26 July 2012

Customer Trip Report - Birdsville by the Whittington's

After taking delivery of our new Explorer Campers and Canvas (Lawson) camper trailer in the scond half of 2011, we set-off on the road to Birdsville via the Flinders. The drive from Cobar to Menindee Lakes following the eastern side of the Darling River was the start of some magnificent touring. The Lakes being over 100% capacity was a draw card for congregations of birds and tourists alike.
Our Flinders journey started on the Spencer Gulf enjoying the unique seaport townships before heading north into the Flinders Rangers. With so many aspects of the Flinders to explore we started at the southern end and took in Mt Remarkable NP including Alligator Gorge. Continuing further north took us into the Flinders Rangers NP camping at Willow Springs – a working sheep station. This was a central location to Sky Trek, Wilpena Pound and the many amazing gorges.
Sky Trek - Willow Springs - Flinders Ranges

This area is steeped in history with the many ruins remaining from the early farming pioneers. The gorges are home to the endangered Yellow-foot wallaby and many other native animals. Lunch at the Prairie Hotel – Parachilna known for its road kill hamburgers is a must.
The North Flinders and Gammon Ranges presented a more dramatic landscape of red basalt rocky mountains with waterholes and huge river gums dotted throughout the gorges.
Many of our camps had been quick setups so Leigh Creek was a welcoming stop to re-stock supplies and tidy up before heading north into the more remote areas.
At Maree we were fortunate to take a flight over Lake Eyre which took us up the Birdsville track, circled over Cooper Creek crossing and then down Cooper Creek to Lake Eyre. A lifetime experience to witness Madigan Gulf with its unusual colours presented from an algae bloom and just the right conditions, returning via Lake Eyre South back to Maree. An exhilarating 2 hour return flight that later took 3 hours/150km to drive and reach the punt to cross Coopers Creek. To this point we had our fingers crossed that we would be under the 9.8m max. vehicular length limit. We squeezed on and didn’t have to take off the spare rear tyre which was our backup plan.
The Punt at Cooper Creek - yes it fits!
Leaving the Cooper, Birdsville was another 2 days/520km of varied driving conditions including rocks, bull dust and poor visibility that comes with driving in a dust storm. Mungeranie Road House was a welcoming oasis to camp down and enjoy some good company and pub meal.
Was the highlight at the Birdsville Pub and the colourful locals or Big Red in a sea of water? Standing atop Bid Red with water views to the north, south and east was an unexpected sight along with the diverse show of vegetation that had sprouted since the ‘wet’. The boys had a little play on the sand dunes, apparently, a must-do out this way when you go to the Simpson.

Water views from Big Red!
The journey home via Cordilla Downs and Innaminka presented yet more variation in the landscape with the road littered with tyre destroying rocks, fortunately which we managed to avoid.
Returning east we passed through many small country communities with welcoming gardens and hospitality; quite a contrast to what we had left behind.

Packing up before hitting the road again!
 After 5 weeks and 6,800 km, our new explorer camper had provided us with stress free travelling and a whole new experience. Thanks to Scott and Andrew who patiently accommodated the weeks and months of the planning process and the mind changes whilst building our camper trailer.

Sheryl & Trevor Whittington

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