Latest Entries »

We often take the common freedoms we have for granted, and it is so lovely that we can. However things do not always stay the same, and there are some in the world that are hell bent on taking our precious freedoms away to serve their own deluded and self centred needs. The following video, although USA centric, still applies to all those living in a democracy.  Beware of those wanting to trade your freedom for safety and security, and those who use the ism’s to divide and disrupt. Our current “hate” speech laws are a prime example.

Evil can only prosper when good men do nothing.


IMG_5323As it goes once again this year, we had to suspend our walking program in September/October. It seems unimportant things like work, family, birthdays, illness, charity work etc, seemed to get in the way of our scheduled Heysen walks around this time.

We did however manage to squeeze in one more trip (motivation high) for the season in mid October, in-spite of the warming weather. To allow for our now lack of fitness and for the increasing temperatures, we have only two short walks to fill in the gaps before tackling the more (logistically) challenging treks north of Dutchman’s Stern.

IMG_5331Walk one is the catch up walk leading into Melrose. Just under 15 kms over gentle slopes and along meandering trails and roads. Walk two is the Quorn to Dutchman’s Stern trail. A 10 km stroll through fields and park trails, finishing up in the shadow of the Stern itself.

Walk One : Wild Dog Creek to Melrose

The land has changed in the last 7 weeks. We had left a green paradise at the end of August, brimming with promise of a bountiful harvest. Now only scattered patches of moisture remain  in the washed out landscape.  IMG_5371This also reminded me of what hazards the trail presents us with, once the land is parched and cracked, and a few billion grass seeds of all descriptions wait for an unsuspecting sock to brush past.  Last year my “porcupine” socks were finally “de-seeded” only after four separate sessions over the following week. Gators were deployed from the outset to battle the hoards this time. Just as well too, as my boots as hardy as they are, still managed to pick up a few dozen hitch-hikers in the grass, but my socks, remained as socks, and not hedgehogs this time.

IMG_5326The memories of the flies also live large in my mind, and although this day would not be quite as warm as our last walk in 2014, it could still turn into a miniature winged nightmare. It is no fun sucking in a fly up your nose and having it end up in your mouth. The insect netting we purchased earlier in the year would finally put an end to that unsavoury event. And that it did.

IMG_5345The walk itself was fairly easy and benign.  Just under 15 kms and ending at the Mount Remarkable pub in Melrose (how did that happen?)  No wild life today, and the only life we saw were a few sheep hugging the sparse shade, a very fine white horse who came to say hello, and two riders on the Mawson trail, whom we met again at the pub.

IMG_5349Coming into Melrose, a road sign was giving up more meaning than it probably intended, I’m sure. I think it is the perfect advice when coming to a place like Melrose.

After two of the best tasting beers ever, (they always are after a walk), we had the pleasure of being picked up by our mid north taxi service, Judy and Nigel. Great service and it only cost us a couple of bottles of wine (albeit very nice Killakanoon wine), which we donated to their  “anti sobriety” social club.

IMG_5382Day Two : Altman Road Quorn to Dutchman’s Stern

Leaving early today to beat the heat, we set off crossing the main road about a half hour after sunrise. The air was cool, but the sun was already making it’s presence felt.  A few steeper hills today as we walk beneath the imposing ridge to our left and Willochra plain stretching out to our right, with Devil’s Peake at our back dominating the southern view, standing alone and proud in the landscape. We wandered through fields along the fence line until crossing into the park, continuing along tracks, meandering through the bush from bow to Stern. The Dutchman’s Stern of course.


Ruth does have eyes. she just decided to close them exactly at the wrong moment. Good one Ruth!

We don’t get to meet many people on the trail, but today just as we crossed the Dutchman’s Stern summit trail, I heard voices (again?) and thought my insanity may be returning, but to my surprise, it was just a friendly trail walker keen for a chat. It would seem she also does not see many others on the trail. A lovely Australian lady with the hint of a German accent. Very chatty about her exploits and very inquisitive about our Heysen trail journey.  Ruth, as we found out, had travelled extensively around Australia and walked many a trail on her own. Even driving the Simpson Desert. Nice job Ruth. Her task today however, was the Dutchman’s Stern loop walk. IMG_5404Not a gentle stroll on such a warm day, and 800 odd metres up as well.  Thanks for stopping for a chat Ruth. We love to hear tales of exploration and adventure. (Ps Ruth. if you want to add your own thoughts, please comment below).

