After Silverton, we stayed in Peterborough, which was unremarkable aside from the trivia that the town changed its name from Petersburg to Peterborough because of the anti-German vibe during WWI. Also it has a steam museum called SteamTown, which rather than being dedicated to the steam punk movement (fun!) was just more steam-driven artefacts without any punk tendencies. We’d run out of steam on steam, so we left the caravan park and went straight to Ororoo.
Ororoo has the privilege of having the largest and oldest gumtree in Ororoo. Shelley loves a good tree hug and got intimate with old mate, who was over 500 years old.
The gateway to the Flinders Ranges
A lot of towns in South Australia claim to be ‘the gateway to the Flinders Ranges’ even as far down as Port Augusta. Hawker is the legit gateway. We stopped in there for a coffee and some prattling from the owner and then drove into the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. Australia isn’t known for its peaks, it’s essentially a flat place; so finding this mountain range in the middle of nothingness seemed to heighten its beauty. The peaks were reddy-brown and undulating and the hills were green and covered with wildflowers, thanks to the recent rains. It was all very ‘Land Before Time’.
We took one of the first turn-offs in the park in order to climb Arkaroo Rock. The trail up led to aboriginal cave paintings. These were really fantastic, but it was a shame that the rock had to be locked away in a cage to stop bogans carving ‘Jayden luvs Kayla’ over the top of the emu tracks, which we saw evidence of in a smaller cave on the same track.
Heading north to our campsite in Trezona Range, we had to drive slowly to avoid hitting the kangaroos and emus that were bounding across the road. Even before dusk, they can be a hazard as they seem to decide at the very last second that now is a good time to run blindly across the road. It takes only one heavy braking incident to realise it’s best just to slow right down and enjoy watching them. The emus are the most amusing as they don’t seem to notice you till you’re feet way and then zoom off, their neck and head flailing back from the inertia of their acceleration.
It turns out that Land Before Time was quite an apt description as Trezona limestone is so old that it contains evidence of early life on Earth. There is a sign there called the Golden Spike which marks the base of the Ediacarin Period of geological time when single-celled life forms began to evolve into complex multi-celled organisms (approx. 635 million years ago). Mind blown, right? We camped next to an empty river bed and watched the roos and emus walk past and scrutinise our set up. “OMG they don’t even have an Engel, losers.” When the sun went down we saw one of the clearest skies either of us could remember, with a star megafactory and lots of milky way haze. We probably gazed upon it for a whole two minutes.
Highs: Hilarity of emus running with petticoats bouncing
Lows: Had hours, needed aeons