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A return to the Flinders Ranges

...wouldn't it be good to come again!

sunny 30 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

Loaded up and ready for our 576km drive

Loaded up and ready for our 576km drive

And, as usual, we had a back seat driver

And, as usual, we had a back seat driver

Last time we went to the Flinders Ranges, we travelled through the Barossa Valley and then on to Hawker. This time we let Gladys guide us and 'she' took us to Port Wakefield which has to be one of the least inspiring drives we have had. The drive on from there to Quorn was little better but it did gradually improve as we neared Hawker (for any new readers, 'Gladys' is our Garmin satnav and has such a prissy (male) voice that we nicknamed it Gladys).

The town of Hawker was proclaimed on 1 July 1880 and named after George Charles Hawker, an early settler, Commissioner of Works and a member of the South Australian Parliament 1858-1865 and 1875-1883 (thanks to Wikipedia and Aussie Towns).

The old Ghan (railway) line ran through Hawker and I had hoped to find where this ran but we were running out of time, so continued on into the Flinders Ranges. We were here in March last year but this time, although it is still magnificent country, it is much drier and animals and birds appeared to be less obviously abundant, although still enough to keep us happy.

We stayed at Skytrek Willow Springs Station which is excellent, with several good walks and a long 4WD trail which we did not really have time for and, in any case, were not game to undertake the drive in our hired vehicle in view of the constraints in the hire agreement! We stayed in the Overseer's Cottage which had been used for the School of the Air and was well equipped and very comfortable. On our last trip, we visited the ruins of Appealinna Station Homestead and have now found that Willow Springs Station is part of that original station, giving a sense of continuity.

The entrance to Skytrek Willow Springs Station

The entrance to Skytrek Willow Springs Station

We arrive at the Overseer's Cottage

We arrive at the Overseer's Cottage

One of the original radios used for the School of the Air

One of the original radios used for the School of the Air

On our first full day based there, we headed up nearby Stoke's Hill (the only place we could get a 'phone signal) and Judith was able to post
a Facebook entry from there just to keep in touch. We then revisited Wilpena Pound where we had a picnic lunch and then cruised back, stopping at Wood Duck Pond where we hauled our chairs out and relaxed for the afternoon, watching birds come and go and wallabies coming down to drink.

The mast on Stoke's Hill which we needed to get near to check emails¬

The mast on Stoke's Hill which we needed to get near to check emails¬

A view from Stoke's Hill

A view from Stoke's Hill

Wilpena Pound in the far distance with a relief map of the pound in the foreground on Stoke's Hill

Wilpena Pound in the far distance with a relief map of the pound in the foreground on Stoke's Hill

Wallaby startled by a family of Grebes interrupting drinking time

Wallaby startled by a family of Grebes interrupting drinking time

Whistling Kite perched in tree by the pond

Whistling Kite perched in tree by the pond

Whistling Kite soaring over the pond

Whistling Kite soaring over the pond

When we got back to the cottage, we ran the tap for a cuppa but after a short time, our water then stopped. We reported this to the office and just about everyone on the station turned out to trace the problem and then dig up the pipe where the blockage had occurred (calcification). In the process, one of the guys managed to puncture the pipe so they had to charge around finding a long enough but thinner hose plus reducing joiners and we had water back on tap shortly after sunset.

Some of the guys waiting for the reducing joiners to be found

Some of the guys waiting for the reducing joiners to be found

On our arrival, the owners had kindly made bookings for us for the mine tour at Blinman followed by lunch at The Prairie in Parachilna. On the way to Blinman we pulled off to see the massive rock formation known as the Great Wall of China.

The drive up to the Great Wall of China

The drive up to the Great Wall of China

Part of the Great Wall of China

Part of the Great Wall of China

Panoramic view of the Great Wall of China

Panoramic view of the Great Wall of China

The mine tour took us underground where we could see the old workings and the conditions under which the (mainly Cornish) workers laboured - obviously H & S did not exist back then! The town grew to about 1,500 people at its peak but after the mine closed as being no longer economical, the population dwindled to around 200 and is now about 18 (although there are 20 on the Progress Council as two local station folk have been co-opted).

