The Life and Times of Peter Green
Archive: 3 May - 18 May 2003
This Cute Thorny Devil Lizard lives to play another day saved by Mark & Peter near Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Prahran - Bairnsdale- Lakes Entrance - Bega
We are off and racing- it's a good feeling to just go off on a road-trip;
unsure of almost everything, no idea if we are going for 3 weeks or 10
Mark has been working on a new series of CDs for the road...so will be
interesting to see what music he has "selected".
Town of the day is Stratford- it's bursting over with pride. Actually it's a
pretty town, all the locals were out mowing their lawns with their Victa
lawn mowers..and coloured pennants flew from the trees.
We have lunch in Bairnsdale, could not find a good place to eat, we said no
to "Chill & Grill"..looked a bit suss. So we headed to the Bairnsdale Pub-
The Commercial Hotel. It had to be ok, they had a Robert Maplethorpe print
over the fire place- always a good sign. Nice food.
Along the sides of the roads we start noticing...no not road-kill but the
sign of human road kill. Lots of crosses surrounded by flowers where major
car accidents had taken place...if nothing else it makes me driving more
carefully. I start counting the crosses- no idea why. Morbid eh?
Get fuel at Lakes Entrance, avoid the spot where Phil Judd got caught for
speeding, and yep the Police were out in force. I like Lakes Entrance, smell
that sea air.
Arrive into Bega at sunset...stay at the Bega Downs Motor Inn. The night
manager gives me a room away from humanity so we should get some sleep.
I drive into the city centre in search of food. End up at the Niagra
Restaurant-the girl behind the counter is kinda pretty- she reminds me of
Tara from Buffy. Makes a mean Burger. feel o.k. for my first drive- it's
exactly 600kms today.
Bega - Moruya - Kiama - Wollongong
Wake up, breakfast in the room..am so glad I brought my own pillow along,
always a good idea on road trips...nothing like a well worked pillow, and it
has a faint aroma of PG Sleep/Breathing smells on it...so that familiar home
A short drive today, so we get a chance to stop at a few places. I will
visit Mum and Sis today, also Mum has promised one of her infamous "roasts"
so that's the added bonus.
Near Eden there is the Ben Boyd National Park. If you can find Bittangabee
Bay there are some stone ruins of a European style building that pre dates
Captain Cooks "discovery" of the East Coast by a hundred or so years.
Someone really needs to correct the history books as to who "discovered"
Australia, more like the Romans or Portugese or the Dutch.
We arrive at Moruya where our family goes camping every year, and always
have, long before I was born. I really want to visit "North head" camping
ground where I would spend 6 weeks of the year, living in our family and
relatives "tent city"... the smell of ozone and pine cones, the feel of sand
under my feet and sea grass...
Like all things from ones child hood , it seemed like a huge area, but these
days it looks only a tenth of the size. The camping season is over so only a
few tents and one caravan. Gone is the old water pump... and I get a bit too
excited that the toilets are now septic and flush! All seems a bit wrong,
the very deep hole that I was terrified I would fall into one day and never
be discovered has gone..just a regular toilet.
The huge granite stones that we'd climb on have been taken, just one small
rock hidden amongst the grass. Even the natural swim hole between the
breakwater and the sand dunes looks one third it's size...and some
environmental fencing is up to stop it silting up. Talk to some surfies and
watch them out near the break water, it's still a good place to surf.
We drive up the new coast road to Broulee and Mossy Point. As kids we would
go on a big adventure- no adults and hike up the beach...about 10kms. We'd
wait for the tide to drop and walk on the sand bar out to Broulee island.
The sand has built up so a natural land bridge joins the island onto the
land..so it's no longer an island. Things change.
The houses around Broulee are really lovely. Mum tells me the following night that just before Dad died that Mum and him talked about living here...would of been great for them, and all that beach
and fishing...sad that death puts an end to some plans. It sticks in my mind
for a while.
Mark wants to check out the Kiama blow hole . It's a natural attraction, and
over the years a lot of tourists have been swept to their deaths by
venturing in too close, so a metal fence has been erected. The underwater
tunnel connects to the sea. My grandfather who was lived in Kiama for a
part of his youth remembers when a huge shark got stuck in the cavern
opening and the locals would feed it till it escaped back to see.
