Tag Archive: Buckaringa Gorge


img_7799A coolish and cloudless day greeted us this morning. Certainly much cooler than the usual October weather in the Flinders. The road to our start point had plenty of furry and feathered friends greeting us along the way, slowing our journey at many a point. Mostly Kanga’s who seem to want an early morning race. One hitting 44kph!  Just a young’n too.  Leaving our friends, we kicked up a trail of dust leading to the gorge. The rock face stood large in front us. An amazing rock  sculpture that is Buckaringa Gorge.

img_7816Lizards feature quite regularly on our two walks this trip. Lazing in the sun seemingly without a care. Right in our “boot scootin” way on the trail.  Until we get too close of course.

The Stumpy’s are always grumpy, flashing their blue tongues. Every bit as aggressive as a Maori, in full Haka.   The bearded dragons however are pretty chilled. Not moving a muscle no matter what we do.  Grant has also learned to look first before stepping on them. It only took about a thousand Km’s to learn that one.

img_7817Seems to be a very healthy ecosystem out here. The recent rains have transformed the normally dusty grey landscape into a myriad of colours. Muted greens, browns and ochre bleed into each other, just like a Monet painting.

Once at the entrance of the Gorge we hang a right heading across the creek heading North East and onto a slightly overgrown track.  Gaitors were a definite necessity today, as we were not keen to end up with porcupine img_7820socks.

The trail wanders along the edge of the range undulating a little up and down with open views to our right of scrubby grassland with the occasional tree line creek. Plenty of Roos to the left and the right, with one Mob numbering in the teens.

The scrubby bush persisted for the first 11 kms or so without any decent rest spots.  Not until we walked through the second gorge did we find a comfortable seat. The Heysen camp site with a seat and tank water was a welcome respite instead of having to sit in the prickly grass. Those grass burs f’n stick to everything.

img_7823A couple of wild goats welcomed us into the second gorge, but did not stick around to chat. The goats headed off into the scrub while we climbed the stile to the right and after a short rest at the camp site, we headed up the first of the two major hills. About 50 metres each. Nice views from the top, and even though there has been plenty of rain with the recent storms, it does not take much time for the land to dry out. This was evident today.

img_7849Off in the distance we could see a break in the landscape. A lighter coloured crescent splitting the land in two.  It became apparent soon that we would be heading straight towards this oasis in our muted Monet landscape.

Coming off the second hill, our “roman road” trail did not deviate until we reached the break in the landscape which is the “glistening” Willochra creek. But before we hit level ground, we spied a pelican circling high in the sky. I had not seen a pelican out here before.

img_7871Must be water in the creek I thought, or that jumbo of the bird world must be really lost!

The creek is a wonderful place to stop for lunch. The layered cliff face with whites and browns, stood silent watching over the still waters.  Wonderful clay pattern in one section. Looking just like a paved patio. If you do this walk, plan to spend your longest break here.

After a short steep climb up the cliff face, we were once again walking the fence line in the grass and burs, leaving Willochra creek to disappear from view. Once again swallowed up by the hardened dry landscape.

img_7878A couple of K’s later and after crossing Kanyaka creek, we hit the road. Although the walking was a little easier, the hardness of the road and the increased heat was starting to  take it’s toll.  Even though the road walking was only 4.5kms, it seem much longer and harder. Why is it that the last few K’s always seem to be the hardest. Strange that.

Our trail end today was Bobby Creek Road, and while we were still 3 odd kms from our end point, we could see a shiny blue glint in the distance. The bright beacon of my small piece of civilization parked in the harsh wilderness.  The thought of a soft seat and a cold beer teasing us for just a little longer.

In Short

Buckaringa Gorge to Calabrinda (Bobby Creek Road)

Distance : 21.4 kms

Duration : 4 hours 14 minutes (walking time). A bit over an hour of breaks.

Pace : 4.9 kph

Terrain : Undulating hills with only two major hills (50mtrs each). Rocky in places

And the rest…….

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Camp site just off of Buckaringa scenic drive

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Lone cyclist heading off into the wilderness.

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Feathered friends

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Looking back towards Buckaringa Gorge from Willochra Creek

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Willochra Creek

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The Camry still rockin on in The Flinders.

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IMG_6644The night before our walk, Malcolm was doing his best to warn (or scare) us about the walk through to Eyre Depot. He had heard many a tale of heart ache and tears, so just in case there was a smidge of truth to his tales, we decided to leave a little earlier giving us sufficient time for any unforseen outcomes. (code for stuff ups and slip ups).