A band of malachite, a copper compound, in the mine

A band of malachite, a copper compound, in the mine

View from underground to open shafts

View from underground to open shafts

We drove from Blinman through Parachilna Gorge to get to lunch. This gorge is another very attractive and interesting drive with more lovely river red gums lining the route. My favourite is still Brachina Gorge but this was most enjoyable.

River red gum in the gorge

River red gum in the gorge

View through the gorge to the ABC Ranges with our vehicle parked on the side

View through the gorge to the ABC Ranges with our vehicle parked on the side

Once through the gorge, we left the ranges behind and drove through very flat country to get to Parachilna, where we enjoyed a shared platter of 'feral' mixed grill - kangaroo fillet, emu burger and camel sausage, the latter being surprisingly good.

The Prairie at Parachilna

The Prairie at Parachilna

Aboriginal art in the dining area of the Prairie

Aboriginal art in the dining area of the Prairie

Our feral tucker - already carved by Judith for us to share

Our feral tucker - already carved by Judith for us to share

Having relaxed for a while in this rather odd place, we drove down to Brachina Gorge where we enjoyed the drive just as much as last time, although there was even less water at the Aroona River crossing than there had been last year. Nonetheless, it was a good spot for birds - it would have been even better if it weren’t for the Easter traffic! The camp grounds in the gorge are understandably very popular.

On our way into Brachina Gorge

On our way into Brachina Gorge

A Wedgetail Eagle soaring over us when we stopped at the Arooma River crossing

A Wedgetail Eagle soaring over us when we stopped at the Arooma River crossing

It has been great to get away from 'city lights' and have a good view of the sky at night. Just now, we have had an almost full moon so although we have seen the stars more clearly, we haven't yet had a clear view of the Milky Way.

Having reached this far, it is now time for an update on why the road travelled is called the Explorers Way. The invention of the telegraph led to the next bout of exploration, including Burke & Wills' tragic attempt. In 1859 Charles Todd had the dream of an overland telegraph which would cross the continent from Port Augusta in South Australia to Port Darwin in the Northern Territory. This could then be linked to existing submarine cables to reach the rest of the world. At this time, it was taking several weeks for messages to be transmitted by sea. Various explorers had set out to find inland rivers, or dreamed of pastoral land, north of Adelaide, including Stuart's first expedition under the leadership of Charles Sturt. Stuart's second expedition, his first as leader (not counting various surveying missions that he had carried out), started in 1858. On one of these he had come across promising country north of the Flinders Ranges and his patron, James Chambers took out a holding which became Oratunga Station; it was from here that Stuart set out in 1858, financed by William Finke, with a squatter named Foster and an Aboriginal companion. On this trip, they travelled to the west of Lake Torrens and progressed for a considerable way before turning back when they were near Coober Pedy and could not find a source of water.

The following year, Stuart again headed north, this time with William Kekwick as his second in command, in search of a safe stock route. This time he travelled to the east of Lake Torrens and reached the site of present day Marree. He continued northwestwards finding more springs near the site of today's Oodnadatta. We are now headed for Marree (formerly known as Herrgott Springs, named after the artist who travelled with Stuart)

Posted by SteveJD 02:17 Archived in Australia Tagged mountains wildlife south_australia flinders_ranges arid_country Comments (1)

Flinders Ranges - Kimba

...via Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Gorge, Hawker and Port Augusta

sunny 39 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II on SteveJD's travel map.

Had we not overslept, we would have seen that Tuesday dawned fine! Anyway by the time we got going it was heading for another hot day, albeit with a slight breeze. We decided that we would go to Wilpena Pound but first drove to Station Hill Lookout from where we had good views of the ranges around the station.

20180306_P1140523.jpgRwnsley Range

Rwnsley Range

Elder Range in the distance

Elder Range in the distance

The scenery between Rawnsley Park Station and the turn off to Wilpena Pound was again very eye-catching but did not delay further and on arrival at the Visitor Centre, we bought tickets for the shuttle (walking was going to be hot enough without adding extra kms!). This took us to a trailhead and we chose the most direct route towards Hills Homestead. Along the way we saw kangaroos and several birds, some of which we even managed to identify at the time!

