Gawler Ranges

The Gawler Ranges were only a short drive from Pildappa Rock, so we set off relatively late and set up camp at the Yandinga campsite in the National Park at about lunch time.  In the afternoon we drove around to the organ pipes.    Most of the Gawler Ranges are made up of 1500 million year old volcanic rock and in areas where water courses have eroded and exposed the underlying rocks, it has left some amazing columns.

After sitting and admiring the formations, on the walk back to the car and the subsequent drive back to the camp, I spotted no less than 5 new species of bird:  Gilbert’s Whistler; Crested Bell Bird and the three below.

jacky winter
Jacky Winter
rufous treecreeper
Rufous Treecreeper
white fronted honeyeater
White Fronted Honeyeater

After a lovely quiet night we were up early to do a circuit drive around the Gawler Ranges National Park which featured more interesting organ pipe rocks, some old pastoral homesteads that had been preserved/restored, but the highlight of the drive was seeing a southern hairy nosed wombat out in the open in the middle of the day – very unusual.

An old stone dam (LHS) and an old stone and newer concrete water tank (RHS) – interesting to see which stood the test of time.

southern hairy nosed wombat
Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat, found in the southern arid areas of Australia.   Unlike the Common Wombat found on the east coastal areas of Australia, which is a cross between hippopotamus, guinea pig and Staffordshire terrier, the southern hairy nosed wombat has been crossed with a bulldog instead to give the wrinkled skin, flat nose and slightly larger form. One of the photos below shows the baby wombat just outside the burrow that had died. It had died some time before. 

We also spotted this dragon on the rocks near Kolay Mirica falls.   It had an interesting habit of swishing its tail like a cat.    I think this might be a tawny dragon – if anyone can advise, please let us know.

gawler view 2
Exploring the Gawler Ranges
Brown falcon 2
A brown falcon guards the entry to a restricted track in the Gawler Ranges National Park

After returning to our campsite, we decided to stay an extra night rather than pushing on to our next destination so we had a relaxing couple of hours in the late afternoon.    That evening during a walk, I encountered some goats in an open plain.   Having heard that humans have better endurance than most animals, I decided I would take the opportunity to get some exercise after a rather sedentary day and test the theory.   So I set off at a medium pace after the goats, which immediately scampered off.    Sure enough, it took only about two minutes before the goats started running out of steam and I soon caught up with the slowest one.   Although it is considered a feral pest in the outback, I certainly didn’t have it in me to do my bit for the environment, so having grabbed it and taken the trophy photo, I let it go.   Seems the one on the right wasn’t so lucky.  S




2 thoughts on “Gawler Ranges

  1. I had a look at as many shots of a tawny dragon as I could find.

    You certainly are in exactly the right area. The colouring, yellow/grey/green around the gills suggests a male.

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of uniformity in the the web photos and I guess there might be seasonal and maturity markings. The spots on the back to the one you photographed are very distinct though the web photos certainly showed tawny dragons with spotted backs as well.

    Nice rocks too.


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