Mildura, Burra Creek Gorge, Rawnsley Park & the Bluff climb

Friday, Jul 15, 2011 at 12:21

Member-Heather MG NSW

Day 5
Sunday 5th June (Yanga-Gol Gol (Mildura)).
Our journey takes us west again today, through Balranald where we buy diesel and a weekend SMH newspaper...our last for a couple of months. From here we continue our drive west through heavy showers however the weather begins to clear as we near Mildura. We are in GolGol 5 kms east of Mildura before lunch and book into Rivergardens Top Tourist Caravan Park. I have a load of washing in a machine about 10 minutes after we arrive and on the line as soon as possible so as to get it dry before the sun sets.
After lunch John and I set out to walk towards Mildura, along a street lined with riverfront properties of grand proportions. We also wander along dirt tracks winding around and then back up towards the highway and along it until we reach a roadhouse where we buy a drumstick icecream. On our return to the park, we set out for a drive to Mildura and buy yet more diesel!
Darrell fishes in the Murray for a couple of hours and manages to hook a couple of small carp which are given to a very happy asian man who wants them for his dinner. John can't be bothered getting his gear out but wanders down to watch. I spend the remainder of the afternoon reading the paper and enjoying some sunshine.
Day 6
Monday 6th June (Gol Gol-Mildura-Renmark-Morgan-Burra Creek Gorge)
This morning we are headed for Victoria and then into SA through the quarantine checkpoint at Yamba. Our fruit and vegetables have either been eaten or thrown out so we are very quickly through the check and arrive in Renmark to re stock and shop for groceries for the next couple of weeks. Renmark has a big Woolworths complex and plenty of flat parking so we put the fridge on gas and spend an hour wandering up and down the aisles collecting groceries, then packing them into the van. The next sizeable supermarket we are likely to see will be at Yulara. Darrell and Barb get gas refilled and we drive out of town s few kms to a lunch spot beside the road.
We take the turn towards Morgan and Burra and the road has less traffic. Our intention is to camp at Heron Bend on the Murray however when we arrive we find the reserve closed and inundated with water. We turn around and decide to make our campsite in Burra Creek Gorge so call at Morgan for fuel on the way.
The camp is about 10 kms out of our way, along the 'End of the World Highway' but it is worth the drive and we find a flat green camping area alongside a creek lined with magnificent gnarled river gums. We park together in an area with a fireplace, away from the couple of others set up along the creek, and the men go in search of firewood. I spend half an hour having a walk and take photos of the river gums and the campground. It is a lovely place.
John and I enjoy bolognese pasta cooked in the campoven and we sit around the roaring fire for a couple of hours after dark, enjoying the conversation and company of Barb and Darrell.
Day 7
Tiesday 7th June (Burra Creek Gorge-Oororoo-Hawker-Rawnsley Park)
Today we drive to Burra where scripts are filled and we have a walk around this very historic town full of beautifully restored buildings. John and I have visited here bedore and don't plan on hanging around as I have booked us into Rawnsley Park south of Wilpena for the next two nights, and we are keen to see those beautiful landforms in the Flinders again. We take the roads to Peterborough then Orroroo and Carrieton arriving in Hawker for lunch. John tops up with diesel and we head to the park. Barb and Darrell and we are parked in a drive through site and we remember why we hate caravan parks so much! There is a couple of metres between campers and we will have to be quiet early in the mornings, until 7am at least!
There is no 3G signal in the camping area and the water is (saline) bore drinkable quality so we will top up our tanks using filtered tank water before we leave. We are glad we didnt have showers while at Burra creek gorge and use up water we filled them with in Mildura.
We have connected the water and have the hot water on so hope the saline level doesnt cause too much corrosion inside the system! Will have showers at the amenities so as to not run too much through.
Around 4.30 we set out on a short walk to a lookout and Alisons Spur chiefly to try to get 3G signal and are successful on top of the ridge line. We make phone calls to Lou and Johns mum to let them know our expected movements for the next week in case I can't connect to the net anywhere, and return to the campground as the light fades.
Back 'home' we retreat indoors and enjoy the comforts of a heater, TV (choice of two analogue channels) and dinner cooked on the portable induction cooktop purchesed just before we left home.
Day 8
Wednesday 8th June (Rawnsley Park- Rawnsley Bluff hike)
Its our coolest night yet, and around 5 degrees outside when we check the temp in the van. I am over to the laundry and have a load of washing on the line before 8.30
With snacks, lunch and water packed we set out to drive the two kms to the Rawnsley Bluff carpark. The hike to the bluff is 12.6kms return and rated 'Difficult' on our pamphlet however having scaled Cradle Mountain in Tassie a couple of months ago, we are pretty confident we will be able to make it to the summit.
The first 600 metres or so follows a creek bed and then a gentle cimb through the foothills of the main range (Bonney Sandstone)follows. We see 3 elegant parrots eating on the ground, one a brilliantly coloured male, predominantly greens, dark blues and yellows but with a brilliant flash of orange on his belly. The trail is well marked with distance poles every two hundred metres, as well as painted stripes. It gradually steepens to a climb up the red, rocky terrain. We hear and then see feral goats on our way up. When we reach Lone Pine lookout we know the worst of the climb is behind us and we stop to enjoy the expansive views back over the Ranges and Rawnsley Station. On the plateau its a gentle walk along the southern edge and then gradual climb up to the summit. We pass the fork to Wilpena Pound lookout (1.2 kms return) and decide to do it on the return trip.
The summit is marked with a huge cairn of rocks and signage and here it is bitterly cold, with howling wind. We take photos, briefly enjoy views and then find a more sheltered place between the boulders to have some morning tea. I sign the soggy visitors book, located under a rock shelf, inside a plastic bag and under a rock and a tin.
Our fingers are freezing and it is too cold to hang around so we start back and are soon at the turn to the lookout over the pound. This is a mostly easy, level walk with small uphill sections over rocks and we arrive at the lookout quickly. All around there is prolific birdlife, mostly honey eaters, and they dart around, their calls breaking the silence.
We have lunch at the lookout and start out on the return journey. The clouds start to clear and I take more photos on the way. I am very slow on the downhill parts and would rather be cautious than have a fall however we still arrive at the car 4 hours after we left so have made very good time.
The weather is not pleasant and the freezing winds blow so we retreat to the van, put on the heater and warm up. Both of us have early showers and rug up, only going outside briefly to speak to Barb and Darrell when they return from their scenic drive through the Flinders about mid afternoon.
I manage to connect to the WiFi service here at the park, check the Oodnadatta track conditions and read and send emails in the 50 minutes I am online. Hopefully I have not given out details of credit card or other information to others in that time and my laptop is safe! It was good to be able to communicate though and now I feel confident than should I need to do it this way, I know how.I also upload the 70 photos taken in the past few days and organise them so its a busy afternoon spent in front of the laptop.
Dinner is a healthy stir fry of chicken and vegetables with brown rice.
I repack some of the items in my bathroom cupboard so as to reduce breakages on the track we are to travel during the next few days, and do a bit of re organising. We enjoy our usual Wednesday night TV on ABC - 'The New Inventors' and 'Spicks and Specks' snuggled up in bed with the heater still going and we sleep early and well after our energetic day.
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir
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