We had some extra time today to take in an extra sight, so our mid north taxi service ferried us up the road a bit to Warren Gorge. The narrow entrance opens up to a wider space, Perfect for camping. The locals were a bit camera shy though, but I did manage a glimpse of two of the Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies. Amazing how in contrast, the big muscly Grey Kanga’s not far away were just lazing around with the family.  Looking tough enough not to care about any human wandering by.

Warren Gorge is definitely worth a visit for the Wallabies. Very cute. Best times are early and late for the Wallabies, and I am guessing the colours through the Gorge would be pretty dramatic as well.

With that diversion done it was off to lunch at Emily’s in Quorn as recommended by our tour guides. Who were we to argue?  Always trust the locals, I say. Sundays at Emily’s is “spit roast” day apparently.  Awesome!  Roast lamb and veggies with mint sauce and damper. Accompanied by a regulation two beers of course. Very tasty. Thanks Sally for the service, and Rob for the cooking and the carving. Nice job.

After paying our dues to our hosts (hope you enjoy the wine and the bubbles Judy and Nige), we headed south back into the “Matrix”, to toil away earning enough credits to hopefully return to the Heysen in the coming year.

In Short:

Day One : Wild Dog Creek to Melrose

Distance : 14.7 kms

Duration : 2 hours 40 mins

Pace : 5.5 kph

Best Bit : The two beers at the Mount Remarkable pub.

Day Two : Altman Rd Quorn to Dutchman’s Stern

Distance : 10 kms

Duration : 2 hrs 5 mins

Pace : 4.9 kph

Best Bit : The Stern

Another year on the trail completed.  264 kms over 6 trips this year, which is most consistent effort yet. Not bad considering our work and family commitments. It definitely helped doing a bit more “pre season” training and keeping up our fitness in between walks.

Grant, I have seen enough of the back of your head this year on the trail, so until next year, see you later my friend.


A few extra’s


I keep finding the remains of Heysen walkers that didn’t quite make it! It’s a tough trail!


Grant finally found his perfect country “getaway”. I’m sure the missus will be impressed.




Warren Gorge


Our taxi service providers (hehe) Thanks J&N.

IMG_1011.CR2Looking back on my previous blogs, I seemed to have lost a day’s trek. My Inman valley to Myponga trail is nowhere to be seen. Maybe it never existed!  Although I am sure we actually walked it. Anyway off to my photo folders to find the “evidence”.

Sure enough, there they were, exactly where they were supposed to be. What the hell was I doing after that walk that distracted me so easily, that I would completely forget to write it up? Must have been good whatever it was. The previous walk to Inman Valley was only published on Nov 19( month+ after the walk), so clearly I must have been busy with other “stuff”.


The road leading out of Inman Valley


The missed trail marker.

It was the last  trek for 2011, and it was (according to my photo info) walked on the 30th of October.  Anyway, from what I remember, it was a warm day with a bit of sunshine. We had a few hills to climb, walking on roads, through fields and a couple of trails. I do remember we were in deep conversation on one road and missed the trail marker totally. No blaming a hidden or not well placed marker on this occasion. In plain site it was, as I realised when we got back to it.  So we walked an extra couple of K’s this day. Grant was not happy cursing and spluttering. It would not be our worst mistake though, as we would find out later.

Grant, once again tried to step on stumpy’s. He is certainly making a habit of it. Just like having lizard magnets on the soles of his boots.

While taking a break in the bush, a very surprised kanga stumbled across us, stopping dead in his tracks. Stopped just long enough to snap his photo too.

IMG_0998.CR2-KangarooSaw a grey/purplish cow as well. Did not know they came in that colour.

We walked on past the End to End Point at Myponga, and half  a K up the hill to the end of the dirt road near. this will give us a good start point for next year heading into Yulte conservation Park,

So there it is. The lost is now found and the trail record now a little more complete.

Funny how you cannot see what is not there

In Short :

Inman Valley to Myponga

Distance : 17.5 kms

Duration : 5 hours?

