Our batteries were recharged in Adelaide. We were excited to hit the road again, go camping, and explore Australia. We drove to Mount Remarkable, with our first stop being Melrose. It was a remote village, but the road leading to it was beautiful. There was little traffic, and the landscape changed magnificently. After a long drive, we decided to stay at the first free camping spot we found. We were all alone by a sheep pasture at the foot of Mount Remarkable. Occasionally, we caught a whiff of a “dead sheep” smell. There was one lying in the middle of the field. The view, once again, was phenomenal. We were able to witness a beautiful sunset. We immediately tested our new acquisition, the fly net, and it couldn’t have arrived better.
We were ready to go after enjoying a delicious cup of fresh coffee and a shower. It was going to be quite hot today, so we decided to go for a hike early. We chose the “Melrose Nature Hike.” The trail wasn’t very clearly marked, but that made it all the more adventurous. Our hike began with a small footbridge and then ascended steeply. We saw vast landscapes and the peak of Mount Remarkable. Along and beside the trail, we encountered kangaroos and sheep.
On our way to Mount Remarkable National Park, I was fortunate enough to stop just in time for a goanna sunning itself in the middle of the road. To enter the park, you must purchase a day pass for ten dollars, and camping is fee-based. It seemed more logical to drive a bit further and visit the park the next day. As planned, we arrived in Port Germein. This tiny coastal village is home to the longest pier in South Australia. Finally, I had the chance to hang up my hammock, which brought me a blissful feeling!
It was time to stretch our legs the next day. We packed everything up and planned to secure the cover over our rooftop tent quickly. I nearly had a heart attack when a large spider suddenly emerged from the cover. A local was kind enough to remove the spider. Fortunately, the spider, a Huntsman, is not venomous to humans, but I was still quite startled. We usually put the cover in our car every evening, but not always immediately. Lesson learned.
Arriving at the National Park, we parked and already saw emus roaming around. I was no longer feeling so at ease. We opted for a moderate hike to the Sugar Gum Lookout (a type of eucalyptus tree that mainly grows in South Australia). I was relieved to see the wide hiking trail. Along the way, we saw a tremendous amount of wildlife (no exaggeration). Lots of kangaroos, as well as emus, an eagle, and goannas. I have to keep reminding myself that these animals won’t harm me, but I still occasionally break out in a cold sweat from fear. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful hike through the forest, and it’s a nice bonus to see these animals in their natural habitat. I’ll just have to accept the fear, right?
We returned to our car a couple of hours and ten kilometers later. It was time to continue our journey to Flinders Ranges. We made a brief pit stop in Quorn, which looked like a movie set. Our final destination of the day was Hawker. On the way, we noticed a beautiful change in the landscape. From the lush green hills and mountains of Adelaide to the red and vast Outback. Due to the expansive landscapes in the Outback, dust devils often occur here. We also had to make a quick stop in the middle of the road for filming. We noticed many dead kangaroos along this highway, some more decomposed than others. Quite impressive. Luckily, Ely was not driving too fast because he had to brake suddenly for an emu crossing the road. The bird quickly ran across, but we were still quite startled. The camping site in Hawker was charming. We opened everything up, which took some time, and enjoyed the warm weather. We couldn’t resist taking a refreshing dip in the pool to cool off.
We didn’t hit any kangaroos, so hopefully, that’s not too shocking for you.
It would be even hotter the next day, so we decided (with much reluctance on my part) to wake up a bit earlier. We set off towards Wilpena Pound, the heart of the Flinders Ranges. Feeling a bit rebellious, we chose to take a scenic drive. It was quite an adventurous choice since these roads are only recommended for 4WD vehicles, and there was certainly no cell phone reception. But it was absolutely worth it. We saw quite a few, especially giant kangaroos, either quickly hopping away or looking up at us. We were amazed by one beautiful view after another. We were left speechless.
Upon reaching the center, we decided to do something different from “yet another” few kilometers hike. Not to say hiking isn’t beautiful or enjoyable, but the options were limited. Through our Lonely Planet guidebook, we came across an off-road route of 110 kilometers through the Flinders Ranges. We decided to be a little daring and chose this route. With a hint of apprehension, we set off. We went from one stunning landscape to another. Words cannot do it justice. Apologies for that. We didn’t spot much wildlife except the hundreds of dead kangaroos, as most animals seek shade during the day. We were completely alone on our route with no cell phone reception. Fortunately, our car held up. At one point, we heard a loud bang, which turned out to be a stone hitting the underside of the car. Our car will definitely need a good wash after all that red dust.
Our final stop on the itinerary was a 360° view over the Flinders. We had to navigate a steep climb with our car to reach it. During our ascent, we encountered a steep section where it seemed like our car wouldn’t make it. 4WD routes can be pretty thrilling. But the clammy hands on the steering wheel were more than worth it when we reached the top. We returned to civilization three hours later (as you can’t drive fast on these sandy roads). The temperatures quickly rose to 35 degrees Celsius, too hot to do much else. We hurried back to our campsite. We relaxed, took a refreshing swim, and enjoyed the warm temperatures outside until late in the evening. We truly had a vacation feeling.
We felt a tiny bit guilty for not going on a hike, so we drove to Wilpena Pound the following day. From there, we embarked on the “Wanngarra Lookout Hike,” which was about ten kilometers long. It was incredibly hot, around 38 degrees Celsius. At the beginning of the trail, there was a guestbook where you’re supposed to write down which hike you’ll be doing and what time you’re departing. We thought it was a good idea since we’ve heard horror stories of people getting lost and succumbing to the heat. Everyone advised us to wear a hat from the start to protect ourselves better from the sun. Being a bit rebellious, we refused to buy a hat. Can you imagine our hair getting messed up?! 😀 However, the Outback is teeming with flies. Almost unbearable. So we killed two birds with one stone: buying a hat and a fly net. It looked quite ridiculous, but it’s perfect for here.
After a beautiful mountain hike, we were treated to a magnificent panoramic view of the Flinders Ranges. It was a fantastic way to end the hike. We saw some kangaroos, iguanas, and wild goats along the way. Once we returned to our car, we started planning our next trip: Coober Pedy. This town is even deeper in the Outback. You can either take the highway or the unsealed roads. These are roads without asphalt and are not always in good condition. Unfortunately, the current road conditions aren’t favorable (you can look it up online or find information at every visitor center), and it seems we would need a more robust vehicle. It’s a pity, but we’ll opt for the highway since we still want to cover many kilometers in the coming months. We made a short overnight stop in Port Augusta to depart for Coober Pedy the next morning.
X Inez & Ely
- flinders ranges
- mount remarkable
- national park
- port augusta
- port germein
- south australia
- wanngarra lookout
- wilpena pound