Off the Tourist Trail #3 – Woomera, Outback South Australia
Woomera? Or Stepford?!?!? Was our July 2008 visit during a particularly slow time, or are the wide, open streets normally this neat, quiet and uninhabited?
I guess we’ll find out next time we visit – and there WILL BE a next time, because this unusual outback South Australian town just off the Stuart Highway en route to Roxby Downs and Andamooka is full of surprises.
Especially if you’re interested in international pioneering space exploration and missile testing – think Deep Space Station 41, Nurrungar and the ‘Europa’ rocket! BUT … still well worth a visit even if you’re not!
For us, this unexpected detour was gold! From the excellent Woomera Travellers Village, fascinating museum and exhibits, to the uniquely significant place Woomera holds in Australian history we were amazed and intrigued.
Start at the Woomera Heritage and Visitor Information Centre – if you can drag yourself past the outdoor Missile Park that is! Incorporating the Rocket Range Museum, social history display and Len Beadell – the pioneering outback road surveyor and builder – memorabilia, it’s an eclectic mix of space technology, indigenous and pioneering history, and such blots on the Australian historical landscape as Maralinga and the notorious Woomera detention centre, scene of riots, breakouts and demonstrations.
And for our next visit? Definitely a tour of the Observatory, History Museum, Marine Centre (no, you’re not mistaken, it really IS that far from the ocean!) and a few other points of interest. There’ll probably be photos of attractions other than missile park too – my film and the light ran out simultaneously on this trip!
AND … who in their right mind would pass up the opportunity to legitimately enter the Woomera Prohibited Area? Come on – ANYTHING prohibited has just GOT to be a drawcard – and this one’s the size of England!!
SO … was it Stepford or Woomera for you?? Let me know!!
PS Since this visit, I’ve been to Woomera a couple of times. Most recently we stayed a couple of nights and drove out to Andamooka! Read about my Andamooka Adventure HERE!