Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 7 - Oodnadatta to Farina

Overnight we all decided that we would take on the Strzelecki Track, having seen the sign at Lyndhurst indicating that the track was open.

Before we hit the new track we had to get ourselves back down the Oodnadatta Track to Lyndhurst.

So after a fairly quick pack up - including the freshly washed clothes and people, we fuelled up and started to make our way back down the Oodnadatta Track.  There were a few things that I wanted to see on the way back down.  Given the 'speed' we travelled up the track it's no surprise that there were things that we didn't stop to look at.  That said, even though we had a couple of stops on the way back down there is still plenty of things to see.

Our first planned stop was the Algebuckina Bridge.  It's a history lesson, a tale of woe for a chap named Fred and even a free campsite.

Built as a railway bridge crossing the Neals River and the floodplain, it was opened in 1892.  Apparently about 350 men were involved in the construction.  It's the longest bridge in South Australia, and these days there isn't a train in sight on the Old Ghan Line to use it.

But I simply love the story of Fred...  Near the bridge there is a wrecked car, which apparently belonged to Fred.  The legend goes that during the floods of 1974 Fred decided to cross the bridge, so he used railway sleepers to fill the gaps.  He apparently inched his way forward, moving sleepers from the back of the car to the front of the car, then driving a bit further forward...  You get the idea.

All was going well until a train (or a works train) appeared and hit the car.  Fred survived but his car didn't.

Leaving here our next stop was William Creek for lunch and a check over the vehicles.  We decided to stop off at the mound springs near Coward Spings.  It is a relatively easy frive back down to there so we cracked on...

The mound springs are located within the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs National Park.  They are, to a point, the reason that the Oodnadatta Track and the Old Ghan line exist.  The provided a permanant water supply for the steam trains running along the Old Ghan and water for the settlers.  They also served the traditional owners well, providing a watered trading route for them to use.

And the stop off there was pretty interesting.  While Blance Cup was not accessible, The Bubbler was and we walked up and watched the water bubble up into the bowl.  In the middle of a what looks to be deseert country this is pretty cool.

An awsosme part of the trip.

From here it was a fairly easy run back to Farina Station where we took advantage of their fantastic campsite.  Large grassy sites and plenty of room to spread out.  The campgrounds have hot showers - just light the donkey boiler.  There is a little hill nearby and the walk up to it is worthwhile as at the top there is a war memorial.