Friday 25 May 2012

Oz Trip - Day 24

Day 24 – 25/5/2012 – Centres of Oz Day (Finke Day Trip)

It was an early start as we were doing a 300km round trip to the centre of Australia. We were going to try and find the Lamberts Centre of Australia monument.

When speaking to one local in the pub last night he said that it was a bit difficult to find as there were tracks everywhere. He also said that someone else recently tried to find it and they gave up after an hour and left. Then, as we were leaving the pub, we were speaking to Les Smith, the owner of the Kulgera Roadhouse, and he said that it was pretty easy to find. So with conflicting reports we decided to try and find it anyway. I had the coordinates of the marker in one, (of the many), GPS's that we had on board so at least we knew if we were heading in the right direction.

In the end it was pretty easy to find. There were a couple of tracks but they all led to the same point.

Journey to the Centre of Australia

The track in - not too hard, sand and corrugations
The words at the Centre of Oz

Us at the Centre of Oz - not sure where the flag was though...
You wouldn't think the Centre of Australia would be a busy place. We had the place to ourselves. However when signing the visitors book it was surprising to see how many people actually visit it. Only a couple of days before us, there was yet again more Bundaberg people!

A busy place.
Speaking of the number of people that visit the Centre of Australia, I also noticed the “THE CARP” stencil that I had seen at the Algebuckina brige but this time on a pole of the chain around the monument. The white bit on the centre pole of small chain fence two photos above.  That is twice I had seen the same logo. A smaller version but still the same logo.

After lunch at the Centre of Australia we headed off to have a drive through Finke. Finke is the finish line of Day 1 of the Finke Desert Rally. We are timing our trip to Alice Springs to see the Desert Rally so we wanted to see what this end of the race looked like. Finke was a small Aboriginal town.

We drove a couple of kilometres up the “good road” towards Alice Springs until we crossed the Finke River.

Finke River bed
On the way back we drove the “race road” back into Finke. It was pretty rough at 10kph so I would hate to feel it in a buggy at high speed!!

The finish line of Day 1
The night before one of the locals gave us the owners names of the Mt Cavenagh station where the Johnson Geodetic Station was located, another centre of Australia. So once we reached Kalgera we headed south along the Stuart Highway to find the station. We had a rough idea where it was because the day before we could see the Geodetic Station in the distance as we were heading to Kalgera from the Stuart Highway.

We found the homestead, and a big thank you to Tim and Ruth for lettings us access the monument. We had to drive up through a paddock, through a fence and then climb up the hill to access it. The views from the top over the surrounding landscape were fantastic. For those of you that don't know, the Johnstone Geodetic station was the central reference point for all Australian surveys until the Geocentric Datum of Australia was adopted in the year 2000.

The monument on top of the hill

It was larger than I thought it was!
There are actually 5 centres of Australia, so having accessed two of the main ones is a big achievement. I will have to leave the other 3 for next time we are in the region, an excuse to come back :-).
Some more links for those that are interested :-)

Lamberts Centre of Australia

Johnston Geodetic Station

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