And the rest….





A grey cow?

A grey cow?




Grant’s friends

DSCF0338From Kookaburra’s to Koala’s, to Christmas beetles and spiders. Even the occasional Brown snake. We only have to walk out our back door to see nature at it’s best.  Quite an ecosystem in my back yard.

We have a “camera shy” Blue Tongue lizard. Dozens of skinks, “FluffyBum” the Koala, who visits regularly, and all manner of parrots, Galah’s, Yellow Tailed Black, and Sulphur Crested White, Cockatoo’s, as well as our resident New Holland Honey Eaters. Inspite of the fact IMG_1341-001that Pancakes, (our feline family member) is an excellent hunter, their numbers have quadrupled in the last five years. Then there is the myriad of insects and spiders, both small and large. It’s a “veritable jungle” out there! Welcome to my back yard.

Take a walk in my yard, the plants you all see, but on closer inspection, there’s a world just beneath.  Animals you’ll see and insects abound.  Entomophibic I’m not , IMG_1274with these crawly’s around.  Red Back’s and Orb’s, Centapede’s with their legs. How do they all fit, is the question that begs.  Sparrows and magpies, black Birds and the Crows. And a myriad of others I am still yet to know. Kookaburra’s that cackle in the morning and night, with the spidey’s building webs for a juicy fresh bite.  Three types of ants from what I can see, Jump’ers, Inch’ers and the millions that climb trees. Bees and the beetles, giant moths and flutterby’s, all flitting and buzzing with hundreds of eyes. IMG_9335 The Mozzies, the worst though, even worse than the flys. Mostly at night, but do attack in the light.

A Red Back or two underneath the the settee. It’s good that they’re timid, and afraid of you ‘n’ me.  The Gecko’s are cute with there friendly big eyes. But they’re not so friendly to the bugs and the flys.

Anthropods, the large and the small, crawling their way across the ground and up walls. Brown snakes abound, according my wife. But the only three times, surely, cannot be called rife.

So instead of an Attenborough viewed on TV, stroll in my garden, and the wildlife you’ll see. No Bell Amie’s or Nutkins are of need on this block.  Not even an Irwin to poke and to prod.  A cold beer you may get when you visit our patch, to accent your visit to our very Aussie Batch.


Block Nine Road, heading north.

A lovely little stroll today.  Well, compared to our last walk, anyway.  From the blackened trees in Wirrabara Forest, to walking the limestone roads and walking tracks among fields of green, and fields of gold.  No challenging hills or valleys today.  Just the pungent smell hanging thick in the air, offending our nostrils as we drew in each breath. The Canola, is now in full bloom, and well contrasted against the dark green grain crops still to reach their peak before turning a paler shade.

IMG_4904The green fields stretch as far as the eye can see, splashed occasionally with the brilliant Canola gold. Rains have been sufficient this year, but the farmers in their ever hopeful state, want just that little bit more. ” Could do with another 100 mil, I reckon. That would just about do it”, a well weathered farmer once told me.  It’s just so nice to see the mid north so green and lush north of the Goyder Line.

We set a cracking pace today with few hills to impede our rhythm.  Our walk only briefly upset by a toiletry accident.  Gotta remember to re-stock my bag with loo paper, or as Grant suggested (due to my age perhaps), What about some “Depend”. Thanks Grant, but you are older than me remember. IMG_5077 The rest of the walk was completed “going commando”. Very fresh and breezy in this cool air, I have to say.

After our walk we stopped at the Wirrabara pub on the way back to pick up a six pack of beer, and on entering the front bar, I nodded to the usual Ausie characters sitting at the bar with their beers. I glanced up to the TV to see what “sport” or news they were watching, and to my surprise, there was no footy, no cricket, not even any soccer! It took me a moment to realise what was on this late Friday afternoon. It was just way too much out of place here. It is more at home in the suburban lounge, as my very good wife (when home) would do, regularly settling in at 4:30 to watch.   The BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL!  Wow!  Couldn’t let this go without comment.  “So this is what you boys watch of a Friday afternoon at the pub! Well.  One guy choked on his beer, another pretended he didn’t know what it was, and the guy closest to me yelled at the Publican, “turn it over, turn it over”. With that done, I just left, chuckling to my self, and wondering what conversation ensued.  “Who is next in line to fall in love with Brooke? And what evil plan is Bill up to now?”