We head to the sea view area...and the seas are very huge today. A massive
swell hits and a mountain of water breaks over the look out- we run but can
not escape mother nature- everyone gets soaked to the skin. To make it worse
the rain starts...I find it very funny, there are about 20 wet Japanese
tourists who don't and they get back on their tour bus rather quickly...
Kiama and it's blow hole won't be on their postcards home.
The one thing about Kiama city centre is that it is impossible to find a
service station for fuel...we just discover one on the outskirts in time.
Arrive home, and a brilliant baked dinner awaits me. King for a day, and I
am starving. I whisper to Mum to hide some of the roast so I can have
sandwiches next day in the car.
My Sis and her boyfriend Mark turn up...and they wheel out a birthday cake
and presents, so we have an early birthday party. Sleep well.
Wollongong - Sydney - Kempsey
Head off and it's sad to say goodbye to Mum so quickly. I call in and grab
some gold panning dishes off the two uncles, they never change- good men
both of them.
Have to head into Sydney as I am picking up this Split Enz Gold record. We
have to carry it around Australia with us. It's a nightmare to find this
place, but Marks fine navigating skills gets us to the depot. The traffic
sucks and I am dying to dig into these fresh roast beef sandwiches that Mum
made. As we are driving the rain starts, it really pelts down, so this will
hopefully help with Australia's drought.
All the time driving the Finns, Enz, Crowdies and Bardot to Newcastle pays
off as I quickly get onto the correct freeway. We driving under Sydney
Harbour through the tunnel. Always feel's odd knowing you are under water
and a stray rain drop runs down the windscreen and I wonder if the tunnel
has sprung a leak.!!!
We call into a roadside recovery area , sit , watch the rain, the endless
forest and dig into these roast sandwiches.
We drive past Wyong where my grandfathers brothers farm use to be. I used to
go their for May school holidays and climb in the hay shed. I remember this
litter of baby kittens being born in the old water tank and I use to play
with them. It was the first time I saw a horse give birth to a foul (hey I
was 7 or 8)...it was a totally different way of life. My uncle Ted and Aunty
Edna (no realtion to the Dame..but same dress sense) sold the farm and drove
around Australia for most of their life, prospecting, and cutting gem
stones. Ted taught me how to pan for gold and showed me how to stop biting
my nails (it worked I never have since). So Wyong is full of memories. Looks
like it's a flashback trip readers......
The rain follows us like some psycho phantom...and all these towns should
announce us. "All the way from Melbourne- peter & Mark- The Rain Bringers".
Hell some of these places need the water, it's all a bit dry.
We stay at the Colonial Court in Kempsey. The hotel is next to the luxurious
banks of the Maclay River. Not sure why we get the VIP treatment- we get the
best room, has a romanesque style verandah that over looks the river.
Watch some TV before bed. Liz Jackson from the ABC is the narrator for a
doco. on Iraq. It was filmed 10 days after the USA take over. If the rest of
the world could see this doco. it gives a real good balance of what's going
on- away from the USA spin. Probably the most interesting thing I've watched
all year. She's good Liz....I like the '4 Corners.." show. Some USA
travellers were talking about it at breakfast next day, was a bit of a
reality check for them...think it freaked them a lot.
Hmm what else about Kempsey...Australia's nation hat- the Akubra is made
here and they grow those lovely potatoes that Smiths chips use.
Breakfast in bed today- hey this isn't exactly roughing it....I fall asleep
with the sound of rain dripping onto our luxury verandah.
Kempsey - Nambucca Heads - Coffs Harbour - Ballina
We leave fairly early today- very grey outside. Drive out to Nambucca Heads
where we both break out our new second hand surfboards and hit the water.
The ocean isn't too cold- we can't afford wet suits. But hey we are tough
Wollongong boys so surfing is second nature. Mark borrows my red 3/4
boardies...after all it's not a pretty sight for the world to see MG in wet
Calvins hanging five and hanging out!!!!!
