Skytrek Mark 11

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 08:15
ThreadID: 133534 Views:4733 Replies:6 FollowUps:20
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Good Morning All

During our recent 10 day stay in the Flinders Ranges, we were able to do 4 user four wheel drive tracks.

All drives were open only after things dried out and 2 drives we had to wait 6 days for that to happen.

One drive that we were keen to do again was the new Skytrek after the original drive had to be altered after local issues. We had driven the original drive 3 times since the early 1990's and were very keen to see just how the new one would rate.

The new drive is now over 80 kilometres in length, with only the last 12 kilometres real four wheel drive country. My personal thoughts are that you are now paying a premium price of $65 for a drive that is now very over rated, compared to other far superior drives in the area that range in price from $40 to $50 dollars.

Based on what we encountered, if you are after a true four wheel drive that offers far better scenery, far more extreme four wheel driving, then make the Arkapena Four Wheel Drive No 1 on your "Must Do" bucket list followed by a very close second with the Bunbinyunna Drive a very close second and you will not be disappointed.

Overall I personally rate the new Skytek only 5 out of 10, compared to 20 out of 10 for the Arkapena Drive and 19 out of 10 for the Bunbinyunna Drive.

Move over Skytrek, you have had your way far too long and you now need to drop your premium price for a C - drive compared to other superior drives in the area that I rate as AAA drives.

Just my thoughts and interested to hear your thoughts from others that have also driven other better drives in the Flinders.



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Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 09:42

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 09:42
Hi Stephen,
Another great 4WD track is Arden Hills with views on both sides of the ranges and steep rock faces to test your vehicle out. A BBQ place not far from the start (say a hour depending on how much sight seeing you do) makes for a interesting day out.

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Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 10:39

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 10:39
Hi Graham

We have done the Mt Arden Track a good number of years ago and it is a great drive. We wanted to do it again, but they are not answering their phone whit is not real business like. You leave a message and they say they will get back to you, but guess what...they never do.




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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 12:47

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 12:47
Hi,
The track I think you are referring to is on Argadells, The Arden Hills track starts from Warren Gorge, you can book it from the Quorn VIC.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 13:24

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 13:24
Thanks Graham,

I will definitely follow that up. When the rain finally stops falling and the tracks open up, it will be a great days drive.



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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 10:14

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 10:14
I should have added these to show you what I am on about....


Skytrek Drive







Arkapena Drive






Bunbinyunna Drive











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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 22:23

Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 22:23
Nice pics Stephen, that letterbox on the Arkapena track brings back memories. The country is looking good as well.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 22:38

Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 22:38
Hi Pete

Yes the Flinders is looking unreal and I personally have not seen it like this since around 1974.

How did you enjoy the accent up to Prelinna Lookout where that letterbox is?

As I always say, it does not matter how many times you visit the Flinders, it is always great to head back.



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Follow Up By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 23:16

Sunday, Oct 09, 2016 at 23:16
I enjoyed the climb but the Bush Princess wasn't as keen!

Love the Flinders and any time spent up there is a bonus.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Oct 10, 2016 at 07:42

Monday, Oct 10, 2016 at 07:42
Hi Pete,

Not sure if you have driven the Bunbinyunna Drive, but it is similar to the Arkapena Drive and is another great drive to do.

The new Mount Caernarvon drive sounds very interesting and is now on my short list to do.



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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 11:46

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 11:46
Gday Stephen,
Those have been on my to-do list for a while.
My favourite's been Argadells - been there about 10 times over the past 15 years. Good camping and the tracks take in a section of the Heyson trail. Mt Arden is one of the highest points you can drive to in the Flinders


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 12:24

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 12:24
Hi Phil

Yes that is a fantastic drive and we wanted to do it again but could not get hold of them.

I left a good number of messages and Judy never returned any of my phone calls.

Did you have any trouble getting in contact with them?

Do not waste your money on Skytrek, you are better to go on the more adventures Arkapena and Bunbinyunna Tracks.


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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 07:51

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 07:51
Not had trouble contacting them. Have used the listed phone numbers: Argadells contact page
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 19:17

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 19:17
Thanks Phil

That is the number I am using but continually goes to message bank, leaving a message, but still to return phone calls.

In my books, it is not a good business proactive to return calls.



