Tag Archive: Flinders Ranges


 

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A view of where we will be walking. From way off to the left to the bottom of the hill where this road goes

After a year in the wilderness of the city, work, house, responsibilities, family and kids, I finally find a few days spare to return to the place of my heart.  Mile by mile heading north, the cars, buildings, and people become fewer and fewer, as does all of the “stuff” in my head.  Some have suggested that there is not much in there most of the time anyway.

A quick stop at Lochiel to say hello to the ladies at Jitter Bean for a delicious lunch, then on to Hawker for a final fuel stop before heading off towards Blinman, and Angorichina.

The next four days will be our final leg of the Heysen Trail from South to North. Walking from Wilpena Pound through to Parachilna Gorge through some pristine Flinders Ranges wilderness.

Day One: Wilpena Pound to Bunyeroo

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Some of our welcoming committee.

First. Compliments to the Adnyarmathanha people for looking after this wonderful land.

Cool morning so far today, even an hour after sunrise when we started the trek.  The wind was blowing quite firm and was pretty cool. The first 1.5 kms around the Wilpena Caravan Park seemed a bit of a chore, so we walked it the previous day when we were scouting out for today’s walk.  Seemed logical and easy to do, and reduced the following days trek just a little.

A nice easy track greeted us this morning with a committee of Grey and Red kangaroos cheering us on. A solitary Emu watching over the proceedings.  We were soon on the ascent up hill albeit quite slight. A rise of about 70 metres over a few kilometres.

IMG_9524With mist cascading over one of the Wilpena peaks, the early morning sun bathed the ridge in a warming glow.  All while we strode on through open grassland in the chilled morning air. The cypress pine’s slowly grew before us, filling our view.  We were soon immersed into this native forest which would be our friend for many a kilometre.

The views of this side of the Pound were pretty damn good. St Mary’s Peak and her companions towered above us for most of our journey today. With some of the trail a little uneven and rocky we had to remember to occasionally stop and look up at the magnificent views.  I nearly did an ankle admiring the view, at least twice. Good hiking boots always save me though.

IMG_9536The first part of the walk peaked at about 57 metres, before we started a long slow descent, albeit a bit up and down.  A very easy walk amongst the pine trees, and the path of red Wilcolo sandstone was at times just like a manicured city park path.

Leaving the Wilpena Pound area we continued on with the pine trees and the red path.

The nice wide track could easily lull you into missing the major right turn on the Heysen Trail.

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“It’s this way”. Yes yes Grant, I can see that.

The other track (straight on) is the Mawson Trail(for cyclists). This would be easy to miss if chatting at the time of passing it. Would never happen would it?

Our right turn took us through the creek and then up the hill, but just before the start of the hill, there was a great little camping spot. Very nice. Clearly some had taken the time to camp there to take in the atmosphere. We were now in the Wilcolo Circuit which will take us up this dirty great big hill and then down again eventually to the circuit check point B7.

IMG_9569We followed the creek for a way before heading up the substantial hill.  The moderate climb on a narrow trail got the blood pumping and cresting the hill we rejoiced in reaching the top.  Looking into this new valley, we stood and pondered. Somewhere down there was our finishing point for the day.

Bunyeroo Valley opened up before us with wonderful views.  We knew roughly where our exit point should be from our elevated vantage point, however the trees obscured our view until we descended into the very bottom of the valley.

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Check Point B7.

Check point B7 revealed itself right next to that big gum tree.   This is where we had to exit the Heysen Trail for the day. We followed the creek down stream on a rough track going west until we found the Bunyeroo Valley road. The end of today’s walk.

We drove up to one of the look outs on the ridge, before cracking a cold beer to celebrate and refresh.  Knowing that there is a cold beer in the car is always a motivating factor when struggling in the last few kms. It always works.

 

In Brief:

Wilpena Pound to Check Point B7 Wilcolo Circiut

Distance: 20 kms

Pace: 5.5kms

Terrain: Forrest walk on a good track. A narrow track up the big hill. A little bit of creek walking also.

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Wilpena to Bunyeroo

Wilpena (at bottom) to Bunyeroo Valley (Top “E”)

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Check Point B4 at the top of the hill

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On our way down to Check Point B7

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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

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The last bit before the top of the mountain.

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