It was sad to leave Wilpena, but we have not compromised our trip by doing so. We are headed for Alpana Station, 5 kms south of Blinman (which is only a 54 km trip), so decided to detour through the Bunyeroo Gorge. What a great decision that was! Breathtaking views at every turn, loads of [dry] creek crossings, framed by magnificent ranges. Huge red gums, native pine trees, sheeoaks, lilies about to burst into flower. This place brings out a very emotional, spiritual side of me.
Arrived at Alpana Station, where we set up with a backdrop of eucalypts, a dry creek bed, ranges in every direction, a powered site [I know, but even Russ has been cold!!]. We even have an en suite! Now I’ve done it – you’ll never let us live it down!!
(Janice and John – dogs are allowed). Speaking of which, it is great to have the company of the station dogs. They have a very old dog named Bob – corgi/kelpi cross, with very short legs!, who came down to sleep with us last night, because his owners were out. The weather was atrocious, with thunderstorms, a howling gale, rain, but he slept outside the ensuite. Sally had put his dry-as-a-bone coat on fortunately.
We learnt about the two hour thunderstorm from locals the next day -didn’t hear a thing.
We visited Nungawurtina Hut, a recently rebuilt replica of the shepherd’s huts that were scattered throughout the Flinders Ranges in the 19th and 20th century. This in on their 51,000 acres of land and is 7 kms from the homestead.
On the way back to our camp, we took a drive to Sunset Lookout – is there another word for breathtaking? Sorry, but we had a panoramic view, looking out the St Vincent’s Gulf, we think.
Provisions required, so we headed to Leigh Creek, going through the beautiful Parachilna Gorge (my favourite). We took a photo of it 35 years ago and I did a bark picture of it way back then, and it was still the same today. So picturesque, maybe I’ll try and paint it when I get home.
We had some prescriptions to get in Leigh Creek – organized by phone a day ahead – except we forgot to ask if they were open on Saturday mornings. Of course NOT. Went to the hospital – a phone call was made and the pharmacist came IN, no charge, and was more than happy to serve us. Everyone we met at Leigh Creek was lovely and couldn’t have been more helpful. We had travelled 100 kms to get there, so we really appreciated it.
Drove 5 kms further to Copley, to visit the famous bakery, bought some pasties, drove to Aroona Dam to have a lovely lunch. This is Leigh Creek’s main water supply, which seems to be, not only beautiful, but abundant.
Years ago, the highway passed by Beltana – now it is 11 kms off the main road, and apparently the old historic building is now occupied by ‘alternative’ people. We don’t know quite what this means, because after taking the time to visit again, we saw no signs of life, except to hear a generator going. Whoever is there seems to be looking after the place, as it was tidy and it looked as if improvements were being made.
There was a Private Property sign, but we don’t know if someone has bought it or if they are squatters.
We arrived home at about 3 pm and realized we had forgotten to buy rolls, so had an experiment, using our Cobb oven, fuelled by charcoal, to make some home made ones!! Wonder what they’ll taste like! The bottoms were a bit brown, but the tops didn’t colour up much at all. I had to flip them over for 10 minutes or so.
After last night’s shocking weather, (howling gale, 15 mms of rain) we went to the Blinman pub for lunch today. I had a Roo burger, with bush tomato relish – tasty but the roo was tough and Russ had a saltbush lamb burger. He was happy with his choice.
At an interesting café in town, called “The Wild Lime Café”, I was able to buy some indigenous ingredients. Wattle seed, bush tomato powder, and a few other ingredients that I had tried to obtain a couple of months ago, when I had a special dinner for Cam’s birthday. Looks like I’ll have to give it all another go.
On the fourth and last day, we took a picnic lunch at to Glass Gorge, only to find it was 15 mins from Alpana, so continued on the loop road to Parachilna Gorge. We found a delightful spot for lunch in the gorge, plus it had a table, so we had a leisurely picnic lunch and then home to Blinman.
After a conversation with Sally about my interest in indigenous foods, she took us up to see quandong tree, full of unripe fruit. It reminded us of an Acacia, but Sally said she thought it was in the Sandalwood family. To my delight, we purchased half a kilo of quandongs, plus some un-roasted wattle seed. I was thrilled and can’t wait to get back and see what I can do with them.
We really enjoyed the stay and Sally Henery couldn’t have been more obliging, polite and informative. Nothing seemed too much trouble. We enjoyed our lengthy conversations about the Henery family and farm history and we were both treated to the best cuts of their own culled and marinated kangaroo. It was absolutely delicious – we had it BBQ’d rare. Thank you Sally – We recommend your station to everyone.