Monday, 16 May 2016

Half-lap Day 13: Flinders Ranges -> Pimba

We woke to another sunny day and began packing up our campsite. We didn’t rush, enjoyed the scenery and the morning and got things done as we could. I went for a walk with Caitlin and LiAM to see the things they’d discovered in their explorations – a tyre in the dry creekbed they’d named Wombat Tyre (as it looked like a wombat from a distance), Sun Fence Hill, and Magpie Mountain. It was very pleasant wandering through the trees and rocks of the hills surrounding our campsite, and we came across several wallabies as we walked.
Exploring near our campsite

We left in the late morning, and enjoyed the views of the Flinders Ranges as we drove away. Even in the light of the middle of the day they were impressive. As we drove south again we saw many more ruins of stone houses and barns – I’m guessing the droughts of the early years of farming out here meant that most people left and their buildings fell apart.

We stopped in Quorn when we saw the steam train from the Pichi Richi railway was in town. We ran over to the station in time to see it reverse out of the yard, heading down the line to get water. It wouldn’t be back to leave for it’s trip to Port Augusta for another hour or so, so we didn’t wait around for it. Millie and I had a browse in a little art gallery/homewares store, and saw some beautiful paintings and photos of the surrounding area.

Driving from Quorn to Port Augusta (listening to Harry Potter) we crossed the railway line several times, seeing some cool bridges and driving windy roads through the hills. It was exciting to see the gulf as we approached Port Augusta – we haven’t seen much water at all on the trip so far, and won’t see much more until we get to Darwin (although the 2nd part of our trip will involve much more ocean). We stopped in Port Augusta to get fuel and groceries, and the kids played along the foreshore for a little while.

Heading out was exciting, especially once we passed through the intersection where we could head to Darwin or to Perth – we’ll come back to that spot in a few months time. For now though we were heading up the middle to the outback. The terrain became very flat, and there were large areas without any trees. Suddenly the land dropped away to our left and there was a large lagoon (with some water in it) and a couple of large hills poking out of it like islands (it’s called Island Lagoon). It was unexpected and quite breathtaking. We also started to see road trains – huge trucks with 3 trailers.

We stopped at Spuds roadhouse at Pimba – a free camp, where we set up in the large parking area with lots of caravans. The ground was too hard for our pegs, so we tied the guy ropes to the fence, and put LiAM’s bed across the bottom end of the tent to hold those corners down. The girls were happy to just sleep on the thermorests and not get their beds out. 
Train at Spuds roadhouse, Pimba

We had hot chips for dinner at the pub (when we arrived the smell was so enticing, and it was fun sitting in the beer garden eating chips and drinking soft drink as a treat). We saw a great sunset across the plains, and a couple of trains went past while we were setting up. Caitlin had a shower then we all settled in for some Brisingr and tried to get to sleep while battling off mossies.

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