Transported by the South Australian wind, we leave Kangaroo Island to return to the mainland: next stop the Barossa Valley with its vineyards and then to the north, towards the Flinder Ranges National Park.
In Adelaide, after a healthy lunch at Crudo, we meet Bert, our mobile home, a small van Mercedes converted to camper. Inside, in about 27 cubic meters, Bert contains: two seats, a wardrobe, a bathroom with a toilet and shower, a kitchenette, a TV corner, microwave, kettle, toaster, a table with two long padded seats that convert into a double bed for the night. Of course on the sides, above and below the convertible bed, several shelves and drawers have been created to store the various objects. There is even a small safe.
After having been duly instructed on the basic functions (gas, electricity, water, drains, etc.), finally we leave: our on the road trip is beginning!
The first stop of the day is Tanunda, in the Barossa Valley, area of vineyards renowned for the production of Shiraz. Naturally after wandering around a bit we find ourselves in a Bottle Shop where we buy two bottles of Shiraz. It is late afternoon, driving through the vineyards we reach the sunset: the silhouette of the trees and vines stands out on the horizon against the warm sun, giving enveloping colors and an enchanted atmosphere. We drive wrapped in the increasingly rosy light heading towards the Clare Valley, known for the Riesling. We arrive at the camping that is already dark, shops and Bottle Shop are closed so we are forced to give up our project to buy white wine too; by chance we arrive at the campsite that there is still one of the employees in the office to show us our site. We uncork the first bottle (Shiraz Round Two of 2016) and, with truly Italian spirit, we improvise an aperitif with croutons and cheese. The first night in the campervan we bitterly discover that the heating does not work. We spend the night in the cold, muffled in the duvet.
The following morning, after a fragrant breakfast of apple pie, we buy some basic necessities (electric heater first!) and set off northwards, destination Flinder Ranges National Park. We make a short stop at Bumbunga Lake, one of the famous Australian pink lakes – although not one of the most famous and in truth not even one of the most pink…
While we move away from the vineyards and orchards, the landscape becomes more and more arid. The first spinifex bushes appear. At Hawkers we stop to refuel at a service station opened since 1952, which is advertised as “the most useful in the world”. In fact, there is not much else around here and therefore, yes, it is undoubtedly useful. Then we leave again and after a few kilometers we find ourselves in a green area, full of trees, emus and kangaroos.
We are at the entrance to the Flinder Ranges National Park. We will sleep in the campsite of Wilpena Pound, in the heart of the Flinder Ranges: the camping is wonderful, the pitches surrounded by greenery in the trees, and it is not uncommon for some curious animals to approach searching for food. Around there is a lot of quiet. As soon as we arrive we leave for a short walk; we are lucky and soon we meet an entire family of Echidna! Now you have to know that the echidna (a funny little-looking porcupine with a long nose) was one of our travel goals! They are shy animals and it is not easy to spot them: it was therefore a great fortune to find them and be able to observe them so closely! The rest of the walk does not give us other meetings but wonderful views all around. In the evening – a little envious of the barbecue set up by the other camperists – we dine in the Bistro of the Resort and taste for the first time the barramundi, freshwater fish ubiquitous in the Australian menus.
The following day we leave for a slightly longer hike: with a walk of about 3 hours one can reach a panoramic point from which he/she can enjoy the entire Ikara. Ikara is a wonderful natural amphitheater surrounded by mountains. The route is simple, passes through a forest and then comes across Hills Homestead, an abandoned and now restored farm. With a little effort, you can climb up to the lookout point where you can admire the boundless beauty of Ikara. While returning, we choose the path on the right, which climbs on the ridge away from the woods. On the path we still meet a family of mouflons (or presumed such) that grinds undisturbed.
We return to the base and start driving again, heading south for 160 km towards Port Augusta, a town that has very little to offer apart from its position at the intersection of the Flinder Ranges Way and the Stuart Hwy. We walk at sunset along the sandy beach and then back to Bert for the night.
Here is the video of the second episode: from the Adelaide Hills to the Flinder Ranges: enjoy!
Clare Valley: Discovery Parks – Clare is a neat and simple campsite, about whom we do not know what else to add because we arrived in the dark and left early.
Flinder Ranges: Wilpena Pound Resort Campground is located right in the middle of the Flinder Ranges and right at the start of the most beautiful trails; run by the aborigines of the Adnyamathanha people, the strength of this camp is undoubtedly the fact of being immersed in nature.
Port Augusta: Shoreline Caravan Park seems to be loved above all by fishermen, judging by the number of boats and fishing rods sighted.
Clare Valley: stop to have breakfast and / or buy a pie (as we did) at The Little Red Grape in Sevenhill. We recommend, for trying it, apple pie and lamb pie.
Flinder Ranges: at the Poddy Dodger Bar & Bistro you can feed yourself with the ubiquitous Australian foods, as burgers and barramundi, or sample kangaroo meat. Alternatively, the visitor center shop offers simple take-out food or fresh ingredients ready to be cooked. Remember that if you want to make a barbecue, you must ask permission to light the fire.
Km traveled: around 600