BACK TO THE BUSH & HIDDEN GORGE
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
mambray creek camp
JOURNEY: Point Lowly, Port Augusta, Mambray Creek - 150kms
WEATHER: Fine sunny morning 24 degrees at 9am. 37 mid- afternoon- hot, dry and smoggy
We awoke to an amazing sunrise over the gulf at Lowly Point; the colours of purple, pink and orange surrounded a red sun as it made its way above the distant Flinders Ranges into the sky above the horizon. The sun rays reflected in the still sea and we guessed it was going to be a hot day and it was!
We made a stop at Port Augusta; we had some bills to pay online and because we would be out of range in the national park we checked emails for any urgent matters. It was noon and uncomfortably hot and how strange was that after being cold for most of our time on the Eyre Peninsula. A trip to Big W to find replacement thongs for Kath wasn't rushed because the air-conditioning inside cooled us down nicely.
Next stop was Mount Remarkable National Park and Mambray Creek campground. This is a bushy spot in the lower Flinders Ranges with about 60 camp sites which cost $16 per night, but we have our holiday pass which has now enabled us to stay in national parks for less than $2 per night!!
The facilities are generous- hot showers, water toilets, drinking water to or close to the sites and flat individual camps; because of this, and the close location to the A1 highway, it is a popular destination.
The Friday, Saturday night crowd, here to party rather than enjoy the natural features caused the quietness and peace of the nights to be shattered and we thought about moving sites on Saturday when three groups got together, turned the car radio on and gradually got quite loud!
We asked them to turn off the radio at 8pm and happily they responded positively and by 10pm they had gone to bed- before we did. So everything was fine!
Thursday was too hot to attempt a trail so we stayed around looking for shade and watching the birdlife busy around us. The babblers are fascinating, so active and cheeky; the large emus are not shy here and you feel a little threatened when they face you on the road- yes we will move over.
Mother and baby kangaroos enjoy the green growth and the galahs scream from the top of the wonderful river red gums. These trees are getting some water after a long drought and they are very dangerous to camp under because of heavy frequently falling limbs. Their trunks shimmer silver, cream and brown and their size is magnificent. The burnt remains make some interesting artistic shapes.
We chatted to the other campers and generally lazed about. The overnight temperature must have been close to 20 degrees so it was sheets only with the doona packed onto the front seat.
Friday dawned cool and cloudy, just the day to do the 18 km loop through the Hidden Gorge and this has to be one of the most spectacular trails we have walked mainly because of the gorgeous red walls of the gorges but also for the variety of forest, views and terrain that you pass through. We set out at 8am and an hour later a drizzle fell upon us and stayed with us until it became more like rain as we returned to camp via the Bluff and Battery Range. We decided that this was comfortable because it was a warm day and the dampness cooled us. Our hiking boots are waterproof!
The only negative was that a lot of the rocks in the gorge had become quite slippery and we had to pay close attention to our footfall; at one stage we reached a slab of stone that you had to ascend and with the assistance of the walking sticks and some dexterous crawling we made the short ascent and avoided the pool of water on the other side. But make no mistake this is an easy and beautiful walk but probably better negotiated in dry weather.
The last 5 kms takes you through the Bluff with majestic views to the coast, a bit hazy today but still impressive.
We got back to camp around 3.30 and really appreciated the hot showers! The day was a bit cooler now and the rain eased off in the evening. We reported back re. the walk to a few interested campers and settled into the van to while away a few hours with scrabble and books!
An experience to be cherished and repeated one cool and sunny day perhaps!!. Our neighbour reported that he had found the going tough on the previous day which had been too hot to fully enjoy the experience.
We visited the ruins of a homestead within the park, and read the story of the early sheep farmers who suffered hardships of drought, distance and floods. the big old river red gum shading the yard could tell a thousand sad stories of early settlers.
This is our second stay here, not counting two overnight stops and, with its diversity and geographical features it is a special place; a natural attraction for bushwalkers and the Heysen Trail passes through the national park. It is not called Mount Remarkable for nothing.
And for us our last camping experience before we store the van and head off on our round-the-world adventure.
We have had two glorious years wandering around our fabulous country and intend to carry on when we get back next May.
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