Quirky Stop in South Australia

In the town of Spalding just north of the Clare Valley wine region there in the Barbed Wire Hotel (http://www.barbedwirepubspalding.com.au/)

I had fled south from the Flinders Ranges as the temperature had hit 38 degree Celsius at Hawker by noon.  It was hot ride and finding the pub at Spalding serving cold, and good food with comfortable rooms.  It was serendipity.

Then there was the barbed wire museum

Barbed wire collection
Barbed wire collection

A somewhat different collection that you wouldn’t want to get tangled in!!!

At the Flinders Ranges – North to Blinman

Looking back at Wilpena Pound on the way to Blinman

I was stiff and sore after the St Mary’s Peak walk and decided to high tail it the 80 ks north to Blinman and find a room at the Blinman hotel (http://www.blinmanhotel.com/).

Blinman is the end of the bitumen and the road there, is one of rolling curves with only the wandering cattle, emus and kangaroos a deterrent to winding open the throttle on the bike.

The Blinman pub was a hoot.  Friday night and full of locals in 10 gallon hats ready for the weekend and the Blinman gymkhana (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blinman-Gymkhana/191403137699802) that was to take place the next day .

A day and night at Blinman gave me the opportunity to explore some of the sights in around this part of the Ranges.  The TV in the pub was coming from the Alice and there was absolutely no mobile phone, this combined with the end of bitumen and the next stop being Coober Pedy – Blinman gave a real sense of being on the edge of the outback.  But the marinated lamb and feta cheese pizzas were a fantastic find and unexpected!

Main Street of Blinman

My Moto Guzzi is a road bike but I am a bit of a foolhardy piecemeal adventurer and I do take it off road onto the dirt and gravel.  It stretches my comfort zone but it means I get to some beautiful places like Parachilna and Brachina gorges in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Feral Goats in Parachilna Gorge
Emu family in Parachilna Gorge

The roads in Parachilna Gorge were good quality and not too taxing and the little road side huts provided shade and water as the sun rose and the day heated up.

Roadside shelter in Parachilna Gorge

Brachina Gorge was far more technical and I bogged the bike at a water crossing.  The futility of me pulling a 250kg motorbike out of the bog soon became apparent so I sat and waited for a vehicle to come along.  Luckily, a four wheel drive truck soon arrived and the guys on board gave me a hand to pull the bike out.

Not THE water crossing in Brachina Gorge

Out of the bog the proven foolhardy piecemeal adventurer was soon on his way again

Flinders Ranges – Wilpena Pound and St Mary’s Peak

Wilpena Pound (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilpena_Pound) is at the heart of the Flinders Ranges and an historic and spiritual place for both the indigenous Australians and the European settlers.

Aboriginal markings in Sacred Canyon near Wilpena Pound

At Wilpena Pound I undertook the challenge of the St Mary’s Peak walk (http://www.southaustraliantrails.com/trails.asp?id=14203) – eight hours of torture as I was to find out!

St Mary’s Peak is the highest peak in the Flinders Ranges, and while I class myself as pretty fit, I’m not a great bush walker and certainly not a mountain climber.  So it was with a bit of trepidation, a couple of litres of water, some snacks and much enthusiasm I headed off on the hike.

Looking up at St Mary’s Peak

The climb up to the peak was steep and rough.  It is a scramble in places and I was glad I had water and snacks on a warm spring day.

Looking back down the climbing track

The view from the top was worth it.  Apart from taking a flight there is no other way to take in the vastness of the Flinders Ranges.

View From St Mary’s Peak

The walk back into the WiIpena Pound down the less steep side of the peak was far less dramatic and easy on my tired legs.  It wound back through Wilpena Pound letting me appreciate the beautiful bush.

Bush in Wilpena Pound

Where the return trail met the outgoing track I stopped to read the sign

Whoop Warning!!!

Yes its hard but do-able, even for an old piecemealadventurer like me.

At the Flinders Ranges – Impressions 1

Riding up Horrocks Pass was storming through the doorway of the Flinders Ranges its vastness opening up more and more as I rode through Quorn  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorn,_South_Australia) and on to Hawker.

From Quorn to Wilpena Pound
From Quorn to Wilpena Pound

Hawker ( http://www.hawkersa.info/) is the place to fuel up and gather last minute supplies for campers and adventurers.

It had been a good fast ride from Adelaide through to the Flinders ranges and as the sun set I sat outside my tent, with a coupe of beers, at the Rawnsley Park Station and took in the grandeur and changing colours as the sun sank lower over my shoulder.

View from camp at Rawnsley Park Station
View from camp at Rawnsley Park Station