Trip 9 – Flinders Ranges

We’re in love with the Flinders Ranges, once we arrived that is.  Jules was doing her best at navigating from Tanunda to Flinders Ranges however despite her best efforts we had to make four u-turns to get back on course…  All’s well that ends well however, it was a lovely drive north, through the hills, past lots of wind farms, a quick stop for a photo at the house on the cover of the Midnight Oil Diesel and Dust album, before arriving at our campground, Koolamon.

At the campground there are six 2wd access sites and another seven 4wd access sites but we shared the whole ground with one other couple who were camped about 750mtrs away so we effectively had the place to ourselves.  Camped right next to a dry creek bed with ‘to die for’ views of the ABC Range.

Our first night was beautiful and warm, so it was spent sitting outside, sharing a bottle of wine as we watched the colours change across the ABC Range as the sun set behind.  Sometime during the night it started to spit, then drizzle, before raining for a few hours and so at 6am’ish, when we popped out of the van for the mornings wee, the ground was pretty muddy and the little ‘dry’ creek behind us was flowing past at a great rate of knots, about 6” deep of muddy brown water..  Having decided it was too wet and early to start the day, we retired back to bed only to find that at 7:30’ish the creek was once again ‘dry’, albeit a bit muddy in some places.  As a kid we were always told never to camp in a river bed as the water can come through suddenly but this was our first experience at seeing how quickly a dry creek bed can become a river and then a dry bed again, truly an amazing thing to witness.

Later that morning, Friday, we drove out for a day of exploring the Flinders Ranges, which were ominous but majestic in the rain and low clouds.  There were enough fine breaks during the day to get out for some short walks, including working our way along the “Corridor Through Time”, Geological Information Trail along the length of the Brachina Gorge Road.  Our final stop on the trail was at the old Youngoona Ruins site where we happened across four guys congregated behind their car (out of the wind and showers).  Having asked the old blokes if we were in time to share their tea break, we got talking to them, only to find out that the ring leader was Associate Professor Victor Gostin from the Adelaide University, who was up here with his photographer and filmmaker mates, making a smart phone geological app of the area!  Victor invited us to join him and his small crew for the short walk down into the creek to view, what he regarded, as the best example of fossilised stromatolites in the world.  Jules and I obviously aren’t geologists, however Victor’s enthusiasm and knowledge had us, and his crew, enthralled as he explained all about the stromatolites.  He then got talking about how he’s had an asteroid named after him (3640 Gostin) due to his discovery of asteroid ejecta from an asteroid that impacted in the Gawler Ranges, over 300kms to the west.  What a fortuitous meeting and very interesting man, we had a great time talking to them and after getting some selfies, we swapped email addresses so we can track the progress of their documentary and mobile app.

Later that arvo we stopped in at the Wilpena Pound, resort/campground, for a coffee and some internet/phone access.  Following which we decided to take the dirt Bunreroo Road back to camp which was very muddy from the previous night’s rain and Garry, our Prado, was caked head to toe in thick mud.  Friday evening was a fair but cooler and still a bit drizzly on and off so we finished the night with some wine and a game of Scrabble in the van.

Saturday commenced in spectacular fashion, no rain or wind, so I was out taking shots of the ABC Range as the sun rose (you’ll need to wait for these shots to be processed when I get home).  Another day spent exploring the ranges, this time in glorious sun shine and once again we were awestruck with the magnificence of the area.  We arrived back at camp in time for some cheese and wine whilst we again watched the sun set over the range, before lighting our first campfire of the trip.  As it was such a clear night it was pretty cool when we retired to bed and we expected it to get a bit colder however it was BLOODY COLD on Sunday morning, taking all of our determination to get out of bed so we could pack up the van, only to find that it was below zero as the car windscreen had about 3mms of ice on it.  After removing the ice we had a slow’ish drive out of the park due to the roaming packs of roos and emus along the roadside before hitting the open road again to our next destination.

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The house on the cover of Midnight Oils Diesel and Dust album

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On the road to somewhere

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Roos, LOTS of them in the Flinders

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Pretty flowers

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More pretty flowers

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Some of the rock layering

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More rocks

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And more rocks

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Hill with rocks

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Prof Vic sitting on the fossilised stromatolites

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A selfie with the Professor

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Some bird of prey with a catch

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The creek at Youngoona

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Another bird of prey on it’s nest

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Rock striations

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Emu with chicks

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View to the range

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Roos

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View to the range

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Another view, this time taking at 70mm with the telephoto to compress the shot, I’m liking the results and you’ll see more attempts at telephoto landscapes below

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Telephoto landscape shot

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Another telephoto landscape shot

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Over the valley

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Garry, our Prado, caked in mud from Bunyeroo Rd

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View

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More views

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Head of Aroona Valley

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The Magpie that didn’t like Jules, swooped her

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Brachina Gorge

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Brachina Gorge

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Moss and lichen on rocks

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Same shot as above but this time taken with the telephoto

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The SupaChooks, bloody stupid, but very funny Emu’s

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Telephoto landscape

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Inside Sacred Gorge

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Can’t recall the name of the tree but a famous photographer shot it in 1937 and it looks almost the same as now as it did then so it’s bloody old

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Colourful bug at Wilpena Pound

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Landscape, loving the layered ranges in the background

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A Dragon I saved from imminent death by shoeing him off the road, he didn’t seem too happy with me though

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The view from our van and bed at Koolamon campground, Flinders Ranges.  Morning sunrise lighting up the ABC Range.  Note the frost on the grass in front and to the left of the car.  It was freezing that morning and we had to scrape the ice off the car windscreen.

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