• Flinders ranges


    Trip notes July 2014.
    FRIDAY.  With Fi and Paul in one car and Lorraine, Janine, Sarah and Jack in the other, we meet up at Bridgewater only to find the camping area closed for renovations. So we drove on to the Wedderburn caravan park and set up tent for the night. There was a great Camp Kitchen to have dinner in.
    SATURDAY.  Wake to find quirky objects and characters around the camp. The equally quirky camp hostess took great pleasure in showing us her creations.  The weather deteriorated as we drove, so we sort refuge in the civic shelter in Ouyen to have lunch in the freezing wind.   At 3pm. We pulled into the Mildura information centre to look around and get info on accommodation.  The Borong Caravan Park across the river looked best. While we were booking in a Lady fainted, so we had to do our First Aid bit to help her recover. Fortunately the passing storm cleared and we were able to sit around the camp fire watching the pelicans cruising on the river as the sunset.
    SUNDAY. After driving through more rain, the sun came out for us to enjoy the beautiful riverside facilities at Renmark for morning tea.  Then on to the Monash Adventure Play Ground for the Kids (?) to play and have lunch. With more storms due we again abandoned the Free camping for the facilities at the Burra caravan Park.  With tent up we then went sightseeing, exploring the historic town.
    MONDAY.  More sightseeing, then a charming drive up the back road directly to Hawker through fascinating open Salt Bush country then lovely green rolling hills of the lower Flinders Ranges. Lunch in the park (play ground handy of-course.). Off up the highway to see the ruins of Wonoka Township. Not much was left. Then onto camp on the Moralana river bank (dry) for a $10 note in the tin, for the local Homestead. What a romantic true bush-camp setting!
    TUESDAY. Woke to sky quilted with orange-red clouds silhouetting the rugged outline of the flinders ranges and fragrance of the campfire! Off along the back-track across to Wilpina Pound.  We stopped at Black Gap to park Paul’s car. So Fi, Loraine and Paul put on their packs to set off on a thee day hike, up and over into the pound, and out the other side. While Janine and the children drove on around the other side to base camp at Wilpena Pound.
    THURSDAY. We all met up to camp the night in Wilpena Caravan Park.
    FRIDAY. Lazy breakfast then off south. Stop in to view the amazing ruins of the Karinda Homestead. Morning Tea back at Hawker to savour the ledengery Quondong Pie. Lunch at Quorn, get fuel and food. Then onto Wilminton’s Stoney Creek Bush Camping Park.  He sold us a barrow (ute) load of redgum firewood which lasted us for days.
    SATURDAY. Pitchi Ritchie Train ride day!  We all drove over to Port Augusta. Paul stood on the station and waved them off on their steam train. Then attended to getting food supplies. The shopping list went well until the tricky item of Emery Boards?. A male lost in the female isle! With some local help he found the item and checked out.  Then dashed across to Quorn to meet the others. We all headed for the Emporium Cafe (discovered on the way up), for a country cooked lunch. Great!  Fi  Stayed with Paul to wave off the train on its return journey.  The kids really enjoyed a better “carriage host” on the way back.  Paul and Fi walked around town, but their mind was really on the cake cabinet back at the Emporium!  Afternoon Tea was served with a huge chunk of cake with cream and ice-cream. Heavily laden they tried to walk it off around the local Botanical gardens. Then drove home to Wilmington to wait for the train riders to return.
    SUNDAY.  Sarah’s 10th. Birthday. Balloons, and presents. Then off south to Mt.Remarkable, for the Birthday cake and M/Tea. Again Fi, Lorraine and Paul put on their packs, but this time we all walked down into the awe inspiring Alligator Gorge. Photos everywhere!. But there was water in the creek which in places covered the stepping rocks and we all got wet boots.   At the other end, Janine and the kids walked back to get the car and drive around the other side to base camp at Mambray Creek camping area. While Lorraine, Fi and Paul hiked down through the National Park. (see Lorraine’s walk notes)
    MONDAY. We all met-up back at Mambray Creek camping area.  then retrieved Pauls car. Another night around the hot red gum wood campfire.
    TUESDAY. A lay day for Fi and Paul to clean, dry and sort out the equipment, while Lorraine, Janine and the kids explored Port Germein (Jack got blown off the pier) and Port Pirie. A storm warning had been issued, so upon their return we struck camp and headed south to Adelaide. Driving around Adelaide was horrendous in the wind and rain. A quick stop for dinner, then out the Adelaide hills (great view of Adelaide’s lights) to find the Belair caravan park and pile into the cabin and listen to the storm raging about us.
    WEDNESDAY.  Wake to more rain, so abandon the walk thru the national park, and head down to Hahndorf and explore town before M/Tea at the German Cake Shop. Time to head home, so back onto the free-way and down to Tailem Bend for lunch at the railway museum. Still wet and cold at Nhill.  So using Paul’s Seniors discount, Grandpa, two grandkids and his three wives bunked down for the night.
    THURSDAY. Pack-up for the last time! Stop at the Big Koala for M/tea. Then drop into Ballan to find a rotunda to shelter under for lunch . The weather cleared as we came back into Melbourne and we dropped people off to their various homes. What a great trip!
    Paul B

