January 11, 2023

Woomera Travellers’ Village

by Victoria Clayton in Australia, travel0 Comments

The best thing about Woomera Travellers’ Village are the fiery sunsets over the back fence. The desert is flat as a pancake and as the sun dips over edge of the earth, it splays its rays, now ochre, now puce, now deep crimson, in a perfect stripe along the horizon.

But most travellers are in the Cudgee Bar, which opens at 4pm, and miss the sunset.

Yes, Woomera Travellers’ Village has everything a weary traveller could want, a bar which does a roaring trade in cheap beer and cask wine and a pizza restaurant, although this didn’t open at time of writing, despite the caravan park being packed every night I was there. Perhaps the pizza chef was off on holiday somewhere else.

Woomera is six kilometres north of the Pimba Roadhouse, and has Cold War origins as a rocket development site for the British and Australian military after the Second World War to the late 1980s. Now largely abandoned, it has the eery atmosphere of a ghost town, inhabited mostly by maintenance staff in high vis vests who trundle down empty streets of slowly decaying houses in work utes fixing stuff.

Woomera street

It’s well positioned, though, Woomera, which accounts for its overnight popularity, located conveniently half-way between Port Augusta and Coober Pedy, in the arid desert of northern South Australia. Grey nomads in caravans heading up the centre to the Top End – and want a powered site – gather here and ‘Hoffy’ Hoffmeier, the balding, middle aged and stressed park manager, watches with eagle eyes as caravanners come and go.

Don’t forget your wheel ramps as the area of the caravan park is on a slight rise; no sites are flat. The sites are like ribs either side of a spine, with perhaps fifteen on each side.  Hoffy is grumpy and unhelpful when I point out the slope and I wonder if he is stuck at Woomera and would rather be somewhere else, like the pizza chef.


Convenient it may be, stylish it is not. The main building housing the office, toilets and laundry is a former military staff accommodation block, three stories high and showing its age. The toilets are old, three of the four showers are out of order; the only shower that does has a bung door that won’t close.

A newer amenities block has three toilets and two showers which are simple but clean. The water pressure is weak, the temperature mild at best.  A piece of soap nestles in tissue paper in a take-away container on the sink unit. A poster about not letting anxiety get the better of you passes on its important message to those heading out.

There is a happy ambience in the caravan park, with a gentle daily rhythm of vans of arrivals and departures. At $15 for one person, $25 for two per night, power and water, the caravan park is cheap. Caravans, motorhomes, pop-top campervans and camper-trailers rolled in in a continuous stream, sometimes two or three at a time, from about 12 noon. That night the desert sky was filled with the sound of new friendships being formed at the Cudgee Bar.

Woomera Sunset South Australia
Woomera Travellers sunset
Woomera Travellers Sunset desert

Victoria Clayton

I draw my inspiration for writing from experiences I've had - pleasant and not so much - because I'm interested in so many things.  They include travel, archaeology, ancient figurines, museums, reading and writing, animals and more recently, dementia, grief and how to live well.

Please use the search bar above and choose the subject category to find blog posts on the topics that interest you. Do leave a comment if there's a post you particularly enjoy or you have a question about it. Also, I love hearing from readers, so do send me a message on the contact page if you'd like to do that. Thanks so much for reading!

About the Author

Victoria Clayton

I write narrative nonfiction, essay and poetry on a range of subjects: archaeology, travel, history, thinking about the past, ancient figurines, what makes a well-lived life?

You can use tags to choose the blog posts that most interest you.

Thanks for reading. Do leave a comment if you'd like to.  I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
keep in touch!

Sign-up to the (roughly) fortnightly newsletter to receive writing updates and other bits of news from me.