Maralinga contact

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 16:32
ThreadID: 117064 Views:2683 Replies:12 FollowUps:33
This Thread has been Archived
does anyone know if robin Matthews is around ( Maralinga caretaker ). I have left many a phone message and sent emails with no response. I did hear that this time of year he sometimes heads down to the coast. I've also contacted Ceduna in regards permits and info but they refer me back to Robin. I've still got time up my sleeve but I would like to get my planning started garry r
location - Warragul -Victoria
life is too short, so out and about enjoy

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 16:52

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 16:52
Hi Garry

Yes the Ghost of Maralinga seems impossible to contact these days, even for me personally.

I did receive a phone call from him around a month ago, saying he has had phone problems, and the Telstra technicians were there setting up a new satellite system. Another thing that he said he was doing was taking over the bookings again, as he said the online booking system is not working the way that it should and in his words " if it is not broken, don't fix it ", refering to the way he used to take bookings personally and then the implementing the new online booking system.

He also said that he was not happy with the pricing, so again see Robin for all village costs.

Just be patient, keep leaving messages, and if you do not hear back, tell him you will be heading his way and you will meet him at the security gates on what ever date you intend to be there.

All we can do is just keep leaving messages, or even try around 6pm, Ashe might be in the office having a quiet beer........lol



Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 549962

Follow Up By: GarryR - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:45

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:45
thanks steve, i',m not giving up yet. I thought I was just me as i' a bit like Robin and not always around due to working away and not having tele communications. I'm still trying to download the Caravan track link but my son in law is working in N.T and will be back shortly to help me. Its obviously a problem with the ipad and the correct format regards garry r
location - Warragul -Victoria
life is too short, so out and about enjoy

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835371

Reply By: dean ( SA ) - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:18

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:18
Don't bother with the caretaker, you're much better of using the contact link on the Maralinga Tours website.
I've asked a few questions this way and have had a response the same day.
Someone called Chris has responded each time and was very helpful.


AnswerID: 549964

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:37

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:37
I thought it was just me. I have called and emailed Robin many times trying to get to Maralinga and Emu.

Seems like I have to keep trying
AnswerID: 549966

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:42

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:42
Hi Boobook

Please keep trying as it is a fantastic place to visit and the Range Tour is what it is, fantastic made possible by the wealth of knowledge that Robin has at his fingertips.

I will keep everyone posted.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835457

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 09:11

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 09:11
Stephen, working for a US company and living in Asia and Europe for many years with about 50 international flights a year, I have done what I guess is a fair bit of travelling overseas, plus quite a bit of travel in Australia.

I went to Maralinga 15 months ago ( on your advice) with my then 9YO kid and he has bugged the hell out of me to go back ever since. We even went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as follow ups, a shocking follow up trip and part of a broader Japan holiday.

Our trip to Maralinga was one of the most interesting places I have ever been.

There are 4 things that make it great.
1)The history of the place
2)The fact that you feel what went on at the time and it changes your thinking about government's attitude toward it's people etc
3)Robin. What a great guy. ( I love his railway stories too)
4)Love the deserts ( a love largley spawned from the last trip there)

My son has done a few presentations at his school and his teachers didn't believe that he really went there, until he showed the pics and they asked me. ( I'm not sure they believe it to this day)

I'll be back this year, taking in Emu no matter what.

I know Robin has done a great job and is probably over busy right now. That's the way it is right now I guess.

I'm glad it's not just me though and will keep trying.

