We decided to make the trek over to the Flinders Ranges during school holidays. We actually went a few days early to have enough time to go the places we'd selected. Following is a summary of our trip. Click on little picture to view a larger one if you desire, click your browsers 'Back' button to return to the main page.

DAY 1 - Home to Pink Lakes (555 kms)

Several unexpected maintenance issues the day before meant we didn't make our intended early departure. We completed the final packing tasks before a casual getaway. We got to the Pink Lakes, about 50kms west of Ouyen. No one else at the campgrounds so we setup in a space nearish the long-drop loo. We collected some kinderling and hit the jackpot when Glenda found a pile of wood left by other campers. Our supply of good Wangaratta Redgum stayed intact. As we left our fireplace hotplate at home we used the supplied hotplate to cook some sausages, eaten in bread with tomato sauce. One of the boys favourites although that's probably because there's no accompanying vegetables. Toasted some marshmallows then ate some fruit that needed to be used before the SA border the next day.

DAY 2 - Pink Lakes to Burra (404 kms)

We had a very quiet and peaceful night being woken by a couple of birds that decided dawn was the time to communicate. Nige decided there might be a photo opportunity so headed out to investigate. The others got a little longer to lie in bed before breakfast. After that we headed towards Pinaroo. We had lunch at Waikerie by the Murray River then crossed via the ferry at Morgan. It was being filled by a tanker so we had to wait about 15 mins then we got positioned next to a semi trailer with a large digger on board. Wasn't that much room left between us. Disembarking went fine, we got to go first, and we continued on to the Burra caravan park. Got the 2nd last powered site and set up in what is a nice little venue. Some ducks wandered over looking for a feed and the boys fed them a slice of bread. Cooked steak on the camp kitchen BBQ which was supplemented by some potato salad, coleslaw and lettuce. Followed by the usual fruit for sweets.

DAY 3 - Burra to Bendleby Ranges Station (213 kms)

Left the caravan park about 8:30am with a threat of rain in the sky. A few drops did fall but that was the extent of it. Had a brief look around Peterbough and the boys climbed over a train and an anti-aircraft gun. Bought some supplies and rang Bendleby Ranges to check they had room for us, which they did. On the way we stopped at Magnetic Hill, where an optical illusion makes it look like your car (and camper in our case) roll up a hill. Boys thought it was quite amusing. Drove on to Orroroo and lunched by the giant gum tree, thought to be 500 years old. Got to Bendelby Ranges about 2pm and was given directions to our campsite. The track in was definitely more 4WD than we'd taken our camper before but with a bit of rock moving and manoeuvring we managed to get to the campsite. Firewood is supplied so once again our wood lived to burn another day. Corey needed the loo so Glenda and he set off to the long drops nearby. They now are experienced spider-checkers and found two big redbacks. We have found so many of these we wonder if anyone else checks for them ever. We decided to take a 4WD track that was marked as 'low' difficulty but we're not sure they have it right as it was harder (mostly rocks) than other sections we tackled the next day. Tea was hamburgers, ice cream and fruit. The stars were bright which reminds one why we like such places so much.

DAY 4 - Bendleby Ranges Station (38 kms)

Had a sleep in and lazy morning before making some lunch and headed down to the homestead to ask what tracks would be suitable for us. Tried a section of the 'test track' before we nearly ripped off our super mud flap on a section. We chickened out at that stage (Glenda's idea!). We had been asked to move camp as a big group were coming in the afternoon so we headed back and packed up then navigated the track again to another campsite. That done, we took off along the 'North-South' track which although graded as 'low-medium' turned out to be much easier going than the previous days drive. Had some magnificent views from ridge and saw some kangaroos along the way. They boys were on gate duty which pleased Glenda. Back at camp Glenda knocked up a superb beef & veg Risotto followed by ice cream and fruit.

