There is one thing that stopped us dead in our Tracks

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 10:33
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Hi All

If all things had worked out as they should have, Fiona and I should have been up on the Birdsville Track visiting Jason and Patsy on Etadunna Station.

We could only get as far as Leigh Creek and it rained all the way from Clare. A wet night in the swag under the awning and next morning a quick phone call to Patsy and see said it was raining up at Etadunna and no sign of letting up. I then hit the internet and Marree had over 20mm of rain and 44mm of rain in Leigh Creek.

All roads north were now all closed and we were now told we would not be able to get back to Hawker due to all the creeks were up on the main road. We knew that there was mega rain still coming, so we took the punt and headed south.



The further south we headed, there was not one creek that had not gone over the road, some higher than others.



None of the crossings were any problems until we were on 86 kilometres north of Hawker on the main highway were the Brachina Creek crossing the main road.





After nearly and hour and a half wait, it was time for this 80 tonne road train to give it a go.



It was still flowing far too for any four wheel drive to even think of crossing and this clouds to the east were dumping mega more rain up in the Flinders, which would end up here in the coming hours. Half an hour later the first four wheel drive crossed, followed by all the four wheel drive. None on the normal passenger vehicles had no chance what so ever, so one can only think that they spent the night at the crossing.



We made it back home to dry out everything and hopefully will head back to the Flinders early this week.

Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 11:57

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 11:57
What a great experience though to see those creeks flow over the roads - not what you'd planned but interesting all the same. Thanks for the great pics!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:42

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:42
Hi Michelle

I would rather have been out at Lake Hope, but will have to wait for another time....bugger.

We will get a few more images this week with another view of the area, but this time fine weather.


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Reply By: Member - Talawana - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:25

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:25
Hi Stephen,

Thank you for these great photos, we usually camp overnight at Brachina Creek when we head up that way it is wonderful to see these photos in a different light.
Glad all worked out for you and Fiona.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:48

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 12:48
Hi Talawana

Yes it was unreal to see the very fast flowing water over the road and something we thought that we would never see. It was a real downer to plan our trip back up the Birdsville Track, but having been caught out on the Track before, heading home was the wise choice.

Seeing it is fining up again, we will head back to Wilpena and have a few easy days up there instead.

Cheers


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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 13:29

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 13:29
So where was the problem Stephen?
Or didn't you have the kayaks with you? LOL


But hey, sort the weather out before August, OK?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 14:11

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 14:11
Hi Allan,

Did not fancy driving on closed roads and getting the car muddy....lol

As for August, yes i has crossed our minds many times, as the long range weather forecast for here in SA in a wet winter.....

If worst comes to worst, we will have to get to point "M" via the most bitumen.

We will cross that when August arrives, so keep your fingers crossed.


Cheers



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Reply By: Rockape - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 14:27

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 14:27
Stephan,
you maybe able to put in a submission to the SA government and have the Birdsville ferry shifted. Ha. Ha.

I am surprised that kalari transport operator crossed as many companies don't like their drivers doing that. One reason is the unknown under the water and the other is the wheel bearings and diffs. I know one company that has a policy of 300mm max.

Hope you have a drier time on the way back up.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 15:07

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 15:07
Great photos, Stephen. Thanks, didn't realise there was good rain down your way, though did notice a lot of cloud that way, on sat map.

RA,

Remember it's 300mm on way out, and at driver's discretion(400mm plus), on way home :-)

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 16:18

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 16:18
Hi Bob and Rockape

Even though only 3 trucks did go through, there were 5 that did not move at all, as one driver told me that it was company policy not to go through the water. The driver also said that the driver was crazy, as he will be going no where, not unless he intended spending at least 3 days in the front bar of the Lyndhurst Pub, as that is as far as he could get. Also Bob you say it is 300mm on the way out, which if it is the case, the depth well exceeded that, being well over 400mm.

I would like to know just how much rain did fall over the Flinders, as the sky was as black as with cloud cover over the top half of the Ranges.

It will be interesting to get some more follow up photos of the same crossing.


