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In This Issue
Birdsville Track maintenance
Mannanarie Public Hall
4WD Adventure on Alpana Station
Head Of Bight trip
Trip itineraries 2012
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Issue: 22 May  2012

Dear Subscriber,

Several trips recently, and in particular the 5 days Gawler Ranges, which I am pleased is now back on our itinerary list after our new car fridge demonstrated it could successfully cope with the additional meals!

We had a trip to Lake Eyre last month and latest news is Queensland flood water has reached the Lake, with the Warburton Groove flowing and the water in Belt Bay (600mm)
soon to rise.

Lake Eyre Yacht Club has an interesting aerial comparison of the Lake as it presently is compared to last year. The photo can be viewed here

Our next departures to Lake Eyre are on 12th and 26th June and include a one and a half hour plane flight over the Lake.

In other Outback news, the Innamincka Causeway is presently closed due to flooding of Cooper Creek, however the ferry at the Cooper crossing on the Birdsville Track has been decommissioned and the The Track is now open.
The Coongie Lakes road remains closed.

Now, regarding a real 4WD experience in the Flinders .........

I have had to change the "Oratunga" 4wd adventure due to track closure, however I am very pleased to announce we have been able to substitute this with some of the best scenery in the Flinders Ranges on Alpana Station. The loop track takes us to Mount Samuel and into Mt Buggery Gorge.

If you were interested in the Oratunga trip, I am sure you will be happy with this - The Mt Samuel Track was recently voted 2nd best track in the state by the Land Rover Register.!

Cheers for now,


The Birdsville Track

For some time now there has been talk about upgrading or even sealing sections of the Birdsville Track.

Coongie LakesOn one hand,the 4wd enthusiasts see the Track as a "challenge" into the remote outback. But for the Station properties it is a concern during wet weather when they cannot access the Adelaide markets due to road closure,
and  the Cooper Creek Ferry has limitations regarding stock transfers.

Sealing sections of the Track may deter some 4WD travellers, however it could also open up the experience to the "Grey Nomads" with caravans, who would not otherwise venture off a sealed road.

Diamantina Council representatives met with South Australian representatives in Birdsville on April 4, 2012 to discuss the importance of the Birdsville Track. Opportunities of collaboration were discussed and the Council has been requested to supply details of its road maintenance costs in order to progress discussions.

Council also advised that it is preparing a submission to the National Land Freight Strategy Discussion Paper released by the Australian Government February, 2011. The submission will focus on extension of the indicative land freight network to incorporate a route from Adelaide north along the Birdsville Track to Boulia, east to Winton and north east across to Hughenden and then onto Townsville to link in with the eastern seaboard highway network.

The submission will focus on the economic benefits
of decreased route distance, market access, congestion and safety and will incorporate letters of support for recognition of this proposed inland route. Once complete, a copy of the Submission will be provided to South Australia in order that  both may elevate the status of the link to the Australian Government.

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Mannanarie Public Hall Association Inc

Mannanarie is a small settlement located about 200 kilometres north of Adelaide between the townships of Jamestown and Peterborough.
It is situated on a fertile plain which stretches out towards the north into the less fertile Black Rock plain. To the west is the Narien Range. A prominent mountain in this range, Mount Lock, has been used by early explorers and geographers, for surveying the region. The Narien Range is a transition zone between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Flinders Ranges.

"Saluting Their Service" grants through Veterans' Affairs and the Federal Government, provide several rounds of funding each year to help communities build and maintain memorials, capture the wartime history of their towns and preserve memorabilia for future generations.

A grant was received to help restore three stained glass windows, in the Memorial Porch at the Mannanarie Hall. The windows list the names of 11 local men who served during the First World War.

A special event is planned in October for the opening of the renovated Memorial Porch.
Further information and interesting short stories by four pioneering families can be found by clicking on the Mannanarie website.

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Mount Samuel 4WD Adventure - Alpana Station

This trip was originally planned to drive the Oratunga Track.   


Di Fargher, who with her husband Ian own Angorichina Station has advised the track to Mount Lucius was damaged recently by weather and they have now decided to close it permanently.

An alternative is the Mount Samuel Track which is on David and Sally Henery's property -Alpana Station.    


This Track offers some stunning views of the Flinders Ranges - culminating in a panoramic view of Lake Torrens, the Heysen and ABC Ranges and Patawarta Hill from the summit of a

steep foothill .  

The journey begins by travelling through sheep grazing  

country before the challenge of driving along mountain ridges where you feel you could just about touch the two magnificent Mount Samuels. (there is a story as to why there are two "Mount Samuels"!) 


