Who 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.
The 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. Those 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.
Visit 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. 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.