touring, travel and photography

Merna Mora – Flinders Ranges

South Australia has a long weekend in March for the Adelaide Cup. Given our interest in horse racing we hooked up the van and headed to the Flinders Ranges instead.

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Our destination was Merna Mora Station, about 40kms North of Hawker, a 230square mile property where they run cattle, sheep and free-range tourists.

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There are four drives on the property plus many many destinations nearby. Arriving before midday on the Saturday we quickly set up camp, had lunch and then headed out on the Wowee Track.

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This one is for experienced 4WDers with high clearance vehicles and comprises lots of steep climbs and loose descents with views of the Ranges, Lake Torrens, wildlife, stock and waterholes. A rugged track through rugged country with plenty to keep drivers and passengers interested.

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For the second half of the track I let Mitch loose at the wheel and he drove it easily and looked relaxed and comfortable.
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Sunday was a full day of driving as we wanted to visit as many gorges as possible due to the recent heavy rain. We started on the Moralana Scenic Drive which is a 30km drive through lower parts of the Ranges. We included a diversion to Black Gap for a walk in the valley. Plenty of rock pools here but the water was barely flowing.

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Continuing on we rejoined the bitumen near Rawnsley Park and headed North to Wilpena Pound for lunch. Although best known as a very tourist focussed destination the Pound is still one of the most beautiful places in the Flinders Ranges.
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From the Pound we continued North on bitumen. A quick stop at the Cazneaux Tree for photos that probably won’t be as good as the original. Soon after we turned off onto a gravel road that would lead to Bunyeroo Gorge.

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Several lookouts on the high points give superb vistas and plenty of photos were taken. We were also intrigued and amused by a German couple in a purple highroof Troopy that first video’d the scenery and then several takes of the Troopy driving the winding downhill track.
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Down into the Gorge itself the valley was dry for the first half but wet around the exit. Given the huge rains they had just had the water had all but disappeared. Plenty of evidence around though that the water had come through in a rush.

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Another 30kms North we arrived at Brachina Gorge, one of the jewels of the Flinders Ranges. Plenty of water here and we helped out some tourists in a Daewoo by emptying some of the bigger puddles. That’s my excuse anyway.

The drive through the Gorge is long and spectacular and most of it is in the creek bed. Towards the end, adjacent to a large rockfall, is a Yellow Foot Rock Wallaby enclave. Living in holes and caves in the steep cliff face these shy and endangered beauties were putting on a show for us tourists. One was happy posing on a rock with two more moving around in the background.
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Leaving the Gorge we took the track West and joined the highway for a quick run South to Merna Mora.

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Monday was a pretty leisurely morning of breakfast and packing up. Leaving our hosts we drove to Hawker and visited the Flinders Panorama exhibit. The panorama is a 360degree painting showing the view from StMarys peak near Wilpena Pound. As good as this is I thought the MASSIVE full wall paintings that artist Jeff Morgan has done were even better. “Rons Creek” was our favourite, 15 metres wide X 5 metres deep and took 3,000 hours to complete, with a total change of perspective depending on which end you stand at.

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From Hawker it was a lazy drive home with a few stops for photos and food.

We’ve never had a bad trip to the Flinders Ranges and this was no exception.

4 Responses

  1. Todd ( NissanGQ4.2 )

    Yet again, excellent photo’s Andrew

    March 13, 2012 at 20:14

  2. Excellent Photos Andrew. We are thrilled that you have included us on your blog. We are loking at getting in to social media and this is great. Your photos are so clear and your comments great too.
    Look forward to seeing you again at Merna Mora and see what other magic you can do with your camera
    Kaye, Donald, Philip and Sonya Fels

    March 15, 2012 at 09:47

    • Thanks Kaye
      We look forward to coming back to stay and also driving some more of your tracks.

      March 15, 2012 at 19:02

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