Cheers


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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 17:22

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 17:22
Stephen, I can think of worse places to be stuck for 3 days than the front bar of the Lyndhurst Pub. lol
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 17:29

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 17:29
Problem with that situation Stephen is how do the Road Trains turn around??? Moment they hit the shoulder ......

Lyndhurst pub would look more attractive.. :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:12

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:12
Hi Scott

For sure there would be no way a truck, let alone a Road Train could turn around at that section of road.

Most of the other truckies were not worried and were prepared to sit it out, which like one of them said would be only a few more hours, providing that it did not rise again.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: TTTSA - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:03

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:03
Unless the Lyndhurst Pub has different people there than 3yrs ago, I would rather sit in my truck for 3 days. Too hard to knock up a hamburger at 2:15 pm. Screw them.
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:08

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:08
I had a neighbour years ago who was a very experienced outback traveller.

I was in the driveway packing the Patrol for a trip when he came out, looked at what I was doing and said, "Where do you think you are going this time?"

We ended up on about plan 'K' but what a great holiday.

When you think that we live on the driest continent on earth we have a lot of plans changed by rain.

Love it!

Duncs
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Follow Up By: Member - J&R - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:15

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:15
Yes BOM doesn't often get it wrong nowadays, and it doesn't take much bravery to say 'It's not worth the risk'.

Quite often it's the innocents who end up getting inconvenienced for those who don't plan well enough or are just plain stupid.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:27

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:27
Hi Duncs

Yes we always need an alternative plan, thats for sure, but the forecast was for clearing rain on Saturday, but it was far worse that it was on the Friday, and the rain band that was coming told me one thing....get out now or else.


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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:11

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 18:11
You would think we would be OK in a boat, but we are being stopped by too much water as well.

We are on a long awaited river cruise in Europe. Boarded in Budapest, got to Vienna and everywhere upstream on the Danube (and the Rhine) is flooded so the river locks will not be operating so this is as far as we get. Some towns upstream have started sandbagging. The Danube looks like the Brisbane river did two years ago. Fast flowing, trees being washed downstream.

So tomorrow we disembark (9 days early!!) and think of something else to do.

There are river boats parked four abreast all along the wharf area. They aren't going anywhere.

Oh well, we were eating too much anyway.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:30
Hi Gone Bush

Have a great time away.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:37

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:37
Sounds like a wonderful holiday Gone Bush, (except all the rain of course) hope the rest of your plans pan out well....

Cheers

D


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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:44

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:44
We booked this trip last year, really looking forward to it. It has been one of our "Bucket List" items for years.

But it is not to be. We will fly to Athens tomorrow and stay there about 4 days and probably come home early.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:40

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:40
Hi Gone Bush

That is a real bugger, and hope the rest of your trip turns out better.

All the best with your remaining time away.


Cheers


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Follow Up By: Member - Arsenal Phill - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 11:50

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 11:50
What a shame GB. Sounds unbelievable. Sorry to hear that your plans have been somewhat wrecked. An expensive thing to redo as well. We are living in a changing world.....
I do hope you can maybe find an interesting alternative and get something out of your trip.
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Reply By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:49

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 19:49
Hi Stephen.

I was just reading your blog about Danggali this morning and from what you wrote I'd love to go through there on my trip starting next weekend. However now getting a bit worried about the itinerary in case of rain, especially after reading your post, so I will be looking at contingencies for the trip, which is planned to go to Flinders, Gammons & up the strzlecki. But I am hoping for clear weather and some drying winds over the 1 - 2 weeks. Maybe I will put that winch back in the car - ughhh.

The pictures look great though - great too see that area with all that water.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 20:44

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 20:44
Hi Vicki

I have not heard about how much rain has fallen out east of Burra, but they usually get far less rain than other areas.

Like any good dirty roads, they will dry out in a few days proving they have not been cut up. When i get back at the end of the week, I will put up another post to let you know what it like up in the Flinders.

Until I get back

Cheers


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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 20:47

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 20:47
Hi stephen.

Things not looking so good for my intentions shortly to head south from Balgo on the back tracks...



Cheers, I think...
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:08

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:08
Hi John

Depending on how quick you will be heading away, things may have dried out before you are there, well lets hope they have anyway.

