Sunday, August 18, 2019

Safari 2019 August 18th

 August 18th 2019

Here we are in Quorn this evening. It is pouring rain so we are pleased to be settled in at the early hour of 4.00pm.
This morning we left Kimba mid morning and were in Port Augusta for lunch and a big shop at Coles.
 There is little else to say apart from the fact that it is very cold and wet. Luckily we are booked into the Quorn Caravan park with mains electricity and water. 
There are a couple of trees within the park which are interesting. One is a young Eucalyptus Leucoxylon which has very deep red flowers, a much stronger red than the tree we have at Milawa. The other bush is quite spectacular. It is a type of Eremophila or Emu Bush, with a huge red flower. There are many types of this bush scattered through the deserts of Australia. I think this one has been propagated and planted in the area.

Monday, August 19th 

Thankfully the weather has improved. 4 deg at dawn but a fine day to follow. We left our camp and headed off to explore the Conservation Park called Dutchman's Stern. We set off for quite a ong walk to the Terrace Viewpoint which is really only part way to the Dutchman's Stern. John walked the full distance to the Viewpoint, which was quite steep toward the end. I pulled out of the really steep section of the climb. This meant that I was able to enjoy the beautiful bush which was really showing a lot of spring flowers. The 'Queen' of the bush today was the beautiful 'Acacia quornensis' or commonly known as Quorn Wattle...seen here in full bloom.
The track today took us across the Hans Heyson Trail, named  after the well known Australian Artist.

Willochra Creek
The picnic lunch I had made was really enjoyed being an hour later than usual. We then continued further north along a Scenic Route, visiting Warren Gorge, and the Bucharinga Lookout. This area west of the Flinders Ranges is also quite remarkable. 
Suddenly we came across the Willochra Creek. It was flowing quite strongly and we could see a couple of lakes further down stream. It was a surprise to see water as the surrounding hills are very dry and rocky. Eventually this creek flows into Lake Torrens.
Hans Heyson Trail seen through the bush

Friday, August 16, 2019

Safari 2109 August 16th & 17th

Friday August 16th at Kimba

Shortly after we left the Lake Gairdner camp we changed our decision toe camp at Mt Ive. The sky was cloudy and we definitely did not want to drive on wet here we are settled for the night in Kimba which is on the Eyre Highway. 
The road south was mostly wide and gravel until the last 40 odd kms when we found bitumen. I stopped thinking of our belongings rattling around in the van. All is safe after the gravel roads so, both van and driver did an excellent job!
We stopped for lunch at Buckleboo which is a country area of rolling hills and green crops and pastures. We pulled in at the local sports arena and tennis courts and enjoyed our lunch.
Right where we parked there were several eucalypt trees. They were not all familiar to us but John was able to identify the one with the wonderful square fruit which were 2.4 cm wide by 2.5cm so quite large fruit. It was a type of Fuchsia Gum called 'Eucalyptus Dolichorhynch'. I am sure I will never learn to pronounce this one!!

Mallee Fuchsia Gum with square fruit
The weather has definitely been warmer today,not as warm as yesterday but 15 or 16 deg.

August 17th 
We decided to camp a second night at Kimba which enabled us to have a good look around the little township as well as getting all our washing dry..hooray!
Late morning we drove around to look at the various sights including the 'big galah' which is quite ghastly and much in need of a coat of fresh paint! 
We visited Foodland and now realise 
Kimba Silo Art
that many super markets are only open for 5 1/2 days per week. 

 In several places we have noticed the use artificial timber, especially in tourist precincts. one of the Brand names used is REPLAS. Examples of uses are posts and picnic tables. These items are made from re-cycled plastic
REPLAS picnic table
Mid afternoon we set off along the Roora Reserve Nature Trail. It begins in the outskirts of Kimba and was developed for footballers needed to make training runs away from traffic on the roads. It is a well formed track with a firm surface without stones or ruts. The full length is 6km return trip which John was successful in walking. I did the shorter walk of 4 km return. We thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the bush. Trees and flowers were named and there were a number of metal sculptures made to fit into the environment.

Sculptured  kangaroos

Sculptured Mallee Fowl near (artificial nest)

Safari 2019 August 11th 2019

Thursday, August 15th
View of Lake Gairdner through Mulga trees at our camp

Our top temperature today was 24 deg.

Again we walked early, this time along tracks at Scrubby Peak Camping Ground. Quite a few Spring wild flowers showing early blooms..especially wattle, one of which had spikes about 1.5 cm in length…not to be entangled with.

This was the last morning for us to wake in the Gawler National Ranges Park. It is a really lovely park and very well cared for by Rangers….Congratulations to these Rangers as the improvement is very noticeable since we were here 7 or 8 years ago. The roads are very much better and new toilets have been installed in each camping area.

