Hermannsburg

Wednesday seven weeks ago I was driving all the way back I came three days earlier and stopped at the lookout to Mount Conner. This is also a table-top mountain and sometimes referred to as, the Fake Uluru, as you will see it 100km earlier than the real Uluru, if you approach from the east. The mountain is situated on private land and can only be accessed with a guided tour. Shortly before I turned again north to the Luritja road, I passed again Marcus on his bicycle. At the Wallara ranch I turned east on the Giles road, and followed that gravel road for a while. The corrugations weren’t too bad and hence, driving was quite ok. After about one hour I reached the turnoff of the Temple Downs road, well the first 10km were more like a track. Fording the Palmer river wasn’t too bad, and the sand dunes afterwards were also not a problem with reduce tyre pressure. The Temple Downs road went again into a graded, but a bit corrugated, road. Not difficult to drive, so I just let it go with about 50-60km/h…until I realised a sudden velocity drop, I hit the acceleration pedal…but obviously something was wrong. So I stopped to check…and again had a flat tyre at the rear left side 🙄. Well in the first moment I was just happy, that I invested 80$ the day before in a new tube, so I can just change it back to my former wheel, and don’t need to use the 2nd spare tyre from the roof rack. But it’s getting already noon. That means no shade at all, a sandy, dusty road, and for sure nobody around me for the next 20-50km or so. Perfect place to change tyres. I drove the car to a relatively flat area and parked it also on the right hand side of the road. As the top of the road was somewhat loose sand for about 5-10cm, and just underneath it was pretty hard, I could put the jack at the right position to lift up the car. Additionally I digged a whole with my shovel underneath the wheel, so I could change the wheels more easily. After less than one hour everything was done properly and I could continue my drive, but now I didn’t drove faster than 40km/h. I really don’t know what the problem was, as the gravel road wasn’t rocky or so, but solely consisted of sand. Even I knew I had a second spare tyre, I don’t want to change again a tyre that day. Slowing down and staying save was more important than being fast. About one hour later I reached the southern extend of the Finke Gorge track, which followed the Finke river, one of the largest and longest rivers in the NT, until Hermannsburg. The track itself was a bit rough and rocky, especially the several crossings of the Finke river. But slowing down and just following the track, everything was fine. I was warned a place called “Boggy Hole”. Well first it’s the only water hole along the Finke River and hence, all the wild animals getting there for a sip. Shortly after that a car came opposite to me and we had a short chat. He told me that two Swiss couples got severely bogged just a few hundred metres away, but apart from this sandy patch, there’s nothing to worry about. And the same was true for the way I came. Then I passed the two cars from the two Swiss couples, and as far as I understood the didn’t decreased the tyre pressure. And if you still have your highway tyre pressure of 40 psi, then its likely that you get stuck. I tried with 25 psi and used their track and hadn’t any problem at all. It was definitely not as worse as along the old Karunjie road. About 10km before Hermannsburg I stayed at the end of the national park for the night.

Mount Conner lookout…
…and a salt lake just on the other side of the road.
After crossing the Palmer River along the Temple Downs road…before the flat tyre
Crossing the Finke River was always rough and bumpy, but not as bad as in El Questro
The Rock layers were shifted up some time ago
Wild horses and other animals looking for a sip at Boggy Hole
Moon rise in the Finke gorge

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