Australia · Travel

South Australia Trip: Day 12 – Wilpena Pound

Jacqueline and I woke up to the sound of the animals around the Wilpena Pound Caravan Park. We checked the fridge, it was still at -2 degrees Celsius and our milk and yoghurt were still frozen. Disheartened, we tried to warm it up and eat breakfast anyway, before heading to the visitor centre to check out. We didn’t leave Wilpena yet though, instead, we parked the Troopy and got into our hiking gear. There was yet another mountain to climb: Mount Ohlssen Bagge. The hike was about three kilometres each way from the caravan park, and like the Devil’s Peak the previous day, it would get steeper and steeper closer to the summit.

The first section was easy, along the flat fire track through the Pound Gap, before the Ohlssen Bagge hike diverges from the rest, crosses the dry creekbed, and climbs up the other side. Jacqueline was in the mood to spot for wildlife, but all we could find were a few crows flying around and a wedge-tailed eagle circling overhead. At no point did we really have to scramble like the previous day, but the path was made of dry red rocks that were not exactly easy under foot. The view to the north was impressive for most of the way up, but that could not compare to the top of the hike, where we finally got to look down into Wilpena Pound, a round, colosseum-like series of mountains. We could see back down into the Caravan Park, and across over to Rawnsley Bluff. It was truly impressive.

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We made our way back down again. Jacqueline insisted that the descent was harder than the ascent, but I thought the opposite. By the time we were coming back into the caravan park, we found a wild echidna wandering across the fire track, a welcome but rare sight. It was now time for lunch, and we ate it in the back of the Troopy.

Having spent most of the day up the mountain, we did not have far to drive for the rest of the day. We rejoined the main road, recently bitumised through to Blinman, and enjoyed the fantastic sights of the rolling mountain ranges. We stopped briefly at Huck’s Lookout, and then again at the old homesteads at Appealinna. Here, there were several ruins of an attempted turnip farm set up by a family of early settlers, just across the creek from more ruins of an attempted mining operation. Apparently, they did not get along, and were involved in several legal disputes with the colonial government. And yet, it all failed when they didn’t get enough water to farm turnips. Wandering through the old ruins was a flock of wild emus, which seemed to amuse Jacqueline more than the ruins.

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We rejoined the road and headed north to Blinman, and after a quick look around the bizarre outback town, headed out into the Parachilna Gorge, where we found a camping place on the side of the road to set up for the night. We still had more camp food to cook on the camp stove, but sleep was harder to get due to the incessant wind shaking the canvas sleeping area of the Troopy all night long.

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