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27 April 2009

Flinders Ranges - South Australian Outback

Most of the time, Nykaj and I make holiday plans at the last minute. It was the first long weekend after we bought our Jeep and we decided we should make good use of our 4WD during the holiday. We were like 2 excited kids with a new toy. A couple of days before the long weekend, we figured that the best place to go is Flinders Ranges.

I searched the web for good accomodation deals but most of the places were fully booked. We never thought that it was going to be this busy. We should have known since the weather was perfect and it was long holidays! Someone had cancelled their holiday unit booking at Rawnsley Park Station at the last minute and luckily we called them at the right time and were able to book the last available cabin. We were excited about the whole trip as it was the first time we were going for such a long drive to the South Australian outback.

It was close to one full day of driving to Rawnsley Park Station with a few stops in between. We started early in the morning and drove through many little towns on the way. We stopped at Two Wells to fill up petrol and when we went into the shop, we were surprised to see the shop filled with Rodeo gear! I was expecting to see something similar to a Servo shop.

From Two Wells, we hit the highway again and in a couple of hours, I felt hungry. We drove into the next town which was Port Germein and thought of having lunch at the local pub, but it was closed! The beach was near by and we decided to stretch our legs a bit. There was a rather long jetty which turned out to be the Longest Wooden Jetty in Australia (as we found out later). We started walking and it kind of never ended! However the scenery was breathtaking. On one side, you had the start of Flinders Ranges, on the other side a crystal clear ocean and above, the beautiful blue sky with patches of clouds. A must-see if you ever head that way.

From Port Germein we headed straight towards Port Augusta. From there we took a diversion to Quorn to reach Wilpena Pound where Rawnsley Park Station is situated. I think we drove around 700Km in total that day.

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We had a typical Aussie pub meal at Quorn; chicken schnitzel and beer. Quorn is a small town where a lot of miners live. Their families stay back while the men folk go away for a few months to work in the mines. The local people were friendly and helpful. We were given Hot tips on must-see places and towns we should visit.

Just in front of the pub, we saw the historic Pichi Richi Railway Station where a timber-bodied diesel carriage was on display. There were a few tourists waiting to board the train. I think these trains are around 100 years old.

From Quorn it took us about 2 hours to reach Rawnsley Park Station. The Flinders Ranges was magnificent. The drive was really spectacular as you see endless stretches of barren land with red and orange dust. The Ranges are a riot of colours. Sometimes they look yellow, other times they look orange and yet other times they are blue in colour.

By the time we checked into our unit it was too late for another adventure. The main reason being, you might get hit by Kangaroos while driving at night. It seems the Kangaroos would jump in front of the car at night and get hypnotised by the lights. As you are driving, on an average, at 110 Km/hr your car will be smashed and the roo will die. As we did not have a roo catcher in front of the jeep it was not advisable for us to venture out in the dark. So we decided to freshen up and drive around Wilpena Pound and just explore the area surrounding the station.

The sun was setting and Wilpena Pound suddenly lit up and became golden in colour. I was reminded of the movie Mackenna's Gold where Mackenna waits for the sunset to find the hidden path! It was that beautiful.

After enjoying the sunset, we came back to our little cabin and had a snooze before heading off to the Woolshed Restaurant for dinner. It was an old Woolshed converted into a restaurant and it had that rustic charm about it. The food was good and both of us had steak and some wine to go with it and off we went to sleep.

Read On - Ranges Day 2 & 3

1 comment:

  1. Australia has a pretty neat number of good deserts and outbacks to visit. One of the things that I like about them is that there are just so many adventurous and exciting activities to do. There is one that I haven't tried though cause I haven't seen one or don't know where to go to, that is to ride a camel. lol... awesome blog pictures mate.