FLINDERS RANGES-MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPES
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
After our early morning adventure in Alligator Gorge, we headed north with a stop in Quorn for coffee and food. Quorn is the home of the Pichi Richi Railway which is the old Ghan railway, now a tourist train between Quorn and Port Augusta. This morning the huffing- puffing steam engine, the Afghan Express pulled into the Quorn Railway station as we arrived. It was an impressive sight and lots of people were hanging around taking pictures and talking to the driver and staff.
We called into the Quondong Cafe and checked out the quondong products sold here. The cooked bush tucker fruit tastes between cooked plum and rhubarb and we devoured a delicious crumble topped sweet pie and bought a jar of jam.
The drive to Wilpena was scenic with the Flinders Ranges lining the way through huge sheep stations. We had camped at Wipena 24 years ago and reminisced that we had done the 20km trek up to the St Mary's Peak with 2 small juice packs and a sandwich- no water! It had been Sheila's first experience of the Australian bush and the pesty Aussie flies. It is too cold for these pests at the moment up here, and we were spared the aggravation. We are much better prepared these days for our bush walks, taking time to plan and time them, with adequate water and food.
Camping in Wilpena Pound is a treat and for $21 per night without power, you have hot showers and plenty of space. We chose the area under the native pines on the red dirt quite far from the amenities and pretty much on our own, mainly because this was where we found a suitably flat site. For those of you who have not slept in a vehicle, it is imperative to get a flat spot or else you have your head lower/higher than your feet and/or you are sliding uncomfortably sideways. Some people travel with tyre levellers but we have not purchased them mainly because of space restraints and driver Sheila has become adept at locating a flat site with the aid of our little spirit level.
Saturday afternoon we explored the camping area, gathered information from the office and set up our kitchen outdoors to prepare a chicken casserole for dinner. It was a freezing night, completely silent and a black velvet sky speckled with brilliant stars.
Up early Sunday morning with the resident kangaroos chomping on the recently very green ground cover, we rugged up against a temperature of 3 degrees and set off on our Bridle Gap trek of 18 kms across the floor of Wilpena Pound through forests of native pine and low heath. We were thrilled to sight a family of gorgeous Port Lincoln parrots and of course there were many different types of kangaroos hopping about us.
Entering the Pound we passed huge River Red Gums along the Wipena Creek, with water after recent rains. We marvelled at the history behind the old Hill's Homestead preserved for 150 years; the terrifying story of dogged self sufficiency against all odds of the Hill's family time here running sheep (about 120,000) and only just surviving drought and flooding rain!!
We did the 760 metre climb up to Wangara Lookout to view the Pound and our track across it. It remained cold all day despite blue skies and even though we were powering along, we never removed our jackets!
The red sand, red rocks and red clay make a colourful contrast to the blue green of the bush and trees, and the day was a scenic and energetic treat.
After a happy two days here it was south again through this flat and wide land of ranges, sheep stations and ruins that remind us of shattered dreams from long ago. Australia is indeed a land of drought and flooding rain!