DAY 5 - Bendleby Ranges to Rawnsley Park (266 kms)

Packed up and headed along back roads in the direction of Hawker. The road seemed to travel through properties. Saw some kangaroos and Emus but didn't get any photo's of the Emus as they ran off while we changed camera lenses. Stopped in Hawker to do some washing. The attendant told Glenda that some shearers had just been and he proceeded to wipe out the tubs. The look on her face was priceless, however all was fine and the washing was completed. No powered sites available at Rawnsley Park so we selected a site at the end of the powered sites not too far away from the amenities block. We did have a great view of Rawnsley Bluff. Had some lunch and set off to do the Moralana Scenic Drive. Stopped for lots of photos and in the end Glenda drove so Nigel could jump out easier for photo opportunities. We then went north on the black-top to the Geological Trial though Branchia Gorge. Saw some Emus wandering along so we doubled back and waited for them. When they got to the road they did a Hector the Cat impersonation looking both ways before strolling across the road. Quite road wise! Back at camp, we listened to the footy over tea, Oven Baked fish fried in the frypan (yummy!) and veggies. Sweets, was the usual ice cream and fruit.

DAY 6 - Arkapena 4WD Trek (60 kms)

Asked at the office if there were any easy to moderate 4WD tracks nearby and they suggested the Arkapena Scenic Adventures track. Initial section had us a bit worried about the rocks but we picked our way along ok. The second section had some steeper climbs and less rocks, which was better we think. At the highest point there was a letter box with a visitors book to sign. Some people had left humorous comments like 'had a bit of trouble with the van in the last climb' haha! Back at camp the boys wanted to go for a swim but it was too cold for adults so we sat nearby while they inched their way in under the threat they if they didn't get in by themselves, they were going to be thrown in anyway. Both managed it. For tea we went to the Woolshed restaurant which was nice enough, but very expensive.

DAY 7 - Wilpena Pound (81 kms)

What a change in the weather. Woken early by thunder and the threat of rain although it was still hot and humid. After breaky we decided to unfold our bed-end fly's and Corey was given some instructions on how to undo the tricky catches. Normally we would have to drop the roof to do this but by lifting him up onto the bed-end, he managed to undo them and we got them in place in anticipation of rain. During the day there were only a few drops. We drove around to Wilpena Pound and decided a ride on the shuttle bus was in order followed by a walk to the Wangara Lookout. We used the bus as Corey was in newish shoes and Glenda still recovering from an knee arthroscope. It was blowing a gale so we had a quick look from the lookouts and then headed back to wait for the shuttle bus to return. Drove back past Rawnsley Park to Arkaba Woolshed where they was a Aboriginal Art show. Some nice work and had a good chat to the organiser (also one of the featured artists). Back at the camper we did various tasks before having 'camping' fried rice for tea. Was ok but the boys didn't like it (different to our usual style). Set up the TV to watch the Brownlow Medal count (AFL Best & Fairest) but neither of the 2 channels available had it on. Did prove we could run the tele on 12V though so all was not lost.

DAY 8 - Loop around Southern Flinders Ranges (219 kms)

Today dawned blue sky, much nicer for us tourists. The locals would prefer rain. There was a cool breeze blowing so jumpers were still required. Glenda went to do some washing and the boys drew pictures for the cover of their diaries. After breaky we went down to the shop as it was 'bread delivery day' and we wanted to buy some fresh loaves along with some milk. We then set off on a drive to see some of the sights. First stop was a tree depicted in an apparently famous photograph by Harold Cazeneaux. On the road to the tree, we spotted some Emus so after taking our photo of the tree we drove back to get a better view of the Emus. There was a group of chicks with their father (most likely) so we parked and watch them wander along. They joined up with another group of adult birds which were drinking from a puddle. Maybe we are strange, as not many passing cars stopped or even slowed down to have a look. We left the Emus and drove to Stokes Lookout, stopping at another lookout along the way. It was very exposed and very windy so rather than having lunch there we took in the view then moved on towards Blinman. Saw a sign to Appealina Homestead ruins so took that track down to a nice parking area where we demolished our lunch then walked the 150m to the ruins. We were surprised by the buildings layout (no interconnecting doors between rooms) and the size of the fireplace. Must be a good explanation for this which we'll have to research to satisfy our curiosity. Next was a stop to look at the 'Great Wall of China', a rock formation that has eroded to look like a wall. At Blinman we bought some ice creams and walked up and down the main street. Jumped back in the car and drove through the gorge to Parachilna. Stopped at the Prarrie Hotel which is famous for serving 'bush feral food' (emu, goat, kangaroo & camel). We just had drinks and set off for home. Tea was scrumptious chicken snitzels with vegies and lemon & sugar pancakes for sweets.

