Yesterday, we left Blinman and headed up the road to Arkaroola. Before leaving, we stopped at the historic cemetery at the edge of town. We found the graves of the well known family who had operated Angorichina Station over the decades and the American man who was the Captain of the Copper Mine there. We were looking especially for the grave of the mine supervisor who insisted that the powder room should be moved further away from the smelter but we could not find it. The story goes that he went to inspect the powder magazine one day wearing hob-nailed boots. These caused a spark and the powder store blew up. The explosion not only killed him, but also broke every window in town.
We had an uneventful drive for much of the way to Arkaroola through relatively boring scenery. At one place, we found a conical hill where we walked to the top to see the view across the ranges. The hill was concave in shape and the further we walked up, the steeper it became. We had a good view from the top across the ranges. Going up was OK, but coming down was very slippery and we had to take great care. It was certainly too steep for either of our cars to manage,
Just after this hill, we had a disaster. My left rear tyre was badly punctured and went flat almost instantaneously. We tried pumping it up and using some tyre sealant but it just kept going flat again. I knew we were about 100 kilometres from Arkaroola and that I could drive that far on one of these run-flat tyres. However, I hadn’t allowed fir the rocky creek crossings and at about 40 kilometres from our destination., the tyre gave up completely. Rather than damage the rim of the wheel, we decided to stop and call for help. Just as well that I had my satellite phone as there was no other form of communication in this isolated area.
The people from Arkaroola arrived after a couple of hours and put my car on a trailer and towed us into town. (I guess that it could be called a town – it has a holiday village, a store and a workshop). They obviously don’t get too many BMWs in this part of the world. As this happened on a Saturday, we will have to wait until Monday before a new tyre can be ordered from a supplier in Adelaide. It will probably get delivered here next Tuesday afternoon so our future travel plans are now up in the air.
At least this resort has a nice restaurant where we can have meals and buy some basic supplies. The stars here are literally like diamonds in the sky. I can’t remember when I have seen the milky way so clearly.
This morning we went on our pre-booked Ridge Top Tour. It operates on some 4WD tracks that were constructed in the 1970’s by Exxon Mobil in their search for uranium based minerals around here. They never found any deposits that had commercial value, but they left some very rough bush roads for people to use. The tour is on private land and is about 22 kms long, It follows a series of ridges and valleys to the north of Arkaroola. The passengers on the tour sit along the sides of the Toyota 4WD and every time we went up a steep hill, we all slid to the back of the vehicle and vice-versa when we went down one. There are a number of stunning lookouts along the the way that proved superb panoramic views.
We had a lazy afternoon today, catching up on some washing and other domestic chores. Late in the day, we decided to drive down to the Arkaroola Waterhole to see if any animals were coming in for water. The waterhole was quite small. They have had no rain here sine last January and only get about 150 mm per year. However, the scenery along the creek was interesting and very photogenic.
We did see a large number of yellow-footed rock wallabies along the track. They are native to this area and they look very cute. We also saw some Euros and, of course, more Emus. One had about eight chicks in tow.