We left Coongie Lakes and headed back through Innamincka for a fuel top up. Then off down the Strzelecki Track into the guts of South Australia.
We decided that being so close to Cameron Corner we had to make the effort to get across to the intersection of NSW, Queensland and South Australia. Cammy had to see his corner!!
We didn’t last long at the corner post with a horrible wind blowing and were quickly inside the Corner Store where some hot chips were ordered. We made it to a campsite along the Strzelecki Creek and set up for the night.
The next day the wind was howling and we were in a massive dust storm that was blocking out any view. Add to that a pretty ordinary rough road and it was tough going. We turned off heading over to the Gammon Ranges which wasn’t much more than a farm track. Luckily we found a dry river crossing at Mulligan Creek to camp at that had just enough vegetation and steep enough banks that the impact of the wind was minimized.
In the distance we could see the Gammon Ranges (the northern section of the Flinders Ranges) appearing up out of the plain gibber desert.
Interestingly, for such a sparse, rocky landscape, this desert held an amazing amount of wildlife – kangaroos and emus in particular in large numbers. We spent some time in the national park and also up in the Arkaroola Wildlife Sanctuary area – a beautiful area with amazing rocky ridges and gorges and rock wallabies hiding around every boulder.
We had some lunch at the wilderness lodge and had a good chat to the people there about the area and what we could get around to see (although with the windy conditions we were happy doing some sight-seeing from inside the car!). That time of day came when we started thinking about a camp for the night and we were mainly focused on a sheltered tent site. Eventually we cracked and, being fairly close to various small towns, we hit the road and decided we’d ride out the wind in a cabin. We opted for Leigh Creek which, as it turned out, had various options for cabins – we chose the “resort” which was pretty good for a basic cabin.
We quickly noticed the ghost town around us – but a nice, well laid out and well equipped ghost town with Olympic pool, school, library, shopping centre, pub, oval, playgrounds, neat streets with small, neat houses…..just very few people. We hadn’t brushed up on recent mining activity – or more to the point, mining shut-downs – and this is one town that has been moth-balled when the local mine closed last year.
The town was actually moved to make way for the coal mine’s expansion back in the early ‘80s so everything is only 30 years old and in fairly good condition. There was half-hearted talk of something else – more mining or gas probably – coming along to reinvigorate the town but I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that. The lack of people but continued irrigation of the gardens, oval and any other grass has allowed the emus and kangaroos to move in and casually graze across the area.
The wind kept up and we were happy being inside for a change! The family cabin was two identical cabins with a door joining them so the boys happily had their own TV and their own space which was also a nice change!