Have a great trip and keep out of the mud.


Cheers


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Reply By: Member - VickiW - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 21:17

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 21:17
Thanks Stephen, I'll be very interested to hear how the conditions are.

My (ex) mother in law is flying out from the US, she loves the remote area camping in aus and we are planning on meeting up with a friend of hers in the Flinders. So I am really hoping we can get there - preferably by dirt roads! Just open & not too much mud.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:16

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:16
Hi Vicki

I think it should be all fine by the time you head there and the Flinders is always a great place to visit.

When I rang this morning, the lady at Wilpena said that if they do not get any more rain, most of the tracks should be open gain within a couple of days.

I will kept you post when I get back at the end of the week.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 19:53

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 19:53
Hi Vicki

Well here we are now back in the Flinders at Wilpena Pound campground. All roads through all the gorges have opened this afternoon to 4x4 vehicles only with care. We will check some of them out tomorrow and give an update tomorrow night.

Cheers


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Reply By: Member - John N (SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 21:34

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 21:34
Great pictures Stephen,

our group was camped at Grindell Hut yesterday morning - it had rained most of the night and after listening to the weather discussion on VKS, we decided to move out. We arrived at Copley which had significantly more rain than further east about the time the Balcanoona Rd was closed. We experienced similar sights heading south from Leigh Creek, but from your photos, it seems the levels rose quite a bit after we went through. We all made it home OK (Adelaide Hills) but it was a great experience to see the creek levels rising. We took some good video of some of the water crossings we negotiated.

We have a mate out near Mambray Creek that dry seeded a few days ago - great timing for him. The 20/20 cricket match at Farina might have been washed out though!

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:25

Sunday, Jun 02, 2013 at 22:25
Hi John

You must have been very lucky to have gotten through. There were 2 couples staying at Leighton Creek the same night we were there and they had been working out at Farina.

They were told that if they did not get out when they did, it would have been an extended stay there and they said yes, the cricket match was going to be cancelled.

The water level had dropped quite a bit, with one truckie saying he had been there over 2 hours and in that time the water level had dropped from well over a metre deep.

I give an update when I return again at the end of the week.


Cheers



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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:39

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 00:39
What great photo's Stephen, better luck next time.....
We have never seen the Flinders dry, it seems every time we head over that way it's raining through there.... one day...LOL

Cheers

Deanna


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:45

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:45
Hi Deanna

Thanks for that but seeing the Flinders like that is not the norm as such.

When the area up there is fine, it is still one of the best spots to visit in South Australia. We are heading back there today, knowing that we have at least 3 days with fine weather.

I will report back then with contrasting photos.


Cheers



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Reply By: Candace S. - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 01:22

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 01:22
Very interesting, thank you for the pics and description!!

Obviously a bit more rain than on 8 June 2008, when I took this pic somewhere between Leigh Creek and the road out to FRNP. Probably close to the crossing you were waylaid at. If it hadn't been for the rain, I would have been on the Strzelecki Track that day.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:53

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 06:53
Hi Candace

Yes rain up there will bring everything to a very big stop, for sure. At least it is not not far for us to head back, but very different for people like yourself that have come other far away areas, or even worse like you, from overseas.

When you get back to Australia, head back and see the area when it is dry, it is a fantastic spot to visit.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 10:28

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 10:28
Yes, it was disappointing I couldn't get up to Innimincka and Birdsville...maybe next time! But I ended up going to Kangaroo Island and that was very nice too. After all, given the terrible drought that had been going on for years, I didn't feel I could complain about the rain!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 19:13

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 19:13
Hi Candace

That would have been a real bugger, but as you say, it will give you an excuse to come back again.

KI is a great spot to visit with far more on offer than most people think. We are back in the Flinders and it is very hard to realise hoe much water went through the creeks if we had not seen it for ourselves.

I will be doing a Blog on the Flinders when i get home, and will have many interesting photos of one side of the Flinders that is not often seen.


