Day 11: Blinman Trip and Camel Riding
On our 11th day, we were treated to another stunning, crisp but beautiful Flinders Ranges morning! The catering team put on a delicious Eggs Benedict breakfast, a gourmet treat we did not expect whilst staying on a sheep station property.
As soon as the team was organised, we were escorted by the property owner – Sally – on a guided drive and walk to the Blinman Pools, located in the Blinman Creek, on the Alpana property. Sally was a font of knowledge, sharing the property’s history and pointing out interesting vegetation and wildlife on the four wheel drive track to the Blinman Pools.
Where is Blinman located?
The walk to the pools was along a tributary creek, and the first pool was the highest up the creek, and a very pretty but chilly pool of water that was held by a rock shelf. Then we walked downstream to check out two more pools before returning to the 4WDs and heading back to the station homestead.
We just took a quick bite to eat for lunch as we had to head out to our next activity—a camel riding tour with Australian Camel Tours!
Unfortunately, when we arrived, we were greeted with the news that the tour operators had lost two of their camels to snake bite, so they had made the decision to release them into a 10,000 square kilometre paddock. The chase was on to track down the camels, which we eventually found near a water tank, way out in the middle of one of the paddocks.
Indy (Karen) the camel tour owner and operator had her team feed the camels with some fresh hay bales (which brought around 30 camels running to have a feed). Macca did an interview with Indy, whilst the camels gorged themselves on hay and carrots.
Then we headed back to the station for the highlight of our trip: a savoury roast dinner. The dining room featured an open fire which warmed us up as the mercury plummeted outside.
Day 12: Adnyamathanha Art Site Tour and BBQ Dinner
The team was greeted with a clear blue sky on the morning of our 12th Day at Flinders Ranges. Last night was our last at Alpana Station, so after a hearty breakfast around the open fire, we packed up our gear, loaded the cars and headed back towards Blinman township, where we turned left for a short drive to the Wadna Indigenous art gallery and shop.
Upon arrival we were greeted warmly by Christian, an Indigenous Australian artist and owner of the gallery, where we also met his wife. Christian told us about his work as an artist and the business he has established to sell his artwork and also the artwork and products of other Indigenous artists.
He then suggested we go to the Adnyamathanha Art Site about a 20 minute drive away, so we all piled into the vehicles and off we went. Adnyamathanha are the Aboriginal people of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. The name Adnyamathanha means "rock people" in the Adnyamathanha language. It is also a term referring to the Lakes Culture societies living in that area. On our arrival and as we walked into the art site, Christian showed us a couple of bush tucker plants and described how his ancestors had used them as a food source.
He then showed us some boulders which had engravings in them depicting a nearby water source and some of the native fauna and mega-fauna that had been carved as petroglyphs in the rocks. Christian also described how carbon dating of fossils with tool marks found in the Flinders Ranges had been carbon dated to 49,000 years!
Macca and Christian then did an interview on camera whilst the rest of the team went for a walk down to the creek bed to check out the spring fed water holes. After the guided walk was complete, the team headed back into Blinman for coffees at the Miner’s Cribb Bakery & Café and then hot pies for lunch at the Blinman Hotel.
Following a quick lunch stop, we drove to the track through Glass Gorge to film some more corrugations with the vans and vehicles. Glass Gorge offers a spectacular view of the Flinders Ranges landscape. You can also learn about the fascinating Indigenous history attached to the area, led by the local Adnyamathanha guides.
Once this was done, we then set off to Arkaroola Resort, about 150km away on dirt roads. On the way, we stopped at Ngawarla Wami (Echo Bend) and set up to film a cooking segment with Macca, grilling some chicken wings, meat balls and Fritz meat roll on a portable disposable charcoal grill called Casusgrill with the CAOS Jeep and Nomad 270 Bub Awning as a backdrop.
The sun was dropping low in the sky, offering some amazing photo opportunities as the light faded into the “golden hour”. With the cooking segment done and wrapped, we jumped back into the four wheel drives and headed for Arkaroola Resort as the sun set and darkness enveloped the dirt track.
Because the wind had dropped, the dust kicked up by the cars hung in the air like thick fog, so the convoy had to spread out to minimise dust being sucked into the car’s air filters. Upon arrival at Arkaroola, we were just in time for BBQ night at the resort! There was a buffet dinner served beside the pool area, with an open fire at the side of the dining area.
A hearty dinner of BBQ’d chicken rissoles, lemon garlic chicken, chicken kebabs, pork ribs and sausages with some gourmet salads was enjoyed by the whole team after a long day of filming and driving. The tables in the outdoor seating area were ‘grab an empty spot and meet the people at your table’, a bit like dining on a cruise ship, but on very dry land. After a quick dinner, we called it a day and headed to our rooms to get some well earned rest.