Still enjoying the rush of driving through such difficult conditions on the Mount Hopeless track, the Strzelecki Track was like a highway in comparison. I had travelled it with a friend 24 years earlier and then it was a challenging four wheel drive track. Since the expansion of gas exploration in the Cooper Basin the road is quite busy with trucks and of course the better road makes it accessible to ordinary two wheel drive vehicles, at least in the dry. Still, it retains some of its romance and it is certainly remote.
At Arkaroola we could have availed ourselves of showers at the Arkaroola Village but we decided to spend, for the most part, the 11 days in our camp, recuperating and enjoying the aloneness and serenity. Besides, it was still pretty cold except for the middle part of the day and who wants to step out of a hot shower into those conditions? So I suppose we were pretty smelly when we left, taking into account we also spent 2 days on the Mount Hopeless track. We prayed that there might be some place to camp where we could have a wash.
Prayer answered……we pulled into a place for lunch a couple of hundred metres off the track called Montecollina Bore, lo and behold a hot bore to boot! We ended staying two nights, bitterly cold nights with frost covering everything in the morning but during the day we all wallowed and splashed in the liquid warmth of the dam.
I was here that we began to notice the phenomenon known as the ‘grey nomad’, cashed up retirees doing the travel that they never did during their productive working life. We noticed further that there were hardly any children travelling, they were all at school. Consequently the oldies would fawn over our little children saying ‘how we miss our grandchildren’. We were happy for our children to provide ‘grandparent therapy’.
After our sojourn we continued to Innaminka detouring along what is known as the Old Strzlecki Track, an old section of the road about 70 kms in length. It remains after the original main road was realigned to the west. We did not encounter any other vehicles on this section as we wended our way through trees and shady creek beds.
Innamincka, synonymous with the explorers Burke and Wills and, for travellers like us, infamous for the exorbitant prices charged in the only store in town. A monopoly on food and petrol…a license to make money!