Edeowie

After the Flinders Ranges, our previous plan would have taken us north through the town of Marree then on up the legendary Birdsville track to Birdsville, onwards to Boulia, then West to Alice Springs.   However the flooding in northern Queensland in late January has caused the Diamantina river to come down in flood, fill Goyder’s lagoon and inundate sections of the track.   We were told that it would probably be another 4 weeks before it reopened, so from Parachilna, plan B (on the right below) involves heading back south to Quorn and Port Augusta then about 300 west to the Gawler Ranges, north to Coober Pedy, Oodnadatta, Dalhousie Springs then eventually to Alice Springs.

As plan B takes us back down to the west of Wilpena Pound, we took advantage of one final opportunity to get a different perspective of the Flinders Ranges.     Our next stop for 2 nights was on yet another private sheep station called Edeowie (pronounced: Eddy-ow-wee).

Again we had the place to ourselves – the homestead was about 1km away and out of sight.   The camping area was on the plain about 3km from the foot of Wilpena Pound and featured one of the nicest long drop toilets we have encountered.

On the downside, the flies were pretty bad and there were plenty of prickles everywhere, so we had quite a job cleaning up our shoes after walks, but we could still enjoy meals from our caravan dinette with view in peace for a location like this, it was worth it.

That afternoon I spotted 4 new bird species and we took a late afternoon drive to some nearby dunes to watch the setting sun light up Wilpena Pound.

wilpena pound from edeowie dunes
The western side of Wilpena Pound from dunes on Edeowie station.  The entrance to Edeowie Gorge can be seen from the shadow on the left side of the saddle.  It ultimately climbs up into the pound and my objective for the next day was to head up the gorge as far as the first waterfall (more correctly it should be called a waterfell – last time in 2016)

The next day was forecast to be hot, so I got up at first light (which is now about 7:20am local time) and after breakfast drove up to the base of the gorge.

edeowie camp first light
Venus, the moon, a red gum and earth in alignment

 

edeowie from gorge car park
The plains to the west from the start of the walk.  Our caravan can just be seen about 100m behind and to the right of the prominent green coolibah tree in the centre.   The buildings to the left are the ruins of the Edeowie Hotel (more about that later) and the current homestead buildings can be seen on the right
edeowie gorge entrance
The start of the track into Edeowie Gorge

 

 

While the gorge and falls themselves were mostly dry, there was a permanent spring at the base of the falls that ran about 100m down the gorge before soaking into the sand.   This was a haven for reeds, frogs, eagles as well as the ever present feral goats.    Although it was a hot day, it was pleasantly cool and free of flies in the gorge itself.  Apart from the eagles that were drinking at the waterhole when I arrived, the gorge was also unfortunately largely bird free – no new birds for the day.

Later that afternoon, we strolled over to the Edeowie pub ruins.   This is largely all that is left of the town that was among a string of towns surveyed in 1863 to provide line of services northwards.   While few unlucky people bought lots in the newly proclaimed town, it never really got off the ground as the great drought of the mid 1860s soon followed.  It enjoyed a brief revival when the railway west of the Flinders was built in the early 1880’s, but being a bit too far from the rail line itself, it declined and ultimately closed in 1886.

Edeowie hotel ruins, a big pile of 19th century bottles behind the pub and an interesting mushroom growing alongside new green shoots following the rains from the previous week.

stars at edeowie
Edeowie campsite at night – the stars are amazing

The next day it was back down to Hawker, where we treated ourselves to some trendy city-style food in the Flinders Food Co. cafe, then on to Quorn to stock up on some Quandong pie at the Quandong Cafe before heading to Port Augusta and two nights in the spacious luxury of a motel room!

My vegetable stack was so good in fact and it had been a long time having a salad this good (even better than the prairie hotel!)that I had to find the chef and tell him that his place was like an oasis. Better still it was indigenous run. M

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