An overnight getaway at Hale River homestead

An hours drive east of Alice Springs is a little oasis, just perfect for an overnight or weekend getaway. Hale River Homestead on Old Ambulindum Station is a station stay nestled within the East MacDonnell Ranges along the Binns Track in Central Australia.

Overnight or weekend getaways are few and far between out of Alice. Aside from a 5 hour drive to Uluru, there are only a handful of places you can go that aren’t camping only. Hale River Homestead not only offers a campground but it also has the old homestead, a cottage, the gen shed or a bunkhouse to rent for overnight or long stay if camping isn’t your thing. ‘The Workshop’ even caters for meals and drinks, if you don’t feel like cooking or packing all the food you need to cook something!

Girl in the Pjs Hale River Homestead
Girl in the Pjs Hale River Homestead
Girl in the Pjs Campfire
Girl in the Pjs Hale River Homestead
Girl in the Pjs Hale River Homestead

Our Getaway

We rented the bunkhouse for our Picnic Day overnight getaway at Hale River Homestead. There was a brief moment when we considered getting away for the entire weekend but with the small kids, one night is optimal, leaving the long weekend Monday to do other chores. Jemima reminded us of this while I walked her in the Bjorn at 12:30am!

The Bunkhouse has a fully equipped kitchen and a BBQ, perfect for a sausage dinner for the kids, to reheat brisket for the adults and for bacon and eggs in the morning! None of which I can take credit for.

Marshmallows by the fire and a wine or two was just a dream due to the Jemima troubles but next time. She won’t be little forever. We’ll definitely be taking another getaway weekend at Hale River Homestead.

Road Trip through Coober Pedy

The stretch of road between Port Augusta and Coober Pedy tends to be thought of as a big stretch of nothingness but on our recent road trip I realised that it has a little more to offer than nothing. There are a number of gorgeous pink lakes, seen below in the photos I took quickly through the moving car window. 

To break up the drive, we spent the night at Coober Pedy. Coober Pedy lies along the Stuart Highway, about 800kms north of Adelaide and about 800km south of Alice Springs. The town's claim to fame is that it is the largest opal mining area in the world. Opal mines surround the town. Some are working mines and other's are abandoned - so be careful where you step! Coober Pedy's other claim to fame is it's underground houses. The underground houses maintain a consistent temperature all year round, not needing air conditioning despite plus 40 Celsius temperatures in summer.  

When in Coober Pedy we stay at the always lovely, permanently stuck in the 1980s hotel/motel, the Desert Cave. The decor might be a thing of the past, but it's clean and it has an old glamour edge to it. You can just imagine what it was like when it first opened. So fancy! An oasis in the desert. 

Last time we were there (back in 2013!) forked out the big bucks for an underground room (you have to stay in one at least once) but this time we cheapened out and went for an above ground room. For dinner we went to the hotel restaurant and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meal. Yes, it's expensive but you are in the middle of nowhere, of course it will cost you more than an equivalent meal in a city. Expect to pay more. The town itself, quite desolate does have a pretty element to it at the golden hour.

More pictures of Coober Pedy here.