In the bush…….

For Linda 🙂

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Walking the Warren Gorge trail

In early August, Fred and I headed off on the well marked trail in the Flinders Ranges on a glorious day without rain or howling winds.  Such a relief!

The Warren Gorge is a fairly short drive from Quorn along a sealed road these days and is managed very nicely by the local council.  Fortunately it is also open to dogs.

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I’d been given the advice from regular visitors on the best direction to begin the walk – so that the steepest section was traversed downhill not uphill.  Very glad of that advice as at one point I met another couple who had climbed up the hard way and looked quite worn out with still a long distance to walk.

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At first I was concerned that it was going to be too hard or long for Fred with his little legs, but I needn’t have worried.  He took it all in his stride 🙂

Starting at the gorge and walking along the green valley I admired the lovely rock formations.

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See if you can spot the Kookaburra sitting in the gum tree

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Pools of spring water along the base of the gorge are a haven in this otherwise dry land.

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As the path slowly rose up the hillside, Grass Trees began appearing. Personal favourites of mine, and this specimen particularly caught my eye.  Extremely slow growing plants, this one could be close to 100 years old.  You have to respect that!

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This is the flower head of one, and it is very sweetly scented and the bees and the butterflies adore it.

The trail was gently shaded by the native pine trees, before opening out to grass tree hillsides.

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Another plant common to the arid areas, and not one to get too close too, is the Triodia grass, otherwise known as the porcupine grass – for obvious reasons!

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The slender leaves taper to a very very sharp point!

The path then took a sharp right hand turn and up the hillside we went, pausing now and then to admire the view (code for catching our breath).

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The silver leafed plants I know as Mulla Mullas, though which particular one I couldn’t say.  There are also other forms shaped more like Christmas trees.  Nice 🙂

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This colourful plant is the Native Hop Bush. I can remember seeing whole hillsides ablaze with these plants catching the afternoon sun, when I lived in this region years ago.

As we neared the summit, the vegetation changed again, to small gum trees.

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Soon we reached the summit, and more views.

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On the way down, going carefully because of the loose rocks, I was constantly stopping to admire the colours of them.  Nothing boring about rocks to me.

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rocks

Nor to the many geologists from all over the world who come to study this ancient landscape.

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Then after more than 5kms, we reached the bottom of the gorge again, and the cooling water which Fred really enjoyed.

I found the walk to be really enjoyable for several reasons.  Out walking with my buddy boy Fred 🙂 , being in the great outdoors in nice weather, and finding my old favourite plants again.  Long time ago, I lived and walked and rode my horse in the Australian bush, and these plants became my friends and each season I’d look forward to their blooms once more.  Now that I’m back in the Flinders Ranges, I’m remembering all manner of things, from the birds to the plants, to the people. It does feel like coming home………

 

 

A word from Fred

Hi folks, I’m happy to have a guest post on my friend’s blog, although really I think the reason is a bit ummm……… er…… well…….. anyway………

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It was like this you see.  It was a couple of weeks ago and we were travelling out in the bush, heading north – way north of Port Augusta, back to where my friend had been quite familiar with the area many years ago.  We headed towards Leigh Creek and just before the township turned off the highway onto a bumpy dirt road.  Now things were getting interesting!  And even more so when these big birds came across the road right in front of us – but don’t worry, I scared them away from the van!

The road wound around some really old looking hills.

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And then we got to where there was LOTS of water!  Not that I got to see much of it because of this sign –

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It’s the last point that did it.  I got told to stay in the van while SHE got to wander around taking photos of the dam.

Now that was really unfair, and to tell the truth, I was a teeny bit angry at being left behind.  So I thought I’d get some revenge………….   Usually I’m really trustworthy with any food left in the van that’s not mine – unless it’s the cats’ food of course.  However….. sometimes a guy has to do what a guy has to do………. So I raided her snacks basket.  Yum!  I found a freshly opened big bar of chocolate!  Dark chocolate!  Boy did it taste great!  In fact, I was so engrossed in it I didn’t hear her return……… but she heard the rustle of the chocolate wrapping and caught me at it.  Damn.  And yes, she was REALLY ANGRY and upset and told me all sorts of things.  Then she used that funny thing she holds up to her ear and started talking to someone.  Getting some advice on me eating the chocolate I think.  She seemed really worried.  And instead of us heading further north, we turned around and went south for a long time – and much faster than we’d usually travel.  Not that I minded going fast, it was good fun!  I think I was a bit hyped up by then…..  and next thing we’d travelled 260 kms in no time at all!

