Australian Road Trip, Day Nine – Driving to Coober Pedy

Day nine on our Australia Road trip to Uluru/Ayers Rock…


Another super early morning in preparation for a really long drive to Coober Pedy. We’d be heading into the outback properly and would be spending most the day driving the 6.5 hours from Alligator Gorge to Coober Pedy.

Originally we were going to stop in Pimba, but after a bit more research we realised there weren’t really any proper campsites there and that we’d of had to put up the tents on a patch of land next to the highway and petrol station. I’m an over worrier and like to feel safe so we decided to drive straight through instead of stopping and having an uncomfortable night.

The drive was super long and tiresome, with lots of un-even roads – our front indicator bulb even broke, luckily when we stopped in Pimba for a quick break the local petrol station was stocking car bulbs so we could replace it straight away.

After leaving Port Augusta the whole drive consists of one long road named Stuart Highway, most of the road is doesn’t have overtaking lanes so you are constantly having to overtake large road trains, and caravans – a bit nerve racking on a long, slightly windy road in the middle of nowhere. To make it worst, nearly every couple of 100 metres you’ll see dead wildlife laid by the side of the road – apparently driving the outback at night is like ‘dodging bananas on Mario cart’ – don’t know where Tom has got this saying from, but the road is definitely a scary one.

By around 4pm we finally arrived at Coober Pedy – we’d be staying at BIG4 Stuart Range Outback Resort, the site is very busy and by the time we arrived there really wasn’t much choice of land. As we started putting the tents up we realised that the ground is incredibly hard and full of rocks, making it near impossible to hammer tent pegs into the ground. An hour or so later, and help from a couple of really friendly Auzzies our tents were finally set up.

After a long day of tiring driving we were ready for bed by around 9:30pm, just as we started to settle down the wind decided it would turn up and ruin our night. The wind wasn’t the strongest we’ve seen on the trip so far, but the ground is very brittle and dry so the pegs were pulled out of the ground, and the tent was flapping around within about 30 minutes. By 10pm, the campsite was completely quiet so we couldn’t really start hammering tent pegs back into the ground, so decided to pull a handful of the front ones out and use our water box and petrol holder to hold the tent down for the night.

Even with the tent held down, the wind still managed to blow loads of dust into our tent which made it pretty hard to sleep in. By 10:30pm I’d dragged my sleeping bag into the car, and was soundly asleep at 110pm – thank god for a nice quiet and dust free car.