Flinders Ranges - Leigh Creek, SA

1st Outback Trip
April 20-28/2000

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Gum Tree

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The South Australian Outback
The "Outback" is another word for wilderness. It begins 276 Km's North of Adelaide. After leaving the city limits you travel through agricultural land with rolling hills, small towns and some of South Australia's wine country. North of Orroroo (Or-o-ru) and West of Leigh Creek the bitumen  (bitch-a-men) road ends and  the "track"  (gravel road) begins.  Our destination was Leigh Creek Station at the Southern end of The Flinders Ranges (a camp site on Aboriginal land). Leo and Arthur Coultard will be our guides for the next 4 days. We then leave the camp to spend the next 4 Days on our own.  To be on Aboriginal land you must to be escorted by Aboriginal's. The camp was a deserted mining camp so we had running water, hot showers (as long as someone got up early enough to put wood under the donkey boiler) and flush toilets that needed a little help with a bucket of water now and again.

We celebrated Easter by having BBQ'd Kangaroo and dampers (flat bread), and a Sunday night dance, hosted by Leo and held in the shearing shed on the property. Country  and Disco was the music of choice.

South Australia is the drainage basin for  the Northern Territory and Queensland. There are hundreds of "dry"  creek beds that crisscross the track. Flash flooding can occur at any time as it takes weeks for the water from the north to reach the Flinders. Huge Gum trees line the creek beds which give ample warning that you are approaching a creek.

The Flinders Ranges were formed a 105 thousand million years ago with beautiful  volcanic outcroppings of red basalt. All of us had 4WD vehicles so I enjoyed my first "off road" driving experience (a lot safer than my city driving I might add). Our quides brought us to places off the track and to Napabunna (Aboriginal Territory), The Gammon Range National Park and Balcanoona. On our way home we saw the settlements of Arkaroola, Angorichina, Wilpina and Hawker along with a few more places that I can not pronounce yet. Total round trip mileage was 1918 Kilometers.

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