Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Argadells Long Weekend

Want some info about the place? Check here. Argadells

To avoid the inevitable traffic issues associated with public holidays we left for Quorn at 4am and although the roads were very quiet they certainly weren’t  devoid of traffic. The mangled mess of roads where the new South Road flyover is being built were a breeze. Port Wakefield Service Stations weren’t receiving visitors with nice hot chocolate even though it was 0 deg! We eventually managed a nice hot drink at “The Tin Man” just outside Port Pirie. Climate Control in the Jeep is fantastic, we had fun watching the outside temp. fluttering around zero while we were toasty warm inside.

We reached Quorn about 8:45 and although the plan was that the other Jeep Club members would be at the Service Station at 8:30 there was no sign of anyone and we couldn’t believe they would all have refuelled etc in 15 mins so we headed out for Argadells which is a working sheep station. All we saw were a few head of cattle and each evening we could hear cattle bellowing to be fed. The station has tracks running all across it, some simple dirt tracks and others rocky and/or steep.

We had booked a cabin because it’s June and I didn’t fancy camping out in cold, wet, windy, wintry weather but it wasn’t wet or windy or wintry just FREEZING in the mornings and after sunset.

I’ve given up trying to get the photos in here in any reasonable format so please check them out here:

Photos

The first jaunt of the weekend was back into Quorn since the others were going to get fuel etc and we’d left the meat behind at home but the shops weren’t open when we were in the town earlier. The butcher’s shop was quite an experience in itself. It’s probably a long narrow shop and when we arrived there were a couple of people already there and right behind us came about four more, naturally we didn’t spread out along the counter but all stayed bunched inside the door! The poor guy serving had to call for reinforcements, Alex ordered some steak and sausages but when he heard another guy ask for some “Worcestershire and Garlic Sausages” he changed his mind & as soon as he did another guy decided he’d take them. It was mayhem. The sausages were apparently so good that one of the cistomers had already eaten some for breakfast and was back for more. They certainly kept the fridge “scented” until we ate them on Monday night. Tasty but not worth driving up from Adelaide for.

When we were all back at Argadells we headed out to South Gorge and it was a nice drive, nothing scarey, then stopped there for lunch which seemed to be almost as soon as we’d started, just a bread roll with a banana in it for us. We’d eaten Bacon & Egg Muffins at Port Pirie and were still not really hungry. After South Gorge we made our way up Mt Arden and the view was fantastic. No problem getting a phone signal so photos and  messages were flying off from everyone. One guy had his photos on Facebook before we started the trip down. That part was a bit daunting but the car is excellent, just put it in 4WD Low range, 1st gear and it picks its way over the rocks. Doesn’t mean it’s not scarey though for novices! By the time we were down from there it was late afternoon and so we headed back to “camp”.

Camp ovens came out for a couple of people, one had a lamb roast with 4 vegies, that was Tom who had his little girl, Emily, with him. She’s only 3 but a very experienced 4WDer and a perfectly relaxed camper. I think Alex cooked steak on a BBQ and we ate it in a roll, the next night we heated up Osso Bucco I’d made at home and then the last night when everyone else had gone home we put the sausages & vegies in tin foil tubs and cooked them over the coals. They were delicious and although the thought of carting a heavy camp oven about the place doesn’t appeal there is a lot of pressure to take on “the art form”.

Day 2 started with a drive to the southern side of Buckaringa Gorge and that seemed very short, it ended abruptly at a locked gate,  on the way though we did see one Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby and a few Kangaroos. We went for a walk along the fenceline but weren’t able to continue far because of the fence, scratchy plants and rocks. Lunch was at a nice open patch where we watched the Kangaroos feeding across the way and then drivers making their way down a particularly rocky section of track. The first car to come down was a little, white Suzuki and it was the bashing of it on the rocks that caught our attention. When they reached us the driver cheerily told us it was his wife’s car but he had attached heavy bash plates underneath and he wasn’t at all worried about it. I was apprehensive as we headed up that track but it was OK. We had a few laughs at the leaders’ tips, lefts that turned out to be rights and a classic “turn left right at the top” which I took to mean a sharp left then right but Alex’ interpretation was correct, it meant at the very top turn left. Another classic was “it’s a little rocky at the top”  when it was actually VERY, VERY rocky at the base of the last climb. The views from the peaks were just fantastic and I love the plants, so ancient, tough and I think, statuesque.

All the other Jeep Club members left the next day but because Alex had an extra day off we’d decided to avoid the holiday traffic by staying an extra day so on Monday instead of heading for home we went to have a look at Warren Gorge and Buckaringa Gorge. Warren Gorge has heaps of great camping spots and is definitely a place to keep in mind for the future though we would have seen it in ideal conditions, beautiful weather and not many campers, maybe on Friday and Saturday it was chock a block with campers. Buckaringa Gorge on its northern side is part of a Sanctuary accessible only to walkers so it’s not surprising that we saw more wildlife there. Two Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies, several Kangaroos and a Shingleback Lizard just in the relatively short section we walked. We didn’t have hats, sunscreen or water so were limited in how far we could go.

Maybe 15 years ago when we had the RAV4 we stayed at Quorn & one day went looking for Proby’s Grave but didn’t find it, this time we found it without intending to. If you’re interested in knowing about him you can find information here:Proby

Throughout the Flinders Ranges there are ruins of towns and settlements which were established by optimistic developers who arrived in exceptionally good years and managed to convince others to come to the region only to have their dreams shattered. One little place is Simonston not far from Proby’s Grave and when we were there three children appeared walking down the road. There wasn’t an adult about and no cars in any direction. They just walked down past us and then headed up the station track but as you can see from the photo there is no homestead in view. Of course there was some disagreement and the boy went on ahead leaving the two girls to trail behind and although I was really curious about where they’d been I didn’t speak to them because they were vulnerable & we didn’t want to risk worrying them.

On Tuesday morning we left for home intending to drive over the Bridle Track just out of Port Germein. Clouds had rolled in and we both felt it strange that the last time we’d been heading for home after a camping holiday the skies were dark and rain was falling. Once we were on the Bridle Track it was clear why traveling anti-clockwise was the recommendation because going that way you get fantastic views over the hills, plains and Gulf. The Bridle Track was a nice way to finish off an excellent weekend, it’s the most enjoyable trip we’ve done with the Jeep Club. We enjoyed the company and the driving, possibly because we’ve more experience of rough tracks now or maybe because the Argadells tracks are simply more pleasing to drive. We’d certainly recommend Argadells as a great place for a driving/camping getaway.

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