Pokies Australia Uluru Rock
Pretty damn well, it has to be said. Route 66 across the US? New Zealand's famed South Island drive? But our iconic road trip of Pokies Australia Uluru Rock, via a few of the fabulous wineries of the golden Clare Valley, traversing the magnificent Flinders Ranges, dropping in at tiny bush towns with time for a flight over Lake Eyre, staying underground at wacky Coober Pedy and then crossing breathtaking desert, is an absolute bucket list must-do.
It's not the kind of trip you have to wait until retirement to have the time for, either. It's possible to do it comfortably in a week — although a more leisurely 10 days or two weeks would be even better.
I flew from Sydney to Adelaide first thing in the morning, had breakfast at the beach in Glenelg and then picked up a car, a new Audi Q3 that I'd been asked to test-drive.
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A compact SUV, I thought it could be perfect for the route ahead. This trip can be done comfortably in a two-wheel-drive as the roads are pretty good, but with an SUV or four-wheel-drive you can venture off-road at various points, too, to kick up some real outback dust. This first leg takes you out of the city, through its backblocks into the verdant green hills of the Clare Valley, with rich farmland, rolling vineyards and tumbling stone ruins.
You arrive in plenty of time, too, for some wine-tasting. One cellar door not to be missed is Skillogalee, Pokies Australia Uluru Rock boutique winery that's family-owned and operated, with wines made by a father-and-son team and food prepared by the daughter as head chef. The winery takes its name from a local creek, which was in turn named after the gruel "skilly" made from grass seeds and water on which a British explorer in the area survived.
These days, provisions are far more plentiful; the Clare Valley was the first region in Australia to pair food with its grape offerings. Skillogalee has its own restaurant housed in a year-old stone settler's cottage, nestled among the green wooded hills, and accommodation, serving dishes such as confit duck with braised red cabbage, and Middle Eastern yoghurt-baked mulloway, served on saffron and sumac rice.
Extra Time-Out Cycle or walk the Riesling Trail, or take the new Rattler Trail, with its ever-changing views of vineyards, farmland and bush.
Uluru: Australia's rock of ages - Lonely Planet travel video
Gradually the green countryside gives way to flat yellow sweeps of dried grasses, the beginnings of the red dust of the outback, and, in the distance, the mighty Flinders Ranges appear in a haze of purple.
From this point on, the landscape grows steadily more and more rugged, and bluffs soar over quiet gorges circled by eagles, while sheep graze tranquilly, their coats pink from the earth. All around the Flinders are great drives and 4WD tracks, which the Q3 handled with ease, while its jewel is Wilpena Pound, an ancient, natural, giant crater criss-crossed with walking trails.
Take a break here for a brisk walk to see some of the views. Further on, Parachilna feels almost in the middle of nowhere — because it is. But its fiery red setting is known the world over because of the number of movies filmed here, such as Holy Smoke! It's also the last place you might expect to find one of the globe's hippest hotels, but the surprises keep on coming. This is the home of the Prairie Hotel, a great pub Pokies Australia Uluru Rock no TV or pokies allowed — a very comfortable hotel, and astoundingly good food.
Its speciality is its Feral Mixed Grill: Extra Time-Out Take a longer hike in Wilpena Pound, sleeping at Rawnsley Park Station; stop off at Quorn for a ride on the steam-driven Pichi Richi Railway; or just chill out at the Prairie, watch the sunrise and sunsets and meet the locals.
Leave early for a day of longer driving to give yourself plenty of time to stop along the way and take photos. Have a break at Maree, the small town at the start of the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks that once used to be a bustling railhead, before the original Ghan Fruit Machines Pokie Licious Meat was relocated.
Now with a population of just 70 people, it's fascinating for both its history — Australia's first mosque was built here by Afghan cameleers — and its atmosphere. With an old Ghan carriage incongruously in the middle of town, it's a place where you feel time like everything else has stopped.
From here, you turn west on to the historic Oodnadatta Track through semi-arid desert, passing by oasis springs, historic ruins and great views of the shimmering Lake Eyre to the north, with its salt-encrusted plains stretching all the way Pokies Australia Uluru Rock the water, and plenty of side-trips to try out the suspension of an SUV or 4WD.
After a kilometre drive to the north-west, you finally come to William Creek, South Australia's tiniest town — population three humans and a dog — which is enjoying something of a revival from tourists coming to see Lake Eyre in flood. This is a great place from which to take a flight over the lake, for that once-in-a-lifetime view of Australia's largest inland salt lake with water actually in it.
The views are spectacular, ranging from the blinding white of the salt deposits still there on its shores, to the pale mauves and blues of the water itself, dotted with islands covered in birds bewildered by the water flows. The cabin accommodation in town is nothing flash but is clean and comfortable, and the local pub, full of character and decorated with buffalo heads, old plough blades and guns, serves unexpectedly excellent meals, including plate-size steaks, burgers, pies and even fish and chips.
Is this a trail or path? The resort is clean, has a few hotel, apartment, and camping options, and various dining options as well. With a population drawn from more than 50 countries, there are no fewer than four underground churches, including the heritage-listed St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church — thought to be the first underground church in the world — the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Revival Fellowship and the Catacomb Church.
Extra Time-Out Take another flight or combine the two! Turn right from William Creek to pass the entrance to Anna Creek, the largest cattle station in the world, at a mind-boggling 24, square kilometres, the size of Holland and Belgium combined.
Winding through the red dust claypans, the towering sandhills and past the salt bush and blue bush that break up the incredible tree-less emptiness of the landscape, eventually you start approaching Coober Pedy. To spend 4 hrs waiting for a meal that was no better than cantine food to finally see the beautiful field of lights for only 30 mins at best is truly not worth aud per person!
Better go with a general admission ticket to go Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. What is Certificate of Excellence?
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago. Nice Hotel, Large Grounds, Pool. Reviewed 3 weeks ago.
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