Got to Port Augusta and found a nice animal doctor who patted me lots and weighed me (7kgs) and gave me some tablets.  Bah! Didn’t like them anywhere near as much as the chocolate!  And then I was really really thirsty.  By the time we got to the caravan park in town I could have drunk that dam dry!  So I did drink lots and lots of water…. with the result that I had to keep getting up during the night to pee.   But my friend didn’t seem to mind much – she just said she was glad I seemed ok.  I know she wasn’t happy being in THAT park though and was only there in case we had to visit that nice doctor in the middle of the night.  But she really didn’t need to worry – I’m really fit and strong and a bit of chocolate – well apparently about 100grams – wasn’t going to upset me!

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Have to admit, that place did seem a bit like a jail, especially after all the lovely bush we’d been staying in.

Now my friend won’t keep any chocolate at all.  Zilch.  Zero.  None.  Not any. At all.  Ever.

So that’s my story.  The end.  For now……

 

Rawnsley Park

After I left Hawker last time, I eventually ended up at Rawnsley Park campgrounds.  I had been heading to Blinman but as the day had crept forward I decided not to risk travel on kangaroo roads in fading daylight.  It was a good choice, as even though it was still school holidays the staff found me a relatively quiet powered site and we were undisturbed.

That afternoon, with a little time before sunset, Fred and I took a walk up a steep hill where we could view the landscape better.  We weren’t the only ones up there.

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Fred began making a great deal of noise about this…… and got told to shut it.  I’ve figured out since that he thinks he’s protecting me from them, so have tackled his behaviour differently with reasonable success.

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It was a steep climb and I was glad to stop and admire the view along the way.  It also kept pulling me upwards…

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Looking down on the campground below, in a north westerly direction. Beyond the buildings is a long stretch where bush campers can setup for lovely private views.  There are also a couple of toilets along the way but aside from that campers need to be self sufficient.  In season, campfires can be lit if you have your own wood supply. I’m certainly hoping to return there at some stage.

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This shows Rawnsley Bluff and the little Eco Village – high class accommodation for the wealthy.  There is a walk to the top of the bluff but I passed on that 🙂

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Don’t think this land is only grey/greens.  This Cassia lights up the landscape especially in the light of the setting sun.

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The type of view I love – no houses! 🙂

It was time to return to camp while it was still daylight as I didn’t fancy finding my way down the steep rocky path in the dark.  It was a nice conclusion to a lovely day of exploring.  It was also forecast to be frosty overnight and we needed to prepare for that.

Next morning despite the freezing conditions, Fred and I were out exploring at sunrise.  More on that next time.

Today we’re back in Hawker, about to head north to Parachilna.  It has changed a lot since I was there last and I”m curious to see the changes.  There’s also an art exhibition I’m wanting to see.  There’s unusually some rain around and I figure I may as well be nice and warm in the van travelling as sitting somewhere chilly 🙂

 

Up North

Without any further ado, here’s some images from my week in the Flinders Ranges SA.  I’m back in the Mid North for now, but plan on returning northwards soon.   I have until perhaps October to explore there – after that the temperatures may start getting a bit high for us all.

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This is Sturt’s Desert Pea, the floral emblem of South Australia, and a personal favourite.  In a good season, out bush the ground is carpeted with them.  And there are natural variants with white ones even occasionally being found. These images however were taken in a town.

The landscape up north can vary considerably, but there are certain commonalities of the area, and of the flora.  My first campout was at Carrieton, a sweet little community run campsite on the edge of town.  Quiet and peaceful, I spent two nights there so I could explore the town in a relaxing manner.  Mind you, it did get frosty overnight!

