This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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1999 Travels May 23


John got up at 8.30, me half an hour earlier.

After breakfast, John checked over the van and filled the water tanks. I washed the van floor while he was outside, and packed a sandwich lunch.

Chores completed, we set out to drive to Beltana, some 30kms to the south. Got fuel at Leigh Creek – 84cpl.

Rather than go back down the highway we’d come north on, we opted to turn off some 10kms south of Leigh Creek and take the old road, through the Puttapa Gap – this was pleasant and interesting, on an unsealed road.

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Ruins near Puttapa Gap

Beltana  was a settlement that dated from the 1870’s and the copper mining in the area. It was boosted by the Overland Telegraph being built nearby, likewise the northern railway (that became the old Ghan rail), and the road north. But the copper mining declined, technology rendered the telegraph obsolete, in the 1950’s the railway line moved, and the road was moved further west in the early 1980’s. Leigh Creek had become the main service town of the area and Beltana became a ghost town, almost. Today, there are some residents, and some upkeep of certain old buildings.

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The old Beltana Police Station, with a little stone jail at the back

Beltana was not as intact as I had expected, but there were some interesting old stone buildings, and bits and pieces lying about. Didn’t see any signs of life, though.

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The old school house at Beltana

After we’d driven around and walked and looked, we decided to continue on to Sliding Rock, 24kms to the north east, along a reasonable gravel road. The road crossed the wide and dry Sliding Rock Creek, and we stopped to eat lunch there, amongst some beautiful old red gums.

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The dry bed of Sliding Rock Creek, north west of Beltana

Copper was discovered at Sliding Rock in 1869 and mining began. The prospects were really promising, and smelters were built. A township was established there – Cadnia. But by 1901, the problems of water in the mine proved too much, and the mine closed, and the place was abandoned. A lot of investors lost a lot of money at Sliding Rock.

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Sliding Rock Mine ruins from the former Cadnia town site

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Ruins at the former Cadnia township site

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Unusual square chimney at Sliding Rock

We found the ruins of the settlement and mining activity fascinating, including a big, square, smelter chimney and a round mine one. The stark, stone building remnants were evocative, in this setting, with the huge, grey face of Sliding Rock behind. We thought it much more special than Beltana.

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Ruins of the hotel at Cadnia with the Sliding Rock face behind

Around the old smelter area there were lots of pieces of slag residue, some with a greeny copper residue on. We collected a couple of bits of this, as a memento.

05-23-1999 05 mineruins at sliding rock and slag heaps

The picturesque setting of Sliding Rock. Slag heap remains.

Drove further on the same track, to Warraweena Homestead. This had been mentioned to us by a Melbourne friend, who had been there, pig shooting, in recent years.

At the Homestead, the lady of the managing couple was home, and seemed to welcome some company. The house is in rather poor condition, with the front rooms termite and ant ridden. They sleep in an Atco hut. This property ceased being a sheep station in 1996; I think it may be intended to become a conservation area.

The lady said we could try to drive towards the Angapena diggings. She gave us a station map to use and some directions. She was not sure whether the tracks connected up to the ones we were on the other day. I don’t think they have been there for long – she was rather vague about it all. John was hoping that there was a through track and we would be able to see where we had gone astray the other day.

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Track through Warraweena

We found our way alright, through some picturesque country. Drove nearly 18kms from the homestead to the property boundary. It seemed that, although tracks might be running parallel on each property, there was no apparent connection through Warraweena. And, as so often happens to us, with our late starts, it was getting a bit late to keep wandering about exploring.

So, we had to backtrack. We took one wrong turn, but despite that, the GPS was really useful, for retracing our route.

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Parts of the Warraweena track were rough.

We called back in at the Homestead, to let the lady know that we were on our way out. We do not want to be the subject of any false alarm searches!

It was dark by the time we got back to Beltana, and almost 7pm by the time we got back to Copley, having driven 166kms today.

