Red Centre

That's A Plenty - Benny Goodman

After a fond farewell to R&R we fueled up, turned right and set off across the Plenty Highway. We had heard bad things about this road and the staff at Gemtree laughed at us when we said that we were going that way. People at Ruby Gap that had come from the east said it was horrible and people were getting bogged in bull dust holes.
So with some trepidation we hit the gravel to find that the road was fine. There were some rougher bits but we sat on about 80km/h and had no trouble at all.
As the temperature outside climbed to 41 degrees we travelled across the flat plains and the odd hill. Not the most exciting drive. There were a few fellow travelers heading the other way and we got a few waves from the them. After a very quick roadside stop at Arthur Creek for lunch we set Tobermorey as our destination for the day.

Tobermorey Station.

Tobermorey Station.

400 kms after leaving Gemtree we turned into the station to be greeted by cows, donkeys and a very friendly sausage dog.

Dog Cooling Ears!

Dog Cooling Ears!

Sausage Dog.

Sausage Dog.

A hot wind blew for the rest of the afternoon so it was a case of keeping as cool as possible. Tomorrow we head for a restock at Boulia and maybe a bit further south towards Bedourie.

Tobermorey Sunset.

Tobermorey Sunset.

Drive My Car - The Beatles

A car swap was the order of the day. Ringo and Bryce in Hilllary with Ringo driving, and Jaks and Ronny in Yurt with Ronny at the wheel.
The 38 km out to Artlunga went quite quickly and with no problems. From there it was north towards Gemtree. Being chauffeur driven meant that the Purdens were on gate duty - and there were plenty of gates. The road which makes up part of the Binns Track continues through various stations and aboriginal land.
The days have jumped markedly in temperature in the last week. High thirties and low forties are now the norm. The day slipped by and we camped up at bit after 2 pm. The heat had us all feeling quite lethargic.

Gemtree.

Gemtree.

We chatted to a couple of guys on KTM 640's who would be riding across the Plenty in front of us. Hot work! They had met Simon and Lisa from 2 Ride the world and we would see them again at the bike show in Melbourne in November.
This would be our last night with R&R as tomorrow they head north and we go east.

Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones

This morning we slept in a bit. With nowhere to go by car today we were not in a hurry to get up and at 'em. It was decided that the we would walk to the gorge from our camp. The 4x4 track continued on a bit further past us but being fit young things we thought we could manage the extra walk.
The vehicle track stopped quite early further up the gorge. It petered out into some grass and then the end of track sign was spotted.
The walking track continued along the banks of the mostly dry river and occasionally up the river bed itself.

Ruby Gap.

Ruby Gap.

There was more water around than expected but most of it was very green with mysterious stuff growing on its surface. After a couple of kilometers the track headed over a slight ridge and then descended into the Glen Annie Gorge. We were halted at at large waterhole.

Glen Annie Gorge.

Glen Annie Gorge.


Ringo and Bryce skirted the edge of it and continued a bit further up the valley. The gorge continued up for another couple of kilometers and the ended. We searched for Fox's grave but could not find it. Meanwhile the girls fossicked for "Rubies".

"Rubies"

"Rubies"

There was a mining rush here in the 1880's when an explorer thought he had found rubies. After a few years it was discovered that the stones were in fact garnets and the boom quickly collapsed.
After collecting the girls we retreated back down towards our camp. On the way we found a water hole that was deep enough and still flowing that we thought would be ok to swim in. Clothes and bodies were washed and after 5 minutes out of the water all were dry again.
The afternoon was spent reading whilst lying in our hammocks.
After dinner R&R showed us the great photos from their Walcott Inlet trip. Looks a great to spot to head to.

A Pub With No Beer - Slim Dusty

From bumpy road to race track. Hillary and Yurt (the 4WD previously known as Patroli) zoomed up the road parallel to the Finke Desert Race Track. The track is closed to recreational vehicles otherwise we would have used this track as it looked in better condition than the road.
Our final visit to Alice for the trip. Alice has served us well as a restocking point and despite a number of shops being closed on a Sunday we managed to load up the trolley, fill up the cars, update the blog and skip town all on a couple of hours.
Pulling into Trephina Gorge we set up camp a the Bluff Campground.

Bluff Campground - Trephina Gorge NP.

Bluff Campground - Trephina Gorge NP.

With energy levels fairly low reading books was about all we could manage for afternoon activity.
Dinner was followed by Peppermint Tea and some of Corinne's almond bread. A luxury item all the way from Tassie. Thanks mum!
Whilst packing up this morning the Rangers soccer team from Bavaria (who were camped nearby) informed us they were flying to Sydney tomorrow and offered us their remaining food and some other items. Their generous donations were accepted in exchange for a stubby cooler.
In a briskly manner we walked the gorge rim track whilst discussing Internet shopping and retail in Australia.

Transient


Continuing East on the Ross Highway out next stop was Arltunga. Sadly the pub was closed and if it was open, it apparently doesn't sell beer.

Arltunga Pub  - no beer!

Arltunga Pub  - no beer!

No lunch time beer to be consumed today. Instead the lunchtime wraps were had at the site of the old Atlunga Police Station ruins.
Our final destination for the day was Ruby Gap. The road into Ruby Gap slowed us down a fraction, with rocky sections and corrugations.
We have set up camp with a beautiful view of the escarpment. Thinking we might spend two nights here to truly soak up all the serenity.

Ruby Gap Camp.

Ruby Gap Camp.

Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson

Heading further west along Larapinta Drive we arrived expectantly at the hamlet of Hermannsburg. We thought this would be a nice little place and a good spot to stock up on any needed bits.
We were very wrong and we left.
Turning left onto the Palm Valley road a large warning sign confronted us. Severe road conditions and a 3 hour drive were written in large yellow letters. As it is only 18 km into the valley we expected the worst.

Transient

45 minutes later we were setting up camp. The large caravans moored up bore testimony to the inaccuracy of the road conditions. That afternoon we spent chatting as it was too hot to do much else. As evening approached a walk to the lookout was in order. A short hike through the Spinifex led us onto a small ridge. The setting sun lit up everything in shades of ochre, orange and red.

Transient
Transient
Transient

While having dinner we warded off a couple of injured dingos that roamed the camp looking for scraps. The slightest lapse saw them running off with anything they could get. Plastic tubs and torches were not safe either and several were found in the bushes the next day.
Our morning walk took us up over a hill and down into Palm Valley itself. The 5 km walk was easy and a great way to start the day.

Transient

The 4x4 track to get up to the start of the track was over the river bed. It had a few rocky jump ups to keep us entertained and is the hardest track we have done so far.

After returning form the walk and driving out to the main road we ignored Hermannsburg and set off down the pleasantly named Boggy Hole track. The first 10 km were quite corrugated and then the track turned into the Finke River.

Transient

The track mostly follows the river or is even in it ( it's dry at the moment). A few sandy spots but nothing to worry about. On the way we passed a Ranger who was of no help at all.
The Boggy Hole camp has been burnt out by a fire recently so it was unsafe to camp there due to falling trees. A couple of kilometers further on we found a large section of water and a top spot to camp.

Transient

Unfortunately the wind has come up in the past few days. This has kept the temperature down but is quite annoying around camp.
Pancakes on the cast iron kid for breakfast and off towards Chambers Pillar!

Transient