After an incredible weekend away visiting Uluru/Kata-Tjuta National Park my next plan of action was to continue down the centre of Australia to Adelaide. With no luck finding a ride share from Darwin to Alice Springs, I hoped I would be lucky enough to find someone else heading south on the 1,500km journey to Adelaide. That is the distance of driving from Paris, France to Krakow, Poland. After posting a message on a backpacker Facebook group (literally the best things in the world!) I found another girl who also wanted to make the same trip and had booked a relocation camper* for just $5 a day. We were allowed four days to make our way down to Adelaide and were given a total of 2,000km to use (Alice to Adelaide is only 1,500km).
After meeting for the first time that morning, picking up the camper and heading to a supermarket to stock up on food for the next couple of days we were ready to hit the road. Literally one road all the way to Adelaide. Whereas the the North side of the Stuart Highway, which connects Darwin and Alice and has small towns every 100kms or so (including Tennant Creek and Daly Waters) the Southern side of the highway literally has nothing other than roadhouses and small rest stops. At least for much of the journey anyway.
After around 300kms (three hours or so), and a pretty incredible lightning storm, we reached the Northern Territory/South Australia border. Once in SA we continued south for another couple hundred kilometres until we decided to call it a day and found a place to park up for the night at a roadhouse for a small charge (deciding against a free rest area on the side of the highway which was empty). Safety first and all. In addition we also had a fantastic view of the sun setting across the outback bush land.
After a surprisingly comfortable nights sleep for both of us, and a beautiful sunrise (yes! We even saw the sunrise!) we enjoyed breakfast and multiple cups of coffee before heading back out on the road again.
Next we came to a town called Coober Pedy famous for its opal mining and underground buildings (due to its ridiculously high temperatures during the summer months). As soon as we arrived I fell in love with the place! We first went to the information centre and the man in there was very welcoming and helpful telling us what we could see and do. We decided to go to the Kangaroo Sanctuary which was run by a lovely couple who they looked after joeys whose mums had been killed on the road or hunted by the aboriginal community. We also went to visit an underground church (which was one of my favourite churches I’ve ever been to!)
After spending a few hours in Coober Pedy we got back out on the road where we enjoyed the beautiful changing scenery, rainbows and even saw emus! That night we were lucky enough to find a free rest spot to sleep for the night which was on the same site as a roadhouse and a petrol station, and also had plenty of other people so we felt safe.
The next morning we prepared for a long drive down to Adelaide on the last leg of our journey. We reached Port Augusta around midday for a quick fuel stop both for the car and for us (fuel=coffee!). We finally arrived in Adelaide at around 5pm on Thursday afternoon and after a celebratory “we arrived!!” picture at Glenelg Beach before we found a place to stay for the night and enjoyed our last meal and night together in our camper van.
*For those of you who don’t know about relocation campers I’ll briefly explain:
A relocation is when a vehicle needs to be taken from one city/state to another in specific period of time. The rental companies therefore let you rent out these cars and campers for a significantly cheaper price provided the vehicle arrives at its destination in the time period. Sometimes the rental companies will give you a kilometre limit which covers the distance traveled and usually a bit more (if you wanted to take a detour). All you pay for is the fuel you use and, if you hire a camper, the gas for the stove.
Note: there was also a $1,000 bond we had to pay when we first got the vehicle, however this is returned when the vehicle arrives with no problems/scratches etc.