Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Flinders Ranges

Before leaving Arkaroola we took a 3 hour scenic 4wd drive to Paralena Hot Springs.  These are the last remnant of volcanic activity on the whole of the Australian continent apparently.  The thermal springs bubble out of the rock at near boiling point in the middle of these ancient, dry mountain ranges in the northern part of the Flinders Ranges in SA.  Another thermal spring to tick off the list!

There were a lot of dust storms around during the time we were around the ranges, not only could we feel it as we were so dry and dusty ourselves, but you could also see them in the distance and it made some photos quite hazy.

Mount Chambers - we took a short walk to see some Aboriginal rock engravings, but the flies were the worse we have experienced since Umbrawarra Gorge in NT.  You could barely open your mouth without swallowing one. 

We then continued south through arid, dusty and windy country into the heart of the Flinders Ranges to Parachilna Gorge where we had a great big fire on a free bush camp site in the creek after getting one or two fresh fruit and bread supplies from the small town of Blinman (their claim to fame was they are the highest town in SA).

Flinders Ranges NP (Arkaroola is still Flinders Ranges, just the Northern end), is the middle and Southern section of the mountains which extend South-North basically from the coast (including Kangaroo Island) right up past Port Augusta and on past Arkaroola.  They are dry, dramatic and dusty!  But awesome and we had a great time camping there.  Unfortunately - maybe it's the time of year - the flies were bad so bush walking is not much fun and I didnt bother getting the bikes off the back as that would have been equally as painful.  Shame, as it is great country and we will definitely be back.  Lots of emus too:


We entered the park from the West via the town of Parachilna (nice pub/restaurante serving gourmet bush tucker) and embarked on the Brachina Gorge drive.  This is a self guided drive taking back through time as you drive across the ranges seeing the different ages of rocks.  Basically it is trying to make geology interesting, it kinda works, but we lost interest after about an hour (it took 3-4 hours to drive it mind you!).


We camped up for two nights in Cambrian Campground which was a top spot in the bed of a creek, surrounded by a mixture of river red gums and native pines with a good view of a 600 million year old range in front of us (dont ask me what the rocks were, as I dont know or care much).  We got the camp oven out and did lots of cooking - pizza, scones and a delicious fry up with English sausages!P1130436

When we left Cambrian we headed to Wilpena Pound which is a shameful resort (you can catch a bus to the start of the walk) and what is basically a big geological depression, we managed to avoid all fees and all the tourist crap and just did the walk to the lookout which was excellent.


Then on heading South out of the NP we camped at Hancocks Lookout, camping at the top of an awesome lookout over the Gulf (?), the towns of Whyalla and Port Augusta towns in the distance.  In the morning we made a quick visit to Mount Remarkable NP & Alligator Gorge for a short walk.  Refuelled at Quorn and continued our journey East towards NSW and ultimately Victoria.

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