Cooper Creek Ferry - Lake Eyre

Saturday, Dec 04, 2010 at 23:06

Dave B ( ADL)

After reading quite a few posts and blogs about the wonderful colour and scenery in the Northern SA area lately, we finally had the opportunity to hook up the CT and go and have a look for ourselves.
Passing through Orroroo, we saw some great new sculptures there. It is a renowned grain growing area and there are two horses in front of an old plough. But the horses are made out of old corrugated iron and they look really great. Even the neck and heads move slightly from one side to another.

Then on to Hancock’s Lookout just out of Wilmington for the night. We were very lucky with the weather, it was quite calm. At night you can see the lights of Pt. Augusta, Pt. Pirie and Whyalla from the lookout.
Quite a bit of room to camp, but no facilities, and a sign up saying no campfires. It is the first time I have been there when there has been very little wind. It would be a very high risk with a campfire there.

Next day we were off up the Stuart Highway to Roxby Downs to search for some rare coloured Sturt Peas. While passing through Woomera, I took the opportunity to visit Len Beadells Grave. We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to listen to a few of Len’s stories when he made a couple of visits to a club we used to belong to.

Roxby Downs has grown considerably since the late 1980’s when I made a few trips up there.
Many different types of businesses there and a population of about 4500. Had a good meal at the Community Club. Two caravan parks, but one was nearly all villas for the workers.
There were Sturt Peas everywhere, but unfortunately in our case, we couldn’t find any rare coloured ones except a beautiful pink one with pink centres and on the same plant, pink with red centres.
It had been the first quite hot week the week before we got there and we could see there were hundreds of plants dying off, but also there were still some others coming out in flower.
Speaking to some locals there they said that a lot of the flowers had withered up that week.
The Borefield Track was next on the itinery, and all along the area that the Arid Recovery team look after within the mine lease, it is a picture of wildflowers. They have put up feral proof fencing over a huge area and consequently not so many rabbits and other ferals to denigrate the area.

Going down the Oodnadatta Track to Marree, roads were great, and we came across a soak with a bit of birdlife there. Thanks to the people on the forum for identifying the juvenile Black Winged Stilt for me.

Free camping at the Marree Hotel, then an early flight up to the ferry at the Cooper and then down through Lake Eyre South and back to Marree. After the flight, we travelled up the Birdsville Track to the ferry and camped overnight. It was great to see from the air, the area that we were going to travel, and the colours and scenery were absolutely magic. With the Cooper receding and Lake Eyre drying out a bit, there were so many different colours with the various grasses and weeds and algae growing, it was a bit mundane flying back closer to Marree.

The following day we packed up and went to the ferry, unhooked the CT and took the obligatory ride across the Cooper on the ferry. With the recent rains up in the catchment area of the Cooper, it looks like the ferry will run until maybe February.

Because of a deteriorating weather forecast, we decided to head south to the blacktop and travelled via the Copley Bakery for a quondong pie for breakfast. Yummy.

We said goodbye to friends we were travelling with as they wanted to go to Arkaroola and we headed south towards Adelaide.
We heard about storms around the northern Flinders, and so contacted our friends and asked them how they got on with the storms. They got to Arkaroola and set up the CT and went to the resort for dinner. It rained so much that the creeks came up and they had to get accommodation in the resort, they couldn’t get back over the creek to their CT.
'Wouldn't be dead for quids'
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