Australia · Travel

South Australia Trip: Day 13 – Brachina Gorge

We woke at our camping place on the side of the road in the Parachilna Gorge, and packed up quickly. We also finally managed to get a decent breakfast, the fridge now having properly defrosted. It was going to be a long driving day, but hopefully one we would find interesting. The first leg was through the rest of the Parachilna Gorge, where we found many other people who had set up like us overnight. We also managed to find some water in the gorge, a rare sight in the Outback. We stopped briefly at the trailhead of the Heysen Trail, a 1200 kilometre long walking trail stretching from the Northern Flinders Ranges to the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, and something that we had been travelling alongside for most of our journey.

The road took us down onto the flat lands again, which are typical of the Outback regions of South Australia. We joined the main road again at Parachilna, were the local pub serves kangaroo, emu and camel. Unfortunately, we were there before lunch time and didn’t get to sample any. South of Parachilna, we turned off the main road again, and headed up through Brachina Gorge. Due to the way the Flinders Ranges had formed over many years, Brachina Gorge is like a geological museum, with many hundreds of million years of rock formations evident as you drive through. The National Park had set up signs and information posts along the route, explaining the formations. We continued along the gravel roads through Bunyeroo Gorge as well, stopping at the lookouts to get a view over the majestic Outback mountains.

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Eventually, though, we reached Wilpena Pound again and followed the familiar road back to Hawker. We now had enough time to stop and have a look around, most notably the general store which features its own seismograph for measuring the intensity of earthquakes in the region.

We took a different route south, instead of heading through Quorn and Wilmington, we instead drove towards Peterborough and Burra. The roads out here were largely straight and featured farmland on both sides, slowly growing greener the further south we got.

By mid afternoon we reached Peterborough. The town is known for being a former railway junction, notably where three different gauge railways once met. These days, there is only one railway that runs through the town, between Adelaide and Sydney. But there was still a museum that recounted the old days of steam. We went along and had a look around, noting the old engines parked in the large works shed. There was a lot of old railway memorabilia to look at, and we could climb through some of the old carriages. There was also another museum in the centre of the town in an old railway carriage as well.

We set off again, joining the road from Sydney via Broken Hill and the heavy goods vehicles that traversed it. Our final stop for the day was in the old copper mining town of Burra. Before we went to the caravan park, we drove up to the old open cut mine to have a look around the ruins. Then, we made our way down into the historic old centre of the town, and set up in the caravan park alongside Burra Creek, which actually featured water, unlike the many dry creek beds we had seen. It seemed we were getting back into civilisation.

Unfortunately the kitchen of our preferred pub for dinner was closed and they were not serving food, so we had to go along to another, different pub at which the chicken parmys were not nearly as good a quality as I have tasted elsewhere. Again, we were bellowed by the wind all night and found it difficult to get a proper night of sleep.

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