Yesterday, Saturday (day 6) began in Burra, SA. I had arrived in Burra at the end of day 4 and quickly decided to settle in for a couple of nights, and I am so thankful I did. Burra for me started as a last minute place to stay the night when I was caught out slightly behind schedule. I had hoped to make it as far North as Peterborough or Hawker, but after finding a dirt track down to the Murray River flats just north of Berri, I fell behind getting carried away with my camera and the lowering sun over the banks of the Murray. Not that I am complaining. Especially after stumbling over Burra.
Burra – originally a set of townships known as The Burra – began as a mining town after copper was discovered in 1845. By 1848 the area was home to migrants from places such as Germany, Scotland and Whales. For 15 years Burra mined 5% of the worlds copper and is known for saving South Australia during tough times. These days Burra is frozen in time. Its historic architecture along with the mining structures have, for their age, stood up against the test of time as best as possible. The town has obviously had quite a deal of money from the SA government injected into it to keep it this way.
The architecture is a true testament to low embodied architecture. Like everywhere in early Australia the people used the resources they had close by. The building here are therefore made from the unwanted stones removed from the landscape during the mining of copper. Burra is like, well to me anyway, an 1848-1871 country version of The Rocks in Sydney. The history makes you stop and imagine what it must have been like to start such a town. If you are ever in South Australia I really recommend you take some time to visit this timely town. You can see my photos of Burra here.
Oh and a little neat fact. Just 4km North out of Burra along the main highway is a quant house now known as ‘The Midnight Oil House’. The reason should be obvious to any Australian? I found out from a local gentleman in Burra that it was voted as the second best house to photograph in Australia. Within an hour of learning this I was on driving along the main highway heading north of Burra looking for this house. Sadly though the lighting was so bad it wasn’t worth getting my camera out for. I did get some ok shots of it the following morning (Day 6), but you will have to wait for me to upload the photos from Day 6 to see them… well one.
After staying in Burra for a couple of nights I rolled up my swag and headed north for the Flinders Ranges, my favourite place from my original drive across Australia back in 2007. This day also saw me crossing my original path for the first time since my departure on Monday.
After a minor car issue again, which I will let you know about shortly, I passed through Peterborough thankful I stayed in Burra instead. I made it to Hawker, a tiny tiny town on the Southern tip of the Flinders Ranges National Park. Hawker is really only kept alive it seems by the tourists who venture north to the Flinders and if you ever get the chance to visit this truly magical place you will quickly see why.
I stopped in Hawker for lunch and a windscreen clean before heading north to Wilpena – a place my GPS hadn’t even heard of. Its a little area containing a ‘resort’ and a caravan park/camping grounds. On my way I drove around a slight bend as a saw a Wedge-tailed eagle fly off from the road side. As I got closer I could see it was just feeding on an emu which had obviously lost its luck with a car.
I quickly stopped, turned of my engine in the hope it might fly back, but sadly it didn’t. I reversed back a few metres to find two Wedge-tailed eagles scoping out the emu from the limbs of a dead tree in the distance. I got a few disappointing photos before reversing back some distance hoping hoping hoping they would fly down for a feed again. If you know me you will know I have a love for animals and for me moments like this are something I would have dreamt of as a boy. Well maybe not to the detail of Wedge-tailed eagles feeding on a emu who had met its death with a car in the Australian outback, but the sight of such majestic birds doing what they do best is something any keen photographer or animal enthusiast would hope to see.
After reaching Wilpena and finding myself quite disappointed, I headed back towards Hawker with a simple decision running through my mind. “Should I do the Moralana Scenic drive or just go back to Hawker and remain disappointed in the place I loved so much the first time around (2007)?” I made it 30 metre past the entrance to the dirt track known as Moralana Scenic Dive before once again coming to a screeching halt, doing a U-turn and returning 30m back to the entrance. As soon as I turned left and saw the red earth inviting me in I was pleased with my decision. The scenery is something I won’t even attempt to describe other than to say… picture red dirt corrugated roads surrounded by pale green hills, huge old hollowed out trees and a content flow of wildlife. Add to this a close encounter with a herd? of Brumbies and my camera was in ore.
Luckily for all of you I was organised enough to capture this scenic drive, as the sunset in the back ground, with my GoPro HD2 camera mounted to my windscreen. So watch this space for a time lapse photography trip through the Flinders Ranges at dusk with the pinkest of pink skies in the back ground.
Anyway I best be off. I am currently in Port Augusta, SA. I am heading south to Port Lincoln where I am considering cage diving with Great White Sharks in an attempt to raise some more money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and break the $1000 mark. I may be posting about this later today so keep a close eye out if you are interested in pledging some money if I am game enough to jump in the water. Note: I do have a phobia of sharks. Even typing this is not so easy.
See the map below or click on it to see my route for Day 6. You can see the Moralana Scenic Drive track also marked. This is the part road which starts between point B and point C and heads North West.