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Australia: Coober Pedy to William Creek & Lake Eyre

A 3-day taste of the outback from ground & air: Australia's underground town, smallest town & largest lake
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 430.175 miles
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview :  Despite its Crocodile Dundee image, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world - 92% of its 22 million population... more »

Tips:  Flies are everywhere in the outback and have scant regard for most repellents - take a fly head net.

Don't forget the obvious for hot... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Coober Pedy opal mines

The area surrounding Coober Pedy (population 1900) is the world's largest opal mine, but there are other reasons why the locals head underground. Scorching summer daytime temperatures have seen many people create underground housing to avoid the heat. Summer highs average 35 degrees C (95F)but have been known to reach nearly 50C (120F).

There... More

2. 'Road train' speeding past the opal mines

This is another good reason to do this trip by air. Drivers will encounter huge trucks often with two trailers, known as 'road trains'. They are the principal way to transport supplies and livestock in the outback so they usually have experienced drivers but they can be a bit disconcerting as they bear down on travellers going at a more leisurely ... More

3. William Creek airfield

This is where you start to get a sense of what bush flying is all about - no sealed tarmac here.

A week earlier, our pilot had received the radio message: “Keep to the right of the runway as you land, there's a plane bogged on the left.”

Not that bogged planes are usually a worry - the area gets an average of just 4 inches of rain a year. Just... More

4. William Creek main street

This is a small community, but one whose fame punches considerably above its weight given that its seven citizens are effectively living in the middle of a desert, 600 miles north of the nearest major city, Adelaide, and nearly 200 miles from … well, anything resembling human habitat.
The 'street' is more correctly known as the Oodnadatta Track... More

5. William Creek Hotel

Apart from being a hub for flights over Lake Eyre, this is the real reason to visit William Creek.
Its characterful pub is run by surprisingly world-wise owners and its visitors feel an overwhelming urge to record the achievement of arrival. Every inch of bar wall and ceiling is claimed by personal markers ranging from business cards to underwear.... More

6. Lake Eyre from the air

The lake is Australia’s largest at a staggering 3,700 square miles, but most of it rarely gets wet and exists predominantly as the world’s biggest salt pan. English daredevil Donald Campbell drove across its flat crust to set a world land speed record in 1964.
This year (2010), conditions are better suited to the water speed records he set on... More