A Travellerspoint blog

Rawnsley Park - and all that Jazz

sunny 22 °C

Tuesday 14th

Mary’s birthday. The plan was to get some chores out of the way and then take a bush walk around the nearby ridges. Rob, Mary & I set out with cameras at the ready and, even though it was reasonably warm enjoyed the rocky track (4.6 Km long) and the views of the various nearby mountain ranges. A glimpse of several kangaroos and a few unknown birds were heard rather than seen but not a lot of fauna on this walk. Arriving back, suitably tired, we enjoyed a light lunch. For Mary’s birthday we had booked into the camp restaurant for a meal. The waitress, originally from Hungary and now married to the Australian chef, was very helpful with the menu and we enjoyed a very well prepared meal, especially their special ‘quondong crumble pie’. Absolutely delicious!

During dinner we had opportunity to take sunset photos of the cliff and ridge sunset changes. Very impressive colours.
Arriving back at camp Mary and I spent the rest of the evening enjoying the trad jazz group playing a wide range of great jazz hits!

Posted by psstevo 15:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Rawnsley Park - Flinders Ranges

sunny 25 °C

Monday 13th

Today we made a return trip to the Steamtown site for the rest of our tour – in the freezing wind! Fortunately the staff were excellent and we enjoyed a two hour tour of this excellent historical site. What had previously been an abandoned railway facility, complete with many rail equipment including a large engine turntable, has, with local initiatives pushing State Government into action (!!!) become a hive of activity that includes local volunteers, high school students wondering about trade opportunities, work for the dole participants and some folk on light probation under court orders all getting involved and developing a valuable historical and commercial attraction in this pleasant town Many other jurisdictions could benefit from coming to see what is possible in dealing with troubled youth!

Becci, our guide, was full of enthusiasm and information that added greatly to a great experience.

Belatedly we left town and headed through the small town of Orroroo towards the Rawnsley Station camp site located at the edge of the Flinders Range. The trip was relatively uneventful in spite of the very strong, mainly, tailwind that pushed us along at a merry pace!!

The very flat terrain started to change with rolling downs becoming larger and higher ridges, all the same brown colouring with a ground cover of dried grasses and small shrubs. This region seems to have a very semi-arid climate and the infrequent rains seem to just arrive then surge down dry creek beds and sometimes overflowing onto some of the dry land.

We started to see increasing numbers of emus, often with Dad emu and several chicks as it is his job to bring them up. Quite a few road kill kangaroos and a few emu carcases too. Once or twice we had a shingle back lizard ‘racing’ across the road at their usual snail’s pace! A few had not made across the rest of the road unfortunately. One or two frill-neck lizards trying to puff themselves up to scare away oncoming cars – to no avail, as we dodged them so they at least had some chance of survival.

Arriving at the large Rawnsley Station (it is a working sheep station) we had a very large ‘drive-through’ site allocated to Rob and to us. Plenty of room and in a reasonable spot too so we were handy to amenities and social room. The fairly blustery breeze gradually died and it became reasonably pleasant and, after a long day we managed to do a crossword puzzle and that was enough to get to sleep. No TV reception here (what a bonus!) and phone and internet was available in the social room. However there was a jazz group playing there most evenings so that was not really compatible with internet activity.

Posted by psstevo 09:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Peterborough to Rawnsley Park (Flinders Ranges)

sunny 23 °C

Sunday 12th

Leaving camp early to get supplies and to refuel we headed west towards our destination of Peterborough about half way to the Flinders Ranges – our ultimate destination. It was a lovely warm day and the road was good and we soon reached the old village of Cadell situated on the banks of the Murray. There we boarded a ferry to cross over to the north side of the riverbank. A tight squeeze as the lady master managed to squash another car and van on board very close to our rig!

Our fancy Navman had tried to give us a ‘bum steer’ by sending us up the wrong road and at immediately said “Make a U-turn at Rubbish Road”!! We did but it called into question the reliability of this device too. However, we soon reached the nearby, and almost twin-town, of Morgan also with a very long history of shipping and transport in the area and on the river. Some nice old South Australian homes here and a nice bakery! Morning tea in the Park and back on the road again through another fascinating town called Burra. Here were many old stone buildings and the remains of a copper mine with links to Cornwall miners. Worth a stop to see the range of stone buildings of homes and businesses.

