Finke Gorge NP (Palm Valley), Owen Springs, Coober Pedy Week 18 - October 25th 2010
A big week. Started with a couple of days at Palm Valley, West of Alice Springs.

Then a shortcut through Owen Springs to the Stuart Highway headed South.

To Coober Pedy.
Then Lake Hart on the way to Port Augusta.
The Finke River is quite broad in places.

The track into Palm Valley follows the river.

The Finke is reputedly the World's oldest river. On its North South journey its cut gorges through lots of East West ranges.

Interesting bit is its probably older than the ranges.

It ends in Lake Eyre (don't all rivers in the centre?). We've crossed it a few times on our journey.

The blue bit on the gps is water.

Not surprised it knew about the water, just the way it draws the track through the middle is a bit quaint.

On the Mpaara Walk almost at Palm Valley (Finke Gorge NP) we finally took a photo of "Elephant Grass".

Just spinifex that's grown a bit tall with all the rain.

The colours were tremendous. Sandstone and grey/green vegetation.

The grey/green plants in the foreground were mostly in seed but there were occasional pink flowers. We wondered what it would be like when they are really in flower.

The Mpaara Walk took us to a lookout overlooking an amphitheatre.
Another view from the lookout.

Its not often we both say "wow".

Palm Valley has Red Cabbage Palms. 

The palms are a leftover from when the area was covered with rainforest.

Just that micro-climate formed by the combination of creek that doesn't flood much, a water table high enough so there's always water, and shelter from wind.

The Mpulungkinya Walk follows the valley formed by Palm Creek.

The palms grow in the silt left by the river.

Cycads, as we've seen elsewhere, grow a bit higher - on the sides of the gorge.

The walk through Palm Valley was superb. Red sandstone with lush green due to the rain.
Palm Valley is in the Krichauff Ranges. Palm Creek is fed from a wider plain.

The walk is leaving the valley to return via the plateau.

Looking down on Palm Creek.

Nearly back at Tardis.

Tardis in action, coming out of Palm Valley.

Mostly sandstone underneath, just lots of holes in it and the occasional rock.

There's a good view of all the rocks and holes from the cab..

The water was clear with a little flow.

The wheels get to be at interesting angles.

Its a relatively easy track, well travelled, that just needs a bit of patience. The 4wd tour operators seem to travel a bit faster than us.

Just entering yet another crossing. Parks people had marked the track this time.
Compare the angle of the exhaust (vertical between cab and body, sticking out the top) to the body.

Chassis is slightly twisted so body has gone one way and cab the other.

Now the chassis is twisted lots the other way.

Cab and body at very different angles.

Don't panic. Its supposed to do that.

Some vehicles have a rigid chassis with soft suspension. The Canter has a flexible chassis with hard suspension.

The 4km from end of the track back to the camp site took almost an hour. Quicker to walk!

Hermansburg was unfortunately closed. "The reality of life on a community" to quote the one person we found at the closed cafe. Haven't a clue what was meant.

This is the old Lutheran Church.

We missed out on the Art Gallery (some Albert Namatjira paintings).

The old house at Owen Springs Station. The area became a conservation park in about 2003.
The Hugh River in the Lawrence Gorge.

The water fell almost as we watched over a couple of days.

White Faced Heron in Lawrence Gorge.

It studiously ignored us.

This avenue on the track through Lawrence Gorge was quite pleasant.

Snow gums we believe. There were river red gums closer to the river.

The track was a bit rougher at the Southern end of the gorge with a diversion around some flood damage.

A Black Bittern, also in Lawrence Gorge.

We watched it for a long time.

We suspect its way out of its normal territory but are not sufficiently expert ornithologists.

We have some interesting discussions which the bird book helps arbitrate. This took a while to identify.

Sacred Kingfisher, also in Lawrence Gorge.

We didn't see any of the Rainbow Bee Eaters which are reputed to be there.

The camp in Lawrence Gorge, with Hugh River in the background.

The Hugh River is where the creek we camped on at Birthday Waterhole (a couple of weeks ago) flows into.

Pleased with how Tardis went over the sand.

Introduction to underground opal mining at Coober Pedy.

Ali is holding divining rods, looking for a reaction across a fault.

I guess one has to "believe". I was never going to succeed.

The tunnel has been dug by machine.

Mine entrances at Coober Pedy.

The hills look like the Jump Ups we saw near Tibooburra. Locally referred to as Breakaways.

Coober Pedy from above. The line of buildings have underground rooms in the hill.
Lake Hart. We camped for one night as we needed a rest.

The Ghan and a couple of freight trains passed us here. We were too slow for a photo. The rail line is along this side of the lake.

Reminiscent of Lake Eyre.

We need a rest after all the driving. We can average 100km per day reasonably well. More than 1500 km in a week is a bit of a challenge.

A bit of rain had closed most of the South Australia tracks.

Mt Remarkable - Burra Week 19 - November 1st 2010