Sunday, December 8, 2019

Australia - The Flinders Ranges

One of my favourite places in Australia, named after explorer Matthew Flinders, is South Australia's largest mountain range. It's an approx. 400 km round trip north from Port Augusta, in the wrong direction perhaps but well worth a visit. The ride up to the park entrance is a smooth bitumen road with beautiful views and just the suicidal Emu population to stir things up a bit. These buggers have the nasty habit of sitting half asleep by the side of the road, neck down and resembling just another bit of scrub waving in the wind, until you get close to them… then they'll jump up and suddenly becomes a 1.8 mtr tall bird weighing about 40kg running towards you on a collision course at an alarming rate…! 

We both had quite a few very close encounters and swerves to avoid disaster… and they say snakes are dangerous! Once in the actual national park we had planned to put the tent up on the Wilpena Pound campground we had stayed on a few years back and explore the flinders ranges without luggage on the bikes. Unfortunately Wilpena Pound had become a resort and a caravan park… the caravan park was full and prices for accommodation now started at a cool $120 a night. Right. Change of plan. I don't like resorts much anyway. I remembered there were a couple of camping areas in the Flinders Ranges, so assumed we would find something. We quickly learned we wouldn't as all they were all closed due to bushfire danger… We found a simple campground just outside the park instead.

The Flinders ranges are beautiful. I know that's an easy statement and believe me after 4 years of trying to describe all the beautiful places we have seen along our trip around the world, I have run out of words to describe it. As I've said before, if you take the time and effort to see the world then it is truly a breathtakingly beautiful place. Sure some areas are more spectacular than others, and the Flinders ranges certainly falls in the 'more' category, but there is an enormous amount of beauty nonetheless.
Aptly named the Blue Tongued Lizard...
A quick Google search will tell you everything you want to know about Matthew Flinders and the Flinders Ranges history. No point in repeating that here I think. For us it was more a case of open your senses and enjoy what we saw opening before us, which is something you can't put into words anyway. It's all gravel and was a little rough in places when we where there but perfectly doable on a road bike with a little ground clearance and an owner who doesn't fret about a scratch or two from gravel hitting the bike. I never did, which is why I now have a Bonneville with little dents and scratches all over the place and a patina which makes it so much more than a shiny new bike.