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24 October 2009 - Marriage Lines 
                                       (Flinders Ranges)

G'day. It was good to wake up to blue skies again and some warmth after the wet. Whilst Barbara and I had been sweltering in the tropical Northern Territory much of south-eastern Australia had been experiencing storms, high winds and rain. To Australian eyes the water was manna from heaven after so much drought but to English eyes it didn't have quite the same excitement. "Look at those green fields" Adrian would cry, "It hasn't been like this for years." I have to admit it did look nice, with lush spring flowers by the roadside and a sheen of green across the vast prairie and tall gum trees standing aloof - much like the manicured estate of a British stately home.

Before leaving Cradock we stopped at the cemetery just outside town to look at the few graves, mostly from around the 1890s onwards, some of heartbreakingly young children. The graveyard had been overrun by rabbits and the few standing tombstones were at all-angles. However, given the isolation they couldn't have had a more magnificent resting place with the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges in the distance. We drove on and reached Wilpena around midday, bought a pass to the Flinders Ranges National Park (Aus$8) and arranged a scenic flight over the Wilpena Pound in a small six-seater for the afternoon.

Wilpena Pound is one of South Australia's most recognised landmarks - a natural amphitheatre of rugged weathered mountains about 17k in length and 8k wide and our flight was for 30 minutes around and over the peaks. After the smoothness through the air of today's big airliners, our little light aircraft was quite different and we felt every bump and jolt down the dirt runway, and every bit of turbulence through the air. However we did have the best possible view of the Pound and its highest peak, St Mary (1170m), before our young lady pilot returned us safely to earth. Audrey then took us on a scenic drive around the Bunyeroo Gorge using the dirt roads inside the Pound, with glowing views in the late afternoon light. Kangaroos are becoming a common sight and today we spotted several Shingle-back lizards by the side of the road and our first wild emus.

Phil the Pom


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