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Sent:                               Saturday, 19 November 2016 10:42 AM


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Issue: 40

November 2016


 Dear Subscriber,

Another interesting year, and especially good to have a number of overseas visitors from New Zealand, England, Italy and Sweden join us! It is always a pleasure to hear they appreciate how wonderful this Country is.

I mention the record rainfall across the State later in this newsletter, however it is interesting that for the period 1st January 2016 to 30th September 2016 the Eyre Development Road (Birdsville to Bedourie) has been:

  •  closed to all traffic for 55 days (20%)
  •  restricted to high clearance (4x4) vehicles for 92 days (34%) and
  • open to all traffic for 127 days (46%)

Other roads including the Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track have been similarly impacted.  The Cordillo Downs Road (Innamincka to Arrabury turn off) remains closed at the time of writing. This has obviously had a negative impact on businesses and the tourist season generally. 


Our 2017 departure dates have now been set and are listed at the foot of this newsletter.

I thank you for your interest in Desert Sky Tours!

Stay safe and catch you next time!




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How Weather can change things!   

Above average rainfall in many parts of the Outback this year resulted in a number of road closures - some for a considerable time. A couple of our itineraries required adjustment, however  no departure was cancelled.

It was amazing to see how the State's Outback and Flinders Ranges responded, with the wet winter setting creeks and waterfalls running, and the landscape springing to life with flowers and greenery.

A couple of months ago we travelled from Arkaroola to Copley and through an area known for its rugged red ranges, gnarled gum trees and stony creek beds. It was at the time a severe storm had cut power to the State, and we called into Iga Warta, the Adnyamathanha -owned Cultural Centre in the northern Flinders region.

The Centre was without electricity, and a large billy was boiling away with hot water for our coffee. One of the men asked me which way we were travelling, and when I replied "Copley", he said he doubted I would get through as the
 Frome River and a couple of creeks had come up.
He gave rough directions for a detour on Angepena Station and a possible shallower crossing. With darkening skies in the west (the direction we were travelling), a decision was made to get moving quickly.

The Frome River did not cause a problem and (thankfully) we did not need to find the detour, but it was amazing to see water flowing in most of the many creeks as we headed to Copley. In the 20 years or more we have been along that road the creeks have been bone dry.

There was another experience when we arrived in Copley.
The power black-out meant the bakery was unable to provide it's well renowned pasties, but a more important consequence was uncertainty of fuel. David had heard Lyndhurst was without power and unable to supply fuel, and suggested I fill up at the local Service Station as it had a back-up generator for the pumps.

Finally, in realisation of how we often take things for granted, I went to settle our accommodation account at Marree -a town which has it's own power generation plant. The EFTPOS machine was down because the storm had knocked out the telephone lines a couple of days before and Lyall was waiting on re-connection.

It is wonderful when nature breathes new life into one of the most ancient landscapes on earth!       



 Lake Eyre/Kati Thanda - Update


This information is a result of a flyover by National Parks staff on Monday 25 October (Natural Resources SA Arid Lands)


Kati Thanda continues to dry up with the increasing evaporation rate. In the last month, water coverage on the north lake has decreased from around 30% to about 15%, and the south lake from 15% to completely dry.

On the north lake, Belt Bay is drying up but having the lowest point of the lake, it will hold water for some time to come.

There is shallow water drying quickly in Jackboot Bay, and this water is no longer connected to Belt Bay.

Madigan Gulf is almost dry, except a small shallow patch of water to the southwest of Brooks Island but this should disappear soon.

There are still minor flows in the Warburton and Kalaweerina Creeks, but water in the Warburton Groove is not making it to Dulhunty or Hughes Islands any more.

Neales River and Umbum Creek have stopped flowing.

The Diamantina River at Birdsville is rising again but is still below a minor flood level. This will have little influence on Kati Thanda if no further rains occur due to the increasing temperature and evaporation.

Visitors on the ground may not see water anymore at Halligan Bay Point, and won't see water at Lake Eyre South lookout or Level Post Bay.

Water coverage changes with each new local rain event and is dependent on the monsoon in Queensland bringing floodwaters down through the Lake Eyre Basin's inland river system.

National Parks staff regularly monitor the water levels in Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre and provide a report to tourism outlets (and others).




Personalised 4WD trips 2017

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

                 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW Itineraries 2017 !




            Yorke Peninsula

           & Southern Flinders

         Saturday 11th  February 

                   (5 days)  




Ardrossan, Port Julia, Port Vincent, Edithburgh, and Wool Bay. Scenic drive to Troubridge Point and Marion Bay. Innes National Park includes Cable Bay, Cape Spencer and Pondalowie Bay. Corny Point, Warooka and Yorketown.

Moonta and Wallaroo.  Banking museum Kadina.

Southern Flinders Ranges, Alligator Gorge, Melrose.

Bridle Track to Port Germein. 



                      Dares Hill Circuit

                         On Demand 
                             (2 days)  



Gilbert Valley, Terowie, Peterborough (overnight and we visit Steamtown's  Laser Light Show), Franklyn, Ketchowla, Dares Hill, Mt Bryan, Clare Valley.