On the way to Wilpena Pound

On the way to Wilpena Pound

Western grey kangaroo

Western grey kangaroo

Path leading back towards the trailhead

Path leading back towards the trailhead

The Hills Homestead

The Hills Homestead

The homestead is a reconstruction of the homestead that the Hills lived in from 1899 to 1914 when they were forced out, not by drought but by floods! The Pound itself had been 'discovered' by William Chace in 1850. The following year, it was surveyed by Frederick Sinnett and the lease was taken up by Henry Strong Price who owned the property until his death in 1889. The homestead is in a very attractive area of the Pound, close to the creek so would have been quite a pleasant place to live. From the homestead, we made our way past a Dreamtime sculpture up to the lower of the Wangara Lookouts which gave splendid views over the Pound. I have been unable to find any other information about the sculpture or the derivation or meaning of Wangara (other than as a Perth suburb!).

Dreamtime sculpture

Dreamtime sculpture

View down to Hills Homestead

View down to Hills Homestead

Panoramic view from the lookout

Panoramic view from the lookout

We walked back, with fewer delays than on the way in, caught the shuttle bus and enjoyed a picnic lunch, surrounded by a couple of ravens, a magpie, a yellow-throated miner and nine, very noisy, apostle birds.

The magpie had a beady eye on our food

The magpie had a beady eye on our food

Yellow-throated miner

Yellow-throated miner

One of the apostle birds

One of the apostle birds

Now replete, we drove about 9km to the Bunyeroo Gorge Road. This is another unsealed and quite bumpy road but with magnificent views back over Wilpena Pound and with more amazing geology. The two lookouts, Bunyeroo and Razorback were well worth stopping for.

On Bunyeroo Gorge Road with Wilpena Pound in the distance

On Bunyeroo Gorge Road with Wilpena Pound in the distance

The Beast at Bunyeroo Lookout car park

The Beast at Bunyeroo Lookout car park

View from Bunyeroo Lookout

View from Bunyeroo Lookout

Looking at the road ahead from Razorback Lookout

Looking at the road ahead from Razorback Lookout

27d29020-9f49-11e8-ad3f-add0db351dba.jpgTwo examples of the fascinating geology in views from Razorback Lookout

Two examples of the fascinating geology in views from Razorback Lookout

Once in the gorge itself, it was a case of must stop for the views, the trees, the geology and, to our surprise, more yellow-footed rock wallabies - what a delight!

fe308510-9fc0-11e8-85c9-11350096bd3d.jpgA couple of views inside the gorge

A couple of views inside the gorge

fd4e6270-9fc0-11e8-b7b6-1f2869d2a0c8.jpgYellow-footed rock wallabies are so photogenic

Yellow-footed rock wallabies are so photogenic

Another part of the gorge wall

Another part of the gorge wall

The drive took us through more beautiful scenery and finally joined the Brachina Gorge Road. As time was ticking by we decided that we couldn't make a repeat visit to Brachina Gorge, so headed east backwards the Flinders Ranges Way. Once again, we had to cross the Aroona River and again we stopped to see what wildlife there may be and again we were rewarded with some good sightings, a very productive spot for us.

