Gunbarrel Hwy Day 8 - Giles to Yulara

Friday, Jun 29, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 8 - Friday 29/6/01
Start - Giles
Stop - Yulara
Trip Odometer - 364.7km
Stopped time - 1.54hrs
Moving average - 70.8km/hr
Moving time - 5.09hrs
Max speed - 7.04hrs

We had tried to call the Giles weather station using our Telstra Radphone service through our Barrett HF radio in the car but couldn’t get a clear channel. The lady at the roadhouse had also tried for us but couldn’t reach them. In the end we decided to just drive up and walk in – knowing that they would be there. We timed it nicely, as the balloon goes up at 8.45am, and we arrived at 8.30am. The station is manned by 3 men, with just one engineer and an operator on duty while we were there. It is definitely worthwhile if only to get a better understanding of what goes on “behind the scenes” in the weather world. We seemed to befriend the engineer who conducted the tour and he very kindly told us some local secret campsites that we agreed not to disclose on ExplorOz.com

Giles to Yulara was an easy and surprisingly scenic drive through Docker River. We saw the first evidence of recent rains with some washouts, ponded water and even water in the river alongside Lasseters Cave. Contrary to most maps, camping is no longer permitted at the Cave, nor anywhere along the route between Giles and Yulara other than at the one designated aboriginal bush camp. Fees are $5 per person over 5yo, but it is an honesty system. A sign in the information shelter says “you maybe approached by locals bartering their art… please take advantage of this as you are cutting out the middle man and can get good quality art at good prices…” We didn’t get to see any of the art but when we swung by the Docker River community I was very impressed by the quality of the paintings I did see in town.

The drive from Docker River onwards is really very beautiful with the Scherwin Mural Crescent and Walter Samuel Ranges leading the whole way until you see the distinctive afternoon purple hues over Kata Tjuta.

We have a secret camping spot that we found in Xmas 1999 just past Yulara but with a baby and a setting sun we didn’t’ quite make it and settled instead to sleep with the masses at the Yulara Camping Ground on a lush piece of grass that costs us $24.50 for an unpowered site that we couldn’t get our car onto. It was cold and damp but the showers were sensational.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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