Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 7 - Wudinna to Elliston

Day 7
Wudinna – Elliston Saturday September 22nd 2012
Up bright and early and putting our camp site to bed. The locals will probably miss us – although Sam Snake didn’t put an appearance in this morning. A strong wind and the look of threatening weather this morning, so we wonder what the day will bring.

First stop the bakery for morning tea, then on to the Wudinna Show - lots of things to see including a clown/magician and his performing poodles. Also the sheep shearing contest was interesting to watch.
We had lunch at the Show and Davo caught up with people from Curtis’s, where he served his apprenticeship. They have a position going at Wudinna as an ag-diesel mechanic, at the going rate of $35 per hour. Still can’t get anyone to apply for the position.

Davo then had a good time photographing all the railway sidings including Kyancutta and other little townships.

Next stop was Lock, then on to the old Provis Farm. We had permission to go onto the property where the buildings and outhouses are not as Davo remembers. Such is progress. We did rescue a sleepy lizard who had wondered into the old homestead – our good deed for the day.
Under the lino in one of the bedrooms are lots of newspapers dating from 1965 – interesting articles in the papers.
Some of the shearing gear on the old farm

Stop off at Wedge Hill to have a look around; nothing left now other than a memorial plaque.
Wedge Hill

A letter box with a difference - must be for air mail

 Through the wild winds we continued on to Elliston – spending the night at Waterloo Bay Caravan Park. Our first shower in several days; such bliss J
The Manager set up a TV for some of the travellers so that they could watch the Crows being defeated by Hawthorne. The Campers’ kitchen is in the progress of being updated and also has a bouncing cushion for the children.

The wind turned into quite a storm, but our tent managed to survive. Refreshed and ready for the next leg of our adventure.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 6- Gawler Ranges

Sturt Desert Peas were first found in the Gawler Ranges
 Day 6
Gawler Ranges – Friday September 21st 2012
A bit of a cold night, but we were nice and snuggly in our bed. While Lisa was getting dressed, wearing only knickers and her personality, a copper head
 ( or King Brown) decided to visit the tent. Lisa quickly cleared out of the tent and stood on the running board while Davo used this as a Kodak moment and photographed our visitor. No photos of Lisa, and it was lucky that we had the camp area to ourselves.

Policeman’s Point was our first place for visiting. There is a grave site of a young child as you enter the gorge towards where the first police station was established. The walk was breathtaking, and ended in a sort of gorge with emu, kangaroos and lots of wild flowers.

Back to Old Panney Homestead which was established in the 1860s. There are several grave sites near here as well. Children died often from the harsh conditions.The building is in need of some TLC, but campers can stay in it. There are left-overs of a vegetable garden and various plants.

Morning tea under the spreading gum trees with the ranges as a backdrop.

Plaque about the first owners of the selection

After smoko we decided to head for the big smoke – Minnipa and Wudinna. Lots of granite rock formations – mini Uluru all over the place.
Pildappa Rock was our first vertical challenge. There were several other climbers, including a very friendly dog, but we all managed to scale the mount, with beautiful views from the top.

Driving tour of Minnipa then we continued on to Yaninee and Wudinna. We stopped off at the bakery where Davo’s cousin works, for coffee and cake, also a bit of shopping at the IGA, and the use of flushing toilets (something you take for granted).

Australian Farmer - sculpture of granite in Wudinna

The return journey took in Pygery Rock, another granite outcrop on a farmer’s property. Lots of minor outcrops could also be seen throughout the property – difficult to grow crops.

Davo and Lisa under a rock we called 'Turtle Rock"

Then back to our special camping site for our final night in the Gawler Ranges. Very philosophical thoughts came into our head when we realised that there was no one else camping near us for at least 30 kilometres, as that was the nearest camping site to ours.
A cold night as there were clear skies and many sparkling stars. 

Markers showing where Edward John  Eyre came through the area

Day 5 - Gawler Ranges

Day 5
Gawler Ranges – Thursday September 20th 2012
Waking up to birds calling and the scene of native wild flowers on a beautiful morning in a lovely part of South Australia.
After breakfast and a leisurely stroll around our camp area, we are going to spend the day exploring the park and trying out the various 4WD tracks.
First stop is the Pondanna Outstation. This homestead has been restored by the friends of the park and is available as accommodation. We looked at the various sheds and machinery, and met up with a very angry brown snake. He obviously didn’t like us in his territory.

A bit of rough track took us to the top of Conical Hill. Spectacular views which lead us to the sand dunes which make up part of the Gawler Ranges. This is a one-way four-wheel drive track, and it is easy to see why as the track is narrow, with very little opportunity for passing.

Morning Tea

Morning tea at Kododo Hill then on to the Yandinga Falls. The trek was not too strenuous and we met some other hikers. Although the falls weren’t falling there were lots of water holes with tadpoles having a great time. Lots of skinks and dragon lizards sunning themselves on the rocks.

Conical Hill

The water falls go a long way up

Tadpoles in the water holes

The Organ Pipes

Lunch under the trees at the Organ Pipes. An interesting rock formation from when this area was full of volcanoes.
The Organ Pipes were truly fantastic to look at and explore. Davo, as usual, has to climb the highest point, and forgot which path he took, so it was interesting to see him try to find his way down.

It was now time to return to our camp site at Mattera, where Davo built a ‘nice fire’. Once the fire died down we cooked tea of baked potatoes, carrots, lemon chicken and pies. All came out delicious.
After  a filling tea and a bit of satellite spotting, we decided to treat ourselves to a movie – and watched ‘ Most exotic Marigold Hotel’. A lovely way to end a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 4 - Lake Gairdner to Gawler Ranges

Day 4
Lake Gairdner to Gawler Ranges – Wednesday September 19th 2012
Up early as there were nasty thunder heads and lightning and thunder. It looked like a storm was heading our way.
The weather seemed to skirt around us, so after breakfast it was off to do some exploring of Lake Gairdner. Lake Gairdner is often used for land-speed record trials, but this year it has been too wet.
The surface looks like a snow field, and is quite hard to walk on. Many pieces of dead tree are slowly becoming crystallised by the salt.
David was adventurous and climbed the hill to get a fantastic view. The Lake looks like a sea with inlets and islands.

We had a look at Pondanna Shearers quarters which has had some preservation work; the well and tank are in excellent condition, then on to Mt Ive for re-fuelling


Mt Ive is a working station, but also allows access to Lake Gairdner from the property plus accommodation for travellers. There are 2 grave sites near the homestead of young children who died in the 1800s.

At last we reached our destination of the Gawler Ranges

We chose to stay at Mattera Well campsite

 –No one near us for some 20+ kilometres, just one very large fat copper head or king brown
 ( didn’t get that close to it) decided that it preferred our campsite.
After settling ownership, we set up our camp site; a beautiful area in a gorge with wild flowers just coming out.
Davo made a ‘nice fire’ and after tea we did a bit of satellite spotting before bed.