Had a tea of soup, chicken with water chestnuts stir fry, rice, followed by yoghurt.

It was an early night to bed – all this exploring is hard work!

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1999 Travels May 22


Today was warm, but with much cloud cover.

I booked us in here for another two nights.

John slept in a little. After breakfast, he went to the local garage, who do tyres as well as serve fuel. They patched the tyre and put in a new tube, but it is basically dead, so is now the spare on the van, and we will need to buy a new tyre in Alice Springs. They have no tyres of that type here, and if we ordered one it would take at least until the middle of next week to come, so we will not wait. We had experience of waiting for ordered parts to come from Adelaide, in 1993, when we broke the Hilux axle at Port Augusta, and it was the most frustrating experience that took twice as long as promised!

The tyre work cost us $42. I kept the pointed piece of rock that was extracted from the tyre, and later wrote the cost of the new tyre on it, and kept it as a souvenir with a difference.

After lunch, we went on the tour of the coal mine, which I had phoned and booked this morning. This is put on by the mining company, at no cost. We drove to Leigh Creek, to the pickup point, where we were loaded into a mini bus and driven around to various points of interest.

It was interesting to be able to look up close at the operations, but the guide – a contract truck driver – was hopeless! There was no system to her commentary and much of it was inaudible.

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Haul truck – you  would not argue with one of these!

The open cuts are so huge. And so deep. The haul trucks that cart the coal to where it is loaded onto the train, are so enormous. Just their wheels are huge – I took a photo of John standing by one, and he only came up to the axle mid point. The guide showed us the repair shop. A haul truck with a burst tyre was there – the tyres cost $20,000 each! It rather puts the cost of our dead tyre into a different light.

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The size of a haul truck compared to John

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A $20,000 flat tyre!

At one point, from the bus, we saw a bulldozer working on a slope that must have been at least 50 degrees. I didn’t  know they could even do that!

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The driver of this bulldozer must have nerves of steel!

Men building the railway north in the 1880’s, originally found coal here; it was mined occasionally from that time, but only really got going with open cut mining after WW2, in the 1950’s to supply the new power stations at Port Augusta. The original Leigh Creek town was where there is now a very large hole. The current town was established in the early 1980’s, so the old one could be closed and make way for the expansion of the open cut.

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The current open cut coal mine. Its scale dwarfs the haul truck on the top road.

After the mine tour bus dropped us off back at Truck, we drove out to the Aroona Dam, just south of Leigh Creek. We just had a quick look and did not explore the camping area that is supposed to be downstream of the dam wall. John was not really inclined to look around. It did not look attractive enough for us to wish we were out here instead of in Copley village – quite the reverse, actually.

Back at the van, John cut up the ruined tube to make padding for better packing the axe and shovel on the roof rack.

We did a quick walk before dinner, around the township, amid a few rain spatters.

Tea was fish and French fries.

In the evening, I sewed, while John listened to the football on the radio. He worked on the computer, to bring the finance records up to date.

Again, it tried to rain occasionally, through the night.

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1999 Travels May 21


We woke to a warm day with some blue sky, some cloud – and a radio forecast for possible rain.

After a rather late breakfast, we packed the requirements for a BBQ sausage lunch.

Somewhere, John had come across mention of an old goldfield at Angepena, off the Copley to Balcanoona road, and he was determined to go find this, because it might prove to be a good fossicking area for his metal detector. I was rather less enthusiastic, in view of the possible rain, and only having a rather vague idea of where it was. I was not sure I was ready for another of John’s “little adventures”!

We drove to Leigh Creek to get the paper, then headed out the unsealed Balcanoona road towards Angepena Station homestead, some 55kms away.

We were not sure about being able to access the track to the old fields, through the station, even assuming we could find it. So we called in at Angepena homestead, but there was no one there.

Our map was not much help – no tracks were shown. Eventually, we guessed and took a track that headed south just before the Frome River – and we were right.

