Outback Australia and the Stuart Highway

After so many days of hiking, I was glad when Jason told us that we’d have to drive more than 600 km on the Stuart Highway to get to Coober Pedy. That meant we’d be in the bus for hours and he couldn’t sneak in a hike even if he wanted to.

I was anticipating the long drive because that meant we’d get farther into Australia’s real Outback. We stopped at Woomera, a former military missile base, for lunch. It felt creepy because everything looked staged and sterile. We only saw a couple of people as we toured the town (more than Jason had ever seen before) even though there was supposedly a town full of residents.

At its peak, military and civilian workers occupied the town. However, since the base was decommissioned, the number of residents had declined dramatically. But is it really out of business? Woomera is one of those places where you get the feeling that top-secret research and experiments are taking place right under your nose. Maybe the government was covertly watching us and listening to everything we said?

Another stop on our epic bus trip was Lake Hart, a massive salt lake. It was just incredible to see that this lake went on forever. Because of the recent rains, the soil had mixed with the salt to become a red mushy silt. But, it was still cool to walk on it and hear the cracking of the salt layers. It almost felt like we were walking on Mars as the horizon stretched out in front of us and the lake bed was totally flat.

We continued driving north on Stuart Highway and arrived at a section that was fairly deserted. The only vehicles we’d seen were long-haul trucks, other tour buses and a couple of independent holidaymakers in their campervans. We pulled over at a crosswalk for some wacky photos. I’m sure you could lie in the middle of the road if you wanted to because it was that isolated.

Interestingly enough, this stretch of road could be used as a runway for airplanes. The area was so far from everything else that if an accident occurred, it’d literally take hours for police or paramedics to get there. In those situations, planes would be used to fly in the necessary authorities and medical help.

Yes, Australia truly is that big of a place.

Slide Album: Stuart Highway Drive
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6 Comments

Filed under Australia, Transportation, Travel

6 responses to “Outback Australia and the Stuart Highway

  1. aunty diane

    Thanks for sharing all your experiences! I am enjoying the scenery and getting to learn about Australia’s history.

  2. hemajang

    uh, Woomera must be Australia’s version of Area 51, Nevada where secret experiments are conducted…veerry interesting. Jason should have drove the bus at top speed over Lake Hart like the Bonneville salt flats, that would have been a thrill…did you see the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian” with Anthony Hopkins?

  3. @hema – Agreed, it could be an Aussie Area 51. However, I think we came across a place that claimed to have the most UFO sightings in Oz. Should be in an upcoming post if I remember correctly.

    I was thinking the same thing at Lake Hart because I enjoyed the movie so much.

  4. Big Brother

    Should’ve drawn a shaka sign next to your name! Were there tire tracks anywhere in the salt flats?

  5. @Big Bro – It was too hard. I had to stand sideways and write it from the ground to the ceiling lol No tracks on the salt flats. It was completely empty for what seemed like miles.

  6. Pingback: Goodbye Australia | Me, My Pack & I

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