The Gateway to Harts Range Gems


By Ken Ellis

My caravanning expertise was getting sharper each day and one of the quickest lessons I’d learned was to slow down; at 110kph I was burning up fuel like there was no tomorrow. As Julie pointed out, I was retired now and there was no time frame for our trip.

We crossed into the Northern Territory at Kulgera and pulled into the camping area behind the servo; although it wasn’t 5-star, all the required facilities were there and at $15 a night it was good value although the price of diesel made the wallet sweat. We opted to fill up at Erldunda the next day.


The trip to Gemtree via Alice Springs was uneventful save for when we turned off the Stuart Highway and were confronted by some 400 rally bash cars heading to Alice Springs. The next 70km was a nightmare as these idiots never slowed down when passing on the single lane highway; I could not believe we managed to reach Gemtree without a broken windscreen.


It was a relief to get off the main road and check into the van park in the air-conditioned comfort of their reception area. We were greeted by Cameron Chalmers, the owner of the park, who then left us in the capable hands of the delightful and names-you-will-never-forget, Jackie Zawacky, a Canadian backpacker working her way round Australia.


With all the formalities taken care of, Jackie jumped on a quad bike and escorted us to our van site; or rather let us pick whichever one we wanted seeing we were the only ones there at that time.

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