Cheers


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Reply By: Robert & Karen - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 09:12

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 09:12
We were in Wilpena Pound all of last week. Thursday and Friday it just rained and rained. In fact Friday morning at 6am I was driving around the park in the car looking for a non flooded bathroom! haha
We drove out of the Pound heading to Hawker on Saturday morning, still raining lightly but the clouds were very dark and threatening. Crossed a flooded creek not far from the pound but nothing else over the road from then on. I found it very exciting to see the waters flowing through the river beds that had been so dry the week before. We were lucky enough to drive through the Brachina Gorge down to the Pound the day before the rain started. What a stunning place :)

This gives a little idea of the weather around on the Saturday. Anyway, sitting in a cool Coober Pedy (heading north) this morning, feeling very pleased to have witnessed the Rivers flowing in the Ranges :)

Karen and Robert
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:17

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:17
Hi Karen & Robert

We are now back at Wilpena and there are no real signs of any flooding, apart from the ground still damp. The skies are now mostly free of clouds and looks like we are in for some nice days ahead.

Have a great trip.

Cheers


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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 10:48

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 10:48
Gday Stephen,
Rain up there can be the best experience. Pity about your trip though.

We were on Glass Gorge Road in Nov 2003 when we were hit by a big thunderstorm. We got onto high ground and sat in the cars. The Oratunga creek stopped us as it was a raging torrent, so we camped next to it for the night. Magic night to see nature at work - frogs came out from their underground hideouts and were everywhere - chasing insects wherever they could find them. Went to bed with the creek flowing high then got up the following morning and there was nothing - all the water was gone. Heres the before and after photos separated by about 16 hours:

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Follow Up By: slave - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 13:32

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 13:32
What an amazing contrast

Mrs S
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:29

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:29
Hi Phil

That would have been an unreal experience, for sure and it makes you wonder where does all that water go.

We are now back at Wilpena and all roads in the area are now open to Four Wheel Drive vehicles only, with caution at the creek crossings.

We will head out tomorrow to see what the gorges are like, and hopefully they will still have some water in them.

As for our main trip, yes very disappointed that we could not get up the Birdsville Track, as we intended to head out to Lake Hope and catch up with Garry and see his commercial fishing venture.

The only good thing is there should be water in the lake for the next few year, so I wanted to see it with water.

Those pictures look unreal also.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 18:15

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 18:15
Hi Mrs S,
Yeah we were as amazed as anyone! Unforgettable though.

Gday Stephen,

Pretty obvious where all the water goes - down to the Leigh creek Road :-) hehe

Have fun tomorrow. We did the Blinman to Parachilna road after rain 2 years ago and it was very slippery. TVan was going sideways behind us, so take care.

The one and only time I've been to Lake Hope was 14 years ago - there is a blaze tree by McKinlay at the southern end of the Lake - can be pretty hard to find and pretty boggy to get to, but unfortunately I don't have a GPS point for it. It was dry as a bone that year!

Cheers
Phil
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Follow Up By: equinox - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 19:58

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 19:58
Wow, what great comparison pictures Phil,
What a great experience.

Cheers
Alan

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Reply By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 12:06

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 12:06
Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your post and great photos. I'm heading up to Farina to hopefully catch up with friends on Thursday so hopefully the roads are OK by then and I can get through.

Cheers, Geoff
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:11

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:11
Hi Geoff

We are now at Wilpena and all the roads are now open again. Things are still damp but no problems. We will head out two some of the gorges tomorrow, so hopefully they will still have a little water in them.

Have a great time up at Farina.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 12:55

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 12:55
Thanks Stephen - maybe I'll see you along the road on my way through.

Enjoy the gorges, and I'm looking forward to a couple of days at Farina and beyond.

Cheers, Geoff
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 19:06

Tuesday, Jun 04, 2013 at 19:06
Hi Geoff

No more rain but still overcast. It looked unreal today with the Ranges having low cloud cover and to be honest, itis the first time I have ever seen them like that.

The gorges still have water in them and it is unreal to think of the volume of water that must have wasted through here only a few days ago now.

Heading up to Blinman and more gorges tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how much water was up that way.

Have a great trip to Farina.


Cheers

Stephen
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