Still weird waking up before 6AM… And, even weirder being on the road at 8AM!
We camped in a rest area about 105km north of Halls Creek, and for some odd reason we had Telstra reception. It allowed me to ask some questions from DelicaClub members about the rattle from the front calliper. General consensus was that it was probably safe, but at earliest convenience I should replace/repair the worn sliding pins (or whatever it is that is worn). But, to be safe, I asked a mechanic in town who also agreed that it’s OK to drive with for a while. He also plugged the rear tyre that had picked up a nail (glad I found that early two days ago and didn’t destroy a tyre).
And, we didn’t do much else in Halls Creek (waited 30 minutes for a shower in a service station, restocked on food/fuel) but before we knew it, it was after 1PM. We’d planned to head to Wolfe Creek Crater to watch the sun set, but it was 150km from town, and 135 of that on unsealed roads. Remembering how long it took us to travel the 55km to Purnululu National Park when the road is in poor condition (2 hours) I started to panic and thought we were going to arrive in the dark.
The first 115km is along the Tanami Track, which is an inland route between Alice Springs and Halls Creek, travelling past the Tanami Desert. It was a track that I would have liked to have taken, but we’d miss too much of the Northern Territory with the route that we were on. I held my breath and made a wish as we turned off the bitumen highway to Derby onto the deep red road… and couldn’t believe that it was nice and smooth. I didn’t get too excited for risk of jinxing out luck, but after 10km the road was still in good condition and we were comfortably travelling at 75kph. Sadly, there wasn’t a whole lot to see on the drive – it was flat, dusty and only small scrubby plants and spinifex.
Then we reached the turnoff for the national park, and right on cue the killer corrugations began. We still had 20km to travel, and all the great time we’d made on the Tanami Track was going to be lost here. There were stretches of a few kilometres at a time of reasonable condition road, but when the corrugations started, they were horrible.
Oh, and lots and lots of dust. To give you an idea, I cleaned my glasses before leaving Halls Creek, by the time we arrived at the Wolfe Creek car park, I could barely see out of them. We have to keep the windows down while we’re driving (broken air conditioning), but close them any time we pass another car. And, even so, everything is dusty – the bed, our clothes, our hair, the food… everything.
Enough with the complaining. We’d made it with about 45 minutes to spare before sunset (camera batteries were flat, so had to wait 15 minutes to put a little charge in them – leaving me with 30 minutes). The crater doesn’t look like much from the car park, just some small grassy hills. In fact, it wasn’t even discovered (by white people) until the late 1940s when it was spotted from the air.
The facts: Wolfe Creek Crater is the world’s second largest meteorite crater; A 50,000kg meteor collided here 300,000 years ago; crater is 850m wide, and 50m deep (though, at the time it was 150m deep). Now, in the crater has been filled with sand/dust from the Tanami Desert, and a salty lake (due to evaporation) after rains.
It was only a 5-minute walk from the car park to the rim of the crater up a stony path. I was worried that it was something that you had to view from the air to appreciate, but it was unmistakably recognisable as a crater when viewed from the rim. It was interesting seeing the different vegetation inside the crater (spinifex, trees lining the outside of the wet-season lagoon, and different (salt-tolerant) shrubs living in the very centre). It looked like a crater within a crater (There’s a Pimp My Ride joke in there somewhere…). Also, sorry for the average panorama…
Oh, and speaking of dinner, I mentioned that I was going to keep track of dinner, so tonight was mash potato with pepper steak (which was pre-marinaded with way too much pepper, but we purchased it because it was the cheapest option).
And now, Risa gets to watch Wolf Creek (the movie) for the first time! As far as I’m aware, she believes that it’s a real movie. I haven’t told her that it is, nor have I corrected her about it…
７７日目 ７月２９日 (月) ウルフクリーク！
しかーし！ 国立公園入り口のサインがでた後の、残り２５kmがヒドかったー！ 場所によっては、史上最悪だったかも。