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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 19:37

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 19:37
Yes, definitely not good business practice. But I like to cut some slack with any of the farmers trying to make a living from tourism up that way as I'm sure you do too.
These businesses are usually a couple with no staff.

At Argadells, Malcolm and Judy must be well into their 70's. They spent their lives building up a business in Adelaide (Underdale Drillers) and about 10 years ago bought Argadells when it was a pretty poor piece of grazing land with some great tracks. Tragic circumstances put the property on the market. They have worked their butts off and put in great facilities - powered caravan sites and plenty of bush campsites and provide firewood for purchase, and the property looks so much better than it did before. The goats were culled - hardly saw one in March. The main tracks get graded. They charge less than the others. And I admire an old fella refusing to retire and spending his days doing hard work that the younger people baulk at.

Similar situation at Warraweena. Stony supports the place solo. His family is in Adelaide so his kids get an education. The "business" makes very little money over the full year.

I could say the same for Skytrek and many other properties in the Flinders. No favourites - I just think we are lucky to have such a huge range of properties who welcome tourists with open arms (they have to to stay afloat).
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 20:33

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 20:33
Agree totally 100% Phil

When we did three of the four tracks on Merna Mora where we were staying for 4 days, I personally thanked Kaye for giving the public access to their property and allowing people like me to experience the beauty and fun of driving on tracks that would otherwise be just used for station people only.

To keep these tracks open, we need to support these stations that offer these unique experiences and make sure that all drivers respect the country that they are driving through.



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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 20:40

Saturday, Oct 01, 2016 at 20:40
I had driven the old Skytrek before the drama up there with access to Mt Caernarvon (the Bunkers Range), and wanted to do it again before access was lost to Willow Springs.
Brendon had just, and I mean just graded the new track, and got the ok to get onto most of that while in there, to give them a bit of feedback.

It was rough, big boulders sticking up everywhere, sticks, rough through the creeks.
He said after we got back from the drive he was going over that again to make all that easier, I said leave it !! Makes for a great drive.
Looking at the pics it has really settled down to easy tracks.

A shame about that, and a shame they couldn't work with SSASA to keep access open for them at Mt C, that was an epic route.
I've heard both sides of that story in detail, and seems to be a lose lose, as I am pretty sure plans to have that Mt C area open again to 4WDs just hasn't eventuated.

Have been back up there since Mt C access finished, with a private group with permission, and driven other tracks on the east side of the Bunkers, it is terrific country, and the old tracks totally maintained, slow and steady stuff :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:04

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:04
Hi Les

That was the reason why we had driven it 3 times in the past, as the Mount Caenarvon section was just fantastic and the reason why we returned. I asked Brendon what happened, but he said it was a very long story and never heard what actually happened.

Since returning home, I have since found out that a new mob has access to the Bunkers Reserve as well as Mt C and is that the track that you did and their fee is $60.00.

The new Skytrek is very tame and if anyone is after a challenge, then the new drive is not the one. What makes Skytrek still so popular is one profession thing........marketing. The Reynolds do a first rate job of promoting their drive and it has paid dividends for them.

The day we did Arkapena, we were the only vehicle on the track and never saw another vehicle until we got back to the bitumen main road. On the other hand, when speaking to another chap back at Rawnsley Caravan Park that did Skytrek the very same day, there were 36 vehicles doing the track the same day.......so it shows just how well they market the drive. When I mentioned why did he not do the Arkapena Drive, his answer was, what rie is that.



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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:25

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 09:25
Good to hear the bunkers eastern drive and Mt C are available again, haven't gone looking for marketing for it up to now, but might go for a Google for interests sake and see if I can find the details.
They need to get the word out, as it is very nice over that side.

They were still in the planning stages of working out best route to grade a new route off Mt C back to the eastern access side last time we were there.

It is SSAASA I meant to type last post, Google brings it up, and the tracks apart from the usual Mt C route over were not maintained, but totally unmaintained.
Autocorrect on the phone can be a pita at times.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:06

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 10:06
When I went past there at the end of May (working in the area) they were putting a sign up for the Mt Carnarvon track. It is on the North side past the Oraparinna mine and before the second turn off to Wilkawillena gorge.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 22:04

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 22:04
Hi Les and Graham

I have now found the site where it gives you all the details for the Mount Caernarvon Track

Mount Caernarvon Track Details


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Reply By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:16

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:16
Hi Stephen. You must have been in the Flinders Ranges at the same time that we were. We couldn't take a trick with the weather so came home early. Queenslanders don't take very well to maximum temps in the mid teens and minimums nearing zero.