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The Frome River and the track to the Angepena diggings

Drove about 20kms over quite a good bladed track and came to an area where there were some old diggings. We could only assume these were part of the old Angepena goldfields. There were a number of former digging areas, and tracks everywhere – all rather confusing.

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The country in the area of the old Angepena diggings

We looked at old dirt heaps – really all that was there. But the area was a really pretty one, and worth visiting just for that.

We drove a bit further along the track to a creek bed and cooked our lunch there.

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Our picnic lunch spot at the old Angepena diggings

John was not feeling all that well – he’s had some reflux lately. So he was rather touchy today.

After we had wandered about the area for a little while, we headed off again. John insisted on continuing to follow the track along the creek bed, because he was convinced it would take us through to the Warraweena-Beltana track, even though our compass  showed it was trending NW, rather than the SW we needed.

We came to an old square stone well/tank and troughs – empty – and the track deteriorated after that. Then we came to a gate with a “No Public Access” sign, so turned around and retraced our way.

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Old stone well and troughs on Angepena

We saw some great Frome River spring and gorge country along the tracks today.

We’d had some spits of rain come on and it was getting quite late in the afternoon, so it was a relief to find our way back to the Balcanoona road.

Because of the time, John was probably going faster than he should have on the unsealed road, and it was not far from Angepena Homestead when we went too fast through a dip in the road, and got an instant flat tyre. A sharp stone had cut right into it.

We have not had to change a wheel before on the Truck so it took some messing about to find all the necessary gear and work out how to operate the jack that came with Truck. It is a high lift type and takes ages to get the needed height. So by the time we had changed the tyre and driven back to Copley – more slowly – it was dark. John’s mood had not improved! The day’s outing had cost us a tyre that was almost new!

We drove 222kms today.

Tea was soup and salad.

John wanted to phone S. He couldn’t get through on the Radphone – I am not sure we can do overseas calls on that. I suggested he try the pay phone up the street – he came back and told me it wasn’t working either!

There continued to be spits of rain off and on.

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1999 Travels May 20


Last night was appreciably warmer than it had been at Wilpena – we are thankful. We slept with the windows at our heads  and feet, open, to catch the cross breeze. It is a nice change to be able to do so.

We were up early – before 8am. No reason, it just happened that way.

I did the washing. Then I followed up things resulting from the mail – went to the Post Office here and paid the shire rates and the Telstra bill. Had completed some shares paperwork and mailed that. I phoned Breastscreen because they had sent me notice of a time for the routine check up – arranged to contact them about same when I am next at home.

I got John to phone the insurance broker he deals with, because I realized that we should have had the renewal notice for our house insurance, in this batch of mail, and it had not come. The response was a real shock. The broker told John it is not insured through him. His records show that, this time last year, John was going to do some research and get back to him – and never did. The Credit Union, who were contacted next, claim that the policy was cancelled in 1997!!! I have a recollection of thinking that the place was not insured, a year ago, and John supposedly fixing the matter. So we really are not quite sure who stuffed up, and how. But it certainly requires urgent and definite fixing now. John phoned the Credit Union, arranged a cover note, and they are forwarding a policy document to us – express mail. We will have to wait here until that gets here, and then return same before we continue on. We will ensure that it is automatic debit each year, from now on, like the contents  policy is.

All business completed, we drove into Leigh Creek, for a paper and a box of beer. We saw a Trakmaster in the servo there, so pulled in and chatted with the couple – from Melbourne. They have the Nullarbor model – still a single axle, but 17 foot long. The layout is fairly similar to ours, but they have a microwave built in, likewise a flushing toilet. That is not something we have room for – or a water pump to supply the flush! The man told John that he’d had a problem with the brakes on a rough road. Their cupboard door catches broke on rough roads, too, and were replaced by Trakmaster with the newer press button ones.

After lunch, we drove to view/inspect the huge open cut coal mine, that is just north of Copley, and is Leigh Creek’s raison d’etre. It is enormous. There are great overburden and coal heaps everywhere and very deep pits. I remember how vast this mine looked from the air when I was en route to Jakarta a few years ago.

