Social media types are unwinding as the lack of phone coverage cuts contact. We’re forced to revive real-time, face-to-face conversation.
And really, the epic visuals of this part of our continent, with its vast skies that “small” (i.e. 75,000 hectares) station owner Roly Hughes terms “the aerial ocean”, can’t be caught in a photograph but only in the soul. “It’s a really big feeling,” Roly says.
Day three to Innamincka, just into South Australia, is a 570-kilometre drive with only small stretches “on the red (dirt)”. Going via Eulo’s restorative artesian mud baths writes off a pleasant two hours soaking in 40-million-year-old clays.
Then there’s a loo stop at a drop-dunny that, apart from a huge crossroad sign, is the only man-made feature for hundreds of kilometres.
It’s late in the day but a not-to-be-missed stop is the Dig Tree, near Oontoo. Here, in 1861, the starving Burke and Wills failed to find the buried cache of food that might have sustained them for a little longer on their return journey from the north coast.
By Innamincka, it’s dark. As we pull up before the hotel, trail master Dave comes on the radio: “Well done, team. A trip that could have taken five hours has just taken 12 hours and 17 minutes.”
Yeah. Copy that. But we’re having a great time!