Now how do I get to the Montebello Islands, and is there a Robin there? LOL





1
FollowupID: 835459

Reply By: tuck - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:43

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:43
Think you will find there are some problems to be sorted out
.We were supposed to do tour of maralinga in begining of november 2014 . Confirmation was confirmed before we left to ring from Ooldea - normal mobile reception - when we arrived at 3.00 pm,then meet Robin at secure gates to enter.After about 1 hour with no answers we continued to gate and and camped and continued to ring (our sat phone)some 20 times over the next 21 hours until 12.00 mid day . NOT ONE ANSWER. . So we left and found out couple days later at Kingoonya that Robin had passed thru and would definitely not have arrived at Maralinga untiil some 40 hours after our meeting time and that is allowing for him driving all of the last night. Some further messages phone and emails were left on arriving home - NO ANSWER.
Permits are to be required from Maralinga Tjarutja Land CouncilCeduna.
They will fill you in on requirements and I understand there are ongoing discussions on the camping package.
Tuck
AnswerID: 549967

Follow Up By: GarryR - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:54

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 17:54
rang this office and they refered me onto Robin at Maarilinga last week. The person I spoke to was a little unsure of my request, so just left it at that
location - Warragul -Victoria
life is too short, so out and about enjoy

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835373

Reply By: jamesw - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 18:04

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 18:04
The ONLY way to organise a tour of Maralinga now is via the website.Maralinga tours I have booked our tour for mid April this way and it's all too easy. I had Robin call me on two occasions to answer questions and was very helpful.

James
AnswerID: 549969

Follow Up By: jamesw - Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 18:09

Saturday, Mar 14, 2015 at 18:09
And, as for the costs. Well, the Maralinga land council is running the show and with the various insurances that need to be paid the cost is what it is. No use complaining about it, but if people reckon it's too high your option is to not go.

James
0
FollowupID: 835374

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 10:53

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 10:53
Hi James

the website is not the ONLY way to organise a visit to Maralinga.

As I have said above, there have been a few issues and Robin is still taking bookings direct.

You may ask how do I know?? Robin is a good friend of mine and I often get told a lot of facts that are never made public here on the forum.

You will enjoy Maralinga, it is a top spot, with so much history.



Enjoy your visit.



Cheers


Stephen




Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835392

Follow Up By: jamesw - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:38

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:38
Stephen,
As far as the general traveler would know the website is the single way to book tours. I attempted to contact Robin directly as long as six months ago to arrange a visit on our way to WA with no success. Finally I received an email from Chris who suggested that I book via the website and it is now sorted out. Most people would not have any inside knowledge, as you do, so online booking is the way to proceed. My question is, if you know the answer, is it cheaper $$$$ to book with Robin direct? If there is a difference in cost, it would seem unfair that the general public pay one cost online and those in the know pay another. I would hope that in the interests of all that is not the case. And, I have a reasonable knowledge about the history of Maralinga, as I worked for the Department of Defence for 35 years so I have done plenty of research, and that is why I arranged for a small group of friend to visit with me. The history is too important to remain in the background.

Cheers
James
0
FollowupID: 835407

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 17:28

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 17:28
Hi James

Trying to get in contact with Robin is a problem and the success of the tourism venture comes down to first point of contact - the phone.

We have told Robin many times that he must return phone calls and emails, but for some reason, it often does not happen.

The history aspect is so important and credit where credit is due, Robin knows it all and is a wealth of knowledge about the testing out on the range and other events in the area. It was for that reason that we were invited to be the first ever tourists to come into Maralinga via the Nawa Junction Track from Dingo Flat Gate.

Over the coming moths of the trip, I had made many phone calls to Robin and had organised him to meet us out at Dingo Flat Gate. Then it come to the final week and the usual happened, I was not able to get hold of him, event leaving messages with the satellite phone. The afternoon that we were to meet Robin, he was true to his word sitting in the shade at the corner, knowing that we would be coming along.

As for the costs, we have been out on the Range with him 3 times and we paid $100 per head to cover the cost of each 2 day tour. The same applied last year when we went again, we were able to be the very first group our tourists to head in by vehicle to locate the plane wreck of a Cessna that crashed back in 1988.

Well before the new online booking site was up and running, we have been pushing Maralinga here on the forum and I even have done a couple of Trek Notes about the Range tour and on how to get to Maralinga.

Make sure that you have given yourself lots of time to see the area, as there is such a lot to see.



Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835416

Follow Up By: jamesw - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:11

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:11
Stephen,
I understand that there are many reasons for the higher prices to visit Maralinga now, some obvious and some maybe not so. I found the online booking system works very well compared to the difficulties I experienced trying to contact Robin via email and phone. I find it a little disturbing that what I would perceive as "mates rates" are being charged for some tours of Maralinga, and I only have the information that you have posted as an indicator of that. I and my group paid the costs as per the website booking, and although it seems to be a high price I think it is worth it as I and my friends are happy to be going. As I said prior IF there is a difference in cost, it would seem unfair that the general public pay one cost online and those in the know pay another. If that is true then it should be stopped, in fairness to all.

James
0
FollowupID: 835419

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:17

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:17
Hi James

The pricing that we have paid in the past was not a "Mates Rate" but the full fee payable at the time we did the tours. Others that I have sent there have paid the very same pricing in the past.

What is the pricing now, as before I went online Robin had meetings with various bodies and they were looking at a price of $220 per person covering the Range Tour Cost, cost of the permit and the camping fees for Maralinga.



Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835421

Follow Up By: jamesw - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:35

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 18:35
Stephen,
I think that the term "mates rates" may have been misunderstood. I use it all the time and mean it to be those in the know, as in this case or a friends of a friend. No offence meant, if that happened. The price I paid as a couple was $412. Now, some people would see that a a bit steep, but it is what it is. My personal opinion is that it is a rare privilege to visit places like Maralinga and we will be there for two nights camping as well. The fees being charged are less than short helicopter flights at a lot of the overrun tourist spots around the country, to put them in some perspective. My friends and I are really looking forward to visiting a unique part of our magnificent country. In fact it was your posts on this site that alerted me to the possibility, so I am pleased that you shared your experiences.

James
0
FollowupID: 835424

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 19:56

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 19:56
Hi James

That is no problems at all. You will be in for a great time, and a BBQ tea at Fort Maralinga is a must do.

Also make sure that you take a drive out to airstrip at night, as it is a real experience to see the coloured runway lights at night and to drive on a super highway.....lol

All the best and put the pressure on Robin to get his phone act together.



Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835430

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 00:59

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 00:59
The Ceduna Maralinga Tjarutja Administration Office advised me recently that you don't need a permit to drive to Maralinga, unless you are going to camp in Mamungari Conservation Park (to the south) as you head up.
All other fees inc camping and $25 a day vehicle fee is included in the tour package pricing.

I was advised by Chris that the road north from Maralinga to Emu is closed at the moment, at the request of the Traditional Owners.
Not sure if this is seasonal or other reason.
AnswerID: 549982

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 10:48

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 10:48
Hi Les

Have you had a look on a map to see where Mamungari Conservation Park is in relation to Maralinga?



As you can see from the screen shot, Maralinga in now where near Mamungari, and as Robin has often told me, the Ceduna Office would not even know where anything out there is.

If what they have told you is fact " The Ceduna Maralinga Tjarutja Administration Office advised me recently that you don't need a permit to drive to Maralinga, unless you are going to camp in Mamungari Conservation Park (to the south) as you head up."

This what they told you is correct, this is a clear case of the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. If you are coming to Maralinga from the south, the only two access points travel either through the Nullarbor Regional Reserve to Watson and then Maralinga, coming in from Nullarbor Roadhouse, or coming up through Colona and then you will travel through the Yellabinna Regional Reserve. These are the only Access point from the south.

If on the other hand you were coming in from Western Australia, via the Anne Beadell Highway, this is the only way that you will ever get to travel through Mamungari Conservation Park and from when I went to school, is Northwest of Maralinga, not South.

As for the Emu Road, Robin has told me that he has approval from the Elders to give permits on an individual basis. The Only reason why it could be closed at the moment, is they are going to grade the track north from Maralinga to Emu, to clear a lot of the close vegetation from the side of the track and to cater for the increased traffic that they hope capture coming south from Emu.