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The old Leigh Creek open cut coal mine – now disused

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An old over burden shifter

John enjoyed himself at the lookout point, “playing” at the controls of an old over burden shifter that is now an historic item there. But basically, he has been out of sorts all day, because of the insurance debacle.

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Driver’s eye perspective from the controls of the overburden shifter

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The open cut coalfield from the main road

Back at camp, I cooked barley and veg soup to last the next few nights. For tea, I made a shepherds pie and served it with cooked baby spinach. Then yoghurt after.

There did not seem to be any coal trains today – either way.

It was a warm evening, but with some cloud about. Might it rain?

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1999 Travels May 19


We got up at 8am, which was probably a little late for a moving day.

John did a clean up of the back of Truck, because there was so much dust in there. While he was doing that, I walked down to the office and bought a Desert Parks Pass – cost $60. It is an annual pass to the designated desert areas, and we can renew it next year at a reduced rate, if we wish. We received a sticker to put on the vehicle and a folder of information on the areas covered. It was all quite comprehensive.

John drove Truck to the shop to refuel – 81cpl.

We had not done any preliminary packing up yesterday, so it was about 10.30 when we got away. That was alright because we do not have far to go.

Went south from Wilpena for about 30kms and then took the Moralana Scenic Drive route, that cuts through to the Leigh Creek road. Truck managed it well with the van on the back, and the van towed well on the unsealed surface.

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On the Moralana Scenic Drive track

It really is a beautiful way to go, through a valley between the Elder and Heysen Ranges, and then through the little gorge cut by the Moralana Creek, to the sealed road north.

05-19-1999 01 Elder Range from Moralana track

The Elder Range from the Moralana Scenic Drive

For a while we had the interest of the Ranges to the east of us, but these peter out after Parachilna. After that, it was much flatter,  but there were places where areas of lower hills were visible, like around Beltana and especially coming into Leigh Creek.

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The Flinders Ranges from the western side, near Parachilna

I am rather amused that, along this road, the railway crosses the watercourses – which are dry now – on bridges, whereas the road is down at stream level rather than on bridges. When they do get the occasional heavy rains, there is nothing to stop the water flowing straight across the road, so I guess this road would soon get closed in such an event. Guess heavy rain must be rare in these parts.

It is noticeably hotter today – I am in shorts and T shirt. Have not needed those for a while.

We stopped at the Beltana Roadhouse and ate our lunch in the parking area there. Bought a beer and icy poles from the roadhouse. It seems a rather desolate spot to me, but we were told that the couple who run it have been there eighteen years.

There was an empty coal train on the railway line beside the road. We’d had to stop for it, a bit earlier, at the one level crossing there is between Leigh Creek and the outskirts of Port Augusta. We had noticed the railway come in from the southwest, south of Parachilna and parallel the road for a while. Saw the train on it, doing about 80-85kms, and got to the crossing just as the train was approaching it. So we counted – it had 3 diesel engines, 162 coal trucks, and one flat bed at the back. It took a while to go past us at the crossing! At the roadhouse, they told us that, at 3kms long, it is the longest train in Australia. The train takes ten hours to go, loaded, from the Leigh Creek coal mine, to the power station at Port Augusta, a distance of 250kms. It obviously manages to go much faster on the empty return run. I actually thought the longest train honour belongs in WA’s Pilbara?

The roadhouse people advised us that the Copley Caravan Park is the best to go to, in those parts. They thought the one at Leigh Creek might even be closed.

So it was to Copley that we went, passing straight by the turnoff that leads to Leigh Creek township, built a little back from the main road. We booked in for three nights, at a cost of $12 per night. The little caravan park is alright – it has a little grass, not much shade, but our site is ok. They have put a shade shelter up over a table and seats. The amenities block is modern and clean. The washing machines cost $3.

