Red Centre - Kulgera to Kingoonya August 22 - 23 2018
  About a half hour to reach Kulgera. Southwards to Coober Pedy.

We are headed towards the Gawler Ranges National Park.

  Occasional, distinctive, granite outcrops
  We crossed the Central Australian Railway rail line (Port Augusta - Alice Springs - Darwin) that replaced the Old Ghan Railway.

And wonder if we'll be lucky enough to see a train.

  More jumpups.

But then flat plain through Marla (and the turn off to Oodnadatta Track).

  Not all stone that is red on the outside is white on the inside. And some of that is suitable for road building.

A few bends to give a bit of variety to the road.

We stop to camp about 100 km north of Coober Pedy. Too many days driving. About 325 km today. A couple of hundred meters from the road. Between road and rail line.

We see a goods train about a half hour after stopping. Mostly hidden behind low acacia bush. We'll explore later.

Too windy to have the cab tilted for heater hose fixing. Clouds to the south. I don't have enough experience of desert weather to know if its raining somewhere near, or headed our way. I think generally further south is subject to a series of fronts moving west to east but rarely reaching this far north.

Driving south we have very quickly moved from the monsoonal north of Australia with its wet and dry seasons to talk of Spring.

  A gibber plain with acacia.

Nearby is a large old scrape, to explain the numerous short tracks.

  A glimpse of a train headed south.

We heard it about a minute before we saw it. Any desire to camp closer to the rail line evaporated.

An hour or so later a train headed north. Carrying containers. No more trains after that.

  Just interested. The rail is 47 kg AIS XII 1977

That's about 105 lb in old money. Lighter than the Pilbara rail lines. A bit of deformation on the edges of the rail head.

Welded, with concrete sleepers.

Very different to the original Ghan track, Edward Creek siding is about 160 km east.

  Nothing coming .... a quick pic. Our evening constitutional took us across the plain to the track.
  That was the easy bit .... walk wsw until colliding with the rail line.

Finding our way back to a single point is a bit harder.

But we managed ....

And, just in case, if we missed we would meet the road.

The clouds are receding a bit. Gibber plain, rain, and truck don't mix well.

We use the sat phone to ask Adelaide friends to look at weather forecast. Probably rain south of Coober Pedy. Radio weather forecast overnight tells same story. We'll have to check outback road conditions before we leave the sealed road near Kingoonya.

  Coober Pedy Opal fields.

They look a bit different to us in the early morning sun.

  Its taken a lot of years to produce all the mounds.
  These days its a bit more automated. Vacuum.
  Fruit and vegetables, now we are south of the border. Quarantine has a complicated list of fruit and vegetables which can or can't be brought from Northern Territory to South Australia.
  South of Coober Pedy the land is more flat. With less vegetation.
  The Defence Department hasn't replied to our permit request.

But there's a large signpost to Kingoonya and an automated roads open/closed sign that says all open. Consistent with the two day old web page.

We assume we don't need a permit.

7.5mm last night at the Kingoonya Hotel. There's still a little bit spasmodically on the roadside.

  There's an east-west rail line at Kingoonya. Both The Ghan (Adelaide - Darwin) and The Indian Pacific (Sydney - Perth) pass this way. The Ghan turns north at Tarcoola, about 75 km west of here. The Indian Pacific carries on west across the Nullarbor.

Stopped for the night. There's a mobile phone tower at Kingoonya. 3G. And a pub with meals.


  A morning goods train. Headed east.

I expected it to stop in the passing bay. But no, it just kept going.

According to the timetable the west bound Indian Pacific is due at 08:13.

  I amused myself by inspecting the goods crane. There's also a separate siding for the town.
  A green light for the main line. There will be a train soon. I heard it from a long way away.
  But alas. Not the Indian Pacific. Another goods train. West bound this time.
Lake Gairdner August 24 - 25 2018

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