Red arrow dragonfly

Red arrow dragonfly

White-plumed honeyeater

White-plumed honeyeater

Blue skimmer dragonfly

Blue skimmer dragonfly

Female purple-backed fairy wren, in moult

Female purple-backed fairy wren, in moult

A euro or common wallaroo by the river

A euro or common wallaroo by the river

Sadly, that was the end of our stay in Flinders Ranges and on a hot Wednesday, we made our way south-west. Someone we met in the area had recommended that we stop in Hawker to see the Jeff Morgan Gallery and this we duly did. It is not a large place, as galleries go, but has some truly amazing paintings. Morgan, understandably, specialises in painting in the Flinders Ranges but his hallmark is the production of magnificent panoramic paintings. The first we saw was of Ron's Creek, 15m long x 4.5m high and on the floor are stones and bits of wood etc., which run up to the painting giving a three-dimensional result. Similar effects were achieved with a panorama of Arkaroola Pan, 5.5m x 46m circumference. The first circular painting completed was Wilpena Panorama (3.5m high x 30m circumference), which shows the Pound as viewed from St Mary Peak and has a room to itself with a central raised viewing point. It really is an incredible piece of art. It has been formally recognised by the International Panorama Council which has recognised only about 70 circular paintings around the world, with very few having been completed by one individual (acknowledgements to the Jeff Morgan Gallery for this information). There is also a very good rock, mineral and fossil collection on display. We would certainly recommend this to anyone travelling in the area.

Our cabin at Rawnsley Park Station

Our cabin at Rawnsley Park Station

The Beast at the entrance/exit for Rawnsley Park Station

The Beast at the entrance/exit for Rawnsley Park Station

The Jeff Morgan Gallery in Hawker

The Jeff Morgan Gallery in Hawker

One of Morgan's panoramas

One of Morgan's panoramas

Panoramic view of circular painting (unfortunately, the canopy intrudes into the camera view)

Panoramic view of circular painting (unfortunately, the canopy intrudes into the camera view)

Out of Hawker and on the road south, we again went through some pretty drear country in which we found a few ruins which are all that remain of the settlement of Wilson. In 1865, the Surveyor-General, George Woodroffe Goyder had drawn a line across South Australia showing where it was believed that, due to the likelihood of drought, farming was not safe. There had been god seasons in the 1870s into the early 1880s, defying Goyder's predictions, so settlers came to grow wheat and established the town of Wilson in 1881. There was no natural water supply but in spite of the return to the normal dry seasons, some people stayed on, some switching from wheat to sheep. These brave (or foolhardy?) pioneers struggled on until the last person left in 1954 and the town was left to gradually disintegrate.

20180307_P1140608.jpgTwo of the ruined buildings

Two of the ruined buildings

About half an hour further on, we came across Kanyaka Waterhole which was like a little oasis in the dry plains country. Apart from the well-treed waterhole there were also some interesting rock formations. As we approached the waterhole, we could see many birds but I slipped on some loose stone and everything within cooee vanished, so we have no wildlife photos from this detour!

Steve seeing if anything came back!

Steve seeing if anything came back!

The waterhole

The waterhole

20180307_P1140617.jpgTwo views of the weathered outcrops near the waterhole

Two views of the weathered outcrops near the waterhole

By the time we reached Port Augusta, it was approaching lunch time, so we made for the Australian Arid Land Gardens where we had an excellent lunch in very photogenic surroundings.

Sturt's Desert Pea in flower

Sturt's Desert Pea in flower

The ubiquitous red wattlebird

The ubiquitous red wattlebird

Not far from Port Augusta, as we drove west, we came across some roadworks and were mildly annoyed at the delay until we saw a flock of birds take off. Judith swiftly pulled into a handy layby and we watched the birds swirl around and then come in to land near our vehicle. It was a flock of banded stilts, a new bird for us so a pleasurable delay.

Flock of banded stilts coming to land

Flock of banded stilts coming to land

A little further on we could see a large cloud of dust and came across a very large mob of sheep being herded through the dry bush by the roadside by one bloke on a motorbike with a kelpie, which after some hot dry dashing around, took a ride on the bike!

The mob on the move

The mob on the move

Kelpie hard at work

Kelpie hard at work

All sorted, the kelpie takes a break on the bike

All sorted, the kelpie takes a break on the bike

Near Iron Knob, we saw some distant rain and thought we may be driving into it but it stayed on the range and we arrived in Kimba in the dry, although by then it was cloudy and windy.

Distant rain near Iron Knob

Distant rain near Iron Knob

Other than being half way across Australia, Kimba did not impress itself on our memories, other than its Big Galah! However, it was fine for an overnight stop on our way to Streaky Bay.