We did a quick set up, then drove back to Leigh Creek, 6kms down the road. This is obviously a town built to accommodate and service the mine workers. It has the typical curving road layout and central core of shops and services. It is soul-less, like these places usually seem. We went to the small supermarket for a few items, then collected our mail bag from the Post Office.

Drove back to the van, where I sorted the mail. There was quite a bit of share-related stuff, and a card from S. Nothing that was exciting.

We had a happy hour, sitting outside the van, then John cooked tea – he had chosen to have bacon, eggs  and crumpets. Yoghurt to follow.

There was a very nice sunset – all blues and golds. It is starting to seem like the “outback” now.

It got cooler very quickly, once the sun went down.

We heard the loaded coal train go by, after dark. It was much slower, but sounded like it was accelerating.

There is no TV here! John played computer games and I wrote – diary and did some follow up work on the mail.

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Our route to Copley. Artimore is in the folded ranges north of Blinman

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1999 Travels May 18


We woke up a bit stiff after yesterday. This was surprising, because we have been doing a lot of walking. Must have been due to the gradients, I think.

We decided that a drive would be a pleasant way to spend the day, which is our final one here, for this trip.

We drove the Bunyeroo Gorge road again, with its superb views. Continued north from Bunyeroo Gorge, to intersect with the Brachina Gorge road. Drove west through Brachina Gorge, in places driving in the pebbly bed of the dry creek. Kept going on the track to meet the sealed Leigh Creek road, on the western side of the ranges. Drove north to Parachilna , then followed the unsealed road and track back east through Parachilna Gorge. We turned left just through the gorge to go have a look at the Glass Gorge and find somewhere pleasant for lunch.

The Glass Gorge track was the route used, until 1889, to cart copper ingots from Blinman to the railway at Parachilna. It follows a very winding creek bed.

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The Glass Gorge Pastoral Access Route

Ate our lunch in the dry creek bed.

I had thought that we would continue on to Blinman and return to camp from there, but John decided on the spur of the moment – at nearly 2pm – to drive the Public Access Route to the Artimore ruins, to the north. This was just because I casually mentioned that it was there, and what a great idea these Public Access Routes are. I also said it was “too late this time – another time”. Me and my big mouth!

We took the track past “Moolooloo” and turned right where it was signed. Drove through the Hannigans Gap and along the Gap Creek valley and gorges. It was excellent scenery and somewhat challenging driving. The gorges were much better than those we had been through on the Skytrek route.

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The PAR track in Hannigans Gap

We stopped and collected a small cypress pine log from there, to become woodwork timber and some sort of permanent souvenir.

After Hannigans Gap it was slow going, with lots of little gullies and channels to negotiate.

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The PAR track in the Oratunga Creek valley

We reached the Artimore ruins. This was established as a sheep station in the 1850’s, but abandoned in the early 20th century, due to drought and the ravages of wild dogs and rabbits. Clearly, in its time, there were a number of quite substantial stone buildings here. There was enough left of these to make the drive worthwhile – and they were in a superb setting, in a valley amongst the rugged ranges.

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Artimore ruins – possibly the main homestead?

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This may have been the workers’ quarters?

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The Artimore ruins in their rugged setting

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The workmanship is evident in this ruined building at Artimore

After looking around the ruins for a time – too short – we continued on. On my not very detailed map, a track was shown going south to the Blinman road. But there was a track junction not far from the ruins, and I was not sure which way to go. There was a rough  Orantunga Station sign, pointing one way. We remembered the Willow Springs people saying that Orantunga had set up something similar to Skytrek, so thought we had better not go that way.

After quite a lot of very tense and rather rough kms, we came to a PAR signed gate, and knew that we were not going to end up in nowhere, or at a locked gate! We were unsure of the distance we still had to go, it was getting late, and it had been threatening to rain all day. We had only had a few drops, but the sky was dark.

We were very relieved when we then quite quickly reached what looked like the Angorichina road, turned right, and soon after met the Blinman to Wilpena  road.

