Letho's Blog

Archive for November, 2010

The Flinders Ranges

by on Nov.29, 2010, under The Outback

Saturday, 27th November – Monday, 29th November 2010

What started as a heavy rain at the Mount Remarkable NP soon become sunshine in Port Augusta. Despite feeling a little odd when drying our tent on the lawn in the middle of the city centre we succeeded. Furthermore, we were able to use modern technology, shopped for food and fuelled our car and were therefore ready to finally start our outback adventure. We passed Quorn and Hawker, didn’t enter the Flinders Ranges NP yet but stayed at the Rawnsley Park Campsite to be able to set up camp with some light left and to cook some dinner in the camp kitchen. Putting tent pegs in the stony ground drove some of us crazy but pan bread, egg and cheese made it all right again.

The way to the Flinders Ranges the next day was not only the start of our outback adventure but also the beginning of the most magnificient mountains and ranges I have ever seen. The view evokes feelings of freedom, calmness and on my part a strong gratitude for the wonders of this world. Call me sentimental, I don’t know myself why the outback got me that way… ; )

We passed Arkaroo rock on the way, an Aboriginal painting site. Sadly but understandably the paintings were protected by some heavy fence which only left an inkling of the feeling of the distinctiveness of this place. The sign at the entrance of the walk reminded again of the massacre that was committed against the Aborigines and chastened.

The next stop was Wilpena Pound, a „natural amphitheatre of mountains“ we had already seen from afar. Try to find a picture from above then you’ll recognise the „folded“ structure of the mountains in the pictures before. We chose the Wangara Lookout walk that showed us a view of the inside of the Pound and didn’t take so long since it was already in the afternoon.

See the following clip for a better impression:

We were lucky and saw some wildlife again:

On our way out of the Wilpena Pound we encountered this emu family – that obviously ignored any traffic regulations. 🙂

The way to Bunyeroo Gorge was a fairly good preview of the road quality we should expect in the Outback:

I am very sure that I heard some kangaroos at night and in the morning one was hopping away. When I went jogging I saw some more skippys hopping away – what a great combination of the normal (jogging) and the extraordinary (kangaroos).

Another sand track led us to Brachina Gorge and some incredible shifted mountains, all part of the Flinders Ranges and finally we went up the Heysen Lookout, named after a painter from Hamburg who painted and stayed in Australia and spent some time at a house in the Flinders Ranges (therefore Heysen Lookout):

Enjoy the following clip for a great overview:

We finally left the Flinders Ranges and headed to Leigh Creek.

On the way...

On the way...

The route depicted in this article:

Größere Kartenansicht

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Mount Remarkable and Port Germein

by on Nov.26, 2010, under Traveling Australia

Having returned to Port Augusta prematurely from our first attempt to go into the Outback, we prepared ourselves one more time for our bog Outback adventure: we topped up our supplies, checked the weather forecast thouroughly and planned the upcoming days. As we learned at the Wadlata Outback Centre our plans to ride along the famous Oodnadatta track were severely restrained by the fact that floods in the previous days had made the route partially impassable, therefore some of the roads were closed. Floods – in the desert? Yes, the weather’s really unusual this year. Sigh.

So we decided to pay more attention to the Mount Remarkable National Park that we had passed only a few days earlier. We left Port Augusta in the evening of Nov 25, 2010, observing an epic thunderstorm in the distance over the Flinders Ranges and found a good campground near the Mambray Creek.

In the next morning we were awakened by the light of a great sunrise:

Sunrise at Mambray Creek

Sunrise at Mambray Creek

After a detailed breakfast we quickly explored the area around the campground and found a few impressive trees near the dry, rocky riverbed:

You can clearly see the signs of former bushfires. The flora has developed an astonishing ability not only to cope, but to adapt to harsh conditions like fire and drought which is an integral element to their survival.

Our next stop on our way into the Mount Remarkable NP was Hancocks Lookout on top of the historical Horrocks Pass. Enjoy another fine panorama view over the Spencer Gulf and Port Augusta area:

View from Hancock Lookout over Spencer Gulf / Port Augusta area

View from Hancock Lookout over Spencer Gulf / Port Augusta area

We finally made our way into the Alligator Gorge whose name is actually not derived from alligators living there. So we were told. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the view from the two lookouts into the gorge ..

.. and walked down the trail directly into the bottom of the gorge where some climbing and jumping over rocks was involved. No swimming this time, however. 😉

After wandering along the small river like that for quite a while we arrived at the narrowest part of the gorge. Surprisingly it’s called „The Narrows“:

Actually there is a circuit walk, but we returned after a while and went into the other direction to find „The Terraces“:

Examine the ripple marks closely – these are the remaining, petrified sediments of waves of an ancient sea that lay over the area hundreds of millions of years ago. Over time wind and water eroded the rocks, and the ripple marks came to the surface again! We saw some beautiful dragonflies as well..

