Friday, August 16, 2019

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.


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