The cool air bites, as the early morning sun pierces through the bright blue sky, with a promise of the warmth to come. The silence pervades the land and seems to dominate and inhabit every perceivable space without, and within. The moment you exit your bubble within known time and space, you embrace the world as it is, just at the moment, that it is. This is, the Aussie bush. Welcome to the Heysen Trail.
We arrived late in the afternoon at Georgetown, just as the friendly general store owners were packing away the signs and cafe chairs. We had just enough time to warm up our legs with a 5km stroll from Noonans Rd through the town and onto the end of Slaughterhouse Road. I did wonder whether there was a “slaughter house”, or perhaps there had been some unfortunate mass crime in the distant past. As Grant mentioned at the time, “well, still waters do run deep in S.A”. Hmmm Indeed.
Day two saw us head off into the rolling hills between Georgetown and Crystal Brook. Pretty easy going this walk and although not as interesting once we hit the roads, Rocky River and the ruins gave us a nice spot to take a break.
The trail runs through the caravan park at Crystal Brook and would have been an ideal place to stay as this was one of our start/finish points. We did however stay in a neat little cottage in Gladstone for the two nights. Conyningham cottage. Well appointed for most, including families with a mini play park in the back yard, and some very interesting old stuff inside. Very comfortable warm beds which we did appreciate. after a days walk.
The actual “Crystal Brook” we followed for quite a way, was quite a surprise. Beautiful river scenes from Bowman Park onwards. One of the original settlements in the area, Bowman Park is a little gem in this often sparse landscape. Great place for picnic or BBQ.
We found a bar “Haps Hoochie” in the middle of the bush adjacent the “Brook”. Pity the pub had run dry, and the publican was absent. Oh well, onwards we marched, onto Wilkins Highway and turning north again onto more dirt roads. Going to need a bit more padding in the shoes soon. These hard limestone roads are giving my feet a pounding.
After climbing up a few hills to the top of the ridge, we followed Youngs road all the way to Mills road. It got a bit cold and windy on the ridge so I got to try out my new hat. No more cold ears for me.
Walk : Noonans Rd near Georgetown to Mills rd near Beetaloo.
Distance : Day One, 5.7kms. Day Two, 22.3kms. Day Three, 22.5kms.
Duration : Day One, 64 mins. Day Two, 3hrs 50mins. Day Three, 4hrs 2mins.
Pace : Day One, 6.1kph. Day Two, 5.7kph. Day Three, 5.6kph.
Best Part : Bowman Park to Wilkins Hwy.
And the rest…..