DAY 9 - Rawnsley Park to Arkaroola (235 kms)

The bitumen stopped soon after Wilpena Pound and road works were busy extending it to Blinman but as we'd travelled this road previously we knew it was pretty good. After turning off on the road to Balcanoona it deteriorated and some sections were very rough and rocky. Just north of Balcanoona was the Echo Wall, a rock wall where your voice is echoed back to you. The boys had fun doing "cooee's" and general yelling! Made our way along the final stretch to Arkaroola and booked into the caravan park on a powered site. Set up camp and drove to the Pinnacles (rock formation) for a look. Drove back to the resort office and booked ourselves onto the Ridgetop tour and an Astronomy Tour. Tea was sausages and vegies.

DAY 10 - Arkaroola Ridgetop Tour (27 kms)

Up at 6:30am to get ready for the Ridgetop Tour which departed at 8am. We were allocated to a Landcrusier trayback with two north-south bench seats in the back, 5 people to a side. One passenger got to ride in 'first class', in the passenger seat of the cab. Our guide Stuart was very knowledgeable and described various features of the land. We stopped at Coulthards Lookout, then moved on to the Sillers Lookout, the main lookout with 360 degree views of the ranges and Lake Frome in the distance. Coffee, tea and lamingtons were served for morning tea and the boys took a liking to the lamingtons. Amazing what they'll eat when there's no alternative! After a good look around we jumped back into our vehicles for the ride back. After lunch, we went for a drive to Nooldoonooldoona waterhole to see if we could see some rock wallabies. We sat quietly but some other people arrived and proceeded to throw rocks into the waterhole and make lots of noise so we departed. Stopped at another waterhole near Bolla Bollana Spring on the way back and sat and waited to see if anything would come in for a drink. Many cockatoos had a drink after checking us out from the nearby trees. Just as we were getting ready to leave, an Echidna came down for a drink. It was a wonderful sight watching it go about it's business before it wandered off back over the rocks. Back at camp we had a variety of noodles for tea then headed up to join the Astronomy Tour. Had a slight wait as the tour guide was delayed trying to catch his camels that had reappeared after several days wandering around. He returned and we jumped in the shuttle bus to go up to the observatory. Once in the dome he proceeded to describe the various things (stars, planets & galaxies) he pointed the telescope at. Afterwards we went outside and using a laser pointer, he pointed out the objects in the sky that we had been looking at and described how to use the Southern Cross to find "South".

DAY 11 - Arkaroola Yata Nukuntha Tour (0 kms)

Another early start to be at the Village reception for the Yata Nukuntha (Bush tucker and medicine) Tour with our guide, Sharpy Coulthard. We walked along a single file track (Mawson Walking trial) stopping at various trees and plants where Sharpy explained their use and importance. One stop was at his 'supermarket' where he pointed out numerous sources of food. We then sat under a shady tree while he told us of his peoples story of how the Robin got his red breast. The boys, especially Corey were intrigued. We wandered back towards the resort and tried some quandongs (native peach). After eating the flesh you could crack open the seed and obtain further sustenance a white substance much like coconut. He also related stories about how the Iga (native orange) tree settled in the area and how the waterholes were formed. After lunch Glenda cut all the boys hair then had an early tea of chicken risotto so we could go in search of the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby. Sharpy had pointed out a spot to see them and he was correct, there where several hopping around the rocky slope. They seemed to be playing 'chasey'. Once it got dark we headed home for dessert then bed.

