This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels September 6

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Today was a pleasant one, not too hot, with some cloud and some sunshine.

We obtained a mud map of station tracks, when we booked in yesterday.

Were able to top up our fuel with 20 litres here – 86cpl.

Our first destination today was Kath’s Castle – a columnar rhyolite rock formation – which means pillar like shapes. The track was narrow, but not too rough. From its end, we walked up a small, dry, creek bed to reach the wall-like formation.

09-06-1999 01  scene from Kaths Castle.jpg

Kath’s Castle

We then climbed the hill beside Kath’s Castle, to see what the view from the top was like. The walk was longer than we’d anticipated, as the skyline was further than it looked!

Along the way, disturbed a number of wallabies and euros or kangaroos – I still can’t tell the difference, much of the time. We saw where they make circular “nests” in the spinifex that was prevalent through here.

09-06-1999 02  roo nest.jpg

The nest of a wallaby or euro in the spinifex

The view from the ridge was worth the effort. There were good views over the distant Lake Gairdner.

09-06-1999 03  view from mt gairdner.jpg

The outlook from the ridge behind Kath’s Castle

Clambered back down to Truck and drove on to Lake Gairdner. This was so surprising and so brilliant that we had some difficulty taking in what we’d come across, by a chance reading of a snippet in a magazine.

09-06-1999 05  lake gairdner.jpg

Lake Gairdner

Lake Gairdner is a huge, brilliant white, dry, salt lake. On a map, it looks nearly as big as Lake Eyre, and is, in fact, Australia’s third largest salt lake. Yet we had never before heard of it! It is really beautiful and certainly should be better known.

09-06-1999 lake gairdner view north.jpg

Looking north – Lake Gairdner receding into the distance

With its red shores, and low hills surrounding it distantly, and the really white surface, it is much more scenic than Lake Eyre.

09-06-1999 12  Lake Gairdner panorama 1.jpg

The contrasts of Lake Gairdner

We sat and ate lunch, just taking in the outlook over the Lake – in all directions.

When the sun came out from behind clouds, interesting light effects were created on the salt surface of the Lake.

09-06-1999 06 on Lake Gairdner looking nth

Sun shining through a hole in the cloud, onto the Lake surface

We spent some time on the Lake – walking on it and taking photos. The salt crust is about a metre thick, though in places some underlying red earth outcrops through the salt in some more shallow sections.

09-06-1999 07  wendy on.jpg

This lake is vast….

09-06-1999 10  Lake Gairdner surface detail.jpg

Salt grains encrusting an outcrop of red earth, on the lake

The sand grains are coarse and the patterns they make are interesting in themselves.

It was an absolutely fascinating, impressive place that will remain a highlight of our travels.

09-06-1999 11 Lake Gairdner John in distance

The dot out on the Lake is John walking

Our final destination for the day was an old rock wall dam, built across a little creek valley by the early pastoralists. It showed great craftsmanship in the stone wall construction, worthy of somewhere more significant than this old sheep property.

09-06-1999 17  old dam mt ive.jpg

Dam wall on Mt Ive Station

09-06-1999 18  Mt Ive old dam detail.jpg

John inspecting the workmanship of the dam wall

We walked up the dry creek valley for some distance and saw numbers of wallabies, euros and a small herd of goats. It was, therefore, a very smelly creek bed!

09-06-1999 dam valley

Dry valley behind the dam wall – with goats

We drove a total of 81kms today, on station tracks that were fairly slow going and sometimes rather rough and stony.

09-06-1999 20  Mt Ive kangaroo drinks.jpg

Water from underground – windmill, tanks and drinking trough, with kangaroos drinking

Tea was soup, BBQ steak, baked potatoes and vegies.

What a full day we had! What a wonderful place we stumbled upon!

09-06-1999 19 gawler range wildflowers

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