Desert Sky Tours


In This Issue
Lake Eyre update
Upcoming trips
Caravan & Camping Show
Wombats at Wilson's
Bull Bar survey
Trip itineraries
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Issue: 13February 2011
Dear Subscriber,

The big news this month is that our 6WD bus sold, and has been driven to Melbourne to start a new life as a motorhome.
The new owner has plans to convert the vehicle to take his family on camping trips around Australia.
We may catch up with the bus on one of our outback trips!

There has been quite an interest in the 3 day trip to Lake Eyre which was mentioned in our previous newsletter.
I am also looking at running an alternative 4 day option, which would include crossing the Cooper Creek on the ferry, and spending a night at Mungerannie!
These trips will be in May/June and I am waiting to see how much water enters Lake Eyre before committing to a definite date. (See District Ranger Desert Parks Tony Magor's report next article).

If the thought of seeing water in Lake Eyre or experiencing a ferry crossing of the Cooper Creek, and a night in "Mungerannie by the Sea" excites you, let me know and I will record your interest!

Cheers for now....
Lake Eyre update
National Parks Report  12th January 2011

Currently there is less than 15% surface coverage in Lake Eyre North with water sitting in Belt Bay, Jackboot Bay and Madigan Gulf. Lake Eyre South has about 45% surface coverage. This will decrease with the high summer evaporation rate.


The Cooper Creek has floodwaters upstream of Innamincka which should make Lake Eyre as most of the Cooper Creek east of the Birdsville Track has a lot of water still sitting in it. However the Cooper Creek closer to the lake is becoming a series of disjointed waterholes. It is unknown when the Cooper Creek floodwaters will arrive at Lake Eyre.


There is some water in the Diamantina/Georgina catchment which will be monitored but it is not like the flows seen in 2010, and this catchment historically contributes about 75% of water to the lake.

It should be noted that the current floodwaters causing devastation in south east Queensland will not impact Lake Eyre as this water will head to the coast.


There are predictions for large summer rains in 2010/11 due to increased monsoon activity. If large amounts of rain fall in the Lake Eyre catchment, water will come down the catchment and enter the lake quickly as most tributaries already hold water. This may result in a greater surface coverage of Lake Eyre in 2011 than in 2010, but no one can accurately predict what may happen, and rainfall across the catchment will continue to be monitored over summer.


Whether Lake Eyre has partial water on it, is close to full or is dry, the best way to see the enormity of the lake is from the air.
Upcoming trips

The following trips have bookings and guaranteed departures.

March 6th - Wilsons Promontory 

There are two seats available on this 9 day trip which travels through the Grampians to the Victorian volcanic plain and the towns of Penshurst ,Mortlake, and Camperdown to Colac and Queenscliffe.

There are 4 nights in Meeniyan - the "Gateway to the Promontory" and we explore not only the Promontory, but also the beautiful Strzelecki Ranges, coastal towns of Walkerville,
Inverloch and Cape Patterson.
The return home is along the Great Ocean Road and Coorong.
For further information, view the itinerary.

March 22nd - Kangaroo Island

There is still one seat available on this 4 day tour of Kangaroo Island. The itinerary is most comprehensive, covering not only the usual "tourist" destinations, but also attractions such as Cape Borda, Stokes Bay and Snelling Beach on the North Coast, plus Western River Cove.

Accommodation is provided at the Kangaroo Island Seaside Inn Kingscote. (This is the former Wisteria Lodge Motel, which the new owners have refurbished). All rooms have an outlook to Nepean Bay.
For further information, view the itinerary.

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Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show
Outdoor Adventure Show

Two shows in one!


The Adelaide Caravan and Camping Show will be held in conjunction with the Outdoor Adventure Show at Adelaide Showground Wayville from Wednesday 23rd February to Sunday 27th February 2011.

Caravan & Camoing ShowIf you are planning on coming along to this Event, come and say G'day! - I will be on the VKS 737 Australian National 4WD Radio Network stand from Wednesday to Friday, then on the
Flinders Ranges Tourism Operators Association (FRTOA) on the Saturday and Sunday.

The show will feature more than 220 exhibitors spanning the vast pavilions and outdoor areas at the showground. Around 40,000 people are expected to attend the show that is second only in size to the annual Royal Adelaide Show.

More information is available here.

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Wombats at Wilson's Promontory!
From the Melbourne Age

WOMBATS might look cute and cuddly, but they are fast becoming a marauding pest at one of Victoria's most famous national parks.

Visitors to Wilsons Promontory in the state's south-east are increasingly reporting cases of wombats breaking into their tents at night as they forage for food in the summer holiday season.

Customer service manager at the park, Scott Griggs, said although most visitors enjoyed the interaction, there had been complaints about the wombats damaging property.

He said research carried out on the park's wombats about 10 years ago showed they doggedly pursued the scent of food - even satisfying their ravenous appetites by gobbling down chillies and curry paste.

''Nothing tends to be sacred with them ... and nothing seems  

to deter them,'' he said.

