Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day 13 Australia - William Creek to Parachilna

Friday 6th March, 2015 - William Creek to Parachilna

Approx 387 km / 5 hours

After a fried breakfast with instant coffee for $40 we head out. The drive is all on dirt roads and encounter emus, sheep and cows.
First off a dingo ran across our path.

Travel on the Oodnadatta Track to Parachilna which has an official population of seven. Its
remoteness adds to the pleasure of its one and only hotel, which blends outback adventure with
a slice of city luxury.

The DIP signs had been "altered" and were funny. There was a DIP Sh$t, DIP Switch, lucky DIP. DIP had also been turned into DIRT.

A stop for gas - cheaper than William Creek where it was $2.00 a litre!!! This would have been a better place to spend the night.

An inukshuk???

Lake Eyre  officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre is the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15 m (49 ft) below sea level (AHD), and, on the rare occasions that it fills, the largest lake in Australia and 18th largest in the world. The temporary, shallow lake is the depocenter of the vast Lake Eyre Basin and is found in South Australia, some 700 km (435 mi) north of Adelaide. The lake was named in honour of Edward John Eyre, who was the first European to see it, in 1840.

We made a stop in an historic town Farina, which has a mosque that was used by the original camel drivers who came from Afgan.

Some interesting sights along the way.

This fridge was sitting outside Beltana, a semi-ghost town 540 kilometres (336 mi) north of Adelaide, South Australia. Beltana is known for continuing to exist long after the reasons for its existence had ceased. The town's history began in the 1870s with the advent of copper mining in the area, construction of the Australian Overland Telegraph Line and The Ghan railroad and began to decline in 1941 with the beginning of coal mining at Leigh Creek.

Parachilna is a country town in South Australia. The town was first surveyed in 1863 due to its closeness to a government water well. It is on the railway line and road between Port Augusta and Leigh Creek. Today, the Prairie Hotel, railway station, airstrip and a few buildings remain.

Prairie Hotel Parachilna
Corner High Street & West Terrace,
Parachilna SA 5034

The Prairie Hotel is an oasis on the cusp of the rugged Flinders Ranges east-side, and desert
plains west-side, sweeping toward Lake Torrens. Step into a haven of character, charm, creature
comforts, country hospitality and great food. The hotel's guests can experience on-site latest
leisure and sports facilities such as an outdoor pool. The hotel provides a warm and welcoming

The Prairie Hotel is the only substantial building, dating from the days when the rail was supreme. Away from the highway, the hotel fronts the railway line and the now derelict station building. The old hotel has been in part retained, in part restored and tastefully extended. There are now no passengers on the line that once ran from Adelaide to Marree and connected with the old Ghan line to Oodnadatta and Alice Springs. The hotel's patrons all come by car or bus and find their way in from the highway.

The grand old sandstone and limestone building is now replete with fully modern amenities; amenities that are not so frequent in places further north. 

What a difference to William Creek. This hotel is delightful, airy and clean. The hosts are charming and address us by name. Lochie is the son and we have a long chat about Nashville and country music which he loves. I didn't ask but I think he is a wanna be country star.

Jane asked where we had stayed the night before and smiled when I said William Creek and explained I had not been impressed. She said we were lucky to stay in the trailer as it is a lot better than the hotel rooms.

The room is bright and comfortable. There isn't a TV but that doesn't matter. We take our books and sit in the delightful lounge until it is time to get ready for dinner.

 As we sit and have a glass of wine we are introduced to another couple who are also guests, Stuart and Colleen from Australia.

Local aboriginal artwork decorates the lounges and dining room and there are displays of the nearby Ediacaran fossils, relicts of great significance to the fossil community.

The outstanding feature of establishment is the dining room menu and the 'feral feast' on offer. Camel mettwurst and camel sausage; goat and goat cheese and feral pork form a feral platter available as an antipasto or main meal. 
As we have our wine Jane asks if we would like an appetizer, we settle on emu pate with an apple chutney. Delicious.

A shirtless man walks into the bar and wanders around as we all stare openly at his audacity. He is German and asks if Jane has petrol, she says no the next station is 66 km away. When he leaves we all chat about how rude that was to walk in without a shirt.

Kangaroo and emu, although not feral, are also on the menu, with smoked roo, roo fillet and emu pâté on offer.

I had whiting with steamed vegetables and John had the beef cheeks which he loved.

The other couple and I stepped out to watch the sunset.

Jane then came in before dessert and said we had to see the full moon. This was a highlight of our trip, standing in the middle of the "highway" admiring an incredible moon.

The highlight of the evening is the passing of the train returning from Leigh Creek to the north, with coal for the power station at Port Augusta. It consists of some 180 trucks, 3 km in length, and takes about 5 minutes to pass. I asked about the train but was told that due to how hot it has been  the train now passes after 11 pm.

This hotel was been the best accommodation and food so far in Australia. 


  1. What an adventure you are having. I've never been to this part of the SA outback. It sounds wonderful. I've heard of the Prairie Hotel I do believe, I'd love the chance to visit sometime.

  2. That has got to be the furthest away from its usual area inukshuk on the planet.

  3. Oh, my goodness. Often I had to hide I´m German. At Ayers Rock a BRITZ parked on the disabled parking. They all were healthy and... German.
    Sign: "Don´t pick wildflowers"... Germans did. And how some always think it´s a language no one else understands. Embarrassing..

    1. OOPS, sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned his nationality. Rude/stupid people exist in all cultures. I have often commented on "ugly Canadians".


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