We stayed in Laura this trip. Plenty of accommodation here including B&B’s, and the pub.  Great little café for lunch or dinner, of which we did frequent on a couple of occasions.  Cornish pasty for morning tea set me up for a great walk this day.  Some interesting artwork on display in the main street as well.

In Short

Walk : Block Nine Road Wirrabara Forest, to 3 kms north of Murraytown (dirt rd opposite sign “Remarkable View Wines)

Distance : 18.8 kms

Duration : 3 hours 4 minutes (walk time)

Pace : 6 kph

Ups and Downs : Gain = 168 metres. Loss = 287 metres.

And the rest…..





Memories of Murphytown?




Very civilized way to finish up after walking the Heysen



IMG_4844Frosty windscreen greeted me this morning .  My wispy breath swirling into the chilled air around my face.  The sun rays fighting hard, but clearly loosing the battle against the Antarctic air.  It will not warm until well into the afternoon on this day.

We start this walk with a hill (once again). A nice easy (huh?) 200 mtrs up to the top of the ridge adjacent Pichi Richi railway.  Great views of the pass and the railway. Pity the train is not running today. IMG_4824 Yesterday we could hear the train whistle from Mount Brown, but we were clearly not quick enough to catch a glimpse.

Lots of rocks again, with some pretty pink granite to stumble over. Funny how the mountainous hills are made of rock. Who woulda thought?  The Heysen posts are a little sparse on this ridge, especially as you descend back to the pass, as is the  so called “track”. So a map and or GPS is essential (as it should be) on this section.  IMG_4836You get a great view of Devils Peak, which we pondered about climbing.  Go up the west face? Or the overhang east face?  May have to buy some ropes and pitons I think.

Anyway, back to reality. We have another 10 K to walk  After a short break overlooking Pichi Richi Park, we headed off steadily down the ridge to the railway. We walked the train tracks for a while adjacent the trail.  Memories suddenly flood back from my childhood.  Walking the tracks with the “gang”, over bridges and through tunnels. Very much like Stand By Me the movie.IMG_4807  Even the old habits came back. Looking over my shoulder every so often for that sneaky train creeping up behind, and checking for vibrations on the rail. Hmmm. Might do a post about that later.

More Roos bounding in the bush along the ridge, and petite wildflowers rich in colour contrasted against the harshness of the ever present roseate stone. Perfection aside perfection.



Once off the tracks, we walked the dirt road through farming country, along with sheep, and an elusive bull camel, before we came across what I believe maybe the smallest new house I have ever seen.

We stopped just outside of Qourn on Altman Rd, just over the train tracks. No need to return to Quorn as we enjoyed it’s flavour over the previous two nights. Have to say that the Roo cutlets with quandong sauce was absolutely “magnifico”, or should I say “grouse”.  Tender and tasty and accompanied by a welcome glass of SA red.  Cheers to the Austral pub. Well done (praise to the chef, not how it was cooked, btw).

In Short

Woolshed Flat to Altman Rd Quorn

Distance : 14.54 kms

Duration : 3 hours 13 minutes

Pace : 4.5 kph

Ups and Downs : Gain – 565 mtrs. Loss – 303 mtrs

And…..the rest.











For all you heritage buffs. What’s this again?

IMG_4727There was once a man named Robert Brown. Born in Scotland. Educated in Edinburgh in the field of medicine, but was more obsessed with natural history.  Somehow he found his way into the employ of Matthew Flinders on the other side of the world,….in Australia.  While Matthew Flinders was attempting to find an inlet into the interior of Australia in the upper Spencer Gulf, he marvelled at the dramatic ridge line and mountains of which piqued his interest for a closer look.  The enimitable Robert Brown went exploring for natural flora and fauna with Flinders and Co in tow, and scaled one of dominant peaks right to the top.   IMG_4641Captain Flinders honoured his resident Naturalist by naming this mountain after him. This is the mountain we will climb today.

We started our trek at the end of Homestead Rd which runs aside Gunyah Creek. as noted in my last post,  It is fortunate though that this “road” exists, as it is one of the few roads to give us access to this part of the trail.

