We had thought of doing a station stay for a couple of nights and Stephen had tried phoning and emailing them, but no response. In fact, they only got in touch late in the day yesterday when we had already made a dental appointment for Stephen in Port Augusta. He has been having toothache for a few days, treating with Panadol, and finally decided it was time to go. He was able to get an appointment in Port Augusta for tomorrow (Friday morning), which left us one more night in the north.
In the evening of our last night at Wilpena Pound we went to the Resort restaurant for a meal. It was a fairly casual dining experience, with good food and service. A fitting last night as although we were by then familiar with the Visitor Centre and shop we hadn’t really seen what the resort section was like. It doesn’t overwhelm the scenery and seems pretty low key.
We chose this rest stop (NCR) because by the time we finished at the gallery in Hawker it was late in the afternoon. It was much closer to come north about 10kms than to try to get to the next RA about 80kms to the south. We chose it for the wonderful views, ignoring the comments on Wikicamps about strong winds. There is a more sheltered site a couple of kms up the road, but it didn’t sound as attractive. We have one other camper here, a lone woman driving a similar camper, but with a canvas extension. I don’t know how she managed last night because it was frightening enough in our camper. At about 1.30 a.m. it started to rain and the wind died down somewhat and we were able to get back to sleep. Of course, this morning we are glad to be here enjoying the wonderful views.
Our first stop yesterday morning was at the Carneaux Tree, just a little north of the Wilpena Campground. It was photographed in 1937 by Harold Cazneaux who called it ‘Spirit of Endurance’. Part of the beauty of it lies in the setting and I’ve tried to replicate his photo. Well worth the stop. Yesterday was cloudy, especially in the morning, which made for a different mood for the photos.
This is another recommended lookout, with views back to the Pound. Again, it was a wonderful spot for photography.
We stopped at another viewpoint before Hawker which had views of the Elder Range.
Jeff Morgan Gallery and Wilpena Cyclorama – Hawker
We arrived in Hawker at about 1.00 p.m. and made our way to our now favourite cafe for pies and drinks before tackling the gallery. Jeff Morgan is a local artist who has spent a lifetime painting scenes of the area. He also has an extensive rock collection and even some vintage cars. He was originally a signwriter, so his style is distinctive and somewhat realistic. He has several diaoramas as well as the circular painting of Wilpena Pound. Quite overwhelming. He was working on another diaorama whilst we were there, bringing heavy rocks inside with a wheelbarrow to make the setting before a new painting.
The Flinders Ranges experience
Have the Flinders Ranges lived up to my hopes? Definitely, and more. We’ve been able to immerse ourselves in the area and although we’ve left a lot unexplored we feel that we have the flavour of it. Very special indeed.