If you contact Ceduna office again, ask them where Brownies Highway is, or the Caravan Track. and the person will have no idea.

As I have always said, Robin the best person to contact for information about any of the tracks in the area.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835391

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 13:09

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 13:09
Thanks Stephen, I was going on what Chris told me in an email re the 'previously unnamed conservation park' to the south, and to contact the trad owners in the Ceduna office by email to confirm travel through there.

Also he advised about Emu being closed, by email mid Feb.
"The road north from Maralinga to Emu is closed, at the request of the Traditional Owners" but I think the info about travel might have been a misunderstanding with the unnamed park etc.
Told him we were just coming up and back from Fowlers Bay area, he then gave info above.

Yes, very confusing and in the majority of cases any of the Nat Parks office staff don't have / know about other park info, understandable as they aren't normally on the ground or even been to those places most times.

Tried contacting Robin by phone and email myself wiht no luck, but obviously problems can exist for such a location, and he wouldn't want to be stuck up there in the Feb heat either.
0
FollowupID: 835397

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:06

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:06
Hi Les

As I have always said, go straight to the top regarding travelling anywhere in that area. Robin has far more power out there than most people think and we have always done what he has given us permission to do.

Another reason why Robin has not answered any phone calls, is because he was away for 3 weeks with a few of the senior Aboriginal Elders of Special Aboriginal Business.

I even tried to contact him again last night, but could only leave a message. Deal direct with him and ask if you are able to travel into other areas.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835403

Follow Up By: dean ( SA ) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:42

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 14:42
Fair enough Stephen but if you are going to run an organised tour such as this they need to be more professional.

You can't have this situation where this regularly comes up, how do I contact Robin.

Maybe it's early days and things may improve but given the amount they are charging ( from $610 for a family ) they would want to sort it out and fast.

We tried to organise a trip there in April last year but Robin didn't respond to our email's or calls, so we went elsewhere.

Dean

0
FollowupID: 835408

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 17:37

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 17:37
Hi Dean

What you have said is 100% correct and you do not know how many discussions we have had about it with Robin, and I have even offer my services to Robin in an attempt to acknowledge the many phone calls and emails that Robin receives, but he said that he has it under control.

Another issue is the pricing, and I have personally told Robin that the charges are far to dear, which he agreed. The times when we have taken Range Tour Guests to Maralinga, he has charged $100 per head and children under 16 were free.

Like we have told Robin, it is better to keep the fee cheap so people will want to come back.

As for the issue you you, trust me that this is not the first time that I have heard it back through the grape vine, which as you say is just not good enough. I do hope that you try to get there again, as it is such a great place to visit.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835418

Follow Up By: Sapper D - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 20:16

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 20:16
Hello Stephen....
.I certainly hope your continuing faith in Robin is justified, as I've booked and paid for the tour to take place in May, and been advised by Robin as to what to do on entering etc.....I sure as hell don't want to be stranded at the gate because he won't answer the phone when we ring for admission as advised.----- our group of three vehicles has paid $206 ea person not $100, and if as you say it's better to go straight to the top, one can only ask how do you do that when the "top" never answers.
I hope I haven't wasted my money, but after reading all the above blogs, I'm a bit sceptical
Regards.....Sapper D
0
FollowupID: 835432

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:24

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:24
Hi Sapper

As I have said above, the price we paid was well before the new online booking was implimented this year.

I know that this time of the year is hard to pin him down but with the change in weather conditions, he will be very busy again as in past years.

If you have any issues, please keep trying to contact Robin and in a worst case situation, contact me and I will try my very best to get things sorted out.



Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835435

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Vic - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:48

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:48
Stephen I can see what is going to happen here. You eventually get onto Robin and say I will be there next week, and by the way I will have a few mates with me. Next week you rock up to the gates with 30 4WD's in tow. LOL
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835441

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:59

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:59
Hi Chris

Now that's a thought. All I can do is keep trying to contact Robins to find out what is going on.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835443

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Vic - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 22:11

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 22:11
Send him a link to this forum post so he can see the trouble he is causing. I don't know there is a lot he can do about it as there are 24 hours in a day and he only has two arm and two feet.


