Oodnadatta and the Painted Desert

Monday 24 August

P8240005From Mt Dare our next campsite was only an easy 80 kilometre run to Eringa Waterhole.

Alongside this waterhole are the ruins of Eringa Homestead. This was the first property that the legendary Sydney Kidman owned. Not much much left now but you can see in the foreground the remains of meat house where they would have hung a killed beast. This would have been covered by sticks and grass and watered to keep the meat cool. In the background is the remains of the cookhouse. The foundations for the house are between the meat and cook house.   P8230081

Talking of keeping cool I had a wash in the waterhole. I find it easiest to wash myself and my clothes at the same time. In the heat we have been having it only takes about an hour for your clothes to dry. We had some people camp on the other side of the water hole from us. From the time they arrived they played loud music. By 10:00PM we had had enough so yelled in no uncertain terms for them to shut up, which after some muttering they did. Why some people cannot enjoy the outback as it is is a mystery to me. Some people just cannot seem to leave suburbia behind. Unfortunately whilst most fellow campers and travellers that we meet are considerate of others there are some who just don’t have any consideration for other people.

We are still on corrugated roads but the roads are not bad going. Not seeing many cars as yet but the further south we go the more we can expect. We on what the map calls Minor Track 4WD only which suits us just fine.


The next day we headed about 200 kilometres south to Oodnadatta.

On the way we passed through the Perdirka Desert  one of two small deserts that we will pass through. The picture is on Fogarty’s Clay Pan. A very large clay pan, even marked on maps. As you can imagine it would not take very much rain at all to close this road.

Arrived in Oodnadatta and fuelled up before heading west to the Painted Desert. The Pink P8240042Roadhouse  is somewhat of a legend to outback travellers. Since the last train from Maree on 31/12/1989 this town and the roadhouse at the northern end of the Oodnadatta Track has survived on outback tourists.

Adam Plate with his wife Lynnie who runs the roadhouse would be one of the most experienced desert travellers in Australia having rescued and repaired thousands of stranded travellers. He has four main tips for those heading outback 1) Fit and listen to all UHF channels. 2) Leave roof racks and lifted suspension at home. 3) Do not over inflate tyres. Maximum off road pressure for most tubeless tyres is 25psi. 4) Add a bearing cap of oil to trailer bearings, will double life and you can see if the seal fails. 

Whilst we where at the roadhouse we overheard a conversation between Adam, who is a bit of a character but I think you would need to be if you lived here, and a customer who had just brought in two tyres and a cracked wheel for repair. It went something like this:

Adam: Seen plenty of these I reckon you probably had about 35 psi in your tyres?

Customer: Yep

He has produced a couple of handouts for people travelling in the area and they are well worth having. P8240044

About 90 kilometres west over a moderately corrugated road. The Painted Desert is within the Acharinga cattle station and as there is no camping at the Painted Desert reserve and no camping within the station except at the homestead we had to drive 6km past the desert to the homestead and camp on a barren piece of stony ground. The desert is best viewed at sunrise or sunset however the 6km of road separating it from the homestead is very corrugated and no one felt like  making a P8250058special trip. Also a strong wind was blowing making it very uncomfortable so the painted desert was a bit of a disappointment.

The road out to the desert was being graded and as it is such a long way from anywhere the grader and truck tow trailers behind them to set up as base camp. The trailer on the left is accommodation with a satellite antenna for TV. The one on the right is facilities and generator.


From the desert went back to Oodnadatta to make some phone calls and get some last minute supplies such as frozen bread etc. I was also able to get another shackle for the trailer safety chains. I have lost the pins out of 2 spares so now do them up with pliers!

We then headed south along the Oodnadatta Track. 

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