Tuesday, July 5, 2011

David and Cassie's Great Australian Trip Part 3

David and I got up fairly early in Adelaide, got some instructions from the very nice guy at the hostel, and then headed out. We had to find gas and a Bunnings to buy some more butane cans for our camp stove, but were then on our way towards the Flinders Ranges. We stopped off at an info desk along the way and found that we couldn't really make the Flinders before dark, so we stopped a bit early at Melrose, which is at the base of Mount Remarkable, which we also thought would be good to see. We wanted to hike up to the top, and got a late start, but THIS TIME we were equipped with a head lamp and plenty of water. We made it to the, somewhat disappointing summit (the view wasn't that remarkable because of all of the trees) just before sunset; luckily we'd had lots of amazing views on the way up. We headed down, and again went down the wrong trail, and we couldn't understand how we did it, but it was as simple as we hadn't realized coming up that there was another trail going down, and we were immersed in good conversation, so didn't catch it. Luckily we hit a bit we REALLY didn't recognize, otherwise we could have been in trouble when the sun went down! Maybe not, all trails lead back to Melrose, it would have just been confusing and disconcerting. We hiked back up and got on the right track, which all in all was only about 20 mins out of the way, and we had got some really neat views of the sunset that we otherwise wouldn't have got, so it was alright.
That did mean that we had to hike about 2 hours down in the dark, but luckily we brought the headlamp and so, even though it was slower goings, it was safe. Oh, and I have to mention that it smelled AMAZING along the trail, and so many different smells!

I gave making biscuits over a fire a try, which didn't work as well as I had hoped, but they were alright. It was really cold and our fire coals wasn't cooking our food well, so we moved to the kitchen to finish up. Next morning had some showers and moved out.

Headed up to Flinders, and found out that the best, cheapest bush camping was up north a bit, so we drove up the bitumen road (paved road) until the dirt turn off; with a nice view stop on the way... we just missed the crappy bad weather, which was coming in behind us. The dirt road was quite pot hole-y but we've been driving on a lot of that lately, but there was one section that was mostly covered in water that we weren't sure about crossing, but we made it (after I got out to make sure it looked safe). We camped at Brachina Gorge East campground, which was right along a river bed, and it was beautiful. There were no trails, so we bush bashed our way around making our own trail, but went towards the road so as not to get lost. We went along the gorge, which was amazing. We saw lots of dead kangaroos, and even one on the rock, which kind of looked like it had a bad hop, and it turned out it was actually two! There were bones and dead kangaroos everywhere, and not just along the road, which we thought was interesting. We did see lots of alive animals though, and some of those were yellow-footed rock wallabies!! They were so cute, and so close!

Storm rolling in behind us

Look closely and you can see a rock wallaby in both of these rock pictures!

We saw the sunset from atop a hill, which was amazing. Our night proved to be VERY windy, which meant that we didn't get a great sleep because the tent shaking kept waking us up, and we were slightly concerned our fly was going to be blown away, but it was still there in the morning. We left there and did one more hike on the way out to see some aboriginal rock paintings. We didn't end up doing the hike up to see the Wilipena Pound because it was a 4 hour hike return, and we were hoping to camp past Port Augusta tonight, and because the clouds were rolling in and we didn't think we'd have much of a view once we got to the top as it was.

After we passed Hawker, we stopped along the way to Quorn to go on another hike to see three aboriginal rock painting sites, and it was a lovely 1 hour hike. When we got to Quorn we went into the Quandong Café and had some lunch along with a quondong cheesecake, which had been recommended to us. A quondong is a type of bush tucker (food) and is referred to as the dessert peach. Delicious.

We went to the desert botanical gardens here at Port Augusta, which were very neat, being laid out along the local landscape, and we're now in a Mackers in Port Augusta for internet. We figured we'd get some 50 cent ice cream cones and internet to waste some time until after sunset before moving on to Kimba, where we plan on staying tonight, in order to avoid kangaroos on the road. They are crepuscular and very dangerous for cars... we were told not to be on the roads between 4 and dark because it's not if, it's when you hit a kangaroo if you drive then.

Have to go, when we get better internet there will be pictures to come.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

David and Cassie's Great Australian Trip Part 2

Driving up the Coorong was neat, but we didn't get to stop and see as much of it as we'd hoped. There was a turn off where we learned about the Chinese coming to the area for the big gold rush in Melbourne, but they came through S.A. in order to avoid the 10 pound tax that they got if they came directly into VIC. 62,000 Chinese arrived in the VIC goldfields, of those 48,000 made it back to China; these numbers don't take into account the ones that died on the way there; the remaining 14,000 stayed or died. (pics: The circular cut out by the water was the cutting used for the well you see in another picture. The hole is a wombat burrow)

It was a neat area, the Coorong, if you look at the map below, is a very long stretch of national park that has a very long saltwater "lake" in between the mainland and the ocean. We found out after got to the info desk at Strathalbyn that we could have driven across it to Goolwa, but we hadn't seen that on any maps, otherwise we would have!

To get to Strathalbyn from Wellington we had to take a little ferry across the river, that was neat (see picture below). After visiting the info desk we decided to drive down to Goolwa as we had previously planned. We had started thinking about going straight to Adelaide cause we hadn't seen a whole lot that would interest us down in the Fleurieux Panninsula that didn't cost money (like wine tasting and oyster eating), and we wanted to have plenty of time in Flinders Ranges after we left Adelaide. The sun was starting to go down, but we had a lovely drive to Goolwa and even drove onto Hindmarsh Island and saw the Murray Mouth, the mouth into the ocean. We then drove down to Victor Harbor and took that road up to Adelaide, which by the time we got about half way up it was completely dark, which was a shame cause it looked like it was some really neat country!

Picture of the area

Pictures (Hindmarsh Island):, the Murray Mouth, a shot of the sunset from the beach on the island, and a view from driving across the bridge from the island.

We stopped at a Mackers (McDonalds) to use the internet and we called a hostel in Adelaide, and we're glad we did cause the manager was just about to leave for the night! We secured a room and he gave us the code to get in and told us where he'd put the key, very nice man. We got to the VERY nice, and VERY clean hostel (Hostel 109 for any of you who plan on going to Adelaide) around 8:30 and got settled and cooked dinner. We ended up paying for a 4 share room (two sets of bunkbeds) but we ended up getting it all to ourselves for two nights!

On Saturday it was raining all day, but nevertheless we got up and went to the local market, which is amazing for food, and got some brekkie and some fruit/veg for the next leg of our trip (since we had to cook up/chuck out all of ours at the S.A. boarder). Awesome prices! We went back to the hostel and did some Skype-ing, then went and got some lunch at Chopstix and then to the botanical gardens, which even though it was sprinkling a bit was very nice. It's actually been quite warm despite the rain. Went back to the hostel and relaxed for the rest of the evening. We had a lovely day!!

Now we're off again to the Flinders Ranges!!