NOW: BINNS TRACK
The road from Dalhousie Springs to the famous Mt Dare was rocky and slow going – almost as slow as some of the big climbs in the Victorian High Country and the roughest road we’ve travelled for a while. We passed Opossum Waterhole which held significance for the local Aboriginal people as it was a near permanent water supply, but early pastoralists dug it deeper and built high walls to ensure water for their stock. When we reached Mt Dare the girls were in charge as the cook and the boss had driven to Alice Springs for supplies. The trucks couldn’t or wouldn’t get in on the muddy roads.
There was a lot of speculation in the campground about which way to go from here. We chatted to Bob who works at Mt Dare in the tourist season and caretaker at Old Andado in the summer. He told us Binns Track was fine. The beginning near the pub was a mess but the go back and around was on higher ground. Once we got away from the pub Bob was right.
Binns started as two wheel ruts and became an easy gravel run to Old Andado Homestead. This is where Molly Clark has left her home as a living museum to the women of the outback complete with her salt and pepper shaker collection, dressing gown and kettle! The Mac Clark Reserve nearby acknowledges the work of Molly’s husband Mac who protected the Waddy trees here.
Binns Track was much better than the Dalhousie to Mt Dare road as we hadn’t had to drive through any water. Bob was right! While Googs Track went over the sand dunes, Binns Track travels along next to them. Our camp beside the Arookara Ranges gave us a chance to climb up from the plains and look around.
Binns Track comes into Alice Springs near the airport. We knew we were nearly there when a huge jet rose up over the car. We turned left at the airport onto Old South Road for a night at Chambers Pillar. David’s mum was a Chambers so we had to see her special place! This was a good dirt road but the last 46 kms were a lot slower.
The rock formations here have ironstone tops which erode slower than the lower sandstone levels. It’s a bit like a protective icing on the top and spectacular in the evening light. But in the morning when the sun hit the cliffs they looked almost supernatural.
As we stood at the base of the pillar and looked out we could see how the early pioneers thought they could graze animals here as it was so green following the recent rain. How they got here in 1870 still amazes me. The ambitious journey by Stuart funded by his friend Chambers resulted in the Telegraph Line that linked the people and communities of the outback.
NEXT: ALICE SPRINGS
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David