I woke up the morning of the 12th May 2013. It was a beautiful day. Although I had been warned that the track that goes around Coongi Lakes to Walkers Crossing was very isolated; I decided to take the short cut to Birdsville through the Sturt Stony Desert.
I filled my water tanks which hold 280 litres and had plenty of food on board in case of emergency. The Land Cruiser holds 270 litres of diesel. I camped on Cooper Creek at a campsite called Ski Beach for the night so I could get an early start on the Walkers Crossing. “This will be the last time I see water for a while” I thought. “Who knows how long this track will really take?”
The new day begins. I’m excited. Me, my music, Hema Map on my iPad, and it’s a cracker of a day.
Leaving the banks of Cooper Creek heading west, the trees are slowly disappearing and the grey, sandy flat plains consume everything in their path. Three hours into the drive, I found many tracks going in all directions. If it wasn’t for my GPS I would have driven around in never ending circles, wasting my fuel and food.
The further I drove along the track the narrower it became and the surface was soft and sandy. A bit more concentration was required. Walkers Crossing track runs north south, so you drive between the dunes. As the dunes get higher the colour of the sand turns to red. As the kilometres slip by I begin driving through stony country. In the distance it looks like there is a huge lake, but it is only the heat shimmering off the trillions of small pebbles. The ground looks like a huge steam roller has pressed the pebbles into the ground and created a random mosaic effect.
The track begins heading north, north west and I continued driving between the dunes. I reached the end of Walkers Crossing, the vastness of the landscape was humbling. It is a part of Australia that very few people are lucky to see and I want to return. When I reflect on this small part of my journey, I saw no other persons or moving vehicle. There was nothing to break the horizon line – not a tree, bird, emu or kangaroo. Not even a breeze. It was so still just the sun beating down. How isolated it made me feel. It was like I was the only living thing on the planet.
I would like to thank the workshop crew and office staff from Caravan Repair Centre for an excellent job in preparing my van for a 6,000 kilometre journey from Brisbane to Darwin – most of it on dirt roads. It is a great feeling to know that these guys caravan and camp themselves, take pride in their work, and love passing on useful tips and information to their customers. Thank you.