed supplies. There wouldn’t be another town as big as Coober Pedy until Uluru and Alice Springs. So it was time to fill up on groceries, fill up on water, fill up on fuel (the petrol/gas and the diesel heater), ditch the garbage, empty the toilet. A bit tedious and time-consuming, but we are getting it down pat!
While we waited for the water (this was the first place we had to actually pay to fill up on water) and the Dump-Ezy to be free of other campervans (ah, yes, there is competition for the Dump Ezy!), we drove over to the Serbian Orthodox underground church. This was actually pretty cool. It was bigger and more impressive than the Catholic church we visited yesterday.
I would be curious to see how many congregants turn up for these services – Catholics and Serbian Orthodox alike.
Unlike our motel, which was “underground” but not really, we definitely felt underground in the Serbian church.
All topped up, we left Coober Pedy behind for the nearby Breakaways (Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park), just north of Coober. At first, we were on sealed, smooth-ish road, which then turned to dirt.
The park is beautiful and remote. I made turkey sandwiches in Sherwood, and we enjoyed our lunch with stunning views here.
We were heading north, aiming to be at the Painted Desert for sunset. It was corrugated dirt road all the way. With our ears ringing and having to yell to be heard (yes, even me!) over the road noise, we made a stop so Adam could let some of the air out of the tires.
We made it to this spectacular landscape with plenty of time to spare. Even better, we had the entire Painted Desert – in all its colourful glory – to ourselves! It was fantastic! We armed ourselves with our Quorn-acquired Flinders Gin Quandong Gin & Tonics for the 10-minute walk to the top of one of the mesas to watch the sunset and see the colours and shadows change. “Proper gorge,” as my friend Tony would say. A stunning highlight for both of us.
Correction, we had the place to ourselves, except for the bloody flies!!! SOOOO MANY FLIES!!! Now, I have never been a fashion icon, but even I know that fly nets are simply not stylish, especially in photos (and I am already one of the least photogenic people). But out here, my fly net has become my favorite go-to garment! I would not survive this portion of the trip without my trusty camo fly net. (This will be all the rage at next year’s Met Gala … you heard it here first!)
Fortunately, once the sun sets, the flies magically disappear. (Where do they all go?)
Our walk back to Sherwood was filled with a sky of oranges, pinks, and yellows – stunning!
We saw only one kangaroo on our drive back to the Arckaringa Station Homestead, where we’re camping for the night. I kept asking Adam, “Where are all the fauna? I want fauna!” Adam, the driver, was conversely happy that there were no twilight fauna to dodge.
We are camped here now; there are a handful of other vans, but we’ve parked ourselves a bit away from them and are having a quiet one. Some have lit fires, and we keep considering whether we are missing out, but it’s cold out there, even with a lit fire. We like the warmth of Sherwood – and wine.
Tonight was a very simple ravioli with pesto for dinner and a bottle of red from Charles Melton wines in the Barossa named Father In Law Shiraz, so I’m toasting my late father-in-law Kevin tonight. (It has a big, bold personality, just like he did.)
Tomorrow, the plan is to finally cross the border from South Australia into the Northern Territory. Neither Adam nor I have been to the Northern Territory – an exciting first for both of us! Once we get there, we’ll both have been to all of Australia’s states and territories. Tick! ✅