On the way back stopped at Stokes Lookout to watch the sunset – it was that late!

We got back to Wilpena just after dark, having driven 229kms.

Despite the anxiety at times, it had been a great day. One of John’s “little adventures”, and one which ended better than some!

Tea was packet soup, and a quickly made pasta, tomato and tuna dish – very good.

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Our driving and walking routes in the Flinders Ranges, whilst we were based at Wilpena


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1999 Travels May 17


Got a fairly slow start this morning, as I still had the cold.

Decided we would tackle the other end of the Wilkawillina Gorge walk, so packed lunch and set off to drive to the Little Bunkers Trailhead. Continued on the Wirrealpa road for about 6kms past where we had turned off for the other trailhead, then found the track to the north. Followed this track for about 7kms, up a narrowing valley and parked Truck at the track end. There were quite rugged ranges all around us here.

Ate our lunch by Truck – the last of John’s yummy pasties.

It was about 1.15 when we set out walking.

The track initially climbed up a range – a steady climb, angling along a very steep hillside. The track itself was very narrow – like about a foot wide in parts – and the drop off was steep. It was somewhat stressful for me because of the height and the drops alongside the track. There was only low grasses and small shrubs on this limestone and siltstone slope, so the openness accentuated the perils.

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The narrow track up to the saddle – note my uphill lean! The track is evident, crossing the slopes behind

After 2kms of climb, we reached a saddle – great relief on my part, because the land on both sides of the track went up! There were excellent views from the lookout there.

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In the saddle. The lookout is on top of the hill.

Then we continued on, down the other side. There was some loose rock in places on the path, and one had to watch their step, but it was not as vertiginous as the other side.

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The track from the saddle towards Wilkawillina Gorge

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The track down towards the Gorge was easier – and better vegetated

At the base of this slope, we reached Wilkawillina Gorge and Ten Mile Creek. It was just brilliant. The creek bed is wide. The gorge is steep sided. There is a permanent waterhole, with bright green bulrushes.

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In Wilkawillina Gorge. Boulders of red sandstone and white limestone show the two adjacent rock types of the Gorge

We followed the creek back through the gorge to the creek crossing at the 6.4km mark, according to the track notes. Since these start from the northern end it meant we’d walked 5kms since we started, as the total walk length is 11.4kms.

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We followed the creek bed through the Gorge

It was about 3.45 by now, so we needed to turn around and back track – and make a fair pace.

John managed really well. It was a hard walk on the legs and feet. This walk is rated as Hard.

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I was intrigued by these three dead mulga trees by the track

The track back down from the saddle was just as bad, going down. Once we could see Truck, a long way below, we abandoned the more gradual track that wound around the slope, and walked straight down a side ridge. It was very steep, but, paradoxically, easier for me than the giddy parts on the track.

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Heading back down. Truck is parked by the road track, on the far side of the creek gully

Reached Truck at 5.15pm.

It was dark by the time we got back to camp, having driven 107kms for the day. We were both really weary.

The cold seems to have eased somewhat – just have a bit of a sniffle. Maybe I have walked it out?

Tea was a packet soup, toasted cheese, yoghurt and pear.

Early night again.

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1999 Travels May 16


John had said that he wanted to make Cornish pasties this weekend, so we’d bought mince in Port Augusta. He had to make the pastry from scratch, and worked most of the morning, to make six pasties. They were excellent!

We had some pasties for lunch – with a bottle of red wine, for a change. Drinking wine at lunchtime is most unusual for us!

After the large lunch, we needed a walk, so followed the track to St Mary’s Peak that runs along the “front” of the range from the Wilpena camp ground. Walked for 90 minutes along this, almost to Tanderra Saddle, then retraced the same way. It was good exercise.

I started to sneeze on the way back, then had a streaming nose for the rest of the evening. That came on so suddenly. Maybe I picked up a cold germ when we were in “civilization” on Friday?

