Dalhousie Springs, an oasis in the desert

Kingfisher sprin Dalhousie_01Right on the western edge of the Simpson Desert Dalhousie Springs is either the first or the last point in a Simpson Crossing. And it  was where I was heading from Adelaide to start my desert adventure properly. Straight up the Ooodnadatta Track, past Lake Eyre, and on to the desert. Because of my enforced layover in Adelaide I had no time to stop anywhere. The Ooodnadatta Track would have to wait for another trip.

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Adelaide – the world’s best wine regions (and not a bad place to be stranded)

20160726_080212So much for my triumphant setting off to go to the desert.

I got as far as Adelaide where I finally conceded. The car is at the mechanic’s getting a new head gasket.

Despite (or perhaps because of) driving 1700k in 2 days OK, the problem is getting worse. Water is being pushed out of the radiator and the engine is overheating (in that order). It is also guzzling petrol, and that is getting worse too. I was considering driving home to get it looked at, but I’m not sure I would make it that far. I also don’t think I can afford the petrol at this rate!! My fuel consumption has increased by about 60%.

So I’m still in Adelaide. There are worse places to be.

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Getting your car ready for a big trip

I’m starting to think my little Suzuki doesn’t actually like adventures.

My suzuki VitaraI was supposed to leave last week for outback South Australia and the Simpson Desert. That is, until something went wrong with my cooling system – the day before I was due to leave.

Doc is a mechanic, so he not only gives the car a full service, he checks everything over very carefully to make sure it’s all ok for an outback trip.

Yet, last time I started having car trouble almost as soon as I left home.

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Top five places to (re)visit in Australia

Find-yourself-in-an-ancient-landOne of the best things about going on holidays is thinking about where to go. And while doing that, looking back on where you have been.

Should I go somewhere completely new? Or go back to somewhere I really enjoyed before?

Parachilna or Woomera? Uluru via Oodnadatta, or the Simpson?

Australia is such a vast country that you can travel for years and not see it all. Or you can go back to familiar places via a new route. Some places just keep drawing you back.

Here are my top five places to visit again, all of which, except Uluru, are not on the main tourist lists: Continue reading

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Beach driving – more preparation for the Simpson Desert

tracks“Driving on the beach is different to driving in the desert” said Doc “See if you can stay in the other tracks.”

Great advice, if I could identify which set of tracks he meant.

We were on the beach at Stockton. Around 17km of driving over mainly soft sand, with dunes stretched tantalisingly alongside you as you drive along the beach. Tantalisingly, because that’s what I wanted to practice – dunes – and that’s where you aren’t allowed to go.

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Big Red here I come. Driving through the Simpson Desert

Sand driving .. well, parking overlooking the oceanI had my first lesson driving on sand today, so now I’m ready to tackle the Simpson Desert!

The Simpson was my original choice for this year’s trip, but I decided against it because I didn’t feel confident that I had enough experience diving on sand.

But now, after an hour driving around in sand with Doc in the passenger seat telling me what to do, I am fine!

What could possibly go wrong?

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