Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Monday, 4 November 2013

Rock formations and wildflowers in the Gawler Ranges National Park, South Australia

Welcome back to our trip from Western Australia and through South Australia. 
If you missed Part 2 last week, you can catch up by clicking here - Crossing Australia on the Eyre Highway
 

And so we leave Ceduna and continue along the Eyre Highway through the small towns of Poochera and Minnipa and across the top of the Eyre Peninsula. 

An approximation of our trail is shown here - 







 
17km north of Minnipa is the granite Pildappa Rock.  This is a lovely spot for a picnic or an overnight bush camp. A track goes around the rock and on one side of the rock you will see a wave formation - you an see it on the LHS of the collage below.  The walk over the rock is relatively easy and you will see various rock formations and fabulous views over surrounding farmland and the Gawler Ranges.  In a rock crevice near the picnic area is a garden reputed to have been planted by the Kwaterski sisters who lived nearby in 1938. It is thriving from run off from the rock. 
You can see it in the bottom middle pic here.....


I am trying out the "Read more" option....so please do click on the "read more" label to continue.... as there is lots more to read and lots more pics to enjoy!......



and views to the Gawler Ranges - sorry about the dullness to these photos - it was a cloudy day.


Continuing north is the gravel road taking you into the Gawler Ranges National Park about 38km north of Minnipa. There is a self-registration shelter at the boundary where you can pick up a map (fees are payable if you don’t have a Parks Pass).  It is a National Park so dogs are not allowed.


Just after this a right hand turn takes you along the Old Paney Scenic Drive. We continued north for about 1km where a track to the left takes you to the Organ Pipes – about 10km – the track in is quite rough in parts – please shut the gates.  A 4WD is recommended for all tracks around the Park which can quickly become impassable when wet.  

Here we are driving through the Gawler Ranges............ the yellow flower you see on the side is one of the Cassias - at first I thought it was wattle.


There is an approximately 500 metre walk into The Organ Pipes. This amazing rock formation was formed as a result of volcanic eruptions around 1600 million years ago.  The extensive exposure of volcanic rhyolite known as the Organ Pipes is one of the largest in the world.  You can see why they are called The Organ Pipes.  Rock walls of rock columns which look like organ pipes tower above you, whilst others seemed to have been spewed horizontally out of the cliff side.  My photos cannot adequately show them to you.  Unfortunately is was cloudy when we where there.  Early morning or late afternoon light would be best. 


From here we returned to the main track, and turned northwards to look for a camp site. There are eight designated camping areas in the Park. The map at the registration hut shows you where they are located. Some are more easily accessible than others. We chose to camp at Scrubby Peak campground, and drove around a bit looking for a suitable campsite, ending up amongst a grove of mallee trees. After setting up camp we went for a bush walk and followed a steep track up Scrubby Peak from where there are views of the Gawler Ranges. 


I enjoyed having time to spend taking wildflower photos, whilst my husband took some bird pics. In the Park there are 126 recorded bird species, and 18 mammal species including the Hairy-nosed wombat – unfortunately we didn’t see one. But we did see kangaroos, emus, and feral goats that wandered by our camp late in the afternoon. My husband followed them through the bush and said they took a “goat track” up the hill. You can see the tail end of them in the bottom right pic. 
Can you see the kangaroo giving another kangaroo a scratch in the top left pic?


There are 225 recorded flora species, including the magnificent Sturts Desert Pea – Swainsona formosus.  EJ Eyre was the first European to see this striking flower when we travelled through here in 1839. Unfortunately we didn’t see any, but were told later by some fellow travellers that they saw some on Conical Hill Track (one way and definitely 4WD).

We had the area to ourselves spent a lovely peaceful night camping at Scrubby Peak, and I would thoroughly recommend it if you are ever in this area. 

To find out more about the Gawler Ranges National Park, please click here - Gawler Ranges National Park

Some wildflowers - you can see the Cassia 2nd row, 3rd from left. 




Next morning we packed up camp and followed the Old Paney Scenic Drive which takes you west to east across the Park. Built in 1888 Old Paney Homestead provides a glimpse into the pastoral heritage of the Gawler Ranges.  The Old Paney pastoral lease is now incorporated into the 166,000 hectare Gawler Rangers National Park.  The track continues past the Paney Shearing Sheds, connecting with the Thurlga Kimba Road where we turned south to Kimba. 

I loved this old chair sitting on the front verandah of the old Paney Homestead. The two RH pics are the old shearing sheds. 



 Kimba is halfway across Australia.


 











At Whites Knob lookout at Kimba you can see the sculpture of Eyre and Wylie which I showed you in my last post.   Erected in November 2011 these impressive figures were sculptured by Roland Weight and Marcus Possingham. 
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore much of Kimba, before returning to the Eyre Highway, and our next stop Port Augusta. Strangely the road along this part was very windy, and we had a lot of trouble with passing trucks blowing our side mirrors back - something which we had to sort out later - we didn't have this problem on the Nullarbor.

On the way we passed one of the Iron Knob iron ore mines.  (more on Iron Knob later in our trip)

Located at the head of Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta sits at the junction of Highway 1 and the Stuart Highway. Port Augusta is a major railway town and power generation centre of South Australia and has a population of over 14,000.  We booked into the Shoreline Caravan Park for a couple of days. It was a good opportunity to restock our fresh food supplies, and do some washing, in preparation for the next part of our trip.

I like the way the old wharf has been Incorporated into the waterfront precinct. 


A must do at Port Augusta is the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden only a few kilometres north. As well as a fabulous restaurant and gift shop, there are bush walks through the gardens showcasing some of South Australia’s beautiful wildflowers.  Spring is the best time to visit.  To find out more about the garden please click here - Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden


 They had a magnificent display of Sturt Desert Peas.   