DAY 12 - Arkarool to Iga Warta via Lake Frome (147 kms)

Left Arkaroola about 8:30am and headed back to Balcanoona. Talked to ranger Vince (Coulthard) about the road down to Lake Frome and leaving our camper at the rangers station which was fine. Lake Frome was signposted as 38km away, which took us a little under an hour. The road was good in spots, rocky in most and finished with some sandy sections. We walked out onto the salt lake to have a closer look. In the distance we could see a dust storm approaching so we quickly took some photos and headed back to the car. It was very hot (car was saying 37) and windy with dust being blown everywhere. We jumping into the comfort of the car and headed back along the track. The dust storm was getting worse and several times we could hardly see past the bonnet of the car. We actually heard the guys on the Ridgetop tour chatting to each other on the UHF and we were amused that their view of Lake Frome would have been much different to the one we saw when we were there. Back at the rangers station we hooked up the camper and headed for Iga Warta, or next stop. Arrived at Iga Warta and preparations were well underway for the AFL Grand Final. A large plasma screen was set up on the balcony and many seats were filled in anticipation. Iga Warta is run by the Coulthard clan and is a combination of tourist destination which includes the caravan park and onsite accommodation and 'school camp' where they host community groups. Many traditional activities are available, tours of indigenous nature, artefact making and the campfire with story telling. Will speak more of that later. We were directed to where to park our camper (and plug into power which was a bonus) and invited back up to watch the footy. We setup and had lunch watching the pre game entertainment on our little tele. Terrance (Coulthard) came down to remind us the game was starting soon which was a nice gesture. We cleaned up our lunch dishes and the boys had a quick dip in the pool before going we went up to join the crowd just in time for the national anthem. Timed it perfectly! We really enjoyed watching the game in an atmosphere with everyone giving there views of the game. During the qtr breaks we kicked the footy and flew our kite. We got talking to a Japanese lady, June, who was travelling around by herself. We had seen her at Arkaroola earlier and since her english wasn't fluent we assumed she was a foreigner but that wasn't the case at all, she was from Melbourne as well. She was sleeping in her car so we invited her down to our campfire after dinner. She had already had her dinner (2 min noodles I think) but we insisted she have a baked potato which turned into a bit of everything we had, steak, onions, bacon, tomato, peas, and carrots. We think she was to polite to say no to anything! We also cooked a damper which turned out quite yummy. After Brendan demonstrated his ability to count to ten in Japanese (used in his karate training) June taught us a few more words but I'm afraid we weren't good students and can't remember them now.

DAY 13 - Iga Warta (0 kms)

After breakfast we did a few things around camp waiting for Clarrie to turn up to take us to make some Tap Sticks. The boys busied themselves by marking out a soccer field with rocks. Terrence came past wondering if we'd like to join his group going out to their ochre pits but we said we'd wait for Clarrie. Had a good chat to Terrance about numerus issues including his family. Clarrie hadn't surfaced (long story) so Terrence organised the Tap stick making class. He cut off lengths of wood, explaining to the boys how they would have had to do it with sharpened rock axes year ago. He got them to remove the bark and then showed them how to start rounding the ends using a tomahawk. Brendan had a go at this to Glenda's horror, very worried he would hit something he shouldn't, like a finger however he managed ok. We asked Terrence to do Corey's! The next step involved rasping the ends into shape and then using sandpaper to finish smoothing it all. Corey had a good go at this but soon tired and Glenda and Nigel took over to do the grunt work. Finally Terrance showed the boys how to paint the tap sticks and explained that the design should tell a story. Later the boys told there stories to Terrance who seemed very impressed with the stories and the fact that the boys had listened to him. The boys finished their painting and we went back to the camper for tea. Used some of the food we had left for toasted sandwiches followed by pancakes. At 8pm we headed up to the campfire for the evening. This aboriginal youth groups put on a wonderful display, the girls singing and dancing traditional songs. At one stage they got people out of the crowd to join in and Brendan got dragged up. He got to act like a few animals including an Emu. The boys where painted up and dressed corroboree style and danced and sang stories. The lead dancer, the oldest of the lads, stomped his feet hard on the ground and you cold feel the vibrations through your body. Very engaging. Terrance sang songs and told stories before cooking a damper which we all enjoyed. There were many songs where everyone had to take part, including a aboriginal version of the 'hokey pokey' which had everyone in fits of laughter. It was a great evening.

