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Published: December 11th 2016
Monday 21 November 2016 – our daughter Kerrie’s birthday xx
The next morning, we did a flight over Lake Eyre, William Creek, the Painted Hills and Aboriginal Art with Wrightsair. Incredible…. just incredible. I hope the photos do the scenery we saw some justice, particularly the Painted Hills. We did a 3 hour flight which is longer than the normal 2 hour flight available.
We were supposed to leave at 8.30am once a couple arrived from Marree. We hopped in the 5 seater plane but when the pilot started it, there was a faulty alternator. We then walked back to the Hotel for a coffee while the pilot got another plane fuelled up and ready. We then hopped into that plane. As we were taxing off, the girl who was flying with us was 15 weeks pregnant and she was finding it so hot she said she couldn’t fly so we taxied back to the hanger. It was heading for 42 degrees and by this time it was 10.15am. The pilot then said that he couldn’t use that plane with only 3 people due to the cost so he said he would fuel up a
and smaller plane.
It was 11.00am by the time we took off in the 3-seater plane….. but it was worth very waiting minute. Our pilot was excellent, describing what we were seeing and telling us where we were. We didn’t see as many pelicans as we saw during our flight over Lake Eyre South in 2009. There were 100s of them then. We probably only saw about 20 birds all trip this time.
Lake Eyre by the way is 12 metres below sea level and we saw Bell Bay which is the lowest point.
We went to the Pub for a sandwich lunch which Wrightsair shouted us which was very good of them. They apologised for the delayed flight but it really didn’t affect us.
After leaving William Creek we drove past the Strangways Siding, which is in a state of advanced decay and a little past the siding the Strangeways Telegraph Station, which is one of the OTL repeater stations located between Port Augusta and Alice Springs.
We then drove further south and stayed at Coward Springs, which is home to some of the
famous mound springs. They are formed when hot water from the artesian basin rises to the surface and brings with it minerals and sediment from deep in the earth. The minerals and sediment are left on the surrounds of the springs as the water evaporates and, in doing so, slowly increases the height of the mounds so that they are higher than the natural ground level, hence the term 'mound springs'.
Small vegetation grows around the mound spring edges and the water is home to several species each of snail, prawn and small fish. Some of the species are unique to just one mound spring.
In days gone by there used to be a pub, hospital and railway siding at Coward Springs, little of which remains today. There was a good camping area which great and at this time of the year, there was no competition with space. By the end of the evening, there were about 6 vehicles camped.
The owners of Coward Springs has put the area up for sale so they have done some great improvements to the area, including a deck next to the springs so it is easier to have
a soak in the water. We jumped in as soon as we arrived at the camp site as it was over 43 degrees in the sun with a hot wind. We were in the spring for over an hour chatting to a lovely young couple from Bendigo. Another older couple joined us later. They were from Darwin but returning to their property outside of Mount Gambier.
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