Gidday Robin can't wait to get there again, I reckon it will take about 4 visits to get to "really" know the place. All the best.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835445

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:22

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:22
Hi Chris

I have sent Robin a link to this forum post and am now waiting on his response.


Will let you know the outcome.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835454

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:39

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:39
Hi Chris

I have spoken with Robin on the phone and have given him a run down of the issues raised on this forum post.

There are issues going on up there and Robin is busy at Oak Valley.

I have to give him another call tonight and will let everyone know of the outcome.


Cheers


Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 835456

Reply By: Idler Chris - Vic - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:37

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:37
To visit Maralinga is a privilage. If it was not for Robin's efforts (with help from Stephen) we would not be able to get there. He is a one man band with hell of a lot on his plate. He and his wife Della are no spring chickens and have the odd health issue from time to time. We are talking here about a very remote part of Australia and Robin is making an enormous effort in opening up Maralinga so that we can visit and see what went on there. Once you have been there and had the privilage of meeting Robin you will start to understand why contacting him is so hard. I can only concur with what Stephen has said that it is best to talk with Robin directly, and while it is obviously not easy at times to get him that is just the way it is. This is NOT a slick tourist venture, Maralinga is living history and a tour of Maralinga with Robin is an experience you will never forget. As for the cost, if you are concerned about the cost then don't go. There are no mates rates, and in the times I have been there I have no problem with the cost. This is a commercial venture by theMaralinga Tjarutja people and they are on a learning curve. We as tourists need to encourage the commercial ventures by Traditional Owners as this is a very good way for them to get their people off welfare and into some meaningful pursuits. So as Stephen has said persevere with the phone calls and emails in the end when you get there, and have the all day tour with Robin I am sure you will agree it was worth the effort.
PS. also as Stephen has said an absolute must is to drive down the runway at night. Most will be aware of what airport security is like theses days, even small country airport have big fences, locked gates, and heavy penalties for being on the wrong side of the fence. At Maralinga you have an operational airport which is the only airport in Australia capable of landing the space shuttle, yet if Robin says you can drive on it well you can.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 550034

Follow Up By: TTTSA - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 11:54

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 11:54
Well said Idler Chris, this area is too good to miss out on.

Peter
0
FollowupID: 835474

Reply By: wholehog - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:40

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:40
right..looks like that is off this years WA trip travel agenda.
AnswerID: 550035

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Vic - Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:49

Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 at 21:49
Your loss.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835442

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:20

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:20
Wholehog

Please do not go on the above issues, as since I have been pushing Maralinga as a top "Must Visit" tourist venture, there have been hundreds of very happy people that have been on the Range Tour.

I am trying to contact Robin to see what the issue is, so please to not just give up without even trying to get there.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 835453

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:15

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:15
Bloody go Wholehog. That's an order! You will really regret it if you are passing by and don't go.
1
FollowupID: 835462

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:59

Monday, Mar 16, 2015 at 08:59
We visited Maralinga last July and glad we did, meeting Robin Matthews was a highlight, the rest was a bonus!

Robin is not the easiest person to contact, but he is a wealth of knowledge on both the area and the local community. After leaving Maralinga we travelled north along the Emu Road and onto the Anne Beadell Highway heading west.

Maralinga is a fascinating part of Australia’s history and one that many have no idea about, it doesn’t appear to be on school curriculums, which reinforces my view that education starts in the outside world, not in a classroom.

Whilst a visit to Maralinga won’t be for everyone, I’d encourage anyone with an interest to take the time to go and have a look, perhaps sooner rather than later.

Given the sensitivity that surrounds Maralinga and the fact that the Woomera Range is still active one can’t be sure that access will always be available in the future, it will only take the stroke of the pen from the authorities to close it down to the public once again – take the opportunity while it is available now.