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It’s the open spaces which help my heart to swell……………..

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I first came through here back in the late 70’s when I left the city to take up a job out bush.  In those days the road was dirt – and there was no bushfire refuge!  Which incidentally is on the town oval.

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An old house on the edge of town, sadly now in disrepair.  What a backdrop view though!  And what I wonder, stories does it hold…..

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Like most towns the world over, the population has dropped since this plaque was unveiled, as the cities have grown into sprawling messes.

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Speaks for itself 🙂

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On to Hawker.  Regarded as the Gateway to the real North.  🙂  Now I’m really starting to feel at home.  Lived at Lyndhurst at one stage in my life and visited the others on the top sign at various times.

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The colours of sunset.  Like no other areas I’ve lived in.  Do I sound like I’m in love? Yes, I am.  🙂

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After leaving Hawker, I really began meandering. Bush time…. slowly does it…..                      Creeks in this world can be large, and mostly dry, but when they flow, watch out!  Never camp in these creek beds, as even if there’s no rain locally the water can flow down from elsewhere and arrive with a roar!  But what a wonder world it can be to stroll down looking at the rocks.  This is an ancient landscape with treasures for those with eyes to see it.

 

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Elder Range.

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Chace Range in the background.

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Perfect spot for a coffee……  just soaking up the view ……..

The next step of the journey took us into a slightly different country so I’ll leave that for next time.

Little adventures

Well, the story of our travels continues.  The additional work on the van was carried out successfully, and a few days later we took off onto the road again for a few days exploring.  I wanted to be back in Port Fairy for some activities on the long weekend of June as I didn’t want to travel too far, selected Colac as the starting point.  It’s a nice country town, situated on a lake, and lovely old architecture.  Fred and I took a walk around the town when we arrived mid-afternoon, and then headed out to our campsite for the night, about 15mins from town.  It was a free campsite, and had toilets and tap water and is fine for brief periods but didn’t hold a lot of interest for me.  So off we went exploring the next day, and despite initial plans to go elsewhere, we found ourselves heading into the Otway Ranges. Now years ago I’d put that area on my to-do list, especially when I found out about the Otway Fly.  

However, I knew a brief visit would never satisfy me, which is why I was surprised to find myself selecting it for this brief road trip.  However….. can’t argue with my muse…

Yes, it was truly wonderful,  No, my time there was too short.  Yes, I will be returning.  Yes, it is one of the wettest places anywhere, summer or winter, and yes it does get very cold……..  but doesn’t usually get snow in winter.  Ha!  Despite my non-enjoyment of cold weather, I’m planning to spend somewhere between 1-4 weeks there this winter!  The reason is that during the summer the place is full of tourists but during winter the numbers reduce dramatically.  I don’t like crowds.   I’ve got a good offer at a caravan park in the region, where I’ll have power and hot showers and a camp kitchen as well as a concrete pad for the van and so I”m willing to give it a go!

Later this week I’ll be housesitting for friends again, and so it will be  early next  when we plan to head back to the beautiful temperate rainforest region where time has almost stood still.  I’m not very satisfied with the photos I took on the first trip and am definitely not happy with my laptop for viewing images – I DO so miss my desktop screen however, it is what it is for now…….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walking high in the tree tops was an amazing experience.

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Climbing this 47metre tower as a challenge but well worth it for the view.

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The walkways did sway if others were on it – once again a good reason to visit when not many people were walking on it!

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Naturally there were times of going up and times of going down……

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In the really damp areas, the walkways were covered with wire to prevent boots from slipping too much but it paid to keep attention to placing the feet carefully.

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I was half expecting to see a dinosaur appear from the tree ferns…..

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What really interested me was finding a black snail……unique to the Otways.

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All I was able to photograph was the empty shell of one so guess what my next challenge is?  Yes, a real live one!  A snail that isn’t vegetarian – now that’s something different!

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Naturally in such a damp region there are many waterfalls.  This one is Triplet Falls, not far from the Otway Fly.  Gorgeous.

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The image doesn’t do it justice.  Hopefully next time I”ll do better.

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So there you have it.  For now. 🙂