Tea was pea and potato soup, more pasties, yoghurt and banana.

I went to bed early to try to sleep off the head cold.

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Dusk in the Flinders Ranges

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1999 Travels May 15


We spent a quiet morning, reading the Saturday paper, which was available at the shop here.

I made a pea and potato soup, using up the tin of peas I have been trying to get rid of since we were in North Qld, last year. It was an emergency supply – we do not usually eat tinned peas.

After lunch, decided to go for a bike ride. Thought we’d tackle some of the Mawson Trail – a long distance trail for cyclists, similar to the Heysen Track for walkers. In places, they are one and the same, and this is the case from Wilpena, north towards Wilcolo/Bunyeroo.

The track was pretty rough in parts, with loose shale, precipitous gullies, and winding in amongst the trees. It required much concentration and lots of gear and brake work. I was pleased that I hadn’t risked bringing the camera.

I scraped my shins when I missed a gear change up out of a gully and the bike rolled back on me.

A bee flew into the back of my head, below my bike helmet, got tangled in my hair, and stung me! I wasn’t having a great day, at this point!

However, the ride was very scenic – when one had the chance to look. Yet again, it is getting away from other people that is part of the attraction. We reached almost to the Bunyeroo Gorge road.

We decided to return via the much easier management vehicle track, rather than stay on the worst of the gully and loose rock areas shared with the Heysen Trail. We thoroughly enjoyed that section of the ride – easy going, and we could look around. It came out at the old Wilpena Homestead, now unused, I think, but still looking quite substantial. Then we came out on the approach road to Wilpena and had to start watching out for cars again.

It was late afternoon when we got back to the van. We had ridden 18.2kms.

Tea was the pea soup – and it was very nice. It was followed by a chicken casserole, adapted and cooked in the electric frypan. That was pretty good, too.

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1999 Travels May 14


We got up at a sensible hour, with the help of the alarm, and set off at 9am to drive to Port Augusta. We had things to do that required an urban centre.

We passed through Quorn, which looked a pretty place, and through the Pichi Richi Pass. We will have to explore these places properly, sometime.

We were passed by many Landrovers, going north, for a big Jamboree weekend at Blinman.

When we got into mobile phone range checked the phone and found a message from friend A, from Caramut.

We went to the bank in Port Augusta, to transfer money to pay for the shares John bought. This was the main reason for our visit. I got some photos developed and printed.

Being Friday, we had our fish and chips as lunch.

Went to Coles where I stocked up with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, in particular.

Refuelled Truck – 68cpl. That is a lot cheaper than at Wilpena!

We drove over the main Port Augusta bridge, that takes the highway to the west and north, for old times’ sake. We walked it so many times in 1993, when we were stuck here for the best part of a week, while the Hilux had a broken axle repaired. Then we drove back across it!

On the way back to Hawker, overtook a Defender and an older Landrover County, obviously travelling together, and obviously Landrover aficionados. We talked with them on the CB – they are a husband and wife. Then we talked in person, when we all pulled into the Rest Area at Hawker. They are very experienced travellers – especially her. The Defender was pulling an offroad camper trailer. It was a fun encounter.

In discussion about our next move, as we were going along, we decided to give Arkaroola, in the northern Flinders, a miss this time. We have been there before, and whilst it is well worth visiting again, there is the lure of places we have not yet seen.

Back at Wilpena, I phoned home and asked P to send the mail on to Leigh Creek.

I phoned E and A. They wanted to tell us that they are interested in doing a Simpson Desert crossing with us – but next May/June. I am not sure that will suit us, though. They are going to visit family in Qld this year. E expressed an interest in returning down the Sandover  “Highway” – the unsealed route from NW Qld to Central Australia – as that is one way they haven’t been. I said we’d let them know about all that.

The campground has become very busy – it is a long weekend in SA.

Tea was tinned asparagus soup, some salad, and yoghurt.

We drove 342kms today, essentially just to visit the shops!