I have a trip in September to (at the moment) as far as Port Augusta; tossing up whether I should make a return to Coober Pedy and thence, The Breakaways. What troubled us on the last trip was we arrived just in time to witness a group of aboriginal residents glassing each other on the steps of Centrelink in CP. Meanwhile, 200m up the street, glittering gemstones and guys in Zegna suits plied their precious trinkets. Woe betide you if you step inside to a halogen-flashed wonderland of sparkling colour and beauty and — bang! You're hooked on the lure of opals! CP was running out of water on our visit and artesian bores were hurriedly being dropped. The caravan park was roamed by town youths who smashed beer bottles on the paths. After two nights, we'd had enough of this frightening stuff. The jury is still out what type of town Coober Pedy is (rough and dusty it definitely is), apart from one where fortunes are obviously won (and won a lot!) and equally lost in the outback heat and haze. Skipping over the town to the relative solitude and stark, restless beauty The Breakaways though sounds good indeed. I wish it was possible to camp there, at the major viewing area at the top. Can't remember now if I did see campers...
it certainly is an odd town.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
first impression i got was that is was a rough place, i pulled in later afternoon, and there were a lot of youths and drunks wandering the streets.
i stayed at an underground backpackers, cheap and cheerful.
on the way back i stopped in and spent another night, but this time i had a bit more time in town.
the police seem to keep the locals under control, and with their presence i felt more comfortable.
i even spent an hour or so wandering around town, taking a few snaps.
water didnt seem an issue this time though. give it another chance, its not that bad.
Was/is a 4WD necessary for access to The Breakaways? I think I can recall going in a Commer-style multiseater bus; corrugations but not much else remembered.
it was quite dry when i was there, but the road is quite good. its fairly rocky, so i wouldn't expect it to get too boggy even in winter.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
my car is an AWD Subaru with 18" low profile tires, it handled the road well, but some of the corrugations were pretty bad down toward the Dingo Fence.
most cars should be fine.
I took a 1974 Peugeot 504 in there in 1996. Easy.
Again, I found nothing about restricted access/camping there on the 'net.
Wow, thanks for the responses and great conversation guys, not being a regular on the internet it's amazing how quickly a thread can build up! (I remember the days of sitting at the computer hitting refresh every minute wondering why no one was around!). pardon me while I try to address you all chronologically (until I catch up!):
AOCo: Thanks for the tip, my 'emergency box', which is always present (even just daily running around) includes my first aid kit, space blanket, bottle of hooch, cash and a Thoreau, Pirsig, Kerouac or Gibran.
Thanks Maris, I'd expect just about anywhere in July will be either cold, or wet, or both. If I had the time I'd love to head to the Flinders/Gammon Ranges, haven't been there in a couple years but it used to be a regular haunt.
Shane, interesting to hear about the restrictions in Mungo, I'll have to look into that before I ever get there. I'll look up Thurra Inlet too, sounds potentially deal.
Garry, Forrest flooded on Thursday?? I was there Friday and it was beautiful and sunny, spent a couple hours at the school and no one I talked to mentioned flooding... I guess they're just so used to it it wouldn't even rate as news :P A walk down that way again would be really nice actually, keep me posted, if you don't mind a tagger-alonger.
I'd thought of the Prom, not too keen to leave the bike tied to a tree while I walk away for a week though! Maybe that could make a good Apug Long-Weekend-Away-Gathering? I remember some of your pics from along Discovery Bay, I'll have to look into that some more.
James... Sandy Point eh? How much to rent a 4M2 piece of your lawn? ;) But seriously, what's a week in your place worth to you?
FotoFun, when you say 'South West', do you mean Limestone Coast sort of way? I've got an uncle in Naracoorte I've been meaning to drop in on for years now, I'd thought I could head that way for this trip, you know, two birds and all.
Re Coober Pedy, I haven't been there since 2009 (we have friends with a dug-out up there), but there were no issues with accessing the Breakaways, early or late. The little dry river I camped along (to the North of town) was a really nice spot too. ...Thursday mornings in town are fun tho!
All around Coober Pedy, right out to Moon Plains there's no need for 4wd, I think last time I went I didn't need it until well after Oodnadatta, except for a nicely hidden moist clay bed in a dry creek crossing near the Painted Desert. Moon Plains is an interesting spot I'd really like to spend some time photographing under different lighting conditions, very interesting spot, I'll have to dig up some of the photo's from that way (mostly snapshots, was far too windy to setup LF).
Gary, would you know if any of the Great Ocean Walks campsites are accessible without trudging the whole GOW?
Drive-in sites for car-based camping are located at Blanket Bay, Parker Hill, Aire River East and West, and Johanna Beach. Facilities vary depending on the site. Registration fees do not apply (except Blanket Bay during Christmas and Easter). Parker Hill, Aire River and Johanna Beach drive-in campsites cater for larger groups in more open, grassy settings. Fires may only be lit in designated fireplaces at Blanket Bay and Aire River East. No fires/flames to be lit on days of Total Fire Ban.
Parker Hill has great photo opportunities
Originally Posted by LJH
The go-kart will handle bulldust with ease; just the cornering I haven't mastered... :whistling:
I've put 'The Breakaways' on my itinerary and will camp there — but not in Coober Pedy, if that's a'right with the rest of you!? It's only 545km from Port Augusta (PA itself being quite an interesting town to scoot about).
Steve, when are you actually heading out, or are you day dreaming again? We're on the edge of winter (albeit so far looking curiously mild). Mind you, a few days at The Prom in winter even rows my boat. :) I have never done the GOW route; a few walkers in Geelong have and spoken highly of it, save for its many inland detours that are "sometimes a trudge". Johanna has a plum campsite on the walk, a short distance away from the usual digs for car-, bike-, horse- and camel-based campers.
I refuelled in Port Augusta once. It was a true service station, where a guy with a killer mullet came out to fill the car up. One of the scarier moments in my life, as he was smoking as he did it. I paid and split as quickly as I could, all the while expecting to see a mushroom cloud fill my rear-view mirror.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
Another vote for Blanket Bay. I was there years ago and saw the most peculiar thing: brightly coloured starfish in the rock pools. Intensely coloured reds, yellows and blues. If I hadn't seen them moving about, I would have thought them to be plastic toys.
Finally, just a note on the Otways. Add Beauchamp Falls to the closed track list. Appears that the bridge over the creek has been smashed by flooding.
Pity the floods didn't entirely demolish that absolutely awful engineered gantry at Beauchamp Falls. It's horrific. An entire hillside's worth of vegetation was destroyed to shoe-horn that monstrosity, so unlike the sensitive treatment afforded at Triplet Falls.
Coffin Bay SA is worth a look for the red-lichen covered granite. And pick up some oysters too.