Mr Griggs said the wombats were not aggressive and that he had not heard of them biting people, but he said they could cause problems when they got stuck in tents.

''People say they usually find their way into the tents OK, but it's on the way out that they have trouble.

''They're quite flighty so if they get disturbed, they'll take off any which way they can, so that's when they start to rip and shred. Their claws are pretty sharp because they're diggers,'' he said.

''They'll push Eskies around, too, and try to get the lids off them.''

He said research was examining devices to see if they would help control wombat populations in areas they were damaging throughout Australia.

''I don't think this is the wombats' problem. People coming into the park need to be aware that they need to store food in airtight containers that aren't emitting scents that will attract wildlife,'' he said.

''I think we're lucky that wombats are not bears. If they were lethal animals, I'm sure people would start storing their food properly.''


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Bull Bars Under Threat
Survey to aid the Flying Doctor
ARB, in conjunction with the Australian 4WD Industry Council has launched a national on-line public survey to collect information from the public about their use of bull bars and nudge bars.

The safety of Australian motorists that drive vehicles fitted with bull bars and nudge bars is threatened by proposed new Federal Government regulations, which are based on rules developed for the European environment and road conditions by the United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE).

The 4WD Industry Council wants up-to-date information about bull and nudge bars - also known as "vehicle front protection systems" (VFPS) - for its consultations with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development in Canberra about the proposed regulation. This regulation focuses on pedestrian safety - not vehicle and occupant safety.

The Department has now released a Regulation Impact Statement for Pedestrian Safety Standards for public consultation, which closes on 15 April 2011. This document includes extensive discussion on "VFPS" and contains options for the regulation of bull bars.

By completing the 4WD Industry Council's survey, participants will help meet the need for current accurate data on the use of bull and nudge bars. The Council hopes to learn more about vehicle types, driving patterns and critical safety issues, such as animal strikes and other impacts.

Adoption of this overseas rule would make it impossible in Australia to fit bull and nudge bars, which are designed to protect drivers and passengers in front end animal strikes and other impacts. It may also ban winches and driving lights.

The Federal Department has released the proposed regulation for a three month consultation period. We want to collect road users' views and report them as part of the industry response.

The survey takes only moments to complete and is totally confidential. We will add this new data to a report recently commissioned by the Council to study animal strikes on Australian roads.

These Council initiatives respond to the lack of uniform data about the estimated 25,000 to 30,000 vehicle-to-animal strikes occurring each year across Australia. We do not believe that good regulatory decisions can be made without proper research and without canvassing all key issues.

ARB encourages road users to complete the on-line survey as soon as possible. The Survey closes on 31 March 2011. For every person completing the questionnaire, the Council will donate $1 to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, to a maximum of $20,000.

Click here to start the survey:

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Personalised 4WD trips 2011
These trips are in a Toyota Landcruiser vehicle with a maximum of 4 passengers:

Click on thumbnail - itinerary opens in new window


Birdsville Hotel        Birdsville & Innamincka
        (9 days) - $3250pp              
        Saturday July 9
         Friday August 5

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

        Coongie LCoongie Lakesakes and The Cooper Creek
days) $2450pp
       Tuesday May 10
       Sunday   May 22     
  Sunday   June  5

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

 Close Up Emu

s Hill Circuit
     (2 days) $650pp
     Friday April 29

Gilbert Valley,Terowie, Peterborough, Franklyn, Ketchowla, Dares Hill, Mt Bryan, Clare Valley.

Skytrek Logo
    Flinders Ranges & Skytrek
    (4 days) - $1400pp                  
    Saturday August 27


Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Willow Springs Station,
Skytrek, Arkapena Scenic Adventure & Chace Range Spectacular,Arkapena 4WD Moralana Scenic Drive.

 Sillers Lookout - Arkaroola
      Flinders R
anges & Arkaroola       (5 days) - $1950pp                  
      Monday September  5
      Sunday September 18         

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

 Frenshmans Rock
  (4 days) $
March 15
  Tuesday March 22 
  (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.

The Painted Desert  

    The Painted Desert

   (9 days) $3250pp
    Sunday April 10

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, William Creek,Coober Pedy,
The Breakaways, Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka, Port Augusta, Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, Horrock's Pass to the Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.

     Mungo and Hattah Kulkyne
     National Parks

     (5 days) $1525pp
     Wednesday March 30

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.

 Tumby Bay
    Tumby Bay and The Eyre Peninsula

    (5 days) $1525pp
    Saturday October 15

Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie , Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, 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.

Wilsons Prom
    Wilson's Promontory
    (9 days) - $3225pp                
    Tuesday March 1

Grampians NP, Halls Gap, Penhurst, Mortlake, Colac, Queenscliff Ferry, Sorrento, Meeniyan, Tidal River, Waratah Bay, Walkerville, Agnes Falls, Strzelecki Ranges, Tarra Bulga NP, Grand Ridge Road, Skenes Creek, The Great Ocean Road, Mt Gambier, The Coorong. 
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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours