Papunya

Friday seven weeks ago we continued our drive along the Tanami road until Yuendumu. First we passed the Granite gold mine, sure we were not allowed to enter the premises. They also don’t offer fuel or supplies, only in case of emergy you might ask for assistance. Apart from that they only want to do their business. They’ve also constructed a large runway, in order to fly in and fly out the workers. Because no worker wants to drive along the Tanami for a day or something like that, just to get to the next shift. So in essence I just saw a Fokker 100 aircraft on the airfield. Even as it is a small aircraft, it is pretty impressive, once you see it in the middle of nowhere. The road is mainly straight, and the only variety you might get is from the different plants which are lined up. At a distance for about 60-100km there are also several bores along the road. In a depth of less than 5m there is groundwater. It is pretty salty, and probably a bit too salty for humans, but it’s for sure good enough for cattle, as a bit west of Yuendumu the pastoral leases with cattle on it already started again. In Yuendumu we got some supplies and fuel at one of the two general stores. We asked for a permit in order to get south to Papunya through Southern Tanami IPA, but everyone told us, that’s not necessary. So we turned off the Tanami road and started the “shortcut” south. The gravel road south in the direction to Papunya is pretty good and not too corrugated. Even the signposts are clearly visible. Hence, we were much faster as I anticipated, and just camped about 15km north of town next to the road. We even got mobile reception there, and only one car drove by in the evening. All in all, it was trouble free to stay there…

Fokker 100, I guess I’ve never seen one before, as this type of aircraft from the 80’s is quite rare
One of the bores with the natural water just a few meters underneath the soil…
…is pretty salty
There were pretty large termite mounds in one section…
…whereas in another section, they didn’t built up that high. Apart from grass and small bushes, there’re no other plants around here.
All of a sudden, there’s a natural spring near a dry river, and everything went green around that. That’s a somewhat surreal place in the middle of the desert.
Supplies for the outback are always transported like that
There’s a lot of bushes and trees south of Yuendumu, not just when we left the Southern Tanami IPA.
The Central Mount Wedge is a precursor of what else will come
These kind of interesting trees just grow north of Papunya, I guess they have such kind of leaves to use the humid air in the cold nights as water source