          Kangaroo Island

       Monday 27th  February                   Saturday 4th  November    

                (4 days)


        (Includes Sealink ferry)


Penneshaw, Antechamber Bay, Cape Willoughby,    

American River, Kingscote, Flinders Chase National Park,  

Cape Borda, Admirals Arch, Cape De Coudic, Seal Bay, Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach, Western River Cove.  




            Wilson's Promontory  

             Wednesday 8th March 

                     (9 days)  



 Grampians NP, Halls Gap, Penshurst, Mortlake, Colac, Queensciffe Ferry, Sorrento, Foster, Tidal River, Waratah Bay, Walkerville, Agnes Falls, Strzelecki Ranges, Tara Bulga NP, Grand Ridge Road, Skenes Creek,  

The Great Ocean Road, Mt Gambier, The Coorong.               




            The Sapphire Coast

            Wednesday 5th April   

                      (8 days)



Portland, Great Ocean Road, Otway Tree Top Walk, Apollo Bay, Metung, Lakes Entrance, Eden, Twofold Bay, Pambula, Merimbula, Bega, Victorian coastal towns, Meeniyan, Camperdown, Dunkeld, The Coorong.   



          The Gawler Ranges

          Saturday 23rd September  

                   (5 days)          


Port Wakefield, Port Germein, Port Augusta, Iron Knob, Corunna, Siam, Nonning, Mt Ive, Lake Gairdner, Yardea, Hiltaba, Paney Station, The Organ Pipes, Pildappa Rock, Tcharkuldu Hill, Minnipa, Wudinna, Kimba, Wilmington, Melrose, Gladstone, The Clare Valley.

               Lake Eyre

                   on demand
                      (3 days)


          Includes Plane Flight!


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


               Back O'Bourke       

             Sunday 8th May    

                   (9 days)



Broken Hill, Mutawintji NP, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Tilpa, Louth, Bourke(accommodation Bourke Riverside Motel), Lightning Ridge, Gilgandra, Cobar, Balranald, Murrayville, Pinnaroo.


           The Painted Desert           

             Friday 19th May

                       (9 days) 


Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, William Creek, Coober Pedy,

The Breakaways, Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka,
Port Augusta, Arid Lands Botanical Gardens, Horrock's Pass  to the Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.



            Mungo and Hattah  


             National Parks  

           Saturday 25th March

                   (5 days)  



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

               Coongie Lakes

               Friday      2nd June

                      (7 days)



Old Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, Coongie Lakes, Cmp LXV, Cameron Corner, Sturt NP, Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Loch Lilly and Quandong Stations, Burra.




   Legendary Longreach

                 & Winton

          Saturday 8th July                          (12 days)               


Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, Windorah, Lark Quarry Dinousaur Trackway, Winton, Waltzing Matilda Centre, Longreach.
Visit The Stockman's Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum,
Sunset Cruise on the Thomson River.
Barcaldine, The Tree Of Knowledge, Blackall Woolscour, Tambo, Charleville. Cunumulla, Currawinya National Park, Hungerford, The Darling Track to Yantabulla, Fords Bridge and Bourke.
A day exploring Bourke visiting Mt Oxley and local attractions and a cruise aboard the Jandra paddle-steamer on the Darling River.
Wilcannia via The Darling River Run through Louth, Tilpa and on to Broken Hill. Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide



          Birdsville & Innamincka 

              Friday 16th June 

                       (9 days)  



Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,Innamincka, Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, Tibooburra,Broken Hill,  

Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide.

           Birdsville & Windorah

                 Friday 28th July 

                    (9 days)



Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,

Betoota, Windorah, Quilpie, Toompine, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Bourke, Cobar, Broken Hill.



       Flinders Ranges


        Friday 1st  September 

                    (4 days)



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. 


         Flinders Ranges

     Saturday 9th September

                  (5 days)


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



               Flinders Ranges 

                    & Outback

        on demand

                  (8 days) 



Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Arkaroola,  Ridgetop Tour,  Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Gammon Ranges, Moralana Scenic Drive.
Marree, The Oodnadatta Track, William Creek, Coober Pedy,
The Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs.



                Tumby Bay  

               The Eyre Peninsula

           Saturday 21st October 

                                                    (5 days)                    



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.

                 Head of Bight


The Eyre Peninsula         
    Wednesday 16th    
          (9 days)  


Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie , Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Whaler's Way, Coffin Bay, Lock's Well, Elliston, Talia Caves, Venue Bay, Murphy's Haystacks, Point Labatt, Streaky Bay, Smoky Bay, Ceduna,
Penong, Cactus Beach, Fowlers Bay,Nullarbor Roadhouse,
Head of Bight Whale Centre, Minnipa, Wudinna, The Gawler Ranges National Park, Kimba, Iron Knob, Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, Wilmington, Melrose, The Bridle Track to Port Germein, Clare Valley.



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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours


Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours


Desert Sky Tours, PO Box 683, GLENELG, SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5045 Australia



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