IMG_4678Just as Mount Remarkable was very rocky, so is this trek.  And, just to make it a little more challenging the grass has grown considerably, concealing plenty of potential “sprained ankles” beneath it’s foliage.  Only four or five times did I have a mishap on the loose rocks, saved only by my decent Salomon walking boots.

We wound our way over gentle hills and along Mount Brown creek before starting the first of the steeper climbs towards the summit of Mount Brown. Watch out along the creek as, a Heysen sign or two, are well hidden or missing.  As long as you follow the creek most of the way you should be fine.

IMG_4691The stage from Catninga Tank to the summit is pretty taxing, taking us from 730 mtrs above sea level to the peak at 970 mtrs over a pretty short distance.

The walk is worth it though, with stunning views.  Getting over the rocky outcrop at the top was a bit interesting, as you will see, but once at the top, we had the most perfect spot for lunch. Climb the lookout for the best views.

We had on this day some unusual cloud formations creeping up the mountain enveloping us and disappearing just as quick, and just before we left the summit, a cloud moved in to give a most surreal atmosphere..

IMG_4746The other side of the mountain has a different feel, with a gentle slope (unlike what we just came up) and a winding path through open woodland with plenty of Blackboys, and, if you look close enough tiny wild flowers.  Descending 500 odd metres into the valley floor, we had a pleasant stroll following the creek through to the Pichi Richi railway near Woolshed Flat.  Along the creek near the end the trail is not well marked (a bit overgrown), so keep your GPS or map handy. Once again, not a great issue. Just follow the creek until you reach the bridge.

In Short

Gunyah Creek to Woolshed Flat

Distance : 21.3 kms

Duration : 4 hours 24 minutes

Pace : 4.8 kmh

Ups and Downs :  Elevation Gain = 593 mtrs.  Elevation Loss = 886 mtrs.

And….. the rest






The last bit before the top of the mountain.







IMG_4545Heading up the hill shortly after midday, the clear blue sky and sunshine belied the chill in the air, as is often the case during winter in the Flinders.  However, by the time we reached the top of the ridge we were sufficiently warm in spite of that Antarctic chill in the wind.

Leaving Horrock’s Pass without suffering the same fate as poor old Horrock, we trudged on, passed Blackboys and taking in the panorama’s once atop of the hill.  Suddenly a large bird of prey glided silently in front us barely 3 metres above.

IMG_4551What a treat first thing in the morning. Even better.  I believe it is the same type of Kite I had been trying to identify from our Burra walk. Clearly not bothered by our presence, it floated lightly on the breeze long enough for me to snap a few photos.

This walk takes us over rolling hills on the eastern side of the slightly more dramatic western ridge. Gave us great views all afternoon. Mount Remarkable dominated our southern view with Wilmington in the foreground.  Willochra Plain stretching out to the east and that dramatic ridge line to the West. IMG_4603 I found a pretty cool fossilized sea bed with some unusual additions. Love to know what they are. fossilised worms, or sea grass, maybe?

Our end point was always going to be a bit interesting, considering the acute lack of road access to the trail along this section.  I did find a public access road which would take us to the trail, however, it is a road in name only, and I am not entirely sure it is all public access.  Anyway, we did traverse it’s bumpy and slippery way to the top of the ridge adjacent the trail. IMG_4578 Just a smidge under 5 kms of country track in my less than “off road worthy” vehicle, was interesting to say the least.  We made it though, in spite of the various obstacles including a rocky outcrop and barbed wire on the track.

Lots of Kangaroos and Euros again this walk, but not much else in the way of “visible” wildlife (except for the Kite).  Beautiful scenery though. Very typical Aussie bush. Very Heysen.

In Short

Horrocks Pass to top of Homestead Road (track?).

Distance : 13.8 kms

Duration : 2 hours 46 minutes

Pace : 5 kph

Ups and Downs : Gain = 568 mtrs. Loss 391 mtrs

Terrain : Rolling grassy hills.

And the rest…..






IMG_4154Who would have thought there was a some sort of temporal time/space portal in the Southern Flinders Ranges?  Descending down the stairs at Alligator Gorge you are immediately transported to a typically stunning gorge somewhere in Northern Australia.

