Adelaide to Woomera (500 km) via National Highway A1 and A87
Adelaide departure has finally arrived! Before we can leave, however we must make payment! A most important ritual for safe passage and happy travels. In the ancient shamanic teachings of Native Americans, and specifically by our close California tribal elder and friend, Bobby AKA Medicine Grizzly Bear (to learn more, read Bobby’s book, Call of the Great Spirit; The Shamanic Life and Teachings of Medicine Grizzly Bear, Bobby Lake-Thom ISBN 9781879181663 ) we make payment (offerings) with salt bush, which is local to us and the region we live in here on the Kaurna Plains (Adelaide, South Australia) instead of tobacco, commonly used in the US by Native Americans. Our good friend and Aboriginal elder, Aunty Irene concurs!
The ancient law of reciprocity applies and so in return for permission and safe passage across so many ancient indigenous lands, home of who knows how many ancestral beings and ancient sacred sites we offer up our saltbush and make a short prayer to the four directions, Mother Earth, Father Sky and the Great Spirit. We ask for permission, help, and safe travels to and on our return home! And then, finally it is time to hit the road! We head for Woomera, South Australia! Woomera is Aboriginal for an ancient device used to greatly enhance spear throwing. It may soon become obvious, why this truly outback town is named, Woomera!
Our route takes us north from Adelaide. Driving first along the Western flank of the Lofty ranges, we catch glimpses of water on our left. These belong to St. Vincent’s Gulf. We cross the top of York Peninsula, home of the indigenous Butterfish people before finally reaching the eastern edge of Spencer Gulf, which leads us to Port Augusta. The outback is very close now! A quick rest stop at the Australian Arid Lands Botanical Garden (https://www.aalbg.org) atop the red cliffs overlooking the very tip of Spencer Gulf provides a spectacular back drop and hints at what the first white people experienced. For at this very spot Mathew Flinders disembarked in 1802 to investigate the possibility of finding a way into what was thought then to be an inland sea! Although the concept of an inland sea drove Flinders’ and others of his era to search, their timing was way off. More on the inland sea later when we arrive in Coober Pedy to discover this extreme outback desert town and its bountiful harvest of gem quality opals, envy of the fashion world, fossils and other ancient wonders.
Departing Port Augusta and the Australian Arid Lands Botanical Garden also marks our entry into the Great Australian Outback. It also marks the transition from the Kaurna Nation (Red Kangaroo dreaming) to the Barngarla Nation. The landscape is harsh, barren and devoid of plants especially. There has been much clearing by the colonists to establish sheep and cattle farms and also by military research scientists who developed the top secret, at the time Woomera rocket testing range for nuclear weapons. Many atomic bombs have been detonated in the arid lands of South Australia and now form part of the history and allure of the great Australian Out Back, like it or not! Feral animals, including goats, pigs, camels, foxes and cats have also contributed significantly to altering the landscape. We see many goats in the fields beside us as we continue driving north up the highway.
Some hours later we arrive at Woomera. It’s a tiny private town. We are just in time for sunset and a sighting of the New Moon! Its Saturday night and the band is playing outside under fairy lights in the only caravan park in town. The local flock of corellas are squawking as they roost or to herald our arrival, we can't quite be sure but their squawking appears to irritate at least one person as we hear shot gun blasts! It does not silence them for long. And this then, is our welcome to the great Australian Outback!
We sip wine as the new moon slowly sets. Sunset colours fade into darker hues of twilight and before long a jewel laden night sky crackles into life before us. It is very hard to leave the stunning view and head to bed but we are on a mission and a timeline to meet the full moon rising in Broome!
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