The sea wall/ break water has been transformed into a huge graffiti gallery
by locals and tourists. Poetry and love letters and some drawings cover all
the rocks- it works. Goes on forever.
I find some old grave stones that date back a century, English tourists
swept out to sea. If you are going to die in the ocean mighta s well be at
Nambucca Heads I think- great spot. We stand on the cliff and watch the rain
moving up the coast.
Next stop the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. Is this the same Big Banana that
has always been here...it's so small. Only 11 metres long and 5 metres
high...you can jump on the monorail and learn all about Banana's. We take a
photo and thankfully kept our big banana's hidden....
On the outskirts of Coffs Harbour we spotted large groups of Kangaroo's
sun-baking in the fields,greys and big reds.
On our way to Ballina we call into the Honey Pot- I have a craving for some
fresh honey comb and the Honey Pot is the place to go for this. Ballina is
the first place that Charles Kingsford Smith & Charles Ulm saw on their
historic flight across the Pacific in the "Southern Cross" (1928).
Too wet for camping so we stay at the Ballina Flag Hotel, they have cute
beds, feel a bit like one of the seven dwarfs. Dinner at the Cafe Frensco.
We watch the rain bucket down....no surprise that Ballina had the highest
rainfall in Australia today- well what do they expect- the rain makers are
Ballina - Kilcoy - Hervey Bay
A long drive today. We head inland to Kilcoy to photograph the Yeti. We just
had to do this, as our good mate Ben IS The Yeti...so in his honour we go
visit his statue. There have been thousands of Yeti/Yowie sightings around
Kilcoy for a hundred years. The last one however was in December 1979...we
know why- The Yeti now lives in Melbourne, not Kilcoy!!!!(We think a Statue
in Preston is well overdue). Can we say no- RIPP OFF...all that way and the
statue is really tiny...and it's a pretty poor carving- it could be
anything. Also it was meant to be "a well endowed Yeti". But something was
missing. For the second time a local had taken a chainsaw to the Yeti's
private part (or some horny Kilcoy housewife!) and removed his endowed
"bit". Mark and myself did see the humor in this...sad though as I really
wanted to buy a Yeti tea towel and tshirt for our Yeti but not a single
souvenir- I think I need to speak to the Kilcoy people about marketing.
Mark did film 2 old ladies that were hanging around the statue....maybe they
were love slaves of the original Yeti...you never know what goes on at night
at these hidden away communities!!!!
We cross the Queensland border and Petrol is so cheap. From 97c to 67c per
litre. I decide now is the time to fill up our emergency tanks.
We drive to Hervey Bay which sits next to infamous Fraser Island. Fraser
Island is the worlds largest sand island. It is one of the few places in the
world where rainforest grows on pure sand. Great place to fish- trevally,
flathead tarwhine and heaps of other fish so easy to catch. Great for our
four wheel drive and the Dingoes are everywhere. It was named after Eliza
Fraser, who was shipwrecked in 1836, she returned home to England and
released a book and was a total bitch about the Badjalla tribe...who in
reality probably helped this silly cow survive. I think they should of just
fed her to the Dingoes...
Hervey Bay is wonderful, the people , incredibly friendly..except for the
owner of the Best Western Ambassador Lodge. They stuffed up our booking big
time and was a total wanker. So if you are visiting Hervey Bay keep clear of
Ambassador Lodge (296 Esplanade) but we strongly recommend the place next
door. The beachside Motor Inn- 298 Esplanade. It's run by Klaus and Karin
and the rooms are great, (Ph- 7-41241999). They really looked after us.
Think we'll stay for a few days...in party mode too, and it's a good break
Happy Birthday Rebekah.
Wake up- no rain...how strange. Sleep very well. Breakfast at Sea Shells
Coffee house, it over looks the ocean. Very cheap prices. As we walk down by
the beach, every single person says "good morning"... I think the local
council fines people who don't say that !!!! That never happens in the city,
it's good. We walk around the shops and Mark makes the mistake of us heading
into Pet World. We almost buy 2 cats, meaning we would have to head home,
they suckered us- too cute. Thankfully one was taken.... we got out of
their...meow meow... we can still hear them calling us.
