Over the last week I’ve been on a much needed holiday. Stressed and burnt out from work I was eagerly looking forward to my first trip to the Northern Flinders Ranges. It did not disappoint.
We left last Wednesday morning from Morgan at about 9am and headed up the Pine Valley Road to Yunta. Not far up the road we were joined by a family of emus. Dad and the kids were certainly in no rush the get out of the way.
It wasn’t too long before I was getting into the full swing of identifying native plants and seed collecting. In fact the whole journey was abundant with native flora and fauna. We saw everything from emus, kangaroos (unfortunately we hit one with the car), yellow-footed rock wallabies and plenty of lizards. I was on sensory overload with the plant life. I think my partner and his mate learnt more about Australian native plants than they ever really wanted to but they amused my need to make regular stops to go and explore. In fact they ended up becoming quite handy for seed collecting. It was great stopping for Quandong seed. The trees were full of yummy fruit
We arrived at Yunta early afternoon and fortunately the pub was open for a cold one. This was going to be our last bit of civilisation and phone reception possibly until late tomorrow.
The Yunta Hotel was like something out of an Aussie movie complete with the Art Deco styling. The Publican was a nice fella. After a chat and a cold beer we headed off to top up fuel and head to our camp for the night (wherever that would be).
So once again there were plenty of stops for seeds and cuttings. At one stop we had a campervan race past us. In fact it was enough for us to make a comment how dangerous the person was driving. We headed off again and further up the road we came across the campervan. The campervan was going nowhere fast.
We got out the ute and to our surprise no one was hurt. Another vehicle had pulled up. A Station Manager from a nearby station happened to be driving past as well. Between us all we got the campervan upright again but it still wasn’t going anywhere fast. Just really makes you realise that you need to respect outback/dirt roads, especially with no phone reception. The driver was just lucky that he wasn’t hurt and we happened to be driving past.
We decided to pull over and set up camp under some She-Oak for the night, approximately 130kms from Arkaroola. I was a little bit excited about sleeping in our new swag for the first time. Given the weather was so warm we didn’t put the canvas over and had full view of the stars and moon for the night.
We set off about 9am the next morning. The views of the Gammon Ranges and Flinders Ranges were stunning to say the least. We arrived at Copely in the mid afternoon. Straight to the pub before we headed to the North Moolooloo Station. Once we set up our campsite we headed over to the Shearer’s Quarters. A nice warm shower beckoned my name. We had dinner, which was a BBQ put on by the Station. Nothing like fresh lamb chops and believe me, they are nothing like the chops bought at supermarkets.
So day 3 I believed the weather was being blown straight off the Antarctic shelf. A bit of a shock to the system. It rained overnight (lucky we can confirm our swag is waterproof) and we woke to very cold weather. I wore three long sleeve tops at once for the day. The temperature only got to 14.
We decided to go for a bit of drive. We headed to Lyndhurst, the start of the Strzelecki Track (that’s a trek I have on my bucket list). I must say there wasn’t much to report from there. On the way back we stopped at Aroona Dam. An amazing man-made structure built to supply water to the township of Leigh Creek.
After another stop at the Copley Pub (yes I took out best on ground and required a nana nap. The boys are yet to let that one go) we went back out to the Station. Lamb chops on the BBQ once again. I could sure get use to this.
The day had finally arrived. The North Moolooloo Golf Classic was about to get underway and I stepped up to help the boys form a team as they were a player short and one member hadn’t arrived at the Station when we registered. This was going to be interesting as I had never hit a golf ball in my life, little lone played a game. At 9:30 we were rounded up and put into the sheep trailers, which were our rides out to our allocated starting point. Oh and I should point out the weather was a complete turn around from the day before and was forecasted to be over 30.
I found there is a lot of pride on the line with this tournament as it only happens every two years and let’s just say it’s no St. Andrews. However a lot of time and manicuring (grading) goes into preparing the course. There was a lot at stake for Morgan as they had never won the Classic since it had started. The Morgan Mob started off hopeful and ready to enjoy a fun day of golf. Our fourth member of the team was dropped off just as we teed off with the beer car not far off for first drinks. I must say it is certainly interesting when the ball heads off the fairway into the wattle and salt bush. One player I spoke to lost 36 balls during the course of the day. The Keg Shed Stop was welcomed by most. A keg of beer is put on and you can keep drinking it until the next team comes along.
I completed half the course. As I was very much a late comer I wasn’t dressed appropriately (too hot for jeans and boots) and the heat was a bit too much. As we were playing Ambrose style golf the boys continued on while I stayed back at the campsite after lunch.
Finally the boys made it back in at about 5 or 6 o’clock. Enough time to get ready to clean up and head over to the shed for dinner, the auction and of course the big announcement. Roast for dinner and once again there is nothing like country grub. After dinner came the big announcement. Would you believe the Morgan Mob had done it!!! After all this time Morgan was finally on the trophy. My partner said it was like winning the U.S Open.
I must say this would have to be one of the best fundraising event I have ever been involved with. This Station with its bi-annual golf event over the last 20 years has raised in excess of $150,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors. A service that many in the outback are grateful for.
Still on cloud nine the following morning we packed up our campsite. With our mission completed successfully we headed for home. Once again seeing some great countryside coming down on the bitumen rather than the dirt road. We opted to head straight for home rather than camp another night out.
I think my partner just wanted to get his medal hung in the “man cave”. That’s one medal he is very proud of. As for me I am considering retiring from golf while on a high or the other option is to start training for the PGA Tour.
Until next time. Take care.