Aroona Ruins, Flinders Ranges National Park
9th May 2015
We got an early start from Mambray Creek on Saturday morning as we were scheduled to meet Chris and Val again at Aroona Ruins where our journey together was to begin.
Turning east shortly before Port Augusta, we headed to Quorn (home of the Pitchie Ritchie Historical Railway) to stock up on groceries and fuel before heading north into the Flinders Ranges. On our journey north from Quorn we came across the ruins of Kanyaka Homestead which we first discovered on our 2011 Lake Eyre trip.
Our lunch stop was in Hawker just south of the entry to the Flinders Ranges National Park.
Before long we were on the road again and into one of our favourite places, the Flinders Ranges.
We had arranged to camp with Chris and Val at the Aroona Ruins campsite, one of many official campsites within the National Park, and arrived about 10 minutes before them at the campsite. Once set up (our van is in the background) we had a Happy Hour drink together to toast the beginning of our adventure.
Unfortunately, on our second night there the outer van door latch broke as we were heading inside for the evening, a minor catastrophe which meant that if we closed the outer van door it could no longer be opened. With no phone or internet service within the National Park, our options were limited. Next morning, while Erich attempted a temporary repair at the van, I drove in to the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna (approximately 150kms round trip) with Chris and Val as we knew there was phone reception there.
The road east from Parachilna.
Heading east towards Parachilna Gorge.
Blinman, at the eastern end of Parachilna Gorge, a tiny town with no phone, no fuel but it has a pub!
It took little time to order a replacement part to be sent to the Post Office in Leigh Creek, the next stop north but it would be at least 2 or 3 days before the part arrived.
In the meantime, we intended to enjoy our stay in the very pretty campsite with some walks and Geocaches to discover. Sadly, Murphy decided to make some more mischief and one morning the pump for the shower tanks decided not to work anymore. Between them, Erich and Val deduced that the pressure switch was malfunctioning. As we had no prospect of finding a replacement for some time, we installed Val’s spare pump until we could get to somewhere that we could either repair our pump or buy a replacement. Thanks to Val and Chris’s generosity, we did not have to resort to bowl washes.
A panorama taken from the ruins of Aroona Homestead perched on a rise above the campground. The natural spring here, which served the Homestead in the mid 1800s, now feeds down to taps in the campground.
The lookout map and my panorama of the same view.
A photo of the Three Sisters taken from the Homestead site. This vista was captured by the Artist, Hans Heysen, in his painting of the same name. The Heysen Trail passes through this area and past the homestead ruins.
We found the Geocache hidden at the Homestead ruins.
One of the shy locals
A red-capped robin
After 5 restful nights at Aroona, we crossed back through Parachilna Gorge to the main road north, calling in at Leigh Creek to collect our replacement door latch which had arrived at the Post Office the previous day, shop for groceries and to fuel up. Heading north towards Marree where we were to meet Kay and Bruce, we stopped in at Farina Ruins for a look and to find a Geocache. The famous bakery which operates only for about one month per year in May/June staffed by volunteers during the annual restoration work undertaken to preserve the ruins, was not yet open. So we found the Geocache and went on our way.
We arrived in Marree at around 4pm to find Kay & Bruce already set up behind the hotel for the evening. Unfortunately, the area was already quite crowded so we decided to start up the Ooodnadatta Track and find a campsite for the evening and rendezvous with Kay & Bruce the next day.
Erich takes up the narrative from here.