Decide to party on for my upcoming birthday..I ask Klaus to give us an extra
Hmm like no sleep... am so glad we have this extra day.
Suns out, we cross the road and we have miles of golden beach to ourselves.
Set up a UV cover in a glad of trees on the sand. I go for a swim and the
water is warm. Mark sits under the canopy and draws with his newly acquired
derwent pencils. I dry in the sun and pull out my watercolours and chill out
and paint....I am trying to use more water less paint these days..just seem
to like that faded look. Picasso's we are not.
Meanwhile back in our room, housekeeping are making giant white swans out of
our towels which sit on the bed. We want to know what other shapes they can
We drive to Nature World. This is a must see if you are staying here...it's
ones of those few chances where you can get very close to animals. I'm sure
"public liability" will end up closing parks like this...so we were happy to
be able to do this ..while we can.
Crocodiles, Dingoes, a field of Kangaroos. Mark makes friends with a one
armed Koala that lets him pat him. The Koala was rescued after his tree in
the Forest was hit by lightening...his name is "lefty", Meanwhile a baby
Wombat falls madly in love with me (we are similar in the face!!!!) and
tries to climb over his pen. He almost succeeded. Wedge tailed Eagles sit
proudly on their perches...if you wanted to you could pat the Crocodiles!
We find a colony of Flying Foxes just down the road from the Hotel, they
continually freak out at the sight of us. Send a few postcards home.
Hervey Bay - Rockhampton - Mackay
We head off , drive past Bundaberg- (home of the infamous Bundaberg Civic
centre where Skyhooks played a killer concert)....
Near Rockhampton (Beef Capital of Australia) there are the Capricorn Caves.
They are around 23km North on the Bruce Highway and are the oldest Tourist
attraction in Queensland. They were discovered in 1882 by a Norwegian
migrant called John Olsen. 16 caves formed from an ancient coral reef and
limestone 380 million years ago and are the only privately owned caves in
Oz. We head off with a guide and explore the various cathedrals and
chambers. The main chamber is sometimes used for weddings and services...
has rows of pews and a small alter. The lights are turned off, some music
comes on and it's completely black....so calm.
We are given candles to explore like the original visitors did, really great
fun. Worth checking out.
Today is the longest drive for me so far, 750kms. We reach Mackay and I head
straight to the Motel pool for a swim. Mackay is the sugar cane capital of
Australia and produces over 1/3 of the nations sugar. I always remember the
start of that INXS clip and doco. when the band start their tour in Mackay.
A sea of sugar cane grows by the road side.
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Mothers day- Mum.
Mackay - Townsville
I almost forget, all the people I care about called....kept the hands free
ear-piece in, it worked well.
Mark starts rescuing animals every chance he can get. Today I spin the car
around and he jumps out and rescues this huge turtle off the highway. It was
a big bugger and started flapping it's arms and legs as MG races the turtle
Spoilt ourselves today- staying at the Reef International- on the beach at
Townsville. The whole sharbang- palm trees, a flock of black cockatoo's fly
over and one lands on our balcony-says hello and departs (is this an
additional extra with our room?).
The walls in the room are thick and solid so no people next door waking us
at 5.00 in the morning.
Mark takes me to an authentic Indian restaurant for dinner - YUM.
I like Townsville, except their shops should stay open later- even the
supermarket closes early...after all it's meant to be the Capital of North
Townsville - Magnetic Island
We stay an extra day so we can head out to Magnetic Island.
Up early so we can get the 9.30 car/Ferry to the Island. You can hire mini
mokes on the Island but to fully explore it, it really is worthwhile
bringing your own 4WD.
I've never been to the Island before, Mark has, aged 8...he is obsessed with
finding out what happened to the "bikini tree"... it was a rather shapely
Mango tree that someone had painted a bikini on- was meant to be Marilyn
Monroe...anyway MG's mission is to find it...or what happened to it.
We headed to West Point first..which has one of the twenty golden beaches
that exist on the Island. We wondered if it would be over developed and
swarming with tourists. What a wonderful surprise to find a massive beach,
crystal clear water and just us. Could be that you needed a 4Wd to get to it
but the driving was very easy...
