OODNADATTA TO ALICE SPRINGS.
[By our Correspondent.]
-A Coach Trip.—
After having travelled for three days in the train one rests on Wednesday night at Oodnadatta, and then starts away in the coach on Thursday morning for Alice
Springs. The coach is simply a high-seated trap, and has a team of five horses. Unless the trip be taken after good rains, it would, owing to the dust, prove anything but plea sant. Each day's stage must cover 30 or 40 miles, or the journey could not be com pleted in specified time. The first day brings us in the evening to Macumba Sta tion, owned by Messrs. Cave & Co., and managed by Mr. Smart. This is a very sandy place. It has a large creek quite close to the station, and when running is very pretty. After staying the night there we rise early, breakfast, get all ready, say goodbye to station folk, and resume tra velling. Each day we halt at some suitable spot and have a billy tea lunch, but do not as a rule spend much time over this meal. The evening of the second day brought us to Hamilton Bore, at which is Mr. L. Un derdown's station. The bore is a Govern ment one, and has a splendid supply of good water, which when it reaches the sur face is quite hot. We camp here for the night, and leave again early next morning. Each day we have a fresh team of horses, otherwise the long stages completed could never be done. We are now having our third day in the coach; so we are by this time getting accustomed to the continuous sitting and to numerous jerks and bumps. As this day is drawing to a close we arrive at our destination, namely; ''Blood's Creek.'" This is Mr. J. Baile's station, and here he is now going in for the breed ing of the Angora goat. When one retires at night within the homestead it is with the thought that this will be the last night
for many to come that one sleeps under a roof. Next morning a very early start is required, as the mailman has to deliver the mails at Charlotte Waters by noon, and the road to be traversed is bad. We get a good start, and after going over continuous, rocky ground— in fact, more rocks than ground, and so consequently we get a good shaking up— we arive at Charlotte Waters between 11 and 12 o'clock. This is the first Government station reached since lea ving Oodnadatta, and will be the last until Alice Springs is seen. The building here is fine and spacious, and of stone. Mr. P. Byrne is in charge. We have a good spell of two or three hours before we once more take our seats. On Sunday we camp for the night, at Skull Creek. Next morning rise at daybreak, see about break fast, after the meal : roll up blan kets, pack provisions away, and so are ready for another day's stage. On Monday we get several glimpses of the River Finke, and have to cross it; but, as it is dry, this is by no means a hard task. This fine river must appear splendid when running. It has very large timber along its banks, which are in some places precipitous. There are numerous and varied birds in the, shady branches. By evening we reach our camping ground,, the 'Old Crown Point' Station. There are here a few dilapidated buildings, and the remains of the station homestead which has been removed to new quarters. There are here some curiously shaped mountains, one somewhat resembling a crown, hence the name of the station. Here, as previously, we go through the usual routine of pre paring tea, making camps. Next day —
our sixth in the coach— we reach our desti nation early in the afternoon, and it is Horseshoe Bend. Until one is almost there one would be unaware that there was any place of habitation within miles, as it lies right in a hollow, and is approached from a steep rise, down which precipitous grade we have to go, and at the bottom of which lies the station. This is owned by, Messrs. Sargeant & Elliott. One here has quite a change from the usual routine that has been gone through daily — namely, one need not get one's own meals, as these can be obtained at the homestead. Next morn ing— Wednesday— we say 'Goodby' to the driver and coach, that brought us so far from Oodnadatta, as they do not go any further, but return, after having, delivered 'up mails' and received ''down mails' to and from , driver of coach which has ar rived from Alice Springs. And so we start with fresh driver, coach, and horses. This day the travelling is very wearisome, as we are gonig through heavy sandhills the whole time; hence the going is remarkably slow. Nothing meets the eye but dune after dune, and so we journey until dark, when once more camp. Thursday — the next day— is simply a repetition of Wednesday, except at midday we come to the Alice Well homestead of Hayes & Sons', and so one sees again a house and a few people. We camp here for dinner and for horses to get a drink, and then once more resume journey, to go through sandhills until dark, when we stop for night. Friday, sometime during the afternoon, we arrive at "Deep 'Well. There is here the remains of the homestead. We have a rest here, and change horses. If possible we get away same afternoon, for if we manage this we are most likely to get to arrive at Alice Springs on Saturday evening but should we have to camp at Deep Well Friday we will not arrive at Alice until Sunday morn ing. Leaving Deep Well Friday we jour ney along (and one is thankful to have got through the sandhills). We try to reach Oraminna before camping. Saturday morning one rises with the thought. "This
is the last day" and so hurry and get an early start. The MacDonnell Range is even in view now. We drive on and reach Temple Bar Well. It is here we would have had to camp if we were out Saturday night. From here it is only a matter of a few hours. We soon come up to the range, and magnificent it is to see the lofty mountains. We pass through a lovely gap in the range known as "Heavitree Gap." and cross the Tod River. Just before entering this gap we pass the police camp, and so have only two more miles to go be fore the coach draws up in front of the hotel, and one is able to dismount, having come to the end of the journey, which has in all occupied a fortnight's continuous travelling since first entraining at Adelaide.