South Australia, Friends and the Flinders
23 April 2012
It’s a beautiful sunny day along the Murray and we have internet! We have not posted for a while as we’ve been busy and for much of the time have not had reception.
When we last wrote we were on the final stretch of the Great Ocean Road, the coast near Port Campbell is still very spectacular all the way until near the SA border where the road goes inland. We had a long day of driving to get to Victor Harbour, SA where a very good friend of mine lives. We arrived at night and Aly had a lovely glass of wine and a cold beer waiting for us.
It was really great to see and spend time with friends. It was so good to see Aly and Rolly’s children. We have met their little boy a few times but this was the first time meeting their little girl. We enjoyed playing on the beach with the kids and Olly and their little boy made sand castles and traps. It was so nice to have a few days to play with the kids and to just to chat and catch up with Aly and Rolly.
We stayed with Aly’s parents who made us so very welcome and spoilt us with a lovely breakfast every day. Aly’s dad, Terry has spent a lot of time in the Flinders Ranges which was our next stop so it was good to hear his suggestions of where to go. We left Victor Harbour with some yummy bush biscuits from Aly’s mum lovingly wrapped up, then made our way to the Flinders Ranges, which start about 300 km north of Adelaide.
The Flinders…. They are on the top of the list we have of places we must go back to. As we drove north from Adelaide we felt like we were heading into the real outback for the first time on the trip. It occurred to us how much of South Australia is very remote. The further we drove the drier it got and it looked like a truly ancient landscape. It encompassed what we love about the Australian bush, the km after km of what appears at first to be stark nothingness but is so beautiful. The subtle colours, different shades from sandy white to deep ochre reds that change with the light at different times of day. The sky that goes forever and the feeling of being so small in something so vast, we have felt it before in the bush and we both love it. It’s the feeling of being far away.
As we drove north across flat plains dotted with emus, sheep and kangaroos the Ranges loomed in the distance and the country changed from flat plains to rolling hills and then ridges and mountains. These are the oldest of mountains and Olly had a vision in his minds eye that only rounded hills and hummocks would be left from hundreds of millions of years of erosion but actually there are still sharp peaks and jagged ridges. The layers of sediment laid bare like ribs on a skeleton.
We drove up through Brachina Gorge and found a great place to camp along a massive dry riverbed towered over by imposing river gums, a beautiful landscape. The Gorge is signed as a geological trail and made up of sediments of different colours, it was cool to see ripple marks on layers of sand and mud that were laid down over 500 million years ago, exact copies being made on any beach today. Makes you feel a drop in the ocean!
One of the highlights for us was walking through Sacred Canyon, a red, jagged place with ancient Aboriginal carvings next to water holes and rock shelters. The rock carvings and enclosed walls of the gorge made it feel like a sacred place – hard to describe but similar in a way to the reverence or peacefulness you might sometimes feel in an old cathedral or church. You could tell this was a special place.
We made our way out of the Flinders a back way along some small dirt roads heading through the hills and then out onto some dry lakebeds, seeing not a soul and camping by the roadside. Next stop was Broken Hill a true outback town, which was interesting to have a look at. Yesterday afternoon we headed south to the Murray and spent last night in Mildura. It was good to have a shower and give Landy a good tidy this morning as she is covered in red dust, inside and out.
We are going to spend the next few days along the Murray and then make our way to Cooma, which is in the mountains in NSW. Olly has a friend who lives there and we are stopping for a visit. Alice and Tom are meeting us somewhere on the south coast of NSW for a weekend before we go to Sydney for a week and a bit. We have a list of some Sydney things we want to do- Art Gallery NSW, Belvoir Theatre, a snorkel in Gordons Bay, a walk around the harbour and of course catching up with friends. I’m starting to get excited to see people. We don’t know when we will be in Sydney next so we have to get our fill. We also have a list of jobs to do- banking, visa stuff and mostly Landy stuff. To adjust a few bits we have learned about during the last 6 weeks on the road and make sure she is ready for the next 12 months!
L and O