Some good star gazing kept us up last night but that meant it was slightly cooler when we hit the pillows. We packed up camp pretty quickly and used the picnic tables and shade in the day use area to get through some school work – motivation and commitment is very unpredictable with these boys so we did what we could.
We back-tracked to Port Pirie for some shopping and, yet again, supercheap auto to spend some credit they had put on our account…yes, another camp chair to replace an original old el cheapo – although the new one only cost $6 once the credit was used.
We then headed up the highway towards Port Augusta and then off towards Flinders Ranges NP. Our destination was Parachilna Gorge to set up camp and we were in no rush as it was a hot day (and the car air con was nice) so we looked at options for a drive around. We turned off towards Wilpena thinking we might be able to explore Wilpena Pound in the “cooler” afternoon but luckily some googling as we drove told us that – would you believe – Wilpena Pound was closed today – pretty much the only day that it had been closed for 12 months. In fact the whole park had been closed for a week so we were fortunate to not have planned a trip out before. Hopefully they are doing some goat control for the week because there were LOTS around. When we read signs about the Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies….we thought…good luck to those poor guys because there wasn’t much room left on the rocks and gorges and cliffs.
We got back on the road up to Parachilna, had a quick drive in to the “town” which was an dry dusty pub and dirt carpark with a train line running past that doesn’t see much use. Col and Mick stayed here on one of their adventures and when the afternoon freight train was heard coming, everyone emptied out of the pub with their beer and wine glasses to watch the freight train go by!
We drove out only about 15 minutes from the ‘town’ to Parachilna Gorge and set up camp across the dry creek bed. A spectacular camp – our first taste of some outback scenery, bone-dry heat that was totally bearable and amazing rock features. Emus, kangaroos, goats, another few dozen goats, sheep, ducks and some small waterbirds – Black-fronted dotterals we determined – muddling in the last trickle of creek water. The tiny creek that remained was crystal clear and flowing although it disappeared underground near us and didn’t seem to resurface – in fact many animals walked past our camp to get to the watering hole.
Add to that a spectacular sunset making the earthy colours of our surroundings morph as light, shadows and the dusk took over and the stars came out. Very nice.