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Published: December 26th 2009
Day 243 - Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
Wakey Wakey it’s Christmas Day! Hurrah, has he been, has Santa been, quick, open the door and have a look…….he’s been, he’s been, he’s brought us our very own stocking!
Amazing isn’t it that we’ve travelled half way around this huge country, are the other side of the world from where ‘we should be’ and yet Santa can still track us down, what a guy.
Dar has been working hard on the preparations for the dinner. Lots of people have asked us what we’ll be having, why turkey of course with all the trimmings and if it’s 40 degrees outside then so be it!
There was a special virtual present to open from my Mum and Dad, bless Mum she’s becoming a whiz with photographs these days! We’re stunned to see a new ‘chalet summerhouse’ now in position at the bottom of our garden. It’s totally amazing and we’re very impressed. Wow there’s been some hard work going on back home! Thank you very very much both of you, we’re looking forward to seeing it when we get back.
We couldn’t resist buying each other presents but we set
a ‘strict’ limit on cost which was no more than $25 to be spent and if possible no more than $5 per present, oh, and each present had to be ‘useful’ on this trip! With that understood Dar opened his first present, two huge serving platters due to his previous reputation of delivering enormous Christmas dinners that don’t comfortably fit on a normal sized plate! I opened a stunning CD full of Christmas songs which will come in very handy at dinner time! We left the other presents til later and headed off out for a morning walk on this very bright, very fine Christmas Day.
Dar wanted to be serving dinner at about 2pm so we choose a relatively short walk but ensure it’s one with a nice view at the end of it. We’re spoilt for choice here at Wilpena Pound so eeny meeny miney mo … Wangara Lookout here we come.
This actually two walks in one and as it’s a three hour walk we are duty bound to register at the trail head so that if we don’t return somebody might come and look for us. The team of Rangers here at Flinders Ranges
are of course working today which is a bit sad but it’s all in the name of conservation we suppose so it’s for a good cause.
The woodland here is full of towering River Red Gums and it’s a very pleasant wander along Wilpena Creek. We encounter wallabies and kangaroos plus bright coloured parrots as soon as we start the walk proper, beautiful to see so much wildlife in this magnificent setting. The interpretive signage has been brilliantly written and is very clever at getting the message home, my favourite is the one about life as a feral goat being more difficult these days now they’re being hounded from ‘both sides of the fence’. Goats do a terrific amount of damage to this sort of area and the rangers inside the park and the pastoralists outside are doing their upmost to reduce the numbers.
We reach Hills Homestead which has more fantastic signage outside telling the story of the Hills family ‘If only the walls could talk’. Told in the words of Jessie Hills who lived in the stone cottage in front of us as a girl in the 1900’s. The story tells of a harsh lifestyle, of
her keeping house for her brothers from the age of twelve and how the family strived to earn their keep by harvesting wheat crops in the pound. It’s difficult to imagine a family living and working out here in this harsh environment but they cleared the scrub and utilised the good rainfall to grow the best wheat harvest seen in Hawker. It was never easy and in 1914 the family watched in horror when the road that they’d worked so hard to put through the pound was washed away by the longed for rain, without the road there was no way to get the wheat out of the pound and in 1917 the lease to the land was given up. The homestead looks tiny but has obviously been renovated as it’s in great condition these days.
The track leading up to the Wangara Lookouts are just behind the homestead, the views from both are stunning and it’s been a great walk to do today.
We return to the trail head to sign off from the walk and then get back to camp for a much needed shower before dinner.
All Dar’s preparations have been done to perfection
and we’ve still got time to open the rest of our presents before we tuck in. A fishing tackle box with lures, pens (because I can never find one when I want one), new t-towels, TV aerial (not that we ever watch it these days!), gas lighters, jelly babies, pencil case (to put the pens in), hot olives, cap light, two travel mugs (to replace our broken ones), a tripod for the camera and a potato masher is what these true loves gave to each other!
And then to dinner, what a feast! Pumpkin soup for starters followed by Turkey with all the trimmings! Dar cooked it in the camp oven but because we’re in a fire ban area we had to use the caravan oven rather than an open fire, still, the thought was there.
It was delicious and it tasted as good as it looks in the photos. The ‘cows in blankets’ (they were way to big to be referred to as ‘pigs’ apparently) were delicious and the honey roast carrots just divine. It was all very, very good.
Desert is still sitting in the cupboard, we were stuffed to the gunnels so Sticky Toffee
Pudding with Custard (!!!) will just have to wait until another day, perhaps when we do our bubble and squeak meal!
We had a right good laugh over dinner with the Christmas CD ringing out from the car stereo, it wasn’t quite what we expected and we got a few funny looks as we sat there mid afternoon in 30 degree heat with our chrimbo hats on and pulling our crackers! There were only about four other campers in the whole park and we were the only ones having Christmas dinner.
3pm came, the traditional time for speeches to be made (if you’re me or the Queen anyway) but unfortunately my audience here was fast asleep. But I would like to say that this past year for my husband and I, has been amazing and an adventure that we’ll never forget. It’s put a whole different spin on our outlook on life and the first book I shall be purchasing when we return to the UK is the Lonely Planet guide so we can get out and explore our own ‘backyard’.
The laptop stayed on so we could return any shout out messages through the day, Kangaroojack
wished us a Merry Christmas as did the Gosling family back home in Bristol with the boys (Ben and James) having a great time opening their presents in the background! We chatted to Ed and then later in the evening (our time) we managed a Skype call with most of the Howells clan who were all round at Mum and Dads. Dar’s brother Nick sorts all that out for us and we’re so grateful, it was great to catch up with everyone. We get to speak to nieces and nephews that we’re so very proud of, brothers and sisters that we miss so much and of course Mum and Dad that we absolutely love & adore.
Talking of Mums and Dads that we totally adore, unfortunately I missed speaking to my Mum and Dad today, we chat quite regularly over Skype so we have sent messages between one another but we just haven’t done a voice call. Hopefully we’ll manage one tomorrow and will be able to say thank you by voice for all their hard work in the garden and for our amazing new summerhouse!
And there it was, Christmas Day with all the trimmings in the
Merry Christmas everyone!
Dar and Sar
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