This morning’s alarm clock were magpies and green parrots. No rush to get moving since all bush walks were cancelled due to fire risk so after a leisurely breakfast I set on my own for a “walk about”. I thought of all the people I know who have visited Australia and fly from city to city. The bus rides might be long but you’d miss all the scenery change, landscapes and cute little towns along the way. It would be like visiting Canada and flying into Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver with maybe a quick jaunt to Whistler and thinking you’ve “seen” Canada. You’d miss the best parts!
The park offered 4WD tours that were quite pricey so Dingo checked out their route and suggested that “we could just make our drive a bit longer and do it with the bus, what do ya reckon?” All were agreeable so he drove the 22 passenger bus and luggage trailer into the mountains on gravel roads. It being the dry season all the riverbeds are dry so at every sign that said “flood area” Dingo (he’s a lovable nut case) would pretend we were driving through a flood and weave, drift and act like the bus was full of water. Silly, but fun.
Back on the highway we stopped in the small town (there are no big ones) of North Blinman, set up our table for lunch and then went to the pub for a beer, a game of pool and some music from the jukebox.
Back into the Flinders ranges, dirt roads, curves, lots of scrub and cypress trees and a final stop along the highway for a funny sign and silly photos. We met ONE other car on the road.
Our destination was Beltana Station. A 500,000 acre sheep farm 40 km from their nearest neighbour and town that’s been around since 1860. After unloading we headed for the pool with our friendly hosts Laura and Graham, their daughter and their dog. Alpacas run around aimlessly.
Dinner…oh my. Laura prepared a feast of lamb chops, sheep burgers and sausages along with a bunch of salads. Of course I had to try everything and was already getting full when she informed us we’d be having dessert. Needless to say, I felt like a stuffed pig.
After dinner they set up a white sheet on the pool shed and played a movie on it. Sue and I opted out, went for a shower and enjoyed reading in our nice comfy room in the shearer’s quarters.
After saying goodbye to the alpacas, sheep, dogs and, of course, the people, we headed off again further into the outback and out of Flinders ranges. Our first stop was a visit with Talc Alf, an interesting character who makes things with talc and has lots of stories about the origin of language. Dingo told us more about life in the outback and the people who settled there. We saw only 2 or 3 vehicles the whole time and one was a G Adventures bus going the other way so Dingo stopped to chat with him for a bit before carrying on.
Dingo dropped us off at a strange place in the middle of nowhere with pieces of “art” created out of what looked to be garbage. We had a great time creating funny photos with it and met back at the bus Dingo had parked ahead on the side of the road. That’s when he realized the sand there was VERY soft and we were seriously stuck. We got out and tried pushing, rocking, digging, putting stuff under the wheels….nope. We stayed with the bus to watch for passing vehicles (HAHAHA) and Dingo walked to a house in the distance. No one was home so he attempted to “borrow” a truck but realized it had no fuel so borrowed a shovel and some boards instead. Meanwhile some had been scouting the area and found more wood and stuff to put under the wheels. They disconnected the trailer and again we pushed. SUCCESS!! After more pushing,pulling, finagling the trailer was reconnected and we were on the way again. Poor Dingo was quite embarrassed but we gave him a BIG round of applause. Shit happens and is the basis for the best stories 🙂 Note that in the 2 hours that took, not ONE car went by. A great reminder on the importance of having enough water and the dangers of driving in the outback.
The next stop was at Coward’s Spring. We all piled into a muddy spring …. just because.
Our final destination was Williams Creek. It is the hottest point in Australia and apparently the road we were on is the hottest, most remote road. Today was about 45 degrees. Dry or humid, that is HOT and it gets hotter. We dumped the bags and went right for the owner’s pool and swam like a bunch of little kids. None of us is terribly mature anyway.
Dinner was provided by our hosts. Barbecued everything and the kangaroo chops were my favourite. I took a shower in straight cold water which was still too warm and felt like I was sweating WHILE showering
This MUST be the end of the “incidents” for us. The guys changed a bulgy tire in Wilpena and a trailer tire blew out as we approached William Springs where our rooms were portable units that are like little air conditioned boxes….until the power went out.
Have you been wondering about the pink tutu? Well….it’s a punishment. If you get caught complaining you have to wear it till you catch someone else complaining at which point you get to pass it on. I ended up having to wear it while grocery shopping. I got very few funny looks which says a lot about Aussies. Andy said he got some comments but when he explained it, got lots of “great idea!”