View of Lake Gairdner from the Lookout

We set up camp in the Waltumba Camp which is on the banks of Lake Gairdner. We have spent the afternoon exploring the area. It is a large salt lake which is sandy brown near the edge and white with salt in the central area. We walked out to see the salt which is 600 metres from the edge and is about 5mm thick and crusty with crystals.
Later in the afternoon we climbed the nearby granite hill. The path up to the top was very steep and very rocky. It took me 20 minutes to climb the first section. I did not go further so let John go on alone where there was a lookout. I came down slowly and very carefully along the rocky path. I watched every footstep making sure I did not fall. The view from the top was great though and worth the effort of climbing. We could even see some water in the next bay, pale blue in colour against the white salt. A wide and dry creek bed could be seen entering the lake. This, when running would add water to the huge lake.
PS. This evening we enjoyed a delightful meal of Garfish, which we purchased from 'Baldy's Seafood' shop in Ceduna.

What a picture of loneliness! 

Safari 2019 August 13th & 14th 2019

Gawler Ranges National Park 
Tuesday August 13th & 14th

Mt Ive Reception area
At 1 deg we experienced our coldest morning. The sky has cleared of clouds and now the evening is warm and still. However I suspect another cold morning.
With a picnic lunch on board we left the caravan at the Yaldinga Camp and set out for Mt Ive. It was a great drive with the road wide and graded. Unfortunately the alternate road we took for our return journey was narrower and much more rutted. If we had known the more direct route was in such good condition we may have considered towing the van with us because Mt Ive has a lot of appeal as a place to camp.

Seven or eight years ago we camped at the Mt Ive property very near to the Shearers quarters. The camping and hospitality are has been much improved since our last visit.
Old Paney Homestead
On the way home we called at the Old Paney Homestead. Surprisingly there had been some repairs done to the old building, perhaps at the time of the unveiling of the memorial stone in memory of the family who owned and managed the property.
William Murdoch McKenzie managed the Paney property and lived in the homestead with his wife Jessie during 1877 & 1898. The couple raised a large family of 11 children. It was these descendants who unveiled the memorial stone the early 2000s

Thursday August 14th 

We have had another long day exploring the Gawler Ranges National Park. Firstly we visited the Organ Pipes which are made from Basalt rock and are quite predominant around the hills of this park.
Organ Pipes-a rock formation

Next we visited an Old Stone Dam, which may have been well over 150 years old. There was no water in the dam but the rock formation of the wall was remarkable – taking into account that it had been completely hand built.
We walked to Policeman’s Point but found little information about it apart from noting the waterhole and rocky surrounds. After lunching at Old Paney we continued along the Mattera 4WD track. The track was OK but certainly not suitable for a caravan.
The most interesting place was Pondanna Out Station. The home and surrounds have been repaired and are in excellent condition. The homestead is available for use. I think it would be great fun to hire it with a group of friends. As far as I could understand the property has only recently (in this century) been purchased by the Gawler National Park. The history boards distributed around the yard told of farming activities especially the cutting of Chaff for the feeding of animals.
This evening we have moved camp to another nearby area called Scrubby Creek Camping Area.
The wild life was interesting today..lots of emus and kangaroos of which there is a wide variation in colours from red/brown, fawn, brown with black head and tail and very light grey. John spotted another creature which was unfamiliar to me but it has been listed as a park inhabitant..we saw 2 Southern Hairy Nose Wombats..wandering near their burrows. We straddled a Shingle Back Lizzard  on the track..very careful not to run a wheel over it. There are many birds about but we are not skilled at recognising them. We did see Wedge Tail Eagles, Lincoln Ring Neck Parrots, Rock Parrots, Galahs and White Backed Magpies. It has been good to see two familiar desert plants ... spinifex on the hills and samphire around the edge of a salt pan.
 Red-flowered Mallee Box

John had read of the Crimson Gum or Red-flowered Mallee Box (Eucalyptus lansdowneana) which has restricted distribution, known only in a few rocky hills in the Gawler Ranges, and is endemic to South Australia. Luckily we found a number of these trees planted around the Pondanna Homestead/Outstation. They have the most beautiful deep red blooms.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Safari 2019 August 12th

Monday August 12th 2019

After a peaceful night sleeping ‘under the waves’ of Pildappa Rock we awoke to fog and light mist. Clouds, blue, breeze and misty rain have been exchanging places all day. We walked the 1.3 kms, around the rock and John climbed it again while I sat in the sun doing a little stitching! It is surprising how many people call to see this interesting phenomenon. There was only one other overnight camp though.
Eventually we left the area and headed north for the Gawler Ranges and settled into the Yaldinga Camp just in time to enjoy our lunch there…it was sunny at the time. Early afternoon we walked a short distance up the road to view 2 waterfalls, one of which was the Yaldinga Falls. Of course neither rocky fall had any sign of water. It was a pretty walk. though, because of the Silver Cassia in bloom and much taller bushes bearing flowers of the Sand Hibiscus.
The evening had turned quite cold as we walked around the Yaldinga Camp site to say hello to two new couples who were setting up for the evening.
My first try to cook a frittata here in the van! and yes, it was most successful. It called for the use of the Griller on my stove so that was a first as well.

Close up shot of Silver Cassia flowers
PS..I am posting this on Tuesday, from Mt Ive, where we have connected with the station WiFi