NOW: FLINDERS RANGES
After lots of online research and a quick trip to Adelaide we bought a new camera. After over 30 000 photos, a million corrugations and dust in a variety of colours the poor Powershot gave up the ghost. So while I drove out into the hills towards Hawker, David set up the new Sony A7RII camera with our first shot an accidental photo of the dirty dashboard!
Our last visit to the Flinders was wet, cold and miserable so after a night in Hawker we headed to Wilpena Pound for some walking in the sun. This time the sun was out as we walked along Wilpena Creek to Hill Homestead. From the lookout above the old homestead we could see the steep slopes which surround the plains to create the “pound”.
In early 1900 sheep and wheat were grown in the pound but flood and then drought – the boom and the bust – put an end to cropping and eventually reduced sheep numbers below a profitable level.
Michael, a traditional land owner, guided our walk to Wilpena Homestead. He spoke of the 2 dreamtime serpents that form the rim of Wilpena Pound, the floods that bring fresh water, the native plants and animals and the stories his mother tells him about their country. Some traditional stories tell of quolls which had become extinct due to predators. Quolls and brushtail possums have been reintroduced now that the foxes that hunted them and the goats that destroyed the vegetation have been controlled.
The Bounceback Program is regenerating native plants, eradicating introduced species and reintroducing native animals. The area had been closed the week before our visit for a hunting cull to protect habitat for the reintroduced native animals.
From Wilpena we passed through Brachina and Parachilna Gorges where the “road” is a graded track of river rocks along the creek beds. At Razorback Lookout the hills jut into the sky while the road runs along ridges then drops and dips into the valleys.
The Prairie Hotel at Parachilna was our destination and we were staying the night in the powered campground. As it turned out we were the only overnight campers and had our own ensuite amenities block! We’d seen the signs and read the tourist brochure so we knew we wanted the feral platter for dinner that night – delicious kangaroo fillet, camel sausage and delightful emu mignon. The indigenous art on the walls was equally delightful.
The road north from Parachilna follows the Old Ghan Railway through Beltana, Leigh Creek and Lyndhurst. Once a thriving community the mining town of Leigh Creek seemed all but deserted now that coal mining has ceased.
The deserted township of Farina is being restored by volunteers keen to preserve the history of this railway town that had an hotel, bakery, store, school and railhead. The old baker’s oven is in working order and used when volunteers are on site and the adjacent campground is grassy and shady for overnight camping.
NEXT: THE OODNADATTA TRACK
See you on the Emu Track
Cheryl and David