I had booked Skytrek but had to cancel when I woke up feeling crook so we limited ourselves to the Hawker - Blinman - Parachilna - Hawker circuit that had reopened that morning. A couple of days later in company with Graham N and his good Lady we did Moralana Scenic Drive and then a run down the roads to the west of the the main road south of Gordon. Great day with great people.

We had wanted to do at least the Lake Torrens drive on Merna Mora but were beaten by rain. So we have unfinished business in the Flinders Ranges but will try it earlier in the year next time. Before winter has a chance to arrive.

Thanks for your info on Skytrek. Sounds just about right for my aging body and vehicle.

Cheers, Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 21:54

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 21:54
Hi Kevin

You Banana Benders need to toughen up.......lol

The weather has been totally crazy and as Graham would have told you, the weather should have been in the mid 20's with perfect blue skies.

We stayed 6 days at Rawnsley Park and 4 days at Merna Mora. The only track that was not held up with rain was Skytrek, where as the other tracks were only open when they had dried out.

We did Skytrek only one day after it was wet, and there were only a few mud puddles, so no issues. We were able to do three of the four Tracks that Merna Mora have on offer, and were set to do the last, the Wowee Track, but guess what, it came in wet yet again.

It does not matter how many time we go to the Flinders ( trust me it is dozens of times the years ) it is one location that it is aways just fantastic, and I hope that you intend to come again, and see the area when it is a "Normal" year, and not wet, wet, wet.



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Follow Up By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 11:09

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 11:09
We have been visiting Flinders for over 50 years Stephen, so it will take more than one wet and cold season to put us off. But most of those visits were pre 4WD. Things are so much more accessible now.

We are seriously planning a return next year before Winter arrives possibly on our way to WA.

Cheers, Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 12:51

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 12:51
Hi Kevin

This weather is just so unreal and when I booked my holidays 3 months ago, we were expecting fine warm days and T shirts, not cold, wet and them a couple of fine nice days again before coming wet again.

We have been visiting the Flinders on a very regular basis, we the bitumen finished at Hawker and it was dirt from there on, as yes we never had a four wheel then, just Toyota Coralla's, and Celica. Just took your time and got through all the gorges with no drama's at all.

We you come back again, make sure that you get a few great four wheel drive tracks in, and these will test your low range first gear approach and departures from the many great high point that are on offer. I am trying to make phone contact with Charlie, the Webmaster and Ranger for the Bunker Reserve and access to Mount Caernarvon , a must drive access with the highest accessible point by vehicle at just over 920 metres. When I have full details, I will post them on the forum, but one point that Charlie said in an email to me was that they need bookings in advance, they only take cash and the track is only open from March until October, with this years last day open being Sunday 9th October.




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Reply By: Member - Odog - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 19:39

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 19:39
We were in the flinders a couple of weeks ago, got rained in at Arkaroola, and were the first to go on the ridge top tour, after the rain. The guys check the rain gauge at Sillers Lookout, when we pulled up, had gotten 50mm in the previous 24 hrs or so...
Left Arkaroola, camped at Chambers Gorge, great spot! Woke to thunder n lightening, quick pack up in the pouring rain, already water coming down the river. Headed for Blinman, through a few now running creeks, got to the river 20km from Blinman, that was it.. no chance! Headed back to Wirrealpa Station, put us us in the shearers kitchen, was a great night.. the farm hands said they were monitoring chatter on the uhf, someone had a camp trailer washed away or something in Chambers Gorge. When it rains in the flinders.. in rains..
Will definitely be back there...
Skytrek was on the list, but had heard it was quite crowded, so didn't worry about it, and with the rain we had been dealing with for the last 5 weeks, played it safe.. cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 22:01

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 22:01
Hi Odog

The rain was sure crazy and you must have got all that rain and thunder when we were at Rawnsley Park.

We felt so sorry for all the interstate people that headed for the Flinders, thinking it was going to be perfect weather, but inserted it just would not stop raining.

I have now found the place where you can book the Mount Caernarvon Track, and here is their web site:

Mount Caernarvon Track Details

Great to see that you intend to head back again,as it is a great place, and those ranges are just unreal.



Cheers



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