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In This Issue
Native Title - Lake Eyre
Coober Pedy Blower machine
Qantas Museum Longreach
Northern Pacific Seastars
4WD Adventure on Alpana Station
Head Of Bight trip
Trip itineraries 2012
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Issue: 23 June  2012

Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to our June edition newsletter, and we are quickly approaching the half-way mark of 2012 - (I believe the
precise mid point is 1st July at 12am!!).

There has been some significant rainfall over many parts of the country of late and some places have received perhaps too much rain, but pastoralists in the Outback regions cannot hide the smiles as many of the station owners recorded their annual average rainfall over a month ago!  


The result is more growth and feed for cattle and water in almost every dam, waterhole, and  creek - and some more wildflowers!


Our Birdsville/Innamincka trip on July 14th is fully booked, however we do have 2 seats available on the Birdsville/Windorah  departure on August 3rd.  

This is an interesting alternative, taking in a large section of south west Queensland.  

Also, there is interest in our 4WD trip to Mount Samuel if the departure date is changed to 22nd October.  (I have amended the itinerary details accordingly).

This trip offers  some of the best scenery in the Flinders Ranges and is based on Alpana Station. A loop track takes us to Mount Samuel and into Mt Buggery Gorge!
( details from our last newsletter are included below).

If you are interested in either of these trips or would like further information, drop me a line!

Hope you find this newsletter interesting,

Cheers for now,


Lake Eyre - Kati Thanda

Native Title has been granted to the Arabunna People over 69,000 square kilometers of land between the outback towns of Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy and Marree, including Anna Creek station, which covers 24,000 square kilometres of scrub country.


It includes Lake Eyre - a site said to be sacred in local Aboriginal culture.

 Lake Eyre map 


The Arabunna People will be allowed unconditional access to the land for hunting, camping and fishing, or for traditional ceremonies.


A former mission at Finniss Springs will be restored as a tourism site however the deal is not all one way. Aboriginal people will drop their claim to the land on which the outback town of Marree is built.



The Elders have previously said they want to end boating on Lake Eyre. That's an unpopular stance with people like Bob Backway, the commodore of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club. 

Bob said the Club had a common law right to sail on Lake Eyre, and he condemned the announcement as "a great travesty of the native title system". Already fined by South Australia's Environment Department for sailing without a permit, he has refused to pay the fine. "I told them I was prepared to go to jail over it," he said.


The Arabunna People say Lake Eyre is "like Uluru" to their people who believe that their ancestral spirit, Warrina, lives in the lake and is disturbed by boats.


A spokeswoman for the South Australian Attorney-General, John Rau, said: ''Native title has been a difficult and complex issue for both the state and the claimant groups and I am pleased that, in this instance, such complexities have now been worked through in a spirit of co-operation and agreement.''


Following the granting of Native Title, Arabunna chairman Aaron Stuart said he will begin a process to change the lake's name back to its traditional indigenous name, Kati Thanda. "For the Arabana people, it's part of a healing process which takes time, but it gives them more identity.


The South Australian Government says there is a range of options including dual-naming rights, but the decision lies with the Geographical Names Board.


Interestingly there is another Arabunna name for the Lake - "Bundoo Bunta" and a Sunshine Book titled "Discovering Australia - Dreamtime and Beyond" has a lovely story about Bundoo Bunta. A sample can be viewed here. 



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On the blower!

An historic blower used for opal mining in Coober Pedy in South Australia has been donated to the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.


Coober Pedy Blower


The blower, valued at more than $5500, was donated by the Old Timers Mine in Coober Pedy.


It is mounted on the back of a Bedford truck, and works by sucking out mining debris from mine shafts underground and bringing it to the surface where it is blown out of the machine. The resulting piles of rock and dust create the distinctive mullock heaps surrounding Coober Pedy that give the area its 

lunar like landscape. 


This is an example of collaborative tourism, as the Old Timers Mine and Road Transport Hall of Fame will be promoting each other through the display that will be set up around the blower. There is also a National Road Transport Hall of Fame display at the Old Timers Mine.



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A Wing And A Prayer!

Getting a 747 jumbo jet airborne doesn't usually involve a crane, straps and a chain but a recent sinking has had airline staff and locals in Longreach, Queensland scrambling to save an iconic exhibition.

Qantas Jumbo 


The retired jumbo jet (VH-EBQ) is part of the Qantas Founders Museum and has been a key walk through attraction for visitors.  


But the 150 tonne aircraft had recently begun sinking into the soft dirt below making it unstable for visitors to walk through.


Chairman of the Museum, Rodney Seccombe, says it's been costly to not have the star attraction open to the public.

"It's quite significant and it's been out of action most of this season. It sounds a simple problem and we've got a simple solution to it but it took us a long time to get to that solution.

It's one of our big income earners... it's also a big disappointment to people who come here and can't go through it because of safety issues.

As soon as the concrete is set we can put it down and we can go back into tours," he said.


.... (ABC Western Queensland)  


A full history of this aircraft can be found here. 


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Wilson's Promontory

 Invasive Northern Pacific Seastars(Asterias amurensis) have been discovered at Tidal River within the Wilsons Promontory National Park for the first time. 

 Sea Star - Wilsons prom 



The seastars were sighted from the Tidal River footbridge, and were confirmed by Parks Victoria staff as being Northern Pacific Seastars.



They feed on a wide range of native animals and can have a major effect on the marine food chain.  The species exists primarily in areas where wave action is low.  It is not dangerous or harmful to humans. 


Divers have now removed 129 Northern Pacific Seastars from the Tidal River Estuary in the Wilsons Promontory National Park. Parks Victoria Incident Controller Matt Hoskins  (pictured) said extensive searches in nearby estuaries, beaches, inlets, and in offshore areas have found no sign of the spread of Northern Pacific Seastars.  


He encourages all users of tidal river to take a precautionary approach : 

  • Marine pests including the Northern Pacific Seastar are easily spread from one part of the coast to another by people.
  • Boats, kayaks and canoes, wetsuits, fishing gear, and other equipment that remain wet can spread fertilised eggs, larvae, or small animals or plants, to new locations.
  • All equipment used in marine areas should be washed in freshwater after use then thoroughly dried to reduce the risk of spreading marine pests.
  • This is particularly important for people moving any equipment used in areas like Port Phillip Bay to other areas such as the Prom.
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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 SMt Samuel 1ally 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 Samuel. (there is a story as to why there are two "Mount Samuels"!) 


Buggery Gorge


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.
Bunda Cliffs - Nullarbor
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. If you have an interest let me know!


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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     
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
                 Friday August 3

                  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 
             Monday October 22

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

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