The Big Galah

The Big Galah

Posted by SteveJD 07:12 Archived in Australia Tagged mountains wildlife south_australia flinders_ranges wilpena_pound bunyeroo_gorge Comments (2)

Flinders Ranges - Brachina Gorge via Appealinna Homestead

...with various lookout points

sunny 38 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

Since we are staying at Rawnsley Park Station, overlooked by Rawnsley Bluff which is part of the Rawnsley Range, it may be a plan to see who Rawnsley was. The origin of the name is described on the Rawnsley Park Station website as follows "The name Rawnsley comes from Rawnsley Bluff, the southern tip of the pound. This, in turn, was named after H(enry) C(harles) Rawnsley who arrived from England under false pretences claiming to be a surveyor. Rawnsley spent three months supposedly surveying from Mt. Remarkable to Wilpena before he was recalled by the Colonial Government. We will never know if the prominent landmark or the deception of the man was responsible for the naming of Rawnsley's Bluff." Another site states that he was employed by the NSW government as a surveyor but gives no other details while another site says he was appointed by the SA government but was discharged for incompetence after three months. Perhaps, after all, not a name one would wish to remember?

Our first full day based at Rawnsley Park Station was fine and hot and we drove out onto the Flinders Ranges Way and, a few kilometres on, turned in at the drive to Wilpena Pound.

Panoramic view of Wilpena Pound from the road, with Judith for scale

Panoramic view of Wilpena Pound from the road, with Judith for scale

During the drive in we saw several kangaroos and wallaroos and were to find that wherever we travelled in the Flinders Ranges (now properly known as Ikara-Flinders Ranges although I will use the old form for simplicity), there were more kangaroo-type animals than anywhere else we have been so far. At Wilpena Pound Visitor Centre, we found that to get into the 'pound' we had to have a shuttle bus trip in and then a good walk so decided that we would leave that for tomorrow and satisfy ourselves with a cup of coffee at the cafe. We saw a few birds while there, few co-operating photographically, and more kangaroos and wallaroos on the way out.

Red Kangaroo at rest

Red Kangaroo at rest

Emus below Rawnsley Range (part of the Wilpena Pound Range)

Emus below Rawnsley Range (part of the Wilpena Pound Range)

Mallee Ringneck parrot

Mallee Ringneck parrot

Group of Red Kangaroos

Group of Red Kangaroos

Euro or Common Wallaroo

Euro or Common Wallaroo

The land between the ranges tends to be flat and parched

The land between the ranges tends to be flat and parched

Wilpena is reportedly derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of bent fingers' which could refer to the mountains resembling the shape of a cupped hand or the freezing cold of winter. However, the local Aborigines call the Pound 'Ikara' which means 'meeting place'. All rather confusing for a visitor!

A short way up the main road, we saw a small sign pointing to Cazneaux's tree. Harold Cazneaux was a well-known New Zealand photographer (and grandfather of the well-known Australian entrepreneur, Dick Smith) and his photo of this tree was widely published. We decided that we would see what we could do with the tree and also a few other trees in the vicinity. An interesting exercise in an attractive area.

Panorama containing Cazneaux's Tree

Panorama containing Cazneaux's Tree

Cazneaux's Tree as it is today

Cazneaux's Tree as it is today

As near as possible to Cazneaux's image 'Spirit of Endurance'

As near as possible to Cazneaux's image 'Spirit of Endurance'

Tree-lined creek behind Cazneaux's Tree

Tree-lined creek behind Cazneaux's Tree

A small mob of kangaroos with Cazneaux's Tree in the background

A small mob of kangaroos with Cazneaux's Tree in the background

Travelling further along the Flinders Ranges Way, we stopped at Huck and Stokes Hill Lookouts, both with wonderful views over rugged scenery. At the latter lookout, there is a bronze three-dimensional plaque or tablet which shows the direction and features of Wilpena Pound. I can find no origin of the names Hucks Lookout but Stokes Hill Lookout apparently honours Francis W. Stokes who was an MP and co-owner of a property in the area.