I wrote about my visit in a blog titled, Maralinga Village - A Glowing Report.


Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 550047

Reply By: Chris B38 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:07

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:07
“Good day to you all,

I have read the conversation that you have been having about some (in the main) communication hassles with Robin Matthews and the new Maralinga Tour format and costs. First off let me say what a great forum this is. I have been a part-time visitor to ExplorOz site for a few years and with my recent involvement working with the Tjarutja people, helping them set up an online booking facility to smooth the tour-booking process, have been grateful for the support and endorsements that have been posted about the Maralinga experience.

As someone has pointed out Robin does leave the Village during the 45 degree, summer heat and enjoys a couple of months whetting a line on the coast. When back at the Village, he is trying to take-on a new role – that of desk-johnny in between his other duties of Village Maintenance Manager, Security Officer, coach driver and that of the new tour operator. I suspect he finds the demands of responding to emails onerous and always prefers the telephone. But I know he is getting better and have heard from many people that they have had their Gate Rendezvous confirmed.

The on-line system was meant to relieve him of some of the tourism hassles – maybe it has unintentionally added to his headaches. I apologies to those out there looking to come into Maralinga this year to experience the tour. It is something else! And I apologise to you Nobsy.

Re the cost – yes last year it did cost $100 – the total covering Entry Permit, 2 nights campground accommodation and the one day tour of the test site (and the airport night time drive)! In looking to the future, there was general agreement that the costs we too low to cover the new responsibilities being taken on - the insurances, the revamped campground facilities, the extension of the wi-fi coverage down into the campground, the new website development, secure on-line booking engines, etc, etc. And we were also trying to reflect the rather special experience on offer. If the cost is considered too high, the opportunity to seek alternative adventure is always available.

I know that over 180 travellers have so far chosen to book their Maralinga Tour this year.

I too will ring Nobsy tomorrow and see what help can be offered to better serve and resolve the communications issues.

Sincerely


Chris Burchett
Tourism Helper “
AnswerID: 551097

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:46

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:46
Hi Chris

Thanks for taking the time to post your great reply.

I was speaking with both Tory and Nobsy last night and they are going to send me a detailed reply that I will post on his behalf when I receive it in a new forum post.

Tory as you know has been up at Oodnadatta and has not been able to get down to Maralinga, so she will be busy today to get as many emails answered and follow up phone calls.

I have been a good friend of Nobsy for a number of years and have some great trips into that fantastic area.

If you have been following my rantings here on ExplorOz, you will have noticed that I have been pushing Maralinga as a must visit site for its history, location and of course the wealth of knowledge that Nobsy has on hand. In simple terms, Nobsy makes Maralinga what it is to visit, and nothing is a problem for him. ExplorOz was the first official site to offer the general public details on how to get there, who to contact and what the area has to offer.

If there is any way that I can ever help you out in any way, please get in contact with me and I would like to offer my services. We have a great background in Tourism, have owned Bed and Breakfast Accommodation and having Managed High Class Apartments here in Clare.

I know that the pricing will be an issue, and I feel that with increased numbers through the front gates, that pricing can and should be restructured. It is far better to offer visitors a cheaper price in the hope that they will want to make future return visits, rather than a higher priced dearer once only visit. Every person that I have recommended to head to Maralinga are now making their third and fourth returned visits, but with with the prices having double, would not make returned visits, just on the new price structure only, which in turn is lost revenue to the Tourism Venture.

We have also offered Nobsy details on how the campground should be set up, with the biggest issue that must be looked into, and to date has not is the amenities, eg showers and toilets. Yes there are 2 new toilet huts, but the plumber has let the team down on that matter and they have not be connected correctly. With prices now double, the end consumers will expect better services that are now on offer. A little dearer than what the prices were previously and customers are happy with what is there.

Please get in contact with me if you need any further information and again, thanks for making first hand contact here on the forum.


