Another unexpected find on our journey, from a small, almost unnoticed, note on the map – “mud springs”.
That’s all it said, but it was enough to make me curious.
Neither of us knew anything about it. In fact, neither of us had ever heard of Eulo, where the springs are, so Doc agreed to have a look.
The springs themselves were a bit of a disappointment. Giant mounds of dried mud where the steam from the Great Artesian Basin (remember that from primary school social science?) bursts through the earth’s surface. The springs pop every few years, and one of them is due to go off sometime soon, but as they’re not on a fixed schedule we couldn’t stick around to see it.
But we did see a sign for mud baths at the Eulo Date Farm, so despite Doc’s scoffing, off we went. Doc’s a bloke, so doesn’t do things like mud baths, but I convinced this was part of our travels so we should experience it. He agreed, but mainly to shut me up I think!
Doc was instantly impressed by the collection of “stuff” in the yard, and the old chev truck opposite. While I went into the office to find out about the mud bath he had a look around.
Ian and Nan, the couple who own the Date Farm and mud baths were very friendly and helpful, although very apologetic that the baths were being used, and they “couldn’t fit us in for a while”.
“When’s a while?” I asked. “Ah, not until 11.30” said Ian. As it was already 10.30 we said that would be fine with us. Then Nan came out “I think we should make it 12.” she said “The people in there are really enjoying themselves and I don’t want to rush them.” It was sounding better by the minute.
So after a bit more chat about the stuff in the yard and Doc’s propensity to collect old mechanical things as well, Ian gave us the heads up on what we could do in the town to fill in the time until our bath. “Go and see Kev in the new blue and white house at the crossroads. He’s a real character, and he’s got an old Oakland that he’s fixed up. He’d love to show it to you.” Said Ian.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get as far as Kev. By the time we’d had coffee at the old church, and eaten pikelets and macadamia and chocolate biscuits hot out of the oven, then had a look at the old opal shop and listened to the stories from the old timer there, we were running late for our mud bath.
Back at the Date Farm, Ian and Nan had set up the stretch bath for us, and a welcome sight it was. An outdoor bathroom, with a bath long enough for us both to lie down in and a shower in a tree, was set up with fluffy towels and two welcome packs of mud and moisturiser. The bathwater was warm, and Ian bought out a plate of nibbles each, a glass of date wine (for me) and a cup of tea (for Doc). He talked us through the process, showed us how the tree shower worked and how to add more hot or cold water to the bath if we wanted it, and left us alone to enjoy ourselves.
And we did. Sipping date wine while lying bath in the warm muddy water, massaging each other’s feet, we were as happy as … well … pigs in mud.
The mud is sourced locally, not from the giant mud mounds just out of town but from quick mud around 25k to the south. It is, in the words of the brochure “rich in minerals such as silica, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and zinc together with other minerals which work to cleanse, tone and revitalise your skin and body.”
After we’d been in the bath for half an hour or so, Ian brought around a glass of sticky date liqueur which he passed over the fence. Another few minutes in the bath and we were ready to get out and cover ourselves all over in the exfoliating mud mask provided in the welcome packs. As it dried this mud tightened our skin, a new experience for Doc, but one which many women would know.
Then it was back into the bath to exfoliate and rinse, then under the tree shower to wash it all off.
Massaging the date moisturiser into each other topped off a wonderful experience in a place we’d previously never even heard of.
Yet another magic, romantic interlude in the camping experience.