Friday 18 May 2012

Oz Trip - Day 17

Day 17 – 18/5/2012 – Marree (Start of the Oodnadatta Track)

Well we finally got back on the road. We had to do a bit of back tracking to Hawker where we had another milkshake for smoko :-)

Next stop was Leigh Creek. It wasn't quite what we expected. It was nothing like the old towns of Quorn and Hawker with the stone buildings. It looked like it was a purpose built town for the mine that was nearby. It had a town centre where the IGA, post office, pub, info centre and a few various other shops were all centred in the on complex and then the streets all radiated out from there.

You can just see the mine in the distance

One thing that we noticed on the road was that we drove through the creek beds. Even on the sealed roads. Where as in QLD there would have been a small bridge across the creek bed even if it was dry, here there was no bridge, it was just straight through the creek bed. I suppose it is due to the amount to rainfall that they would normally get. Not a lot compared to QLD so there is probably lower risk in the road getting washed away and lower cost than constructing a bridge over a creek that might only occasionally have water in it.

Country side on the way to Marree
We headed up to Marree where we hit the dirt road again. We camped in the Marree Pub grounds. It was a free camp with a $2 donation to use the showers. It ended up being a bit of an expensive free camp, we also had dinner there and quite a few drinks, beers $6 a pint off tap and Bundy premix cans $9!!

Marree Pub Camp ground

Behind our camp and surrounding area.
Marree Pub
Old Railway platform

Marree Pub over looking the old Railway

Main street of Marree
While we were sitting outside having a drink before dinner, we got talking to an old local, Ben. He had left town a while ago and was back in town now for a few days. He had driven from Dubbo back to Marree non-stop. I think he said it had taken him about 15 hours. He was actually back in town for the hand over of the native title over Lake Eyre and surrounding area. It was pretty interesting listening to him. He was telling us about it all and it wasn't until a week later that we actually heard about it in the press.

While talking to Ben, a few other locals also joined in. We ended up meeting a young guy who was working on a cattle station 50km up the Birdsville Track. His father was originally from Marree and use to be the publican of the Marree pub. He found out that his father and Ben were good friends. Some of the other locals that we met, Max and Irene, were the children of the last of the Afghan Cameleers. They were in their 60's and 70's now. When Max asked where we were from and we told him Bundaberg, he said that he had a nephew Rickie that managed the Bargara Pub at some stage. Small world.

We also got roped into the local Friday night darts competition. It was $2 to enter and all proceeds went to the Royal Flying Doctors Service, so it was all for a good cause. I only ended up lasting 3 rounds.

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