A driving kind of day in prospect, as I make my way back to Alice Springs via the Lasseter Highway (of Lasseter’s fabled Reef fame .. look it up!). The road was straight and the country flat, affording views of very distant hills and ranges. Was hoping to stop before reaching the Stuart Highway for a bite to eat but there were no roadside stops. Anyway, reached Erldunda Roadhouse, where I wolfed down a welcome cheese salad wrap. This roadhouse features a display about the “Centre of Australia” (see below) although interestingly the roadhouse is not actually that near any of the many possible “centres”. While there, I ran into Ash and his wife, happy owners of a newer model Patriot camper trailer. Turns out that there will be a meetup of Patriot owners in Alice Springs around the time of the Finke Desert Race. Patriot has some kind of dune buggy entered in the race.
I decided to push further north, and about 40kms later, on the spur of the moment, decided to stay in a 24 hour rest area, which provides basic facilities: toilet, drinking water, covered seating; and flat camping spots. Well, turned out me and a bunch of others had decided to do the same thing. Again, the Milky Way was amazing at around 3AM, if you could ignore the road trains thundering by. [Honestly, there were very few trucks, considering the Stuart Highway is a major route from Adelaide to Darwin.]
Centre of Australia. The Centre of a continent, like Australia, can be determined in a variety of ways, including:
- “Geographic centre” that involves some centroid method involving points on the coastline (24,500 points in case of Royal Geographic Society calculation for Australia)
- Centre of gravity method – imagine balancing a 2D Australia on a pin
- Furthest point from the coastline, a point equidistant from three (?) different points on the coastline
- The “median point” representing pointmidway between extremes of latitude and longitude
See map (photo) showing these points. You will observe that Erldunda Roadhouse is not really near any of them!