Friday, June 27, 2014

Bring on WA

Well planning for our next trip is well underway. This trip will take us about 7500 kms from home to Port Augusta, Perth then around the South West coast of WA back to home. We are pretty excited as much of where we are going will be new to us and completely different to the Cooder Pedy trip. We are hoping to get a bit of fishing in on this trip. Here is the rough map.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Arkaroola to Wilpena Pound

We got away from Arkaroola by about 10ish and headed for Blinman. The trip was pretty much uneventful and ranged from flat to undulating terrain and the miles slipped away. At Blinman we stopped for lunch at the Lime tree cafĂ© which was a nice interlude. Home-made focaccia bread was a nice touch. We arrived in Wilpena mid-afternoon and set up. We had a bit of a planning session and decided, since we had 3 days at Wilpena, that next day we would take Wendy to Quorn. We had been there on a previous trip so I am not going to say too much this time around. On the way back we visited the Kanyaka ruins. Day 2 saw us walk out to the old homestead at the entrance to the pound. It is quite well preserved and is about 4km round trip. After lunch we drove up to Blinman across through the Parachilna gorge to Parachilna. We stopped at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna for coffee tghen down to the Blinman geographic road and back through Brachina Gorge to Wilpena. Tomorrow we head off for home and the end of another trip. 

Quorn's historic rail station

Kanyaka ruins

 Di loves the Flinders ranges and I must say it is one of the most enjoyable (for us anyway) locations we have visited. The characters and locations we have visited and seen on this trip is no exception and we have been privileged to see some of Australia's hottest and driest area green and full of life
This was an interesting trip also for a number of reasons a) it was our first camping experience b) it took in some iconic Australian sites and c) it was Wendy’s first trip with us. By all accounts we came out on top on all three. Next trip Perth.

Farina to Arkaroola

 Unfortunately, our time at Farina has ended and we must move on – but not before we visited the bakery for the last time. Our next leg is down through Maree, Leigh Creek and then east to Arkaroola. The gravel road continued but there were patches of bitumen. We stopped for coffee at Maree and diesel which helped break the journey. Coffee was pretty good and served by another interesting outback character. The landscape began to change as we moved south then east. 
Sunset at Arkaroola

From open, flat gibber plains to undulation and then hilly rocky escarpments the closer we came to Arkaroola. The facilities there were pretty good, although some of the services were a bit on the expensive side. We had to set up in the powered site section that was on a rather exposed slope, which we would find out about later in our stay. The sites were gravel with stones – probably not the most ideal for our tents. Next day we woke to a fair sort of wind blowing but not a bad day, anyway it kept the flies away. 

Copper smelter brick kiln

Copper smelter ruins

various minerals under ultra violet

 After breakfast, we did a couple of the short drives around the Arkaroola village in Gaz’s car and decided in the afternoon to do the Arkaroola backtrack off road trail. We set off after lunch on the 11 kms loop. This took us past the Welcome mine site and into the welcome pound and then along the Arkaroola Backtrack Trail. Word of warning the maps should give a time not a distance as it took us nearly 3.5 hrs and we didn’t get back until dusk. But what a bonus there was a lot of low range, steep accent and descent work. Neither Gaz nor I could be considered hard-core 4x4 so this was challenging but what a ride. The scenery was just magic and I felt privileged to see it as I suspect only a small portion of the population ever has the opportunity of seeing this. When we got back to the tents, it was blowing 50kph winds and the dust was terrible. We decided on hibernation and then the heavens opened and to top it off we had a thunderstorm. We decide bed seemed the best option and wondered what tomorrow would be like. Well we rose to a sunny day and little wind. Thank god as we had to pack to head for Wilpena pound via Blinman. 

Images from the Arkaroola backtrack trail