Sunday, February 24, 2013

Outback Trip 2 - Day 4 - Leigh Creek to Muloorina Station

Getting off to a reasonable start on Day 4 we decided to head up towards Lake Eyre, heading through Lyndhurst, Marree and then head out the the edge of Lake Eyre which is accessable from Muloorina Station.

After brekky and a chat with the folks we had met the night before we started the trek - arriving a Lyndhurst a short while later.  It's only about 40km or so.  I missed the turn off to the Ochre Cliffs - so a trip back to the area will definitely on the cards.

First stop - Talc Alf's place.  Alf is always on for a chat and his carvings are amazing.  His stories get you thinking and it made for a pleasant mid morning break.

Next stop fuel.  There are two places that you can fuel up - 1 on the Oodnaddata Track and another on the Strezlecki Track.  With our vehicle full of fuel and our travelling partner's vehivle and jerry cans full we kept head along.

I guess it is worth pointing out that the township is at the intersection of the Oodnadatta Track and the Strezliecki Track.  The road sign indicated that the Track was opened through to Innamincka - we were tempted...

About 1/2 way between Marree and Lyndhurst you will come across the famous Farina ruins.  Once a bustling township, established on the Old Ghan rail line it was hoped to grow grain in the surrounding area - it wasn't to be.  The original town 'The Gums' or 'Government Gums' was a railhead until the line was extended to Marree.  It is an amazing place to walk through, look at the buildings and the plans for the township.


The underground bakery is a bit of a treat...

Doing some research in preparing this article the Farina railway station holds the record for loading the largest meteorite in South Australia.  A 1.2 tonne iron metorite was dragged out of the desert near Farina and transported to Adelaide...

After a look through the ruins and noting that there is a campsite nearby we continued along the track to the township of Maree.

There isn't much to see along the road from the ruins to Marree, but arriving in Marree you know you are in the Aussie Outback.  We were at the junction of the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdville Track!  How outback iconic is that? 

Marree has a couple of cool things to see - the Lake Eyre Yacht Club and the Marree Pub are cool, but the real attractions for me are the old Ghan locos, Tom Kruze's truck and a camel sundial made from sleepers from the Old Gahn!

The town was originally named Herggott Springs for John McDoual Stuart's travelling companion.
It was changed to Marree in 1918 due to anti-German sentiment.  Eyre had passed through the area 20 or so years earlier.  Marree was home to Australia's first mosque, built by Afghan cameleers and there were two parts to the town - Afghan and Aboriginal in one part and Europeans in the other part!

Kruze's truck - or one like it.  Kruze did the mail run to Birdsville in this truck between 1936 and 1957.  Esmond Gerald Kruze MBE passed away in 2011 aged 96.

One of two Gahn Locos at Marree.  Work on the Ghan began in 1878, and it took until 1929 before the line went through to Alice Springs.  It's pretty cool that you can hop on and have a look at a piece of history, from a very famous train journey.  And interesting to see a loco that would have been travelling up and down the line that we had been travelling alongside, and would continue to travel alongside for the next few days.

Who built it - don't know...
Why it was built - don't know...
The time was correct - and I reckon thats awesome.

So after lunch and a look around Marree (and there is more to see than what I have described here) we set out for Muloorina Station, to the campsite of Frome Creek which the owners of the station kindly allow visitors to use.

It's about 50km or so through pastoral properties - leave gates as you find them!

Before we settled in to the campsite we decided to drive out to Lake Eyre and have a look.  It is a 4WD track and worth the effort - lower tyre pressures slightly to make light work of the sand.


Its a salt plain area and a land speed record was set here...

Easy to see why...   And for the record the tyre track didnt belong to us!

Heading back to a fantastic campsite and setting up on what was pne of my favourite nights of the trip...


The outback mulga from the top of the nearby dunes...

After dinner we settled down for the night and the next morning we set off for William Creek.