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I’ve made it to Alice Springs. From Coober Pedy to Alice Springs was about 850km (510 mi). In that distance there were zero towns, cities, villages or communities on the road. None. There were three road houses where you could buy fuel, but that’s it. North of Alice Springs it is pretty much the same. It is 1500km (900 mi) from Darwin, which is probably the closest real hospital.
I know I’ve spoke of this before during my drive through West Australia, but it is hard to fathom just how vast and empty the middle of Australia is. Between Alice Springs and the Indian Ocean there is probably only one or two paved roads, and that is about 1,300 miles away (2000km). Near Coober Pedy, there is a cattle station which is larger than the nation of Belgium, and yet it can only support 2000 head of cattle because the land is so dry and barren.
The Todd River in Alice Springs has no water in it. Zero. It is totally dry. (The locals joke the water is so clear, you can see the bottom of the river.)
Yet, Alice Springs really is sort of an oasis. There are trees here and while there isn’t much water, there is at least some water.
With only 25,000 people, the town may be small, but it is by far the largest in the outback. It is home to the Royal Flying Doctors, which services the outback, and the school of the air, which is a school for kids living in the outback. It used to use two-way radio, but now uses satellite internet connections.
Depending on what Uluru tour I take, I may take the train to Darwin.
Despite being so remote, I was able to see The Dark Knight last night in a theater here. I was sort of surprised they had it.