21st April to 27th April
After our stay at Mount Remarkable we headed to Port Augusta to restock our groceries, power up and work our way through 5 loads of washing. We stayed at the Big 4 caravan park, figuring it to be the safest park there, apparently it is even though the night we stayed bikes, 2 caravans up, were stolen and we had a late night visit from the police.
The next day we headed off about 9:30, stopping at Hawker to pick up a parcel from the post office and to have some lunch. We then headed north towards the Flinders Ranges, arriving at our campsite about 2ish. After consulting wikicamps we had decided to camp at a freecamp in the Parachilna Gorge about 30km west of Blinman in the Flinders Ranges, we had also arranged to meet the Stricklands there to do a few days of exploring. A few years ago we had come to Flinders Ranges and stayed at Rawnsley Park and saw most of the ‘big ticket’ must do’s, so we only had a few things we wanted to do this time.
The next day we did some schoolwork in the morning and then headed to Blinman to enquire about doing the Blinman Mine Tour. The next tour was at 2pm, so we headed to the pub for a refreshment first, then drove the kilometre out of town to the mine. Blinman is an interesting town, they have no council and therefore pay no rates, but then have to organise the basic things like water and garbage disposal. The population is about 19, but including the surrounding stations it rises to 60, so they have a great community where everyone pitches in and does jobs around the town with one of those being the refurbishment and tours of Blinman Mine. The tour guide, Sheree, said that it took the town 10 years of upgrading the mine until they could actually open it to the public and offer guided tours, not sure what the dollar amount was but it wouldn’t have been cheap. The mine is a copper mine that was discovered in 1859 and in its heyday produced over 10,000 tonnes of copper metal. Overall the mine is 165 metres deep or about 35 stories high for us city folk. Apparently what took the Cornish miners 8 years to mine back then would take todays ‘miners’ just under 2 weeks!!!!!! Unfortunly due to falling copper prices the mines was closed in 1907. We really enjoyed our first (of many) mine tours, we learnt a lot and Jess even managed to make a new friend within the first 10 minutes!!!
The next day we headed south towards Willow Springs Station to do the much hyped Skytrek 4WD track. After we checked in, paid our money and collected the key at the caretakers house we headed off on the 80km, 6 hour track. Whilst the scenery was of course spectacular the first three quarters of the track was pretty much dirt road, however the last quarter made handing the money over very worth while. We had to drop to low range 4WD and we ended up driving up to 3 lookouts and the views of surrounding ranges and Wilpena Pound were spectacular, we even had phone reception and as it turned out Mum had decided to call us at that moment for a chat, very surreal!!!
The next day we did some morning schoolwork and hung out at camp and watched the Anzac day football match between Collingwood vs Essendon. Whilst Nik was happy with the win he certainly missed being there in person, however I’m sure he recovered though when he didn’t have to head back to work after the weekend!!!! On our last day there Bec, Sue (Mama Strickland) and Luke (eldest son) decided to hike up the ridge that was surrounding our campsite. Well it took them a while and they certainly were very high, but the photos were amazing! They could see for miles and it certainly made our little camp look insignificant in comparison to what surrounded us.
We LOVE the Flinders Ranges, there is something about this place, it is so isolated, rugged and seems full of nothingness and emptiness, but you’ll be amazed at what can be found when you start to scratch the surface. However it had been over 5 days bush camping so we needed to move on, stock up (and more than anything clean up!!!) so we packed up and headed off onto out next destination on our OZLAP……………