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ONWARDS FROM PORT GERMEIN

May 23, 2013

I should have mentioned in my first “post” that many, many of the photos are taken while Bruce is driving, making some of them hard to focus! especially ones taken out side window.

This was the sunset the night before we left this spot.

These trains have up to 80 carriages pulled by 3 engines and this was the tail end of one heading south.

We headed into Port Augusta to do a big grocery shop, get spare radiator hoses, prescriptions, fuel, water & dump site.
Did not go to the McLellan monument as seen it twice before so have cheated with this photo from 2011- but no connection to family.

While here we decided to alter our plans- nothing new for us! Instead of going north up the Stuart Highway we decided to go back up to Marree & the Oodnadatta Track from there. Wanted to go back into (past) Wilenea then up to Blinman for a couple of nights. Booked in at the hotel.

Was not easy trying to work out how these toilets worked!
Headed towards the Flinders ranges towards Quorn.

First night we spent halfway between Stirling and Quorn at an overnight stop. Thought that we would be alone which does not worry us, but another van pulled in rather late. They had left Lyndhurst to go up the Strzelecki but after 170k decided that it was just too rough. They travel these roads often & this was just too bad they thought, so retraced their steps & now have to go to Port Augusta for repairs!
Into Quorn, with the country becoming greener which was a bonus. Grain crops being planted everywhere.
This little place has some wonderful old hotels.

This little fellow is from our 2009 trip up into Brachina Gorge.

The next stop after Quorn was a homestead from days gone by.

Wandering around here, reading the house plans it was easy to be transported back in time. Each room had fireplaces.

Did not know what the distance was to go into the following caves but decided to go for a walk. Fortunately it was only about an hour by the time we returned to the car.

The view from the top was stunning- could just see the van down below.

When we stopped at Hawker where we decided to spend $16 & go into view the Wilpena Panorama. This is a 360 degree view from St Mary’s Peak on top of Wilpena Pound. The circular painting
is in the Wilpena Panorama building in Hawker. The artist is Jeff Morgan.
It is extremely impressive and he now has two more in another part of his display. One is a 50ft panorama looking up “Ron’s Creek” . This is so real , the trees stand out from the background & you want to step over the fence & walk up the creek bed. We though this the most impressive of the three. The other 2 smaller ones are sunset on the Cooper and another waterhole.
To view just google & you will be able to understand what I have been trying to explain. Cameras were not allowed.
The drive from Hawker towards Wilpena was so different this time. In 2009 there was drought & nothing was green but this time there is greenery everywhere.
Once again I have added some of previous trip photos from the walk we did then to a viewing area up the Pound.

This time we are in summer clothes!

Will add my Brachina Gorge photos from 2009 as we decided not to venture in there again- all camp sites in there are now self registration, which means $ for vehicle as well as $pp/pn- info at Hawker thought about $20/night.

Our destination for the next couple of nights is was the Blinman Hotel where we could leave the van & do a day trip into Arakoola- 300k plus whatever side trips we did.

This was just before we reached Blinman. So different to the Mungo NP Great Walls of China.
This is Blinman. It was $20/night with $1 for 3 minute shower. The generators run 24 hours a day, we had power which was a bonus for a change. they are trying to develop small gardens between the few van sites but with not much water? We gave them a drink with the washup water etc. They are in the process of building a camp kitchen as well as developing a few more van sites.

We were joined by a couple in a motorhome as well as a couple in a camper trailer for drinks the first night there. Rather a late dinner that night.
Not at all cold & days beautiful.
Before heading off for the day trip to Arakoola I put Silverside into Dreampot ready fro dinner when we got home.
We left by 8am as it was 152k one way & did not know what condition the roads would be. However they were fine with varying degrees of corrugations, good gravel, some rough gravel, many crests & corners, some very good (90k) smooth dirt .

This lonely grave was beside the road.

Two things we both had to keep our eyes open for were Emus & Kangaroos. They would jump/ run out when least expecting them.

This was a beautiful drive into the Gorge but because there were no distances marked with walks we did not do any of the walks.

Wherever there was the tiniest waterhole, that is where the cattle or other animals were gathered and there were not many holes with water.

This was a Dad emu with 4 chicks. The track in the above photo was a short drive we did out of Arkaroola to find a waterhole where the Ring tailed wallaby usually drinks but it was dry or else we did not drive far enough.
Another emu which would not move off the road.

One has to see these ranges to appreciate the varying colours, depending on the time of the day. The sunlight really makes so much difference. The foliage can change around the next corner as can the country. You drive over a crest all you can see are plains with not a hill to be seen! I am surprised to see the cattle looking so fat-even with their winter coats.
Those feral goats were so big & fat but they were up that rocky hill so quickly I nearly missed the photos.
This morning, 10.5.13, we left Blinman to travel through the Parachilna Gorge to Parachilna then up to Farina Ruins .

We were back on sealed road again but only as far as Lyndhurst.

The photo of part of the Leigh Creek mining complex, taken while driving past, has not stitched perfectly but that gives some idea of the size- this is only a small length of the complex.

Now settled in at Farina Ruins for a couple of nights. Shall take photos to-morrow to compare with 2009 photos when restoration was in its early stages.
SATURDAY 11.5.13.
Arrived in yesterday to see that the Bakery is now up & running. Not a lot of travellers here but many vans belonging to the Farina Restoration Group who had just started this project in 2009 . This is a great spot for a few days, $5pp/pn, flush toilets with a donkey hot water system which only takes about 30 mins to get the water shower hot.
Got talking to couple next door who told us that a couple down the track were doing the GCR this month. Naturally we wandered down to talk to them. Gave them my email address & they had promised to email me all the road details etc when they get to WA.
We wandered up to the “township” this morning to check out the work done since 2009- including the bakery!

Took this from standing on a hill where they have established a War Memorial site.

All these vans belong to FARINA RESTORATION GROUP, who are dedicated volunteers who come when, or for however long, they wish to help.
I have tried to post the name of the building then the building which has been restored.

Got talking to these 3 guys who are from Perth & have just come across the Great Central Road from Laverton to Ayres Rock then into Finke & Mt Dare as well as Dalhousie hot springs. This is what we are doing only in the opposite direction. They said that the roads across the desert are slightly corrugated only. The road down To Mt Dare has some deep sand in which the guy on the BMW bike came off 10 times where as the other 2 bikes sailed through the rough! They are doing this trip in 2 weeks all round- going back across the Nullabor.

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