It was quite late in the day by the time I got away from Arcoona Homestead on the quadbike, heading north as part of my outback South Australia photography adventure.
With traveling time for the day short, I was pushing the limits a bit in that I saw a good camping spot with some firewood and passed it buy, expecting to find just as good a camp a few kilometres along the track toward Andamooka Station. As I topped the next rise I saw my next camp opportunity about 5 kilometres ahead, on another sand dune with some scrub. Trouble is, half way there I struck a stong, new fence across the track with no sign of a gate.
You see, the track is the former main road to Andamooka from down south at Pimba, but the main road is now the Olympic Way, about 30 kilometres to the west. The Andamooka Road is now just a station track, and a pretty rough one in many places.
So I followed the fenceline to the east, hoping to find a gate. A few kilometres along, the sun was behind the bank of cloud on the horizon and the light failing. No campfire by the look of it; not a tree to the horizon. Cold, canned food and a drink of water for my dinner.
Along the fenceline were piled up heaps of the original fence: wire netting and rusty wire with a few fence posts, pushed up with a dozer.
I pulled up near a likely looking tangle of old fence and set to work dragging some firewood out and breaking off the multiple strands of old fence wire. After a bit of hard work I had enough for the evening’s campfire and set about pitching my camp on the track, the place with the least stones. You see, it’s gibber plain country. That means rocks everywhere!
I had quite a battle getting my campfire started in the breeze, even with firelighters. I’m not so sure about these Redhead Firelighters! They might be alright at home in the fireplace, but camping firelighters? Nah!
Anyway, a cheery campfire and a cuppa work marvels. A few small cans of tucker mixed in to gether in the billy and I had a hot meal.
In the morning I was up before daylight and had my campfire going in time to greet the early morning glow from the rising sun. Soon it was time to face a new day’s adventure, finding my way along an old fenceline, over sand dunes and over some pretty rough and overgrown tracks, eventually getting back onto the Andamooka Road.
Again it was almost dark when I gave up on finding my destination, Andamooka Waterhole, and looked for a spot with some firewood and not too many stones, this time on an iron stone hillsid overlooking Willaroo Lagoon.
As I studied the GPS and the topo map in order to find my position and find a route to Andamooka Waterhole, four emus came toward me. One was shy but the others circled my camp a couple of times, maybe 15 to 25 metres away, looking for a feed, I’d say. Perhaps they got used to doing this when Andamooka Homestead was inhabited. It’s been empty for about three years.