After one final farewell coffee with Eric, we packed up and drove to Wilpena. The original plan of climbing St Mary’s peak had been delayed because of Eric’s sprained ankle but today it was Kris who pulled the plug by declaring that it would be beyond her to walk 16 km up 600 odd metres in 36 degrees so we had to settle for a quick 8 km walk to Wangara Lookout. This follows a river bed lined by magnificent towering gums into the pound before climbing a lesser peak inside the pound for decent panoramic views.
View of Wilpena Pound from Wangara Lookout.
After some deliberation we decided to move on to the Northern Flinders at Aroona Ruins (National Park campsite), the site of a failed sheep station from the early nineteenth century and also the site of inspiration for Hans Heysen, the brilliant German watercolour artist. We stayed here for two peaceful nights. A few cars visited during the day, but we were alone both nights. Given the heat, still 36+ we thought we would have a couple of rest days. This gave the boys a chance to relax and play (spent mostly building card houses), whilst I used the last of my dwindling stock of steel wool for some more ‘fire twirling’ pictures in the river bed.
Campfire dinner on the last night before a total fire ban is enforced in SA.
Sam hanging out near Aroona Ruins natural spring.
On our second morning, I walked an 8 km section of the 1200 kilometre long Heysen Trail. This takes you to an excellent vantage point looking out over the ABC ranges. This was apparently the inspiration for many of Heysen’s paintings. Given the annoyance of flies by day (they were prolific again) and insects by night we decided to bail at lunch and head back to Wilpena Pound ready to tackle St Mary’s peak the next morning.
Views of the ABC Ranges from Heysen’s lookout. Curiously his paintings show these hills almost completely devoid of trees.