Kanyaka Ruins to Merna Mora Station via Craddock and Moralan Scenic Drive
Distance Travelled - 196.0 km
Woke up early to overcast conditions and tried to go back to sleep but without much success. I was reasonably happy with the shots I got from last night, be it only a few due to such long time exposures. Once things were dried out, I packed and left around 10 am.
Visited the Yourumbulla Caves which is just a few kms up the road toward Hawker. Although officially closed the guy at Quorn Visitor Centre said it was only because one board on the platform near the first cave is broken and it hasn't been fixed yet. I jumped the gate and walked up the rocky trail to the first cave. It is not a cave as we tend to think of in regards to the touristy caves around Yallingup and Margaret River but rather it is a large recess in a rock face, and in this case 4 or 5 metres above the ground. The significance of this cave is the Aboriginal paintings on the wall depiciitng their symbols for different animals and events.
After visiting the cave, having been told the first cave was the best to look at and not really wanting to spend 2 hours walking the trail, I headed back to the car and started towards Carddock. The turnoff is just past the road to the caves and the town is only 17 km down the road that leads to Orroroo. The were several nice ruins on the way and an interesting display on the fence (see photo below). In the town was an old church, St Cilia (I think) and a nice looking pub. Went in and talked to the manager and looked around before heading back to take photos of the ruins, in probably not the most ideal light.
After the ruins I headed into Hawker to fuel up and post the blog before heading towards the Moralana Scenic Drive on the way to Wilpena. The scenic drive was corrugated but very nice with lots of kangaroos, emus and rabbits and sheep near, on and crossing the road. Spent the 28 km drive doing no more than about 50 kph as I was looking for a particular little hut and scene in one of Ken Duncan's books. Got to the other end without viewing it and so continued to the Merna Mora Station just up the road (about 4 km) to ask them if they knew about it. They did! It was apparently a prop for a movie Robbery Under Arms shot in and around this area some time ago and the owners of this station who own that section of land took the 'hut' down about 10 years ago, then re-erected it for a Qantas ad then took it down again. The guy here tried to explain the location if i wanted to take th shot minus the hut so I went looking but it was very difficult given the growth of trees and change in season and light conditions etc. So using his directions and the photo I had of the original shot I scoured for a while but am not completely convinced I got it right. When I see the owners tomorrow I will show them what I took and see what they say.
Came back to the station which offers camping and accommodation and will spend the night here before heading off back through the scenic drive and into Wilpena tomorrow and see how I go from there.
Flinder's Ranges from Merna Mora Station Driveway
Day 28 - 10th May
Merna Mora Station to Wilpena (via Hawker)
Distance Travelled - 186.5 lm
Woke up to a slightly overcast and dreary sky but went for a walk around the station before getting back to camp and chatting to a couple of people there on a painting trip. A busload of people from Victoria were being taken from place to place over about 8 days to paint and sketch. Also talked to an older couple who reminisced about their travels across the Nullarbor in the early 1950's when he was in his early 20's. He talked about Koonalda Station and Eucla telegraph station and we discussed the changes that have taken place with me only having seen those places in the last 4 or 5 years.
Finally packed up and left, heading back across the Moralana Scenic Drive, hoping to head to Wilpena and maybe onto Blinman. As luck would have it, 200 m from the end of the rock road (I could literally see the bitumen) the back tyre on the passenger side basically exploded. There was a loud bang and then a loud flappy noise. Stopped quickly to find the back tyre shredded on both side walls. Pretty much had to completely unpack the car to get the spare out and change it and repack before heading back to Hawker to get hopefully get another tyre. $227 later, I was re-tyred and on my way to Wilpena.
Wilpena Pound is very resorty, so I stayed away and visited the Old Wilpena Station - very picturesque. Spent a couple of hours there before heading off to find a campsite. Drove about 30 km to the next marked campsite and pulled up, cooking tea in light developing rain before sitting in the car reading trying to decide whether to set up the tent or not.
Decided to go for a bit of a drive while I was waiting for the weather and to try and find some mobile service and encountered 23 kangaroos literally sitting in the middle of the road in the 25 km I drove (at a very slow pace).
Finally decided to pull into a parking bay and sleep in the car as the rain had not stopped and had in fact become a bit heavier. Tomorrow I will head off to Blinman and beyond towards Willaim Creek.
Old Wilpena Station