Out of range in the Flinders Ranges

The earth turns red, the landscape stretches as far as the eye can see. We are in the heart of Aussie nothingness, away from the distraction of phone, emails and internet and free to connect with the vastness, the stillness, the intense beauty that is the Flinders Ranges. Admittedly, the weather is more cloudy and wet than we’d hoped for. But it doesn’t prevent us from making the most of our Flinders experience and in our five Flinders days…

• Jack dines on his first Kangaroo burger at Parachilna Pub, to which he comments “It just jumped off my plate!”
• We visit sacred sites with aboriginal rock etchings and cave paintings, and after teaching the kids to recognise the aboriginal symbols for emu, kangaroo, shelter and waterhole, delight in seeing them use two rocks to scratch them out themselves.
• We spot enough wallabies, kangaroos and emu in the wild to become, dare we say, almost blasé about it.
• We add two of our own words to the English language, and put them to frequent use:
“Muddles” Defn. muddy puddles
“Car Poo” Defn. the great lumps of mud that fall of the underside of the car in piles behind the wheels after parking
• The kids discover the thrill of four-wheel-driving through terrain that is inaccessible to the ordinary car. Budge discovers the thrill of changing a punctured tyre in the rain (even the almighty Landcruiser has its limits).
• Jack nominates himself as Sam’s new power-walking-buddy and gets one hike under his belt before twisting his ankle. But the dream still lives on for both mum and son…
• And the Benjster, resilient little dude that he is, hijacks another kid’s bike and teaches himself to ride without training wheels. Seizing the moment, we negotiate a trade so that Benji can have the training-wheel-less bike all to himself, for keeps.

The biggest upside is our hike through the Wilpena Pound, a 3 hour hike for many, a 4.5 hour hike for us… but one where the weather clears as we scale the rocky escarpment and the sun breaks through the clouds when we reach the top, affording us the most magnificent views.

The one downside is a persistant gastro bug that rears its ugly head at night, targeting Benji for the whole of our stay, and giving Sam a “run” for her money one evening too (pardon the pun). But it’s nothing we can’t handle, and Jack’s exclamation as we hit the summit of on one of our final Flinders hikes – “Woah, you sure don’t see THIS from the classroom window” – reassures us that we’re on the right track in more ways than one.

That, and Rikki’s enthusiasm about seeing more “original” paintings….. (that’s “Aboriginal”, Rik).

We bookmark Flinders as a destination we’ll definitely return to.

Off for the first hike from our base-camp, Rawsley Station.
Forget Zebra Crossings.
In Flinders, it's all about the Emus.
Discovering why daddy needs a snorkle (or as Benji would say, "norkle") on his car.

Jack shows his strength at Arkaroo rock.