Part 3: Outback NSW to the Flinders Ranges

Posted on: 23/05/2016

Leaving Adelaide late in the afternoon we headed north with no overnight destination planned. Reaching Tarlee almost at dusk, we were delighted to find not only a lovely old town but a clear welcome to RV travellers. As we looked around town to see what was on offer, a local resident came to offer assistance, including offering directions to a camping area at Tarlee Oval. Definitely a town worthy of a stop if you are passing through.

Flinders Ranges Navigation & Maps

As we passed through the historic Clare Valley it was obvious that no rain had fallen for quite some time. While the renowned wine region is always pretty, there was no green to be seen anywhere. Reaching Quorn, we stopped for some supplies and took a look at the old railway station, where we met a group of seven vehicles travelling together in a variety of rigs. Through the course of the initial conversation we quickly found that the group were almost all related and heading on an annual trip, this time to Corner Country. As we were all heading in the same immediate direction and had heard that poor weather was coming our way, we camped together at Hookina Creek, still close to the bitumen just in case. While the group used a diverse range of navigation tools, we were able to hold an impromptu HN6 tutorial to empower those with Hema devices by helping them make the most of the routing features. A lovely evening transpired, with no sign of the wild weather to come.

Flinders Ranges Hema Nomad Explorers

Morning brought threatening clouds but as yet no rain. We popped back into Hawker to check the forecast. Advised that it was raining in the Northern Flinders, which would bring heavy rain and damaging wind to the Southern Flinders soon, we chose to head to Rawnsley Park Station to wait it out. Given we still had a couple of hours of dry weather, we decided to make the most of that time by taking the Moralana Scenic Drive. This is an easy dirt road with new breathtaking views at every turn. We had chatted to two couples, Ellie and Jimmy and Maryanne and Dave in Hawker, and they decided to join us on this small journey.

Arriving at Rawnsley Park just as the first rain started to fall, we were pleased to find plenty of space available in the unpowered areas. By the time we had set up the rain was set in. By evening high winds brought icy temperatures and more rain, with both continuing for almost 48 hours. Making the most of our forced stay (I know, most would give their eye teeth to be stranded in such a prime location) we organised a Happy Hour in the Camp Kitchen, where we shared a little about our trip and Hema Maps with an appreciative group of guests. This also became an impromptu navigator user workshop and we enjoyed the company of the stayers well into the evening. We got to know a family who had chosen to travel for 12 months, home schooling two daughters. We were impressed with what the girls were learning and doing on the road and how their parents, Stan and Laura, were ensuring this was really an experience that would stay with them in many ways. From a Hema perspective, it was great to understand the different navigation preferences and priorities of several travellers at this get-together.

Prairie Hotel

Our most appreciated items this week were our Aussie Traveller anti-flap kit and our diesel heater. Amazingly our awning survived, our outdoor gear stayed relatively dry and we were snug and warm!

By Monday it was possible to leave, but dirt roads and tracks in the Flinders were closed so we headed back again to Hawker then on to Leigh Creek, with the Northern Flinders in our sights.

A wise pre trip motto that Hema Managing Director Rob Boegheim uses often and has been adopted by all Hema Explorers is ‘expect the unexpected’. That was definitely our motto in the Flinders, with the unexpected delivering good company and reminding us that whatever each day brings, it is a privilege and a joy to spend it in Australia’s outback.