Birdsville Races, the tracks and Coober Pedy

Last post we were on our way to Birdsville….all done and dusted now along with the Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track and Coober Pedy.

We had a great time in Birdsville, got there a couple of weeks early and volunteered to help the Race Club with preparations. Met some great locals and new visitors and had a once off experience we recommend everyone do before they turn their toes up!  You don’t have to be big drinkers or punters to have fun, there are lots of things to do and see that will keep you entertained. We do recommend you arrive the week before though as there are pre-race things to see, such as the talk and short movie on history of the races held at the Community Centre. Also this year Fred Brophy (Boxing Troupe) had his book launch & signing, it’s a great read and seeing his spruiking in action is a once off you’ll not see anywhere else in Australia.

The races were like a large country race meet, only with 6000+ people!  The ladies dressed up for Fashions on the Field, the blokes made attempts at some interesting apparel and all in all the two days were a hit. At night the Birdsville Hotel, Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, and the sideshow stalls and food stalls took over the town. Lots of fun.

We stayed on and headed up to Bedourie the next weekend for their race meeting. A lot smaller but just as great. They put on a Rodeo on the Friday night, a Ute Muster & Travellers Muster on Saturday as well as the races. You can camp in the showgrounds or at caravan parks.

From there we headed back to Birdsville to collect mail, then down the Birdsville Track to Marree then the Oodnadatta Track to Oodnadatta. We spent 2-3 nights on each track. The roads were good, in places very rough but manageable. We did have a slow leak on a tyre on the van but that was a screw we picked up in a campground we think. We came across some people with tyres shreaded from the gibbers.

There are heaps of things to see along the way. On the Oodnadatta track there are lots of rail siding ruins, rail bridges, a sculpture park called ‘Plane Henge’ created at Alberrie Creek along with plains of open gibbers, not a lot of wildlife except cattle but beautiful sunsets.

We headed from Oodnadatta down to Coober Pedy via Arkaringa Station and the Painted Desert. Another must see area. Beautiful hills that seem to just pop up in the middle of nowhere. We stopped at Arkaringa Station overnight – a short drive away. Bush camping available and welcoming hot showers. Once we it Coober Pedy we decided to stop in a caravan park in town so we could walk to most places. We absolutely loved this town. We’re not into mining but the idea of living underground at 21-25 degrees all year round does appeal. They cater to tourists well and explain about their way of life at the Umoona Mine Tour, and we also loved Faye’s Underground Mine & Home, the current owners let you see their home for a small fee, how Faye Naylor and 2 female friends dug her home back in the 70’s. She was a driving force in the tourism industry in Coober Pedy and we recommend you put it on your to see list.

After Coober Pedy we headed to the ‘big smoke’ Whyalla to get some minor repairs done. We are here now, being battered by 50klm/hr winds so it’s a bit boring for our fur-kid and ourselves really being cooped up inside the van. Will continue our SA journey this week….somewhere down the road…..

 

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