The landscape soon changed somewhat with vast areas of grapes adjacent to massive wheat fields. Obviously a prosperous area. Just as we left Burra we just beat a transport pilot onto the highway as they prepared to escort a ‘wide load’ vehicle up north This appeared to be a combine harvester and took of about a lane and a half of highway. As the road was good I had no trouble in keeping ahead of the obstacle!

We arrived in Peterborough (having pre-booked to ensure that we could attend the Steamtown Light Show that evening. The Caravan Park is set on a hillside and we had nice views out over the adjacent farm land from a good site with excellent amenities.

We were ready for the taxi to take us to the after-dark show (it being too far to walk at night) and, in a blustery cold wind we waited for the show to start. Peterborough was one of the largest train networks in Australia from the late 1800’s and shipping of wheat, other produce and then silver and other metals from Silverton and Broken Hill, across the border in New South Wales saw thousands of jobs and technology boosting a booming region. The show was cleverly done (fortunately from inside a large railway carriage) with about an hour’s presentation of the fascinating history of trains in this State. Well worth the visit!!

The huge array of rail vehicles was most impressive. Taxi arrived and a quick trip up the hill to campsite and out of the bitterly cold wind! Otherwise an excellent night.

Posted by psstevo 09:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


sunny 25 °C

Saturday 11th

We visited the shops (such as there there) to check out necessary items before am departure tomorrow. Returning to the Park it was when I went to roll the awning down that the damage was noted. However, a flat screw driver was sufficient to unlock the controlling mechanism and so we had shade! A job for attention on our return home.

Late in the afternoon Rob and I took a stroll along the path leading to a bird hide as there were reputed to be plenty of bird-watching potential here. We did manage a few reasonable photos until Rob made the mistake of standing on the gravel footpath too long to find that the huge ant colony (both the colony and the nasty ants!) felt angry or hungry and he was suddenly engulfed with scores of the little blighters.

We reached the bird hide and were puzzled by the awful stench along the lake shore and were surprised to see dozens of dead carp washed up on the shoreline. We spent a little time in the hide and managed to see a lot of water birds including some black swans and several sea birds such as terns, even though we were some hundreds of kilometres away from the ocean.

We returned to camp and later tried another set of evening photos of the river and its banks, with some effect.

Posted by psstevo 15:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Martins Bend to Waikerie

sunny 24 °C

Friday 10th

Martins Bend to Waikerie Caravan Park. Because of possible adverse weather we decided to leave the Berri area and head to Waikerie, also on the Murray River. First we headed into town as there was some demand to visit the local Millers shop in Berri. That task was accomplished and then a visit to see a paddle steamer being repaired on a nearby slipway didn’t work out for us as we could not locate the site, however Rob found it and took his photos.

In the meantime we found a reasonable spot to park near the river and to have our lunch. However, as we found out later in the day, I must have just nicked a tree branch with the very edge of the awning roller and had broken the small lock controlling the up and down actions on the awning. Anyway, we had decided to return to the small town of Paringa where the bridge over the Murray River was a special ‘Lifting’ bridge. One span of the bridge was designed to be hydraulically lifted up several meters to enable small vessels (houseboats mainly) to pass under the bridge. The Sturt Highway was closed for this activity while the span was uplifted and a backlog of traffic soon built up.

Our problem was that the procedure potentially was activated at most twice per day, and only on demand from a vessel needing to move along the river. Taking a punt, it being Friday afternoon at the end of the local school holidays, we waited in the heat to see if we had made a good decision or not. Lunch under the shady trees was a possibility if desired.

It was a rather frustrating wait for 3.30pm for the possible lift to take place so we maintained a watch on the river to see if any houseboats were readying to go through. After one false alarm, and just as we had almost given up hope we suddenly had three houseboats appear and ready to proceed. The span being lifted and the boats disappearing towards their destination we joined the waiting queue of traffic to journey back through Renmark and Berri and on to Waikerie Caravan Park for the next two nights.

Although quite hot we made good time and soon were enjoying the historic town of Waikerie with a stroll along the river bank and an energetic climb up some cliffs and an even higher lookout to view the coming sunset. Some photos turned out nicely and we walked to camp in the slowly fading daylight.

Posted by psstevo 16:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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