Day 93 | stocking up at Finke then: towards the centre of Australia: Lambert Centre

47 km | Heading west total: 3,525 km

Finke, or Aputula as the town is known by its inhabitants, has about 400 residents and a reasonable community shop.

Ok, so they have to lock up the petrol pumps at night, and a kilo of Uncle Toby’s rolled oats is just under $10, but they had packets of biscuits for $2.50 and even a few decent bananas for $1 each.

It was the first shop I’d seen in 6 days so I stocked up bigtime. Well, enough to get me to the shop at Kulgera out on the highway in a couple of days time.

I met a guy Donald who filled up all my water bottles (all 16 litres) and told me about the most famous feature of Finke: the Finke desert race.

Every Queens Birthday weekend, last weekend in June here, 100s of cars and motorbikes descend on Finke and race along the sandy and undulating track alongside the old Ghan railway line to Alice Springs on the Sunday and back again on the Monday. It’s Paris/ Dakar rally style with deaths fairly commonplace each year, the winner has an average speed of 120 odd k an hour and the “road” is a mighty rough bush track, dusty and sandy in equal measure, with considerable amount of topographical oscillation. The track is described as typical Red Centre terrain: long straights, tight corners and sandy creek beds.

Donald was enthusiastic about getting a desert buggy, or motorbike, to compete: when he got his licence.