From: "Desert Sky Tours" <>
Date: 3/02/2014 8:48:14 AM
Subject: News from Desert Sky!

Desert Sky Tours
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In This Issue........
Simpson Desert Survey
Simpson Desert Run
A big Country
The Mallee Tree
News from around
Trip itineraries 2014
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Issue: 29 February 2014

 Dear Subscriber,

Our schedule started a little earlier this year, with a trip on
2nd January to The Gawler Ranges with a delightful couple from Germany. The good company and great weather made for a most enjoyable time and a more detailed account (plus pics!) can be viewed by clicking on our "Blogger".

I am now looking forward to our trip on 1st March to Wilson's Promontory!

I have two seats available on the Mungo and Hattah Kulkyne National Parks trip (8th April) staying 4 nights at the Two Rivers Motel in Wentworth NSW.

There are also seats available on the Back O'Bourke trip departing 22nd March. This trip covers the Darling River Run, Lightning Ridge and Cobar.

A list of all departures for 2014 is at the foot of this newsletter.



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Simpson Desert Survey Anniversary Exhibition 

Fifty years ago a team of public servants endured freezing night time temperatures and water rations to accurately survey the southern Simpson Desert.



To recognise the 50th anniversary of this significant, but little known, undertaking, Alan Wright (one of those involved in the 1963 survey) has created a display featuring the survey equipment used, photos and historical information.



The exhibition is in the Royal Geographical Society Rooms, Mortlock Library Adelaide.

Simpson Desert Run

Having Crossed the Simpson Desert on foot six times, twice with camels, Paddy McHugh wants others to experience it - by running across it.

 On 22nd April 2014, the renowned cameleer and outback event organiser is putting on a 450km run across the Simpson Desert, which includes crossing 1100 sand dunes in 15 days. The route goes from Dalhousie Springs SA to Birdsville Qld
via Poeppel Corner.

"It's not a race - just a run", he says. "Some people will do the 35km each day in under four hours,but others will take all day. There's no prizes for winning - it's just a personal challenge."
A set up camp and meals will be provided, and runners will be supported along the route, with a helicopter on standby for emergencies.

Paddy says that he felt there was enough interest from running clubs to hold such an event. "If I get 10-20 people. I'd be really happy for the first year, and build on it from there" he says.
Participants are likely to see great bird life and classic desert landscapes along the way, including salt lakes, camels, wildflowers if there has been recent rain, and a heck of a lot of sand dunes. "I find the main thing is total remoteness- being where no other bugger is", says Paddy.

For more information you can visit Paddy's website

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Europe compared to Australia


We know that travelling around Australia means covering some big distances, and there could be days when we may not see another person or vehicle!

The vastness of the outback is particularly interesting to people from Europe, and the picture above shows much of Europe fitting very neatly into Australia. Interesting!

(Click on the pic for a larger image)


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The Mallee Tree



The word "mallee" is  

an Australian Aboriginal word meaning "many trunks".


It is the common name given to numerous Eucalyptus species which are



The name Mallee is also applied to regions where these  

multi-trunked Eucalypt species abound, and it is also used to describe general flora of these regions as in "Mallee Flora", "Chenopod Mallee" and "sclerophyll mallee"


Of all the Gwondana Flora to adapt to the harsher environments of the driest continent on Planet Earth, surely the "Mallee Tree" is the most wonderous.


It has adapted a survival technique to withstand losing all of its above ground trunks, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds through fire, frost and drought by developing an underground stem


Physiologically this is a Lignified (woody) tuber, which enables the plant to remain alive beneath the soil surface despite losing all of its above ground structure whilst awaiting the  

next growth stimulating rain event.


This will give rise to the refurbishment of the seed bearing multi-trunk structure, all arising from the adventitious buds contained in the lignotuber. 


For most eucalypts the lignotuber only serves as a survival mechanism in the early stages of their growth. However, with mallees the lignotuber persists through the life of the plant.


Science has it that there are some 900 to 13,300 potential adventitious buds in the lignotuber which could give rise to refurbishment trunks; although normally only 5 to 15 arise if all trunk growth has been removed.


It is believed the long term growth rate of the trunks (stems) of the local mallees is about 1mm of diameter per annum. The expansion rate of the trunks may be faster when the trunk is young and slower when it is old. The growth cycles of these plants are related to climatic conditions, and thus not the annular growth cycles of most temperate zone plants


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News from around the traps!

Rosco McGlashan OAM  (The fastest man in Australia) and a team from Land Surveys and Position partners travelled out to the Queensland Diamantina Shire recently to survey a possible site for a world land speed record attempt.

After considerable scanning work they located a 31 km long stretch of real estate 100kms north of Birdsville which could possibly be the longest flattest mud lake surface in the world.  This is the Bilpa Morea Claypan, which was rejected by Donald Campbell  in favour of Lake Eyre for his world speed attempt. An interesting fact about this claypan is that an archaeological dig in 2009 recovered artifacts buried by Burke and Wills on their expedition 1861.  Rosco and his team are now working through some of the logistical and approval issues before a decision is made on a possible record attempt in 2015.

Many who have been on our Gawler Ranges trips will have heard of Rosco McGlashan, who made a speed  attempt on Lake Gairdner in 1996, reaching 633mph.


(Click image to view more....)




Mt Ive Station managers Margaret and David have opened up a room at the rear of the General Store and created "The Spinifex Bar."

This is a great initiative in bringing together tourists on the Station to meet and chat over a drink at the end of the day.

(Click image to view Mt Ive website) 




The SA Caravan & Camping Show
will be held at the Wayville Showgrounds from 19th to 23rd February.
VKS 737 - part The Australian 4WD Radio Network will be exhibiting (site R5).

I will be on the site each day, so if you are attending the Show, come and say G'day!


Personalised 4WD trips 2014

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

                 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW Itineraries 2014 !



            Yorke Peninsula
           & Southern Flinders
         Saturday 25th October 

                   (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. 


es 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
       Wednesday 12th March 
       Thursday   5th 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  

             Saturday 1st March 

                     (9 days)  






Grampians NP, Halls Gap, Penshurst, Mortlake, Colac, Queensciffe Ferry, Sorrento, Meeniyan, 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

            Tuesday 15th 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
          Tuesday 14th October 
                   (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       
          Saturday 22nd March  
                   (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 9th  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  
           Tuesday 8th April 
                   (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
               Monday   2nd June
               Monday16th  June
                   (7 days)

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


          Birdsville & Innamincka 
              Monday 21st July
                       (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
             Monday 11th August 
                    (9 days)

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


            Flinders Ranges
       Wednesday September 17 
                    (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 R
     Wednesday 24th 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
           Friday 14th November
                     (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         Friday September 5   
          (8 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.

         Coongie Lakes
          Mount Samuel 
            Alpana Station
       Wednesday 27th August  
                 (4 days)                                          $1600pp  

 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.

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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours

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