  • Balnarring- Coolart


    Walk report
    Wednesday 17th June 2014
    Leader: Chris Spencer

    On a good morning for walking, eight of us headed off from the Balnarring
    Hall carpark, for the Coolart Wetlands and homestead.
    After walking just over a kilometre down Sandy Point Rd, we turned right
    into Luxton Drive. Russell and I commented on the huge cypress trees, that
    must have been planted over a hundred years ago.
    Once entering the wetlands reserve, we went to look at the bird hide, on the
    banks of  Coolart Lagoon. There was a note on the whiteboard inside, remarking on the lack of birds in the area at the moment; sure enough when we were there, not many were to be seen. The reason wasn’t fully known apparently. Both the bird hide and our morning snack stop ( the theatrette and meeting building ) had excellent information and pictures of the various birdlife, that could be seen on a good day.
    After the morning break. some of us had a look through the homestead; it is a magnificent building, with large formal rooms and an impressive staircase.
    Following this, we headed on a very pretty walk, meandering through the wetlands and then along the beach, and the banks of the Merricks Creek, a tranquil spot.
    Finally we arrived at Balnarring  beach, and walked along Balnarring Beach Road, back to our cars. Enjoyable coffee and eats followed at the Red Hill Bakery.
    Thanks Chris for an enjoyable walk. Keith M

  • Navigation training


    Navigation Training
    Lysterfield Lake
    Saturday June 14  
    Leader: Richard Kraus
    The objective for the walk was to navigate our way around the park using a map of Lysterfield and a compass.  We were shown how to orientate the map using visual observation as well as a compass.
    At 9:30 am, we met in the top car park situated on the Eastern side of Lysterfield Lake.  From here using our map to guide us we walked in a southerly direction along a track to the southern end of the lake where we crossed the foot bridge from East to West continuing to walk along the track until we reached an intersection where we turned right and headed north to a point where we began using our map and compass to set our bearings and walk from point to point using visual targets, to ensure we were keeping on the chosen route.  Continual observation of the map and the surrounding area taught us to identify markings on the map such as man made objects, ruins, water course, roads, density of the forest and interpreting contour lines.
    We continued to navigate our way around the park in a circular direction travelling from North to North West changing direction to East back to North East then again East.  We walked cross country in high grass, up hill, down into valleys, frequently having to climb over or around fallen trees, across knolls and open clearings.
    Historical sight, ruin, man made object, dam, road or intersection awaited at the end of each destination.
    The first man made object was a bench seat.  A little further along was an old ore cart used in the Quarry around the mid 1920s.  Along the side of the track Marty discovered a Fungtopus.  An incredible fungus that looks like an octopus! The Octopus Stinkhorn is native to Australia.  It emerges from an egg called superumpent – this means it erupts in an explosion of enlargement. At maturity the Stinkhorn gives a fetid odor, reminiscent of rotting flesh.  This is to attract flies that land hoping to have found a place to lay their egg. The species are spread by the gleba attaching to the body of flies.  The eggs are edible and taste similar to a very rancid radish. Aborigines used this bush tucker as a very last resort. Do not try at home.

    We stopped for morning tea at a dam. Continuing on we arrived on top of a grassy knoll where we found a tram wheel base used to transport materials from the Quarry in the early 1900s.
    Near the intersection of Donelan Track and Powells Track was chosen for our lunch break.  The apple tree, the clumps of lilies and the snowdrops were evidence that the area had belonged to a homestead at one time.  The homestead was built by the Donelan Family in 1878. The homestead was situated further up the hill at 218m on one of the highest hills in the park. They managed 100 hectares of razing/dairy/cattle property.  The homestead was demolished in 1960 when the State Government closed down all farms in the region.
    From the intersection a bearing of 1100 E we located the remains, a pump, well and milking shed that formed part of Boys Farm that was set up in the 1930s and operated until the 1950s.  It was designed to train boys as young as 14 and 15 in farming.
    From here was our last bearing of 840 E.  Our destination was the lookout where we settled ourselves under an embracing tree surrounded by an abundance of kangaroos.  The shy little joeys peeping from behind tree trunks and bushes cautiously watching these two legged creates invading their space. Big Daddy was not far away either!!
    Throughout the day we saw many kangaroos; we were serenaded by the Grey Currawong and heard Kookaburras laugh.
     Homeward bound, travelling south we arrive back at the car park at approximately 3:30pm where we gathered at the café for that hot cupper or ice cream for some.
    The day was a whole new experience for me and I believe it was enjoyed by all.  It was filled with many interesting things to see and learn.  Lots of laughter and good company! 
    Thank you, Richard for a great day and for imparting your knowledge with us.

  • OT Dam



    Walk to OT Dam, Dromana
    Wednesday June 4th
    Leader: Margaret Madge  

    Seven highly experienced bushwalkers met at the Hillview Community Reserve on quite a pleasant day. As we started the walk, up that steep climb of 1.3km to the OT Dam, there were mutterings of ‘this must be doing us good’ and unusually not much talking. Once at the top, we remembered just why it was worth making the effort. The surface of the dam was very smooth and the surrounding dense bush was reflected quite beautifully. As usual, there was someone else there who was keen to find out about the origin of the dam and our knowledgeable leader Margaret was able to tell the story of this Peninsula icon. We then made our way around the dam to the boardwalk and again, took some time to admire the environment – a perfect photo opportunity (see attached photo). Continuing on our way, through the bush tracks, more undulations and unmade roads, we occasionally glimpsed our stunning bay. As we emerged from the bush, a leech was spotted on my scarf, most unusual, but my fellow walkers dispensed with him promptly. No morning tea this time but a lovely coffee at the shop opposite the reserve, which is now under new management. Thank you Margaret for a very pleasant morning.  
    Ann Balette

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