Why didn’t I know about this little gem in South Australia? Anyway, here’s the treat.

IMG_4505The still chilled air sits calmly in the silence of this meandering wonderland. Bright ochre cliffs etched and cracked over centuries, stand guard over the world they command. Just as Ali the shepherd did all those years ago looking after his precious flock.

The caressing babble of the creek accompanies you as you explore and absorb the beauty of this rich landscape. Slender trees grow tall reaching for the light, with some seeming to hold back the ever imposing canyon walls. IMG_4518Those same ancient walls give up their solidarity to the greenery that flows from the cracks, softening the hard edges and contrasting those earthy tones.

With older creek beds still visible half way up the gorge walls, and remnants of even older tidal flats on the trail. An ancient landscape revealing it’s secrets from a time before time. Native pines and blackboys keep company amongst the gum’s, while delicate wild flowers and native orchids surprise the senses. So keep a keen eye out for the miniature delights.

IMG_4467Visit the well polished Narrows, with quartz veins running through ochre and blood red walls. Or the easy walk to the Terraces where the natural staircase takes you gently up stream. Perhaps even the longer Loop walk into pristine bushland, where Ali once walked while tending his sheep.

Alligator Gorge is a must see in the Southern Flinders Ranges. My only regret was that I did not spend enough time, just existing in the space. There is a story around every bend, on every trail, and imbedded in every rock.IMG_4498 Just waiting the epiphany that awakens your senses, to the hidden history of our ancient land.

I challenge anyone to visit the Gorge and not be surprised. Personal experiences and comments welcome.

The road into Alligator Gorge is about 1 km south of Wilmington. It is a national park, so don’t forget to get a park permit before you go.





IMG_9553Traveling on roads in the Aussie bush, a keen eye is always kept on the road for unexpected events. Cars, trucks, flock of sheep, or a bounding Kangaroo. Everyone of these can cause quite a mess of your car, not to mention threaten your safety.  As it happen the other day while driving on the road to Alligator Gorge, something caught my eye off to my left.  Not enough to feel threatened, but enough for me to pull up once passed the ‘something’, and investigate.  My eyes did not fail me, as I looked back from my car I could see a Kangaroo or Wallaby, and it appeared to be struggling.

Sure enough, it was a Wallaby (or young Kangaroo), and it was in trouble. Laying on it’s side with both legs caught fast, twisted in the fence wire. First thought was to free the poor critter, and after the Kanga gave me a not so friendly growl (yes, Kangaroos do growl), I grabbed the tangle wire and separating them just enough for Kanga to pull his legs out. It Snapshot 2 (20-07-2015 11-15 PM)was only then that I noticed how badly this Kanga was damaged. Both legs were bloodied, and as the Kanga tried to hop away and fell to one side, I noticed that one leg had was worn down to the ligament and to the bone. Ouch! I have to wonder just how long the poor thing had been struggling to get free. Long enough I guess to wear away all of his skin and his flesh. Kanga then tried hopping again, struggling a little further into the bush, before falling again.

It was then that I started thinking about what was the ‘right’ thing to do. Freeing it immediately as I did, or securing it before making any further decisions as to it’s fate.  Was it likely that Kanga would now be ok, being free?  Was it’s leg broken? Would it probably get an infection and die anyway? Would it now be easy prey? Should I have attempted to rescue it and rung someone? Or should I have put it out of it’s misery?

As the Kanga was now some metres away from me and clearly not receptive to my care and concern, the point was now mute.  I returned to my car and resumed my journey. Clearly though, I was now troubled by this encounter. Thoughts ran though my head. My humanistic inner self came up with solutions that my rational realistic self just scoffed at.  As a caring human being, should I have ‘saved’ the poor Kanga, or, should I have, as many would do in the bush, decided that the Kanga would probably not survive and end it’s suffering then and there.

These are the questions I am left with. What would have been more compassionate. To free the injured creature to perhaps survive, or, to end it’s suffering by ending its life then and there? I guess, because of my lack of forethought, I will now never know.

Life in the “real world” can be tough. Our insular lives in the city do not remotely prepare us for such situations. I have grown just a little this day.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 113 other followers