Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for another gorge

 Welcome to Wilpena
After three days of relaxation in Port Augusta it was time to pack up the caravan again.  Before heading north we went into Port Augusta to do some food shopping – it is always good to be able to shop at either Coles or Woolworths as generally they have an Australia wide costing policy.  The joy of shopping in Woolworths today was to see bananas for $7.95 a kilogram.  This is the cheapest we have seen them for months and have got used to seeing them at $11.99 regularly.  So for the first time on this trip we bought a whole bunch of bananas (anyone that knows me well will know that I love banana and for years have had a banana sandwich every day for lunch at work) for $9.17 and we will really enjoy these over the next few days.
 Emu family at Wilpena

We headed north again into the Flinders Ranges.  This is a national park with a number of camping areas within the national park as well as a privately owned resort, Wilpena Pound Resort.  There are two small towns on the way to the Park, Quorn and Hawker.  We stopped in Hawker for lunch and wandered along the few shops before continuing the trip – a total of 180 kms.  After checking the only Park campground that was easily accessible for the caravan we decided that the Resort would be a better option.  This is a huge camping area and we soon set up camp and as we relaxed with a drink we were watched by a group of kangaroos just a few feet from us. 
 Kangaroo in front of our caravan at Wilpena
Next morning we took the scenic trip to Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges.  This is a gravel road of around 30-40 kms.  Our first stop was Yanyanna Hut with very old cattle yards, then at the Bunyeroo lookout.  We didn’t find the Bunyeroo Gorge particularly fantastic – perhaps we have seen too many gorges and rocks over the last few weeks.  We stopped for lunch and we were surprised to meet up with the French cyclist we had camped beside at the Finke River at the end of September, about 1200k’s from where we had seen him last.  We never expected to meet up with him again.  He told us he lives on a budget of $5 a day which includes any camping fees and his food. He was truly amazing.
Yanyanna Hut, Flinders Ranges

Soon we came to a T junction and took the road to Brachina Gorge.  We were so pleased that we did – this gorge was quite amazing.  There was a camp ground in the gorge and would have been a great place to stay and explore.  There were quite a few emu wandering around the gorge.
Historic yards at Yanyanna Hut
As usual we like to take each of the side roads if we can – this scenic trip was no different so we took the side road to Aroona and climbed to the lookout.  This area was settled by pastoralists because this was one of the areas in the Flinders Ranges where there was a spring (like Wilpena Pound).  We saw the ruins of the original homestead.  The original hut is still standing however but has a new roof so looks quite modern.   Again there was a great camping ground near here but not really accessible with our caravan.
Not a walk for us!

There are quite a few ruins within the Ranges and we stopped off at Youngoona Hut ruins.  We walked down to the waterhole but there was no water so was a little disappointing.
 Buneroo Valley - see the wild flowers
At the end of the scenic road we diverted and drove to Blinman which is a very small historical village in the centre of the Flinders Ranges.  There is still a working mine at Blinman but we chose not to visit instead Peter had his eye on an ice cream at the general store.  The buildings at Blinman are certainly interesting.  Peter had visited this small town earlier in the year when he was travelling with a group of guys. He told me that the lattes there are good as well.

 A goanna's guest book - quite humerous
On our way back to camp we stopped off at “The Great Wall of China” – this hill top rock certainly looks like the photos we have seen of the Great Wall of China.
 More wild flowers
On our last day at Wilpena Pound we walked to Hills Homestead and the lookout to Wilpena Pound.  It was extremely hot so we took the option of the hotel shuttle the first three kilometres and walked from there.  It was interesting to see the Homestead (again it has been reroofed) and read the story written by a lady who lived at the homestead when she was young.  We didn’t find the view of the Pound particularly spectacular however.

We said good bye to a couple (Ray and Dawn from Perth) who we met when camping at Port Augusta.  We will head south again towards the Yorke Peninsula and they will head north to Lyndhurst.  It is great meeting people along the way and surprising when you meet up again.

We drove from Wilpena and had a late lunch at Hawker before heading east slightly.  We stopped at the rural town of Orroroo and saw the huge red gum tree that is believed to be about 500 years old.  It was certainly huge.
We are now staying at Wilmington which is a very small town.  It was not our initial plan to stay here but we pulled into town around 5 pm with empty diesel tanks. (Almost coasted into town)  We did not anticipate the town to be so small or that the service station would shut at 11.30 am on a Saturday and not open again until Monday.  There was an afterhour’s number, with the offer to open for an additional $5.00, but we got no reply to our call.  So we have stayed two nights in the caravan park and will head further south again tomorrow after we fill with diesel.  Wilmington has a heritage trail and we enjoyed wandering around the small town looking at the various old buildings.

When we booked in we asked the lady does the area get channel nine as we wanted to watch the live telecast of the World Cup finals on Sunday night.  She said that some channels were hard to get but we should be okay.  She was a good sales person – we paid and stayed and no television!  Just as well ABC had a live broadcast on the radio and we could get it on the car radio.  Great to be a kiwi tonight and celebrate the All Black win, even though the win was narrowly won.

 Flinders Ranges
View from our picnic spot
  Road into Brachina Gorge
The sheer rock face
Emu on track
Brachina Gorge
Brachina Gorge
Info on Aroona Run
Aroona Spring
Info on Aroona Lookout
 Info on Aroona Homestead
Ruins of Aroona Homestead
Aroona Hut
Feral goat info
 Info on Aroona Hut
 Inside Aroona Hut
Youngoona Hut info
Youngoona Hut ruins
 Historic home in Blinman
 Great wall of China Flinders Ranges
Great wall of China, Flinders Ranges
Get off the road!
 Caravan park at Wilpena
 Carving at Wilpena Pound
 Walking to Wilpena Pound
 At the pound lookout
Wilpena Pound
 Aboriginal legend Wilpena Pound
 Hills homestead info
 Hills Homestead
 Hills Homestead
  Wild flowers at Wilpena Pound
Giant red gum tree Orroroo
Giant red gum tree Orroroo

No comments:

Post a Comment