We were intrigued by the Arid Smart gardens with examples of how to create a stunning waterwise garden at home. You can see an example of a formal desert garden below bottom left - yes they are all Australian native plants.  Did I tell you that have a fabulous restaurant?  We had a lovely lunch and on our return trip 4 weeks later we tried the quandong cake - delicious - the serve is enough for two! You can also buy icecreams flavoured with bush foods.

 
  
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed the next part of our trip. Next week we head north along the Stuart Highway and into the desert to Woomera and Cooby Pedy.

If you missed the first part of our South Australia trip you can catch up by clicking on the links below -



 I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been


 

35 comments:

  1. Jill, thanks for sharing your trip and your great photos! I think you have captured your expedition very well.

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  2. Wow! I've never been to Australia, and your wonderful photographs make for a fantastic "field trip" this morning! Thank you for sharing them.

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  3. Jill, what a an awesome trip! The scenery is gorgeous. I love the organ pipe rocks and the beautiful wildflowers! Wonderful post and photos. Have a happy week ahead!

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  4. A very beautiful place, I love it :)

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  5. What a wonderful trip, I would have loved to have been with you. The flowers are stunning and the organ pipes remind me that I have seen a similar much smaller formation on the shores of Lago di Bolsena in Italy.

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    1. it is fabulous to "meet" up with you Linda. Another blogging friend told me about similar formations near where she lives in USA.

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  6. I forgot to mention I have linked to this post on my new FB page today. :)

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  7. Such beautiful scenery - sometimes stark, sometimes lush. Thanks for including a wee map with the post - helps me orient myself a little.

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  8. Just amazing wild flowers and how neat to see the wild life there.

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  9. The Cassias and the rusty red gravel road pulled me into your story and adventure immediately, then the wildflowers, so delicate and yet incredibly vibrant. I loved the crimson red Sturt desert peas.

    What still amazes me is the variety, because I have tended to think that between WA and Adelaide there is a whole lot of nothing but how wrong you are proving my inept thoughts.

    Dave would have loved all that geology, and the organ pipes look spellbinding ... especially when you think how long they've been there - almost inconceivable. Wow, we live in an ancient and magnificent land.

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    1. Jo, you really should put the Gawler Ranges and the Organ Pipes on your list if you ever go to South Australia.

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  10. Gosh that's a lovely post, and so full of wonderful photos. I love those rock formations. We have some sedimentary rocks here and the similar formations are called HooDoos. :) I love your wildflowers. I love wildflowers everywhere, and the birds are lovely too. Looks like you had a wonderful trip. :)

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    1. the wildflowers are my favourite thing about travel during spring.

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  11. You have make beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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  12. What a pretty homestead! And lovely shots of the rock formations.

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  13. Great post! landscapes are amazing, wonderful wildlife and beautiful collection of the colorful flowers. truly, remarkable tour. thanks for sharing your experience with us..

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  14. Yet another awesome journey to share with us, Jill! Thank you! Those wildflowers are absolutely beautiful and I'm so glad you a picture of the kangaroos....that was my favorite.The quandong cake looks sooooo yummy :)

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  15. A wonderful collection of wild-flower captures Jill ... Stunning rural Australia at it's best

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  16. Thanks for taking us along, your photos always make me feel as if I'm right there!
    Gorgeous country!
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  17. WOW!! So much beauty in one post! I'm glad to have discovered your blog through Lindy Lou. I'm a fellow Aussie. :)

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    1. Australia is just the most wonderful place isn't it Liz! welcome to my blog. Great to meet you.

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  18. As always I love the tours you take us on - this one is no exception! Beautiful scenery!

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  19. Gorgeous photos. I love how you've captured the variety in the landscape. Even though it looks dry, beautiful wild flowers abound.
    Thanks for the tour, Jill!

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  20. Two hours south of Tucson, there is a similar National Forest with "organ pipes". You can see it here: www.flickr.com/photos/27932019@N07/4814251749/in/photolis... Your formations, though, have that wonderful red color. The rocks really set off the yellow bushes. Great photo--wonderful narrative.

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  21. The top pic of the road had me wanting to get in the car and go --- anywhere on a road trip. The rest of the story and photos convinced me that I should follow your route sometime. Beautiful and unusual landscapes and those amazing animals -- would love to see all of this.

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    1. thanks Cathy for stopping by. I am glad you enjoyed the trip. I don't seem to be able to link up to your blog to see where you are.

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  22. I realized that everyone can paint or take pictures. The difference is, you are one of the best and I love seeing the beauty through your lens. Wonderful photos of your piece of the world.

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  23. There is a volcanic formation called the Devil's Postpile in California's eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range that looks like the Organ Pipes, except that the color is black/grayish.

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  24. Love the look of his countryside Jill - especially the organ pipe rock formations and flowers. Just beautiful and what an experience you had. The wave reminds me of one of the rocks in Arizona - perhaps a little smaller.

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  25. Wow, Magnificent landscapes, beautiful wildlife and pretty flowers!
    Such great post! Thanks for sharing your travel experience with us.

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  26. Those Organ Pipes are fantastic. I thought they were smaller until you mentioned that they tower over you. You have beautiful wildflower photos. It's a good thing you husband stayed occupied chasing down the wildlife.

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  27. The only organ pipes I've seen were in Narrabri, NSW - these ones look pretty good too!! I LOVE the Arid Lands Botanic Garden, but it's been WAY too long since we've been there - quandong ANYTHING is good!!!

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    1. odd - for some reason I thought I had read a blog post from you about the organ pipes in the Gawler Ranges. Perhaps it was Narrabri. We were lucky the wildflowers were in bloom when we went to the Arid Lands Botanic Garden - really the only time to visit. And I must agree about the quandongs!

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