Monday, 11 October 2010

Wilpena Pound.Flinders Ranges.

The first trip undertaken in Oz was a three day jaunt into the largest range of mountains in South Australia.The Wilpena pound area north of Hawker which was to be our town base.
Many thanks to Sid and Ann,my sister Vi,s friends,for finding our multi roomed self catering cabin and being our tour guides and organizer's throughout our mountain journey.A great adventure and we were so lucky with the weather.
The Flinders Ranges run for approximately 430 kilometers from north of Adelaide rising to over 3000 feet in  many places and ending in semi desert at Parachilna.Some peaks are bare of vegetation,others like the Devil,s Peak, seen here, are thickly covered with native forest and bush.

Two long distance trails explore this range.
One,the Heysen trail at 1200 kilometers is Australia,s longest walking trail starting in lush green country at dramatic Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula then crossing the famous Adelaide hills wine region before tackling many of the best Flinders summits ending at faraway Parachilna.
Two,the Mawson mountain bike trail shorter at a mere 880 kilometers which starts in Adelaide and goes through much the same rugged terrain using fire roads  steep dirt trails and minor roads.This too is a classic of its kind and a big tick among long distance bikers.
Here,s where we stayed.Although later on in the trip we used a hotel or two to suit my sister(shes more posh and would not sleep out under the stars in a bivi bag,mind you neither would I having seen some the bugs at night in the bush)This log cabin was my favorite.Basic but clean and tidy with everything you might need touring.
Starting off from hometown Whyalla we visited Quorn and Hawker.Quorn in particular was a gem.A real old fashioned small town with covered boardwalks,country hotels and shops and a steam railway.

Because of its 1880,s feel many films have been made around Quorn Hawker and Parachilna.My own favorites are Walk About and the Shiralee.

This is a view of the Flinders after heavy rain from Port Augusta.
Wilpena pound is one of the real jewels of the Range.A high, flat crater like basin,13 kilometers across,80 square,completely surrounded by a ring of 3000 foot peaks.You would never know it existed except from the air.
Unlike  bleak storm lashed  Roraima however this is a real lost world,meadows,forests and abundant wildlife.Lizards,little roos and Emus jumping around on the ground,multi coloured parrots and incests zooming between the trees.
Due to all the rains the whole range was alive with animals and their young.

While my sister and Ann stayed  walking down in the valley Sid and I climbed up the trail into the pound then
up the  edge of the cliffs to the lookout point over this vast basin.Very impressive.The Heysen trail passes through here to on its long, long way.
If you fancy a complete panorama without the effort local Hawker Artist Jeff Morgan has a custom built rotunda studio in town which has to be seen to be believed.A real labour of love done in a complete circle painted from St Marys peak the highest in the range at 1,170 metres or 3,839 feet for us old Brits.Several other canvas works cover big walls.Its well worth a visit.Some Paintings are probably on line.
The next day we toured the surrounding network of dirt roads,sometimes high up on the steep ridges with stunning views
at others down in rocky gorges with big river red gums.We also saw some cute wee critters.....Aw!
Well done to Sid for spotting this big Beauty.A Bearded Dragon Lizard.Some folk keep these as pets!!!
Not very easy to cuddle and feeding it bugs for its tea would probably put me off mine.
Beard inflated in threat posture gained by sticking the camera in its face.Smile please...
Seen one of these as well..
Threat posture obtained by the same method.It was only after taking this kneeling down beside it that I was informed  this harmless lizard has a grip like a vice and can hang on like a bugger!Luckily it lived up to its name.
Also seen travelling the area.
Emus and a Roo with a Joey.
We also visited several other towns including Blinman the highest in South Australia at the very end of the range.
All in a fantastic trip I,ll long remember.Thanks again.Vi, Ann and Sid.Hope Ive captured something of the area.
 This tale sums up the wet and dry natural cycles of the area.
Proby,s Grave also gives an indication of the extremes of nature  that can happen here.He was a bushman rancher who was swept from his horse during a flash flood in the vicinity.He was still a young guy  washed away in his prime.Later that same year all that would be there would be a bone dry creek bed. Big countries have big weather.


Anonymous said...

Hello Cactus Bob. Another fine dispatch from the front line of your Oz Land campaign. There's a real sense of the vastness of the country; a massive mountain area that I for one had never even hear of, until now.

The place is heaving with wildlife and the critters don't seem particularly shy. Did you use a zoom to snap the roos, emus etc or were you enticing them with tasty snacks? Whichever way, it's great to have a window onto the region and its flora and fauna.



blueskyscotland said...

Hi Peter.No I didnt need much of a zoom.The emus in particular were in large groups right bside the road and we were treated to over a hundred kangaroos on our Flinders trip.Sid who has been all around the Flinders over the years said he,d never seen it so green or so much wildlife.A big emu or kangaroo could give you a good kicking so they are not that shy.I,ve got photos of large groups of parrots as well but its better just a couple close in.I could hardly walk in the bush at Kimba for sleepy lizards all over the path.bob

Glenn said...

Hi Bob what a treat absolutely beautiful photos looks like you had a good time hiking round oz, I've got some family living in Whyalla too and its good to see what the area is like.
P.S its Glenn here from your old work C&R I was thinking of you the other day and remembered you had a website so here I am hope alls well my friend regards Glenn.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Glenn.My old computer was kaput for a few months.Now got a new one . It was a great holiday and what I needed though I only realised that afterwards.Days away are great but not the same as a proper holiday.My first for many years.Hope things are well with everyone there.You,ll not be out on the golf course much then.
Best regards to all the guys.
Hope you are enjoying your time off.I,ve went for six months now without anyone asking me if I,m from the vale.Yippee! :o)