View from Hucks Lookout

View from Hucks Lookout

View from Hucks Lookout with wallaroo sheltering under a tree

View from Hucks Lookout with wallaroo sheltering under a tree

A young wallaroo snug between two grass trees

A young wallaroo snug between two grass trees

Wallaroos out to greet us at Stokes Hill Lookout

Wallaroos out to greet us at Stokes Hill Lookout

View from Stokes Hill Lookout towards Wilpena Pound

View from Stokes Hill Lookout towards Wilpena Pound

Back onto the main road and still heading north, we found another signpost to follow, this time to Appealinna Homestead (the origin of this place name is another which escapes me but it sounds as if it could be of Aboriginal origin). Here we had our picnic lunch before exploring the area and trying not to disturb the local wildlife too much!

Euros in the creek bed

Euros in the creek bed

Two Euros boxing

Two Euros boxing

And now all is calm...for a while

And now all is calm...for a while

In the 1850s, Joseph Wills and his wife set up home on the south side of the creek but, sadly, only ruins remain today. Wills ran a small herd of cattle on the property. On the north side of the creek the base, for a copper mining operation further east, was set up and for many years the use of the water was the cause of an ongoing war of words. One night, Wills' homestead was burnt down. He blamed one of the men in the miners' camp and subsequently he served a spell in jail for taking the law into his own hands (as far as I can find out, he burned down some of the miners' huts in retaliation - not a good move!). In the end, drought caused the Wills family to leave the property. It is a sad story but not atypical of the difficulties besetting people who set out to settle the Outback. Ruins are also all that remains of the mine buildings, the only winners being the local wildlife who seem to flourish along the creek.

The ruins of the homestead

The ruins of the homestead

A magnificent river red gum by the ruins of the kitchen

A magnificent river red gum by the ruins of the kitchen

Partially restored ruins of the Mine Manager's house

Partially restored ruins of the Mine Manager's house

The scrub where Wills' cattle would have subsisted

The scrub where Wills' cattle would have subsisted

Back on the Flinders Ranges Way, we had not gone far when we chanced on a Wedge-tailed Eagle on some roadkill. When we came closer, we found that there were two of these beautiful birds.

Wedge-tailed Eagle perched just by the road

Wedge-tailed Eagle perched just by the road

On starting out, we had decided that Brachina Gorge would be our destination and we now turned off the Flinders Range Way onto the unsealed Brachina Gorge Road. For anyone interested in geology this is a fascinating area. As we drove west, we drove through rocks that date back to 500 million years, gradually coming across older rocks until at the end of the gorge the rocks are 650 million years old. The rocks are sedimentary rocks of various types and have been heaved up and tilted over the aeons, evidence of which is clear to see.

The name Brachina has two suggested origins, both of Aboriginal derivation. The first source contends that the Aboriginal word is one which means'place without trees' and the other source says the origin is a different word meaning 'the place where the emu got forked feet'. Certainly there are plenty of trees in the gorge although this may not always have been the case but I rather like the second suggestion as I can imagine a flat-footed emu getting forked feet from walking over the rocky base of the gorge. I then came across another website which suggested that Brachina is derived from another Aboriginal word meaning'cranky'! I'm still going for emu though.

Brachina Gorge Road was generally good with a few rocky patches further in

Brachina Gorge Road was generally good with a few rocky patches further in

Panorama of the bush alongside the road

Panorama of the bush alongside the road

We start to see some evident results of ancient earth movements, this a bit contorted

We start to see some evident results of ancient earth movements, this a bit contorted

Then we have a gentle tilt of the strata

Then we have a gentle tilt of the strata

And, at the beginning of the gorge, some very tilted formations

And, at the beginning of the gorge, some very tilted formations

The road is a Geological Trail and there are twelve different formations or rock units to be seen, with information posts to tell you what is in each area. It is all quite mind-blowing. This is all part of the Adelaide Geosyncline, which was a trough running from Kangaroo Island up through the Flinders, of which Wilpena Pound is one of more well-known features. Much of the 'trough' has been disguised by subsequent earth movements. It is very rugged terrain but with a beauty of its own and, although predominantly red, with so many colours or shades. We really love this area.

