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Published: September 4th 2016
Tuesday 9th August 2016
This morning we awoke to gray skies and the threat of a shower but we were not to be deterred from our morning plan which was to walk the easy Hills Homestead walk which took us for an easy stroll from the camp along the creek to the Hill’s Homestead. This building was restored in 1995 and with the interpretive signage tells the story of the first pioneer family to live there from the point of view of Jessie Hill the daughter of this family.
From there we walked up to the Wangara lookouts from where you can actually see the “pound”, a huge valley surrounded by the ranges with the only exit along the river to the opening where we are camping.
The 8kms walk and climb gave us all a good appetite for lunch on our return and the rest of the afternoon was spent either resting or catching up with chores. There are lots of other walks here for serious hikers but this was all we had time for this visit!
The evening meal was a communal effort with friends of David and Helen
joining us,making 8 in total in our annex. Everyone brought different dishes so we had a veritable feast! Wednesday 10th August 2016
Today we set off for a long drive through the Flinders Ranges to give us a better idea of what there is besides where we are camping. David and Helen were in their car; we joined Mark and Helena in theirs.
Just out of the compound we started on a dirt road, which we then followed for nearly 80kms. It was a bit rough in spots but pretty good most of the way. The hills of the range were reached some time after, the sheer cliffs and steep slopes on all sides. The scenery was quite breathtaking. At Bunyeroo Gorge we stopped for morning tea, prepared by Helen. We spread our picnic on a rug on the banks of a stream with cliffs on both sides of us.
Mark was enthralled by the rock formations, which were formed over 100 million years ago. We could see how the rocks had been compressed and lifted, making distinct patterns and lines of strata.
These cliffs of rock continued for many kilometres and many stops were made to enjoy the views.
Heading north we came to the small town of Parachilna. Besides the hotel, there are only about three other houses, some overflow accommodation for the hotel, and the abandoned railway station. Its current claim to fame is the Prairie Hotel’s quirky food offerings such as the “Feral Food Platter”. This consists of a range of meats such as kangaroo, emu, goat, camel, cooked in different ways. We sat down to emu and camel burgers, with a side serve of wedges, washed down with either cider or a Tooheys Old. Very tasty, as was the goat burger we tasted.
Back onto a dirt road we headed east, again winding our way through the spectacular Parachilna Gorge and creek crossings before eventually arriving in the small town of Blinman. Copper was mined here in the past; now it relies more on tourism to see the historical minesite and enjoy the scenery.
Thankfully the road was bitumen for the next 60kms as it was getting late in the afternoon and a few kangaroos were being sighted. These
numbers became increasingly higher the closer we got to Wilpena Pound and many emus were sighted as well. Rags has done a lot of country driving but he has never seen so many animals along a road that wasn’t in a national park. We must have passed 100s of them on the last 40kms or so to our campsite, most sitting nonchalantly metres from the edge of the road eating the grass. Surprisingly there are very few carcasses by the side of the road so night-time traffic must be light. But nonetheless we drove very carefully, always on the lookout for anything near the road.
All of us were feeling rather tired, and as we had lunch at about 3pm the communal dinner was cancelled with all going to their respective vans and relaxing for the evening (or in Judy's case working).
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