The Big Lap - Flinders Ranges



Each mountain range that we have seen has been different.  Karijini and ranges nearby are red and blue, the ranges in the Kimberley region are bathed in reds and oranges, the mountain ranges near Kununurra have more subdued pastel colours, the Macdonnell Range and Uluru are deep red but also seem to change colour at various times in the day.  The Flinders Range is more blue, purple, pink & grey.  In short, every mountain range has it's own beauty. 



It's a long way from Coober Pedy to the Flinders Ranges.  I had planned to break it up for the night at Spud's Roadhouse at Pimba.  When we arrived it didn't look too inviting for a night stay, so we just had some lunch and decided to drive on.

So after a long day of driving we made it to Quorn and settled into the Caravan Park for the night.  There was a storm weather forecast.  We felt safe in the caravan park away from the windy conditions.  Turns out that most of the weather was north with Coober Pedy being flooded which in itself is unusual.

Thank goodness we had decided not to take the dirt track through William Creek and Marree to the Flinders Range.  A downpour on these back dirt roads can make the clay very boggy.

We took regular breaks, one at Lake Hart and another at Island Lagoon.

Notice I have circled Strezlecki on the map?  More about that later.



Hubby wanted to visit Marree as it is the place where his father won the Marree horse race cup as an apprentice jockey years ago.  We decided to spend the night at the Leigh Creek Hotel which is located at Copley just up the road from Leigh Creek.  We left the van there and took a day trip to Marree.  They have power sites next to the pub for just $15 a day.



Marree is the start of the Oodnadatta Track which is one of those dirt roads like the Gibb River Road that is on a lot of  'bucket lists'.   As said previously, we were glad that we did not head out from Coober Pedy to the Oodnadatta Track as that could have been a fateful journey due to the amount of rain they received.  In fact the big sign at Marree said Closed for all dirt roads.  

In fact on the drive in we came across a washout whereby 4 vans travelling in the opposite direction had slept overnight waiting for the fast running water to subside in order for them to pass through.  We watched them traverse the washaway before we attempted it.

When we arrived at the Marree race track which is just past the big sign that showed all of the closed roads, our tyres were sinking into the mud and hubby had to be careful.  Even getting out of the car was difficult, with our shoes sinking a bit.  I didn't like it at all.

Actually, there was a family that got bogged out on one of these back roads that were coming in from Queensland.  It was all over the news.  They had to be rescued out of there by chopper.  Shows how careful you need to be to be and check the weather conditions before heading out on one of these outback tracks.

Marree Cricket Ground haha



We had a nice cheap lunch at the Lyndhurst Hotel.

Lyndhurst is the start of the Strezlecki Track which runs to the QLD border.  This is another dirt track that can be tricky to do.  Strezlecky hey?  Lol.  That is Sharon's name on Kath and Kim.  Probably where they got her name from haha.  😊



We stopped at Farina to see the old town ruins.  The building most in tact is the Post Office, with the two pubs next.  Every other building is pretty much rubble.  It was an interesting place to visit.



The landscape is ever changing here.  Mountain ranges as a backdrop.  Desert type fields with sheep grazing on nothing.  Huge eagles, mixture of birdlife and the occasional emu or three.  

Keep your eye out, you may even see the odd fridge....?


Dust storm 

Hey....  is your fridge running?...



We chose Hawker as a base to do the Flinders Ranges.  That was a good decision. 

There was a great little art museum in town by a fella called Jeff Morgan.  What a talented artist.



The first day we drove out of town to the lookout.  This was the first lookout that we had to climb up rocks on the track.  Needless to say I only went half way and carefully negotiated the rock track back and sat down on my little tripod chair to do a bit of macro photography whilst waiting for hubby.  

On the way back to Hawker we took some photos of a mob of emus in the paddock.  There was also a conservation sanctuary full of these funny pipe people.



Hubby planned for us to go on the Moralana Scenic drive from Hawker.  This is not a long drive but it winds around and through the lower end of the Flinders.  It's a really nice drive.



Next day was a big one.  We drove through a serious 4x4 track, going through the Bunyeroo and Brachina gorges, the back way to Blinman. 

The views were phonominal.  I couldn't resist putting my camera on the tripod to take a photo of hubby and I looking over the gorge at Razorback lookout.



The track to the gorges is just after Wilpena Pound.  We stopped there to obtain a map and fill up with fuel.  

On the way to Wilpena Pound we stopped at a rest stop that gave us a nice view of the range.  There just so happened to be a boot tree there.

We also stopped off at a little old cemetary with the mountains as a backdrop.



This small outback town claims to be the highest surveyed town in South Australia.  It only has a population of 22 but in it's hey day 2,000 people lived here when the copper mining industry was booming.

We had lunch at the old pub in town.  We ordered home made pies.  They didn't look like home made and were a little dry.  Usually home made pub pies are in ramekins and are a lot juicy.  So that was a little disappointing.  



Coming back from Blinman we stopped at the Great Wall of China.  Seriously, they should have named it the Great Wall of South Australia, we reckon.  😛


Hubby used to lead a team of conservation volunteers around this area so he enjoyed being back and reminiscing about the good old times.  We lived in Jamestown at the time, a small country town with a pub on every corner.  We didn't get back to check out the old place but we did enjoy driving through the farming land on our way to the next destination, Clare Valley and wine country, yea! 


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