In Melrose we decided not to take the walk up to Mount Remarkable, since the weather was sunny and hot, and we were already quite exhausted. Instead we took a nice scenic drive to Port Germein – on a gravel road, the natural habitat for our LandCruiser . 🙂 On our way we suddenly noticed a long and thin thing in front of our car .. uh, a branch? A stick? A hose? All hypotheses were proven wrong when the thing spontaneously jumped onto a tree. With our curiosity aroused, we investigated the thing in more detail:

It was a goanna, and not a small one, its length was at least 1.2 meters. After a few minutes of adoration we continued to Port Germein to walk on its well-known landmark: a 1532 meters long wooden jetty that supposedly is the longest timber jetty in the Southern hemisphere. It was even quite a few meters longer, but part of it was destroyed in a storm.

You can even recognize the jetty on satellite photos – cool, huh?

Größere Kartenansicht

We strolled back to the car very relaxed ..

In the evening we returned to the Mambray Creek campground for another night. Sadly, it started to rain heavily during the night, but we stayed warm and dry in our tent. In the morning, however, we packed all our stuff together in a wet condition and headed back to Port Augusta, closer to the Outback. Will we ever get there?

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A (birth)day in the Outback

by on Nov.24, 2010, under Traveling Australia

Well, unnecessary to say that this was a very special birthday and very different to others before due to the weather conditions. My first birthday in SUMMER… : )

We went to the Yourambulla Caves with Aboriginal cave paintings where you had to climb two stairs up to get there. The paintings were behind bars to protect them but still it takes away some of the magic of those places.

We then took a walk to the Death Rock which wasn’t in the least scary but nicely situated at a waterhole.  Again a special place.

The next stop was Wilpena Pound, „a natural amphitheatre of mountains“ but unfortunately an old birthday acquaintance, rain, accompanied us and we weren’t able to take any walks. But I had a great birthday cake and coffee for free and even a happy birthday song. What else is there to wish for?

On our way back to Port Augusta to escape the rain we went up Jarvis Hill and were rewarded with the most impressive and beautiful panorama.

Panorama view of the Outback from Jarvis Hill Lookout, taken from a series of 5 shots and stitched together:

View of the Outback from Jarvis Hill Lookout

View of the Outback from Jarvis Hill Lookout

And even two rainbows to make the day complete! : )

What a superb and special birthday – try it sometime just go to another country for it… : )

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Live from The Grampians

by on Nov.22, 2010, under Video Footage

Hi folks,

we have returned to Adelaide from The Grampians and will soon be heading to Port Augusta to enter the Outback and the Big Red Desert. But first we need to get our car fixed .. it’s getting harder from day to day to get it started. 🙁

Nevertheless, enjoy these two short clips from the Grampians!

MacKenzie Falls:

Between the Grand Canyon and The Pinnacle:

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The Grampians

by on Nov.21, 2010, under Traveling Australia

Friday 19th November – Sunday 21 November 2010

After leaving Adelaide to go on our 500 km drive to the Grampians we passed the Coorong National Park again but this time in daylight to see some pelicans but except for some flying over us none showed up.

The salt lakes we passed changed to purple due to some chemical algae process. Forgot what it was about. If anybody knows write a comment, please.

In the evening we arrived at Naracoorte and camped at a nice camping spot with mowed lawn and great toilet and shower facilities.

The next day we went to see the Fossil cave, a World Heritage site, as well as the Wet cave and Alexandra cave. Except for the Wet cave all caves had to be booked with a guide.

Alexandra cave:

Wet cave:

A break in between:

Fossil cave:

In the evening we made it to the Grampians and stayed at the Smith Mill Camp ground, bush camping.

The next day we began our „Grampians in one day“ tour and started with the nearest attraction. And what a fabulous sight were the MacKenzie Falls – simply amazing. I decided this would be the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen.

See here for a short clip of the MacKenzie Falls in moving action:

Driving further into the Grampians, sights and lookouts came quickly after another.

First Reed lookout and the famous Balconies:

Our travel guides pictures were taken from behind the fence and this inspired us to also be a bit rebellious and step over the fence. As we inspired a couple of other tourists afterwards… But honestly, it is all the travel guides fault ; )

Enjoy this panorama, taken as a series of 4 shots and stitched together afterwards:

Panoramic view from Reed Lookout

Panoramic view from Reed Lookout

We continued to the Boroka Lookout from where you can enjoy the view of Halls Gap and Lake Wartook:

Asking the tourist information center whether we should rather go up Mount William or take the Pinnacles Lookout they suggested Mount William – a grave mistake since the 2 km walk up the hill was along the tarred road which was simply boring and exhausting under a hot sun.

The steep but boring walk up the road to Mount William

The steep but boring walk up the road to Mount William

The view from the mountain was nice though not spectacular.

The Pinnacle Walk via Grand Canyon in contrast was a great joy. The rocks, the view, the exhausting but very interesting and challenging walk and finally the lookout – simply fantastic and so much worth it! Have the tourist center employees never been up here?

See for yourself:

To get a much better impression what it’s like to walk up there see here:

Exhausted but happy we went back to the Camp ground and went for a drink to Halls Gap – a small town in the Grampians. We encountered the casual kangaroo as well:

Grasing roo in the middle of town and in front of our restaurant

Grasing roo in the middle of town and in front of our restaurant

The next morning the good mood didn’t continue since the starting problems with the car became more persistent so that we needed help two times during the day to start the car and decided to return to Adelaide to get the car fixed before going to the Outback.

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