Saturday, July 19, 2014

Meanwhile - over at Kevin Gaddes Images

Been a while since I posted on here.

Given that this blog started out being about camping and turned in to being a bit of everything I have decided to establish a second blog  - Kevin Gaddes Images to put up the best of the photos.  To support the new blog I have established a facebook page for the photo blog as well.

I'll start getting some new material on here shortly, following a couple of great camping trips and a bit of a tour through NSW recently.

But do have a look at the other blog and the facebook page for original high quality landscapes, flora and fauna images.

The are both a bit sparse at the moment but the plan is to post one high quality image per week to both.

Hope to see you on either the facebook page or the Images blog soon.  Remember with the facebook page, if you like it you will get updated images as they are posted.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 8 - Farina to Cameron Corner via Strzelecki Track

Waking up at the Farina Station campground was an experience.  It was cold - about -4C overnight.  the priority was getting the campfire going again and getting warm, getting a hot drink and taking some pics.

Once we had all warmed up, had breakfast and packed up it was a quick transit to Lyndhurst to refuel and then take on the mighty Strzelecki Track.

To be honest I thought that Strzelecki Track would be a rough and tumble 4WD adventure/challenge.  In reality, it had been recently graded and it was more of a high speed dirt road than the track that I had imagined.

But it was open and with the vehicles full of fuel we we pretty excited to be on another of Australia's iconic 4WD tracks.

I guess it is worth a mention that the route of the track is attributed to a chap called Harry Readford.  Harry was a cattle thief.  Wroking on a remote part of a remote cattle station in Queensland Harry, without the station owners knowing, built a set of cattle yards and over a period of time assembled a mob of about 1000 head of cattle.  Realising that trying to sell the cattle in Queensland would be a bit of a problem (everyone would recognise the brand)  Harry decided to drove them to South Australia, but needed to cross through the Channel Country and then the Strzelecki Desert.

Which he did - he traded some of the cattle for rations and sold the rest at a station east of Marree.

A couple of years later the las caught up with Harry - arrested in Sydney and sent to Roma, Queensland for trial.  He was acquitted - the jury was impressed with him opening up the route.  Another great Aussie story of the outback.

Anyway we set off for what was to be an enjoyable and straight forward drive.  We passed the 'top' of the Flinders Ranges and Mount Hopeless.  This mountain was 'overnamed' by Eyre - it is 124m above sea level at its peak!  Burke tried to get to it when he, Wills and King were stranded at Innamincka.

These days most of this things are of historical interest.  The track isn't used for droving anymore - but it is used to transport goods and chattels to the oil and gas fiels in the region.

After a hand full of dry creek crossings we arrived at the turn off to Montecollina Bore where we decided to stop for lunch.  There are some picnic tables and shelters here and the Bore itself is an interesting find in what is now desert country.  What is cool is walking up onto the dunes and looking down at the location.

Afteer having lunch and watching the bird life we decided to head across to Cameron Corner rather than pushing on to Innamincka.  We would work out whether to go to Innamincka or Tibooburra once we had arrived at Cameron Corner.

We headed off and found the 'shortcut' track to Cameron Corner - thanks to the navigator.

I really enjoyed that part of the drive.  Firstly it is through desert country - up and over dunes.  The track itself is well formed so it is a nice easy drive.

On the track across one of the more unusual sights is the Yellow Bus Campsite (at least that is how it is marked on the map.)

There are a handful of stories about the bus - it seems to have been used as a shelter for stockmen at some point and a campground in the past.  I'm told the land owner chaged his/her mind about camping and now there are signs there saying no camping or fires...

A short while later we pulled in to Cameron Corner store.  We decided to camp and have a shower here and then head across to Tibooburra the next day.

I have written about Cameron Corner, the store and it's history elsewhere so I won't do that again.  I will say that it is a great place to camp with a bar, some food and hot showers.  The guys charge a bit extra per person having a shower, but the cash is donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Overall a great day on the road with some interesting locations and history.  Sitting in the red dirt camp ground was awsome.  The decision to head across into New South Wales, maybe not what I would have done if I was travelling on my own but it turned out to be a good call.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 7 - Oodnadatta to Farina

Overnight we all decided that we would take on the Strzelecki Track, having seen the sign at Lyndhurst indicating that the track was open.

Before we hit the new track we had to get ourselves back down the Oodnadatta Track to Lyndhurst.

So after a fairly quick pack up - including the freshly washed clothes and people, we fuelled up and started to make our way back down the Oodnadatta Track.  There were a few things that I wanted to see on the way back down.  Given the 'speed' we travelled up the track it's no surprise that there were things that we didn't stop to look at.  That said, even though we had a couple of stops on the way back down there is still plenty of things to see.

Our first planned stop was the Algebuckina Bridge.  It's a history lesson, a tale of woe for a chap named Fred and even a free campsite.

Built as a railway bridge crossing the Neals River and the floodplain, it was opened in 1892.  Apparently about 350 men were involved in the construction.  It's the longest bridge in South Australia, and these days there isn't a train in sight on the Old Ghan Line to use it.

But I simply love the story of Fred...  Near the bridge there is a wrecked car, which apparently belonged to Fred.  The legend goes that during the floods of 1974 Fred decided to cross the bridge, so he used railway sleepers to fill the gaps.  He apparently inched his way forward, moving sleepers from the back of the car to the front of the car, then driving a bit further forward...  You get the idea.

All was going well until a train (or a works train) appeared and hit the car.  Fred survived but his car didn't.

Leaving here our next stop was William Creek for lunch and a check over the vehicles.  We decided to stop off at the mound springs near Coward Spings.  It is a relatively easy frive back down to there so we cracked on...

The mound springs are located within the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs National Park.  They are, to a point, the reason that the Oodnadatta Track and the Old Ghan line exist.  The provided a permanant water supply for the steam trains running along the Old Ghan and water for the settlers.  They also served the traditional owners well, providing a watered trading route for them to use.

And the stop off there was pretty interesting.  While Blance Cup was not accessible, The Bubbler was and we walked up and watched the water bubble up into the bowl.  In the middle of a what looks to be deseert country this is pretty cool.

An awsosme part of the trip.

From here it was a fairly easy run back to Farina Station where we took advantage of their fantastic campsite.  Large grassy sites and plenty of room to spread out.  The campgrounds have hot showers - just light the donkey boiler.  There is a little hill nearby and the walk up to it is worthwhile as at the top there is a war memorial.