Sunday, July 21, 2019

Day 9 — Fri 23/8/2019


If you can imagine a large soup bowl, the sides of which are a circle of mountains surrounding  a flat plain of lightly timbered land — that’s Wilpena Pound.  Called a pound because it resembles an animal enclosure.  In recent times it has been home to a cattle station and later a wheat farm.  Now it is National Park.  The resort lies just outside the circle of mountains that make up the central Flinders Ranges.  It has catered accommodation and a caravan park.  There is an IGA store, an information centre, and the main building houses restaurant and bar.

I treated my self to their hearty breakfast  at 8 am, and then took the shuttle bus to the trailhead.  This saves 2km walk each way ( so an hour in time).  The track in is along Siding Spring creek which even in this drought period has running water from natural springs.  After a 1 km walk the old homestead comes in view.  It has been restored and is quite a picture in its sandstone exterior.  Several trackers lead away from here.  I took the one to the Wangarra lookouts.  Quite a steep climb over rough rock for 500 metres.  The lower lookout is a platform that extends off the cliff face.  It gives a 270 degrees view of the pound — really quite spectacular in the mid-morning sunlight.  My knees and lungs decided I should call it quits there.  The remaining climb to get a full 360 degrees view looked almost vertical.  I returned slowly to the trailhead in time to get the 11.15 am shuttle bus back to the resort.


After a light lunch I drove the 60 km along the sealed Fliders Ranges Way to the village of Blinman, South Australia’s highest town at 626 metres.  In the late 1800s it was a flourishing copper mining town.  Today just a pub, post office, memorial hall and a cou8ple of old miners cottages remain.  The old copper mine has been turned into a tourist attraction.  I took a one hour guided tour underground.

 Copper was discovered here in 1859 by a shepherd.  He and 3 mates took a year to save the ten pounds it cost to take out mining lease.  Since they had no capital to mine the area themselves they sold the lease to a British mining company for 70,000 pounds.  Miners were imported from Cornwall, and they lived in terrible conditions in tents, working 12 hour shifts.  Family groups mostly.  Boys 10-14 worked above ground, and on their 14th birthday lads could join their dads and uncles underground.  The mine had lots of ups and downs and closed in 1907.  Local Progress Association took over from State mining in the 1970s to develop it as a tourist feature that might rescue the town from oblivion.  The tour was interesting, taking us through the top three levels of the mine that goes down to 146 metres in the main shaft.

On the drive back to Wilpena I called in to a couple of lookouts that give different views of the Flinders Ranges.  Actually the Flinders Ranges are a series of different mountain chains that stretch 400 km across central and northern South Australia.  The Wilpena Pound is central and the best developed for easy access from Adelaide.  On the short drive up to Stokes Hill lookout I passed at least 100 wallabies grazing in the cooler afternoon sun.  Never seen so many in one place before, and they seemed relatively tame.  The rest of the drive back was marked by even more wallabies near the road edge.

Reached 19C today, so pleasant and sunny.  Already tonight it is a chilly 8C, so the heater is doing a good job in my room.  Today’s photos are mostly of mountains.  I am afraid that the camera doesn’t do justice to the splendour of the scenery here.  I think a movie camera that allowed for panning and zooming would much better capture the stunning views I have been enjoying.  But in any case, what I have taken is on show here

No comments:

Post a Comment