Best Regards


Stephen Langman
Clare SA
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 836545

Reply By: Chris B38 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:09

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 09:09
“Good day to all,

I have read the conversation that you have been having about some (in the main) communication hassles with Robin Matthews and the new Maralinga Tour format and costs. First off let me say what a great forum this is. I have been a part-time visitor to ExplorOz site for a few years and with my recent involvement working with the Tjarutja people, helping them set up an online booking facility to smooth the tour-booking process, have been grateful for the support and endorsements that have been posted about the Maralinga experience.

As someone has pointed out Robin does leave the Village during the 45 degree, summer heat and enjoys a couple of months whetting a line on the coast. When back at the Village, he is trying to take-on a new role – that of desk-johnny in between his other duties of Village Maintenance Manager, Security Officer, coach driver and that of the new tour operator. I suspect he finds the demands of responding to emails onerous and always prefers the telephone. But I know he is getting better and have heard from many people that they have had their Gate Rendezvous confirmed.

The on-line system was meant to relieve him of some of the tourism hassles – maybe it has unintentionally added to his headaches. I apologies to those out there looking to come into Maralinga this year to experience the tour. It is something else! And I apologise to you Nobsy.

Re the cost – yes last year it did cost $100 – the total covering Entry Permit, 2 nights campground accommodation and the one day tour of the test site (and the airport night time drive)! In looking to the future, there was general agreement that the costs we too low to cover the new responsibilities being taken on - the insurances, the revamped campground facilities, the extension of the wi-fi coverage down into the campground, the new website development, secure on-line booking engines, etc, etc. And we were also trying to reflect the rather special experience on offer. If the cost is considered too high, the opportunity to seek alternative adventure is always available.

I know that over 180 travellers have so far chosen to book their Maralinga Tour this year.

I too will ring Nobsy tomorrow and see what help can be offered to better serve and resolve the communications issues.

Sincerely


Chris Burchett
Tourism Helper “
AnswerID: 551098

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:07

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:07
Good reply Chris, both of them :)

I am still trying to arrange a bit of a 4x4 Earth group for late Sept tour, which hopefully will catch some good desert blooming in the area too.

Price was a big issue for most, and while I personally recognise the value in this tour from the unique location and Robins local knowledge, and don't mind the cost so much, it is borderline for many considering travel to / from being a fair cost too.

Good on you for your positive input, hopefully the whole system and contactability will be settled soon.
0
FollowupID: 836532

Reply By: Chris B38 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:09

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 14:09
I have just been speaking with Robin Matthews at Maralinga Village. A couple of things to report that might free up some of the angst.

1. There was a big electrical storm that passed across the area 4 weeks ago and a direct hit took out some of the telecoms at the Village. Robin knows that there are many calls been received but he cannot access or respond to any of them on that old number. Those wanting to recontact should note his new "business hours" number 08 8670 4089. Suggest you don't all try ringing at the same time! I'll leave you to try working out some sorta schedule???

2. While there was some diesel fuel sales last year, they are NOT available this year! As per advice posted on the website, last commercial fuel available for those coming from the South will be Nundroo or Nullarbor.

3. Many people are still not aware of the new website - www.maralingatours.com.au that has a wealth of background info, a great downloadable map, a bit of an image library and secure booking and payment software embedded.

Trust this all helps.

ChrisB38
AnswerID: 551110

Follow Up By: jamesw - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 15:36

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 15:36
We will be on the ground @ Maralinga in exactly four weeks, and can't wait to arrive.

James
0
FollowupID: 836553

Follow Up By: Sapper D - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:50

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 17:50
Chris, just a thought about a plan "B" for those of us who might not be able to contact Robin in an emergency for whatever reason, (like stuck at the gate etc)--do you yourself have a phone contact, or is that not possible?.......Also many thanks on the clearing up of the issues...............Regards...Sapper D
0
FollowupID: 836558

Follow Up By: Chris B38 - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:08

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015 at 18:08
I actually don't live at Maralinga so no help with my mobile.
0
FollowupID: 836560

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)