We managed a pre 8am start at Buckaringa Gorge in the cool and cloudy morning.  Armed with plenty of equipment for the day. Variable clothing to cope with Melbourne type weather (You know, four season in one day), topographic maps, Heysen book, GPS, and plenty of food and water.  We headed off with much confidence that we could tackle anything this day, and as it turned out, we needed most of what we took.

IMG_6641A stroll through the Gorge soon brought us into a creek bed again, and like the obstacle course on the previous day, it slowed us up considerably.  Again.

A few gems along the way though with a white Kangaroo stopping to say hello,  some interesting rock formations and plenty of flora with splashes of colour among the green and ochre. We made our way in and out of the creek meandering uphill slowly but surely.

IMG_6596The five K mark rescued us from the creek and we headed up the hill above 500 metres. Up another hill, and up another hill, until finally atop the ridge which would take us all the way to Mount Arden, 12 K’s in from the Gorge.

The panoramic views in all directions opened up bit by bit as we topped each hill.  The higher we got the windier it got also. We had been warned that the ridge is windy and usually in spite of any calm weather down below.  So we were prepared with arctic style tops to fend off the icy blasts.

IMG_6691The ridge meandered left and right and up and down a little, before the final push up above 800 metres, to the summit of Mount Arden.  At the top the wind was even more intense and absolutely relentless.  It was only a short stay at the peak, to catch our breath and snap a few photo’s, before descending down the southern slope back to a more tepid temperature.

The drop is quite dramatic, but very tiring. I certainly would not want to be going up this section though.

IMG_6748 Just after we saw horizontal ground again, the terrain opened up to a lazy creek with majestic old Gum’s and what looked like manicured lawn area’s either side. Every bit the public city park, but smack dab in the middle of the bush.

This is Mount Arden South camp site, and was very clear why it was here.  Fantastic spot, so we stopped for a break, having lunch and resting in the natural beauty of the surrounds.

IMG_6767We headed off again refreshed, and wandering along the idyllic creek setting, we were easily lulled into the comfort zone in these gentle surrounds.

The easy walking was not to last though. After a few more K’s the terrain turned back to the “obstacle course” of rocky tracks and in and out of the creek again. It seemed to go on for like, “evar”.  Pretty dramatic scenery, but pretty wild I have to say, and one of our more challenging walks.

IMG_6782Just when we thought we were nearing the end, the trail took us up the side of a very steep hill. So steep it had rope to hang onto. Great view at the top, but at this point we were a bit shagged to really care too much.  Once back in the creek we meandered our way through the canyon until coming to a rather steep waterfall. No water flowing over it, however it was much too steep to climb down, so we back tracked to where the trail actually IMG_6596leads up the hill and around the falls.

A rocky dirt road (twisted my ankle here) took us eventually out of the hills and onto the plain at Eyre Depot.

The last 3 kms to the car seemed like the longest leg though. Funny how it is quite regularly the case.

Ps. The gate that we had passed through at Eyre Depot to drop the car off, now had a sign saying, “Trespassers will be prosecuted”.

The walk in to Eyre Depot is now 6 kms, not the 3 that we did.  Best bet though if you are not doing an overnighter would be to get Malcolm from the Argadell’s to take you through Thompson’s Gap for a drop off or pick up.

In Short

Buckaringa Gorge to Eyre Depot

Distance : 27 kms (with an additional  3 km walk out)

Duration : 7 hours 1 min walking time. 2 hours 12 mins worth of breaks.

Pace : 4.3 kph

Terrain : Track (20%), steep hills/ridges(30%), and creek walking(50%).

And…….the rest

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Only three more hills before Mount Arden. Or was it four, or five?

 

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There is that song again. “and those big black birds they were circling in the sky”.

 

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Argadell’s from Mount Arden

 

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Looking north along the trail from north of Mount Arden

 

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Now where did I leave the car?

 

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Our Hosts for the weekend

 

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It was very windy on the ridge. You need to dress warm for the occasion.

 

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Lovely day for a stroll. Pity this view did not last.

 

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Looking down the valley towards Eyre Depot, way off in the distance.

 

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Grant and his lizards again.

 

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Almost looks like the shape of my old Holden panel van.

 

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The all seeing eye!  Ancient rock carving, or natural formation?

 

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Can you see the cat in this rock pattern?

 

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Just before sunset, we headed off in the car. Tired but satisfied.

 

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