23 August—24 August 2002
On Friday morning we finished packing up our gear, said goodbye to Jane, and headed north out of Adelaide towards the Flinders Ranges. I drove the first 300 Km to Port Augusta where we got some information about the National Park, refuelled and bought a bit of firewood. We had lunch at a rest stop on the road to Quorn. It was a quick stop as we were worried about getting to a campsite by nightfall.
Susie took over the driving as we passed through hilly country around Quorn and Hawker, and entered the national park. We stopped at the visitor’s centre at Wilpena Pound to pay for a couple of nights camping. We then set off in search of a campsite.
Most of the bush camping was a long way from Wilpena Pound, so we set out along the gravel road to Blinman. The first camp ground we came to was too barren and close to the road. The second was back off the road, but there was no sign of the toilets shown on the map, so we decided to go one campground further. This proved to be a good move.
The Trezona Campground was well off the main road; it had toilets, it was located on a dry creek bed, and there was some protection from the wind. We set up in one of the furthermost campsites from the road under a huge dead tree that leaned away from the campsite.
During the process of setting up it became apparent that the gas lamp needed a new mantle, and that the spare mantles were nowhere to be found. So we had a rather dark evening until a nearly full moon rose out of the clouds massing on the horizon. Susie cooked green beef curry in the half-light and we ate it around a roaring fire under the stars, with a bright moon smiling down upon us. We had a sing-along after dinner, and then all went to bed fairly early.
When we rose the following morning, the air was cool and crisp but the clouds had largely vanished and there was a brilliant blue sky. We drove in to the visitor’s centre again and bought some last-minute supplies including mantles for the gas lantern. We then went for a walk in Wilpena Pound. We followed a road along a creek bed under towering gums, and then started climbing a series of steep hills. The first stop was an abandoned homestead built from stone. After that came two lookouts which afforded stunning views of Wilpena Pound. We had lunch at the second lookout, and then headed back down. The round trip was only about 7 km but it took us some hours due to the steep climb at the end. We stopped along the way to photograph the burnt remains of some trees that had been felled in a recent fire.
On the way home we stopped to make a phone call at the ranger’s station. We wanted to wish Susie’s father the best of luck for an operation he was having the next morning. While we were making the call, Clare pointed out that our rear left-hand tyre was as flat as a pancake. I hastily replaced it with a spare whilst Susie and the kids chatted on the phone.
We returned to camp as it got dark. I replaced the mantle on the lamp whilst Susie set the fire. I cooked a chicken curry, which was devoured enthusiastically by all. We then had a sing-along, but the others were in bed before long. Now I’m going to do the same.