Just when we were leaving a cute lesbian couple arrived..we had a chat and
told them the beach was "all theirs". They were all romantic, and admired my
Jackaroo 4WD! (sounds all a bit sexy).
I let Mark navigate me to the various places around the island where he had
been on his visit in the seventies...Picnic Bay and we missed out on seeing
Rin Tin Tin the islands giant resident crocodile...he was having a nap. We
had some lunch at Picnic Bay, a food place with an African theme.... we
watched the backpackers arrive and those who could afford a Moke grabbed
one...and instantly limited themselves to where they could go.
The best thing we did was head to Radical Bay, it was a true test for the
car and my driving...the road is half missing, Mini Mokes are banned, and
massive holes are everywhere- I think I scarred Mark shitless, by even
saying "we can do this" hell we have a 4WD lets take it through the paces
like they do in the TV adverts. I was kinda proud as I got us all the way
past Florence bay and then onto radical. All we saw was one hiker. We said
hello to her at Florence bay but I didn't offer her a lift in case she
thought we were evil... we never saw her again- hpe she didn't fall off the
look out at Florence bay.
Now Radical Bay.....a huge beach, a medium surf....and just out of box jelly
fish season so pretty safe. No people, but it does have a toilet block. Big
exotic shells wash up on the sand.. we ignore the as it is a marine park so
you have to be good and just leave things.... Mark explores the rocks that
are the feature on one part of the beach....I am one with the sea and have
sprouted gills...it's great to swim around the reef.
We explore and sit and watch the ocean.
Half way up the excuse for a road, a group of three female backpackers watch
in amazement as we navigate the huge holes..they applaud and cheer us on.
They have given up on reaching the beach...too far they say in their dutch
We head to The Forts near Horse Shoe Bay. Several look out houses were
constructed during the War on top of the highest areas of the island.. but
our main reason for this hike was to see if we can find any Koala's. There
are 200+ on the island and a big colony of them lives near The Forts.
We find a baby one in the fork of his tree, he wakes up and says hello and
dozes off again- such is the life of a Koala Bear.
We drive back to Arcadia where the Ferry departs. Mark discovered what
happened to the Bikini Tree, was chopped down to make way for a building,
but apparently a "new" bikini tree exists...we don't look for it- it just
ain't the same.
The Rock Wallaby's come down to feed and graze in the afternoon, and it's
right next to the ferry area... several have babies in their pouches-
remember don't feed them bread as it's bad for them.
The bread ends up in the ocean and huge sea fish come up and want more... we
are talking a meal for three.
It's a great place, loved magnetic Island, sure it has changed but so many
areas of beauty still exist, but if you go there get a 4WD for that great
Townsville - Hughenden
So dry up here, all the river beds are just sand and dirt. We stop on the
road and climb down cliffs and explore the dry river beds. At one stage a
really long sugar cane train goes over head. Australia is a country of
extremes. On the news today massive rainfall is recorded in Sydney and some
areas are flooded out.
We spot a family of EMU's near the road, Mark captures them on video, one
races the car, he wins..o.k. I was driving backwards.
Not too freaked out by the road trains, though I am now up to 100 grave
markers along the side of the road...I have stopped counting.
Hughenden is one of those small remote desert towns that appear in so many
Aussie movies. Situated between Townsville and Mt. Isa it's where we stay.
The Motel is past it's glory days, but the owner is kind of sweet and she
does her best to keep it tidy- so we book for the night.
We go for a walk, I wanted to do some Gold panning today but no water in
sight. So head to the local pub (made in 1912) and Rocky the manager grabs
us a drink. I have a beer and resemble one of the "drags" from Pricilla
Queen of the Desert flinging back the drinks..... wonder if they have a
Hughenden Betty Ford clinic here...o.k. I lied I had one lite Beer. Mark was
rather concerned that I was getting a gambling addiction on the Pubs three
poker machines. I lost a massive $7.00. It took an hour but I did- hell
someone's gotta support this town. Head to the Bakery and the lady in charge
looks a bit like MG when he assumed the "Nana" look for that photo shoot.
