William Creek to Arckaringa Station

Waking up the morning after seeing Lake Eyre from the sky to hear the patter of rain drops on our cabin roof made for an uneasy start to the day.

Knowing that it only takes a wayward incontinent dingo to close a track in these parts, we were worried that we’d be stuck at William Creek.

Not that this was a bad thing, and certainly better than being stuck on the track, however we wanted to push on as while we had some time up our sleeve it would be better if we had that time available for the desert section if possible.

We decided to check in with the crew at the “airport” to see if they had some up to date weather forecasts. This yielded some good info so we took a snapshot of the long range forecast and decided that we’d go for it.

So we loaded up and hit the road while it was still sprinkling a little, out onto a somewhat greasy track. Our fears were soon unfounded as the precipitation was light and it turned into quite a nice day, cloudy, sprinkling, but not raining.

Our first stop was theĀ Algebuckina Bridge which is quite an iconic site and anyone travelling in this area will no doubt stop by to check it out. I won’t go into the heritage of the site as this knowledge is available in spades, but as a rest stop or camp site it well worth a look.

From here we made our way into Oodnadatta for some fuel and lunch. Along the way we stopped for an interesting reason. We came across a cyclist who was on their way from Darwin to Melbourne. Now I’m all for adventure, but to cycle through this part of the country, well that’s a little too much for me. We offered water but the young lady was quite happy and didn’t require any assistance.

On arrival in Oodnadatta, the well known Pink Roadhouse lived up to it’s name. It’s very Pink. We topped up with fuel, bought some pink stubbie coolers, and other supplies and then ordered a burger for lunch.

Our destination of Arckaringa Station wasn’t all that far from Oodnadatta but we always like to have time up our sleeve so we headed off to our most westerly point on this trip.

Arckaringa Station has the only accommodation in the Painted Desert and I can’t recommend this side trip enough. Travelling through the desert is like travelling across the surface of another planet.

The colours and geography of the place is quite simply breath taking. You find yourself wanting to stop everywhere to capture a different shade white or ochre. There are some natural lookouts though so if you see a turn off to one, try to stop and get some photos from the top.

We pulled into Arckaringa Station where we’d booked a cabin for the night and our companions chose to camp. This is a great spot and the cabins were perfectly adequate. There was only one slightly off putting situation which was the clogged bathroom facilities. There were quite a few people staying the night, and being the only flushing toilets within a 100km radius I think they were just a little overloaded and blocked up.

Luckily we brought everything we needed with us and so we were presented with the first opportunity to use our new pop up toilet. This was quite successful and I don’t think I would ever go back to a chemical toilet again to be perfectly honest.

I took the opportunity of a clear night to try my luck at some star photography with mixed success, however this one turned out quite nicely, with the Southern Cross clearly visible.

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