Coongie Lakes


The steep descent to the creek in Mount Buggery Valley will take your breath away!
Once in the awe-inspiring valley we drive along Mount Buggery Creek - a challenge matched only by the views of the cliffs and the mountain tops of the ranges above.
The scenery from the Green Well Valley as we traverse the ABC Range and the Heysen Range is absolutely breathtaking.

The movement of the sun across the sky accentuates the ever changing colours of the rocks in the valley and in the ranges........  


A full itinerary can be viewed here.  


The advertised departure for this trip is 25th August,  

however other dates may be available.  

Let me know if you are interested and any preferred dates! 


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Eyre Peninsula and The Head of Bight

I have a personalised trip departing late September to Eyre Peninsula and Head of Bight.

The 8 day itinerary will travel to Tumby Bay and Port Lincoln (via Sea SA ferry from Wallaroo), then drive up the coast to attractions including Murphy's Haystacks, the sea lions at Point Labatt, and on to Streaky Bay, Ceduna and Yalata to Head of Bight and the Bunda Cliffs.
Coongie Lakes
We have an overnight stop at Nullarbor before returning along the Eyre Highway to Wudinna and the Gawler Ranges then to Adelaide via the Flinders Ranges and Clare Valley.

This trip takes in many of the attractions of the west coast, plus some great scenery and I will look to making it a regular itinerary.


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Upcoming Personalised 4WD trips 2012

These trips are in a Toyota Landcruiser vehicle with a maximum of 4 passengers:

Itineraries 2012     


Mungo NP 
          Mungo and Hattah
          National Parks
          (5 days) $1525
           Saturday May 19

Pinnaroo, Kow Plains Homestead and Cowangie, Murrayville, Pink Lakes, Underbool, Mildura, Wentworth, Old Zanci Station, Mungo Woolshed, Walls of China, Grand Canyon, Vigar's Well, Perry Sandhills, Paddle Steamer through Lock 11 Mildura, Red Cliffs, Lake Hattah, Lake Victoria, Rufus River, The Riverland.      



Coongie Lakes
                 Lake Eyre
         (3 days) - $995pp   

        Includes Plane Flight!


Tuesday  June 12 
           Saturday  June 26

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, One and a half hour plane flight over Lake Eyre, Farina Ruins, Ochre Cliffs, Hawker, Orroroo, Terowie, Burra.   

Birdsville Hotel         

               Birdsville &
               (9 days) -
               Saturday July 14   
               Definite Departure 

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville, Innamincka, Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, Tibooburra,Broken Hill,
 Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide.

Toompine Hotel
             Birdsville & Windorah
            (9 days) - $3300pp
                 Saturday August 4

                  Definite Departure

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,
Betoota, Windorah, Quilpie, Toompine, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Bourke, Cobar, Broken Hill.

        Coongie Lakes
            Mount Samuel 
            4WD Alpana Station              (4 days) - $1525pp 
             Saturday August 25 

Clare Valley, Wilmington, Quorn, Hawker and
Oraparinna to Alpana Station. Using Blinman as a "base" we travel Glass Gorge to Oratunga Creek and Alpana Station.
Splendid views which include Mt Samuel, Mt Samuel Proper,
Lake Torrens, Nilpena Sandhills, Mt Buggery, Mt Deception and Patawarta Hill!
Picnic lunch Green well Creek before continuing to Valley Bore where it is common to see kangaroos, emus, feral goats.
The Parachilna Gorge Road takes us past Angorichina Station and back to Blinman.

Skytrek Logo
                         Flinders Ranges &

                         (4 days) -
                         Saturday September 1

                          Definite Depature 
Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Willow Springs Station, Skytrek, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Parachilna Gorge, Moralana Scenic Drive, Melrose, The Bridle Track. Port Germein, Laura, Orroroo, Burra, Eudunda, Kapunda. 

 Sillers Lookout - Arkaroola
               Flinders R
anges &
                (5 day
s) -
                Sunday   September  9
                Tuesday September 18  
                 Definite Departure 

Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Arkaroola,  Ridgetop Tour,  Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Gammon Ranges,  

Moralana Scenic Drive.

 Tumby Bay
                    Tumby Bay
                    and The Eyre

                    (5 days) $1595pp
                     Saturday October 13

Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie ,
Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Whaler's Way, Tod Reservoir, Cummins, Mt Hope, Point Drummond, Greenly Beach, Dutton Bay, Coffin Bay, Koppio Museum.
Enjoy a Clydesdale Horse and trolley ride!
Return is via Horrock's Pass 
to Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.   
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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours

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