She does make a killer lamington. We take photos of the giant dinosaur on
the street corner- this area is famous for Dino bones. The first entire
dinosaur fossil was found here- Muttaburrasaurus. This was the edge of
Australia's inland sea when Dino's roamed the earth.
I support the local "arts" by buying a copy of "Older folk of the Flinders
Shire"- a collection of stories from the local senior residents of the town.
It's good to support indie releases...plus the past is fascinating,
especially around the Australian out back. Dinner at the Pub, which proudly
has a wall of signed ladies knickers..and fake plastic breasts...go figure!
Not much sleep, some old people at the Hotel kept going to the toilet every
5 seconds and getting up and walking about.....
Hughenden - Mt Isa
technically Mt Isa is the worlds largest city in area. It covers 41,000 sq
kms. The massive mine is the worlds biggest single producer of silver and
lead. The tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere is the
main stack from the mine. Tennis player Pat Rafter seems to have his picture
everywhere, I asked why and it was because he was born here!
We see a lot of road kill today- mostly Kangaroo's- nearly all would be from
night driving..as you rarely see them during the day. The Emu's are too
smart, they avoid the cars...we spot more Emu's today. Huge number of Hawks,
must be all the road kill..the wedge tail Eagles are brilliant...such a
The manager gives us a great room at the hotel- they also have an Abyssinian
I head off for a swim and find 2 lizards clinging to the tiles of the pool.
I accidentally make a wave and one sinks to the bottom, all stiff and dead
like..I freak, thinking i've killed this innocent creature..bolt out of the
pool and grab the pool net..pull him out...and he's fine- he faked his
death..I get his friend out and I crack up laughing...they both stand up on
their hind legs and run off, like some wacky cartoon.
Mark spots a Pizza Hut at Mt Isa.. we are hanging for a Pizza.
Mt Isa - Tennant Creek
It's very hot outside, even with the air conditioning, loads of dust and
many cars braking down. Call in at the Barkly Roadhouse which is an Oasis in
the middle of Warumungu Aboriginal land. I love the Aboriginal kids, spend
time having a laugh with them.
We cross into the Northern Territory..forced to start buying fuel at the
Roadhouses. The big ones are o.k. as you can tell that the pumps are looked
after etc, the smaller one's are really suss and you never know what you are
getting and how much other crap is in the fuel.
Tennant Creek had it's last gold rush in the 1930's, there is still gold
mining going on, one of the most infamous mines was the Peko mine (named
after a dog called Peko).
Very weird day, it was like "the pulse" happened and was focused on Tennant
Creek. First our car and several others batteries went dead, next the small
supermarket's cash registers stopped, the ATM crashed and the phone line
went dead... our car started again and then died again in the heart of town.
Mark and myself exchanged worried glances.
We called up our Holden Road side assist, we have some Ultra package so it
covers everything. The guy told us that he has had heaps of calls around car
batteries today- equally weird as we had just driven 660 km's so you'd think
the battery would be charged!!!!!
Tennant Creek - Wycliffe Well - Alice Springs
We decide to head south to visit the Devils Marbles, Uluru, Coober Pedy etc.
All that great inland stuff, and yes more major driving. The car kicks over
in the morning, think it's all o.k.
We visit the Devils Marbles, this massive amount of boulders, it's like a
giant dropped his bags of marbles and they rolled everywhere in this one
area...good photo opportunity.
Forced to buy fuel (at $1.14 per litre) at some dodgy roadside place, I had
a bad feeling about it, but when it's the only Petrol for 300 kms the choice
We drive through Wycliffe Wells- "the UFO centre of Australia" and buy a
rather cool UFO tea towel. I head into the centre and the guy looks me over
like I am some alien in human clothing...I scare him a bit...but I do
refrain from posing with the green men outside that over look the centre.
We spot some rather strange lights over the red centre in the desert that
make Area 51 look lame. Oddly enough it's near a place called Strangways
Range....and things start to go wrong.
The car starts hiccuping, the speedo moving up and down and the more fuel I
tried to give the car the more it hated it....the 'check engine" light came
on, which basically means the 4WD's computer is compensating for some major
disaster. See it's just like flying the Jupiter Two after all...just call me
The computer goes into a mode that is basically "get home" and compensates
for the problems that have been created.
