We had it in our mind we should check out Port Augusta, the name suggesting authority maybe? So that’s where we headed. As it happened, we did a load of washing, bought some groceries and kept driving. Now keen to leave the bigger towns in the rearview.
Our heading now north, I was feeling the thrill and enjoying the drive, new to us, the Stuart Highway. We stopped for lunch at Spud’s Roadhouse, your standard burger and chips and take away coffees. We didn’t stay long, I was keen to get to Lake Hart for tonight’s camp.
Arriving at the turn off, the view is instant, unlike Halligan Bay which rewards you with white dunes after a Mars-like purple terrain and god-awful corrugations, before you spy the Lake proper. And contrary to the varying shades and textures of white at Lake Eyre, the red rock framing the fluorescent white salt was stark and beautiful, in a way reminding me of a geometric version of the soft red dunes surrounding the clear water of Malkumba-Coongie Lakes. The view only marred by the bordering railroad. Nevertheless – it’s natural wonder outshone Man’s engineering in the low light of the afternoon.
We drove quite a way from the main rest area to escape the few camper vans, and caravans already parked. We found an elevated spot, rolled out the swag and got a fire going to watch the sunset by. We were finally…..away.
Despite full signal, which surprised me, our night at Lake Hart felt remote. There were two night trains but they proved ineffective at disturbing our warm night’s sleep, escaping the cold of Burra and Dimboola was ever so subtly invigorating.
I woke up with the sun, recharged and keen to take out my camera on the Lake. I had to walk and cross the train line but eventually made it to an untouched area of the lake’s shoreline. The silence was deafening and utter perfection.
After a while of pure and beautiful idleness, and some photos; I figured I should return to camp, which proved harder said than done. Like a red beach of casuarinas I had wandered off course on the salty ocean and couldn’t see camp from my now depressed location. But aiming for the railway I eventually spotted a familiar looking larger she-oak and then spotted Cecil the 76 Series perched on his dune. By the time I arrived I was hot and sweaty in my pyjamas and too giddy for breakfast.
After a coffee we packed up and returned to the rest stop to read the information signage.
Out of laziness and a sense of keeping the trade alive, we pulled into Glendambo BP Roadhouse for brunch, bacon and egg rolls with cheese and extra large coffees. Perfect fuel for the next stretch to Coober Pedy