Arkaroola, Northern Flinders Ranges, SA

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary

Ark

Arkaroola is in the northern Flinders Ranges. Millions of years ago a large rift valley was formed. After the rocks were laid down, huge forces beneath the surface pushed the layers up, hundreds of metres into the air. The layers of rock are now visible, often at steep angles and sometimes vertically. It is a unique geological location having sedimentary, metaphoric and volcanic rocks in the one location.

Arkaroola’s unique geological features were recognised by Sir Douglas Mawson, the famous Australian Antarctic explorer. He urged Reg Sprigg to get the pastoral lease of Arkaroola if possible. Reg and his wife Griselda were able to take over the lease in the 1960’s. Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is now run by their children Marg and Doug Sprigg. Those names may sound familiar to some readers, as this family did the first motorised crossing of the Simpson Desert in G60 Patrol.

The best parts of Arkaroola are seen on the world famous Ridgetop Tour whose highlight is the spectacular Sillars Lookout. Surprisingly, many visitors don’t go on the Tour. The tracks at Arkaroola were originally built by mining companies exploring Arkaroola.

There are several old copper mines and smelters around the property including Wheal Turner and Bolla Bollana being examples. The Doc also explored properties nearby Arkaroola and visited the Needles, the Yudnamuntana Historic Site (old copper smelter) and Mt Freeling Station.

There is less bird life at Arkaroola than the Gammon Ranges National Park 30 km to the south. But Arkaroola has a healthy population of Yellow-footed Wallabies, arguably Australia’s most beautiful macropod. The Doc managed to get a few shots.

The tracks constructed by the mining companies allow you to drive in many places across the property. He is a selection of photos from a couple of those drives including Titllite Gorge, Mt Jacobs Track and Stubbs Waterhole.

The Doc also took to the air in a helicopter over Arkaroola and Freeling Heights.

A separate Report on the textures of Arkaroola can be viewed here.

A beautiful place to visit but only part of the broader Flinders Ranges.

Kimberley/Pilbara Trip Trivia

The Doc decided to put some trivia together about the longest trip so far. Enjoy.

Time, distances and economy

  • the Kimberley/Pilbara Trip lasted 108 days;
  • total distance travelled was 27,000 kilometres exactly (what a coincidence!). The Patrol has now driven over 70,000 kilometres on The Excellent Adventure;
  • most kilometres travelled in one day, 1,032 kilometres;
  • average kilometres travelled each day was 250kms. In reality the figure was less, as 9,000kms was driven to and from the Kimberley which were concentrated days of driving;
  • best fuel economy was 12.4 litres per 100 kilometres. In 2WD, not towing, driving on the bitumen;
  • worst economy 15.1 litres per 100 kilometres. In 4WD, towing the trailer in sand at Cape Peron National Park;
  • average for the trip 14.4 litres per 100 kilometres, which makes sense as the trailer was attached for much of the trip. So the Pod Trailer adds about 2 litres per 100 kilometres, a modest increase compared to towing heavy trailers or caravans;
  • most expensive diesel was $2.50 a litre at Mt Barnett Station Roadhouse, Gibb River Road; and
  • total fuel bill, decided not to add it up!

Flights

Several flights were taken on the trip including:

  • helicopter trip over Purnalulu National Park (Bungle Bungle Range);
  • light plane flight out of Drysdale Station over Prince Regent River and the Mitchell Falls;
  • seaplane flight to the Horizontal Falls;
  • helicopter flight over the Horizontal Falls; and
  • 2 day helicopter trip over King Sound (Derby), Buccaneer Archipelago and the Artesian Range.

Corrugations

Over 60% of the trip was offroad. On badly corrugated roads, you can hit over 10 corrugations every metre (the four wheels do). A very, very conservative figure would be the car, trailer and driver went over 20 billion corrugations!!!! No wonder things break and get damaged.

Breakages

The breakages included:

  • hub cover on Patrol, it fell off and was lost on Charnley River Station;
  • broken wire on coolant alarm (it has broken twice before). Field repair that is still working;
  • striped thread on a shock absorber. The front shock was replaced (The Doc was carrying spares). No dramas as the damage was detected early;
  • after a car service an ignition fuse started to blow. It turned out to be a bare wire shorting on the rear towbar and nothing to do with the service;
  • front control arm bushes needed replacement;
  • a broken windscreen 3 days before the trip finished. Thanks to the driver who did not slow down properly on the Plenty Highway. The Doc got more stone hits on the windscreen that morning than the rest of the trip combined;
  • rivets on an awning came out, thanks to the corrugations on the Plenty Highway on the return trip.

Tucker

Best meal, no contest, Restaurant at Mornington Wilderness Camp. Drysdale River Station also put on a good meal.

Photo competitions

The Doc has been a bit quite because he has been indexing 300,000 images for AWC and also preparing some images for photo competitions.

Here is a selection of the images The Doc will shortly enter into an Australian competition (you get the low res versions, some images are over 350 megapxiels). Click on each images to see the correct size.

Wildlife

Landscapes