Remember we are about as remote as you can get, no mobiles working and we
have seen one car in 2 hours. We have 70kms to go to get to Alice Springs.
For the next hour I have to say that God, Wicca, chanting, all my good Karma
and the odd patron Saint of travellers got us to Alice. I do need to stress
that Mark did not cry...we both tried to stay calm....and we both were
pretty sure that we got some major contaminated fuel.
By the time we hit Alice Springs our speed varied between 5 and 25 kms per
hour...it was like being in the local Rodeo as the car bucked and was
flipping out. Mark navigated using a map that was last used in Gullivers
travels -it was so insanely small.
We were both humoured by a line that read "Alice Springs has a level of
sophistication that other cities envy"!!!
We fluked it and found the hotel...and the car rolled into the reception car
park and stopped.
I checked in super fast and called our Holden assist team...it took ages but
finally a guy arrived and we managed to get the 4WD to a Holden repair
place. It had to stay over night and the contaminated fuel and a few other
desert problems had messed her up a bit. Thank the Gods we managed to stay
calm and get it to Alice, we visited some pretty remote off road locations
so it could of been worse.
We had it checked in, Holden gave us the VIP treatment, we had a room and as
my Mums say- you have your health..no idea how that helps in a case like
this but it popped into my head.
Marks sun tanned faced looked a bit pasty and his stress levels had
climbed... but he did not cry...he almost convinced me to ram a car of
Koori's in front who were driving LESS then 5km in the midst of all this
I guess the moral to the story is, buy a good car if you want to do
roadtrips as in the end it could be what gets you to your destination.
Alice is famous for the growing of dates..apparently the Afghan cameleers
introduced them decades back- explains all the date scones.
The Alice cemetery is the final resting place of aborigine artist Albert
Namatjira- who's work I love..as well as Harold Lasseter of Lasseters Gold
Dinner at The Terrace..a Chadstone Girl (from Melbourne) is our waitress.
Not much sleep thinking of the car.
Alice Springs - Stuarts Well - Cooper Pedy
The Holden people replace a few things on the car, most of it covered by the
warranty and Ultra assist. We've done around 7000 kms so far, and we still
haven't decided how far we are going. They suggest we get our regular Holden
people to look at it, faults etc are stored in the car computer and Alice
has limited technology...
So we leave Alice Springs, uncertain if we should head all the way through
the N.T. and that desolate Western Australia coast. So we are back to day by
day. Whatever happens the adventure has been good so far.
We call into Stuart's Well and heaps of animals are hanging out at the water
hole. Mark is loves the lone Emu..and I think it's a returned love...the Emu
keeps following Mark. he digs their "thatched" feathered bodies.
Meanwhile I check out some Kangaroo's that are lying in the sun..a baby Joey
is with his Mum, I stay low so the male Kangaroo doesn't get all dominating.
There is a camel farm here on 3.6 ha of land at the foot of the James Ranges
so we head in to see the camels..even though Camels were originally
introduced by the Afghans, a lot of these are Pakistan camels. Australian
camels are worth a lot overseas because of the purity of the breed.
Some great meteorite craters around this area too. A dozen or so major
impact craters mark the area.
Near the turn off to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Mark makes me stop the car, time to
save another creature. In the middle of the road was a Thorny Devil Lizard
and he is brilliant. Mark has to punt him off the road as a car is coming
and he wouldn't stand a chance, and with all those natural thorns it's not
like you can pick him up, give him a cuddle and move him to the side.....
Mark scores a goal.."punt" off goes the lizard. he is totally fine and he is
safe. We take heaps of photos and footage and I think the Thorny Devil is my
fave. I wanted Mark to pose for a photo with the devil.
Horny Devil saves Thorny Devil the caption would read!!!!!!!! *Grin*.
We send him way into the bush, Australia's wild life is well protected
thanks to one MG.
Some rain is on the way and it could be over Uluru. last time I was at Ayers
Rock was in the seventies on a school excursion, and it rained and huge
waterfalls were flowing off the rock. I climbed it.
