A Lake Eyre photo assignment from GEO magazine got us quickly driving 3,000 km to the heart of South Australia to meet German writer Markus Wolff in Roxby Downs. Markus was flying in from Hamburg with many connecting flights to reach Adelaide and we were driving straight from Far North Queensland with all of us heading to Roxby Downs by 4WD. A mining town in northern South Australia, the Roxby Downs mine owned by BHP Billiton produces copper, uranium, silver and gold. This town was surreal. After passing many rural rustic towns, Roxby Downs gave us a shock looking shiny new, like it could be in any big city town! This meeting place was our gateway to William Creek which is closest to Lake Eyre.
With the flooding of Lake Eyre for the third consecutive year, everybody seemed headed for William Creek – permanent population of 6 people plus a dog. Oodnadatta Track is the looooong corrugated gravel road that everyone had to pass to reach William Creek. Beside the Old Ghan railway with wooden sleepers and massive rusted nails littered all over the place, the Oodnadatta Track is part of the trilogy of unsealed tourist routes along with the famous Birdsville Track and the less famous Strzelecki Tracks. We travelled ALL these roads to find our magical creatures.
With Yogi driving 80km/hour, we were eating everybody’s dust – every vehicle seemed to have super strong suspension and they zoomed past us like they were in an autobahn. But we were not rushing this. We wanted to savour every minute and every opportunity, being this far away from home at the heart of the Australian Outback.
In freezing Halligan Bay of Lake Eyre