DAY 14 - Iga Warta to Quorn (285 kms)

Packed up and went up to settle our account and to say farewell. We had a wonderful couple of days and hopefully will return again sometime. The road to Copley was in very good condition although we came across a van (being towed by a Mercedes) that had had a blow out. They had finished changing it (good timing on our part) but had come up from Blinman on the rough road so might have damaged it there, only to blow it on the good section. Stopped in Copley for morning tea. Sausage Rolls and Pies from the Bakery which were very nice. We were then back on the blacktop for the run down to Quorn. At the caravan park the Winnebago club was 'on tour' and had taken over most of the park. There were over 30 of them on their way to Alice Springs or Uluru. They sat around in a circle and sang songs and gave out awards (probably for those that got lost during the day) until 10pm. Jovial lot but I wouldn't have wanted to be any closer to them. Tea was sausages and vegies. The boys having found a new delicacy in onions we had to cook a double amount of them.

DAY 15 - Quorn (126 kms)

A lazy morning getting ready to go on the Pichi Richi stream train. Made some sandwiches to take before wandering up to the station. Bordered the train and selected a sleeper cabin and the four of us fit in nicely. Nigel went to take pictures of the train and driver but Corey was concerned he wouldn't make it back onto the train before it departed. All was well and Nigel rejoined before the train left. We snaked our way though the hills to Woolshed Flat, the destination for today. Once there we bought sausage rolls and a Quornish Pastie for Glenda, then lined up to get a tour of the engine. The Fireman gave the talk and was very enthusiastic about 'his' engine. It was then time to jump back on the train and enjoy the journey back to Quorn. Back at the caravan park we ate our sandwiches then jumped in the car and followed the Buckaringa Scenic Drive. Saw several sights along the way including Warren Gorge, Proby's Grave, Emus and numerous Stumpy Tail lizards. Drove back to the caravan park for early showers before going to the Transcontinental Hotel for a yummy tea. $55 for meals and drinks was good value.

DAY 16 - Quorn to Lake Benanee (627 kms)

A few drops of rain got us into gear and packed up quickly. We took a slight deviation to the intended route so that Glenda could see a bronze statue of her favourite poet, C.J. Dennis. She only knows one poem but that's enough. Stopped at the Stone Hut bakery. We wanted some rolls for dinner but were informed that they don't get cooked till last. Couldn't find anything else the boys or Nigel would eat, it was all rather fancy and the snooty lady informed they don't do donuts or anything like that. Unfortunately Nigel had already ordered a Vanilla slice for Glenda (which at $4.50 was average at best). We continued our journey, stopping for pies and sausage rolls in Morgan (very nice from the local Bakery) and a couple of toilet stops, mostly for our human fountain, Corey. Glenda found a good sounding overnight stop (Benanee Lake) in the Camps book so we proceeded to there. It was off the main highway on the road to Balranald and we thought it would be quieter however the road carried a lot of trucks and was far from quiet even though it was well back from the road. Had a chat to some travellers from Moree, which went later than intended (11:30pm) but we all had a great laugh at a range of subjects, mostly our travels.

DAY 17 - Lake Benanee to Wangaratta (460 kms)

Late start due to previous late night. We were going via Wangaratta as Glenda's parents were minding our dogs. Nothing exciting to report other than stopped at MacDonalds for lunch in Echuca. Ate too much too quickly and felt sick afterwards. Arrived in Wangaratta and boys played with their dogs and cousin Lucy. Glenda and Nigel washed the camper and car. Due to the water restrictions in Melbourne, the camper had yet to be washed from last years trip. Surprisingly most of the red dirt was removed but it took 3 hours. It looks almost like new again. Nana cooked a roast which was devoured by all. Dogs were unsettled and barked for ages before settling down for the night.

DAY 18 - Wangaratta to Melbourne (310 kms)

Drove home to Melbourne. Backed the camper into the shed and it started raining so we only emptied the fridge and a few things. The boys reacquainted themselves with their Wii, while Glenda and Nigel did various unpacking chores. Finished unpacking and cleaning the camper the next day and now it's ready for our next adventure...