Some way in, we crossed the Aroona River. There was not a lot of water flowing at this time of year but I thought we may find some bird or animal life there so pulled over once we had gone through and walked back. We were rewarded with Chestnut-rumped thornbills, Grey Teal, Spurwing Plovers (I think now known as Masked Lapwing), glimpses of Variegated Fairy-wrens, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters - what a feast - not to mention some rather dashing dragonflies!

Grey Teal

Grey Teal

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Grey-fronted Honeyeater

Grey-fronted Honeyeater

The river was quite low

The river was quite low

Red Arrow (dragonfly)

Red Arrow (dragonfly)

The origin of Aroona is rather refreshingly from an Aboriginal word meaning 'running water'. Again there is another suggestion is that the name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'place of frogs'. Although we didn't see or hear any frogs on this trip, either meaning is plausible.

At last we reached the gorge proper and it was stunning - wonderful rock formations, river red gums scattered along the roadside and just a wonderful experience. Not so wonderful, from an environmental perspective was the presence of Feral Goats clambering on the rock ledges.

Steve having a rest in a dry creek bed

Steve having a rest in a dry creek bed

Beautiful stand of river red gums

Beautiful stand of river red gums

Gnarly growth on river red gum trunk

Gnarly growth on river red gum trunk

A majestic river red gum

A majestic river red gum

Feral goat clambering on the rock face

Feral goat clambering on the rock face

Female Red Kangaroo

Female Red Kangaroo

River red gum white bark contrasting with the red walls of the gorge

River red gum white bark contrasting with the red walls of the gorge

One river red gum outdoing the rocks for bending!

One river red gum outdoing the rocks for bending!

Some way through the gorge, Judith spotted a sign stating that a fenced off area was Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby habitat, so we pulled over and had a look. It took a few minutes for our eyes to engage with the landscape and pick out small movements which betrayed the presence of several of the lovely little animals. The road continued round a bend through another part of the gorge and found at least two more, one of them quite close to the road .

00369110-95b7-11e8-a224-bb66cfca78c2.jpgffcb9a40-95b6-11e8-a224-bb66cfca78c2.jpg20180305_P1140483.jpg

Three 'portraits' of Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies - beautiful animals

Not long after leaving the gorge, we turned south onto the Outback Highway. This is a good (sealed) road running parallel to the Heysen Range which proved quite photogenic. Hans Heysen was a German-Australian artist who specialised in watercolour landscapes with eucalypts as the prime focus. He lived in Hahndorf (see earlier blog for our visit there) and made nine trips to the Flinders Ranges to paint the beautiful trees in the stark landscape. There is a cycle trail that runs from Cape Jervis all the way north into the Flinders Ranges and ending at Parachilna, a town we unfortunately did not have time to get to.

View across bush to the Heysen Range

View across bush to the Heysen Range

Part of the Heysen Range - we can make out a face!

Part of the Heysen Range - we can make out a face!

Heysen Range with (I think( Mount Sinnett

Heysen Range with (I think( Mount Sinnett

Lovely rock formations on Heysen Range

Lovely rock formations on Heysen Range

Mount Abrupt (I think) at the southern end of Heysen Range

Mount Abrupt (I think) at the southern end of Heysen Range

There are many trails through the Flinders Ranges but there appear to be two main ones that vehicles can follow for part of he way and some way past the end of the Heysen Range, we turned off the Outback Highway onto the unsealed Moralana Scenic Drive which is part of the Mawson Trail. This is another cycle trail which runs from just north of Adelaide north to Blinman, another town we would like to have had time to visit. The road wound its way along roughly parallel to the southern part of the Wilpena Pound Range and, again, proved irresistible to our inner photographer. We were rewarded with another gorgeous sunset to cap off a long but thoroughly enjoyable day.

Posted by SteveJD 14:35 Archived in Australia Tagged animals birds australia oceania south_australia flinders_ranges brachina_gorge Comments (0)

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