The traditional "owners" of the rock (Yankunytjatjara people) ask that
people don't climb the rock as it is the traditional route taken by Mala men
on their arrival at Uluru and has a spiritual connection.... they don't say
NO but it comes down to the individual. It's probably one of the few times
I'd say do it, as the view is outstanding. A few people have fallen and died
so if you choose to climb, please be careful.
I am amazed at all the termite mounds, they are earth red and look like
giant sandcastles that have been rained upon. They are everywhere. A feast
for echidnas and Thorny Devils.
We decide to check out Cooper Pedy, where most of the worlds Opals come
from. Get a booking at the "Desert Cave" which is an underground Hotel.
The car still feels a bit odd, but we continue. Today is a mammoth drive,
cross into another state (South Australia) and it means night driving, which
I hate in the desert. That's when the chances are very good that you will
kill a Kangaroo. The stars are like diamonds over head, but my eyes are
peering into the darkness, no cars, just danger signs saying "don't leave
the road". The edges are littered with mine shafts from years of Opal
mining. For the first time I am exhausted...and fall into a deep sleep.
Cooper Pedy - Woomera- ????
We explore Cooper Pedy, and drive out amongst the dig sites. The earth has
changed from a deep red to a milky white with small pyramids of reject rock
from all the mining. Cooper Pedy is an Aboriginal word that means "hole in
the ground". It's against the law to do any "noodling" here without a
permit. Noodling is sorting through the piles of waste left by others.
Crocodile Harry is one of the local celebs. His house was used in Mad
Max-Beyond Thunderdome movie.
We noticed on the map huge WPA (Woomera Prohibited Area) sections. It's a
huge area that the general public are not allowed to go, it covers 127,000
sq kms of South Australia (13% of SA) and use to cover over 25%. Some say
it's contaminated (old uranium ore processing), some say it's a test area,
some say it's an extra security measure these days for the Woomera Detention
Centre. The land is owned by the S.A. government and the commonwealth. We
are just too tempted and talk about a quick dash onto the WPA. Come on it
wouldn't be us if we didn't see why we can't...and besides we have our anti
radiation tablets in the car....
We decide to check out Woomera first. It was named after the aborigine spear
thrower and was where Australia's first satellite was launched in November
1967 and the infamous Black Arrow in 1969 (Black Arrows are capable of
carrying a nuclear war head)...the Prospero satellite from the 70's has done
well- it's still circling the earth...also the Island Lagoon deep space
tracking antenna which has been part of several space projects including the
Venus fly by in 1962.
I get some funny looks as I straddle a small rocket in Missile Park (hey I
thought it would be a good promotional photo for Rocket Pocket Books!!!
Though it did look a bit phallic !!!).
Woomera has about zero food so if you visit pack a lunch. It does have a 6
lane bowling alley which is part of the Heritage Centre (weird eh).
The sun is setting and we have to decide what we are doing, heading back to
the territory or going some other direction....the speedo is around 8000 kms
so we have already travelled a huge distance.....but we still have further
to go......and the next bit is into the forbidden zone of the WPA.
We head out along the Stuart highway, and no cars in sight...it's getting
rather dark...and we keep noticing weird flashes on the horizon towards
Roxby Downs. It's now or never we decide and go into 4WD mode...the car
climbs the steep protection banks and before we know it we are heading over
sand and salt flat..... four lights are in the sky and they look very much
like apache helicopters. Is it too late to change our names back from Mulder
and Scully? We have found a small over hang near a place simply called
We've linked the titanium Mac up to our Sat. phone and are about to push
send...probably our last chance to say something meaningful. A storm is
brewing out here and it's a very dry electrical one...not even sure if this
will get to Deb. Check out the diary in 2 weeks...who knows all our mail may
well be sent to the Woomera Detention Centre along with the other detainee's
that John Howard doesn't like..... *grin*.
Stay safe but don't be too safe... other wise life is boring.
Peter and Mark the navigator.
p.s. excuse the errors in this latest update...it's a rushed.
P.S. -Good news, Raed and our friends are back on line. So it's a good read
of what's really happening in Iraq at the moment. Hey Raeb also found the
best ice cream place in Iraq and it's still standing, so not all doom and
gloom. So check this out:
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