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Published July 17th 2017
How's the Serenity?
Passing blue gums and a surprised wallaby, natural bush heritage and a slow moving lizard, the slow turning windmill and the dry pebbled creekbed, I can't help but think of the words of Darryl Kerrigan, an Australian hero from 20 years ago, whose quote is now part of Australian folklore "How's the serenity". And I think I may have found another hidden secret and a great example of serenity in South Australia's mid-north.
Beetaloo Grove is located in the Beetaloo Valley, some 220km north of Adelaide. Alongside the Heysen Trail and bordering the Beetaloo Reservoir, Beetaloo Grove is a 3 acre working olive farm on a 220 acres of native bushland which has been heritage listed to preserve some of the beauty of the Southern Flinders Ranges and to protect it from development.
Towards the top of the hill lies the Cottage, a 100 year old structure that has been cleverly restored in order to preserve its rustic feel, and fitted with a number of modern conveniences including a queen size bed, hot shower and a flushing toilet. Alongside these lies a number of aged yet functional furniture and cooking facilities, all adding to the feel of getting away from it all. The wood fired combustion heat and ample supply of dried wood ensures that even the coolest of nights are avoided when inside the Cottage.
The large outdoor shelter provides relief from the rare inclement weather while the artefacts inside and outside the cottage provide hours of entertainment through the discovery and recognition process. And sadly for some of us, we do recall what a number of them are, which perhaps provides more of an indication of our age than our IQ.
The shelter again gets a workout in the early morning when the farm fresh Beetaloo Valley Eggs combine with some bacon for a great breakfast and perfect start to the day. Meanwhile a couple of wild deer are spotted in the top paddock, a wallaby bounds towards the creek, the kookaburra laughs off the morning sun while a myriad of other birds of size and colour skoot between the natives and the olive trees to find their morning feed.
The olive farm sits outside the cottage and has some 600 trees. Once a busy olive producer of the area, the olive trees were left unattended for a few years in the earlier part of this century. Now with the new owners, Sue and Rob, they are being carefully maintained and re-aligned back for a life of olive production. A wander through the grove and the fruits of their labour can be seen, with plenty of new olives on show, as well as a number of olive based products in the Cottage to consume either in or on the body.
Beetaloo Grove is located in the Beetaloo Valley between Laura, Gladstone and Crystal Brook and is one of the hidden secrets in the Southern Flinders Ranges. Activities in the region range from short town walks to the long distance Heysen Trail, short cycle trips to the long distance Mawson Trail, lookouts, cafes and of course the Golden North Ice Creamery in Laura. Nearby the Beetaloo Reservoir is scheduled to be opened to recreational fishermen later in 2017, an opening which may include other boating activities.
Beetaloo Grove is pet-friendly and also has a couple of basic caravans for those with larger families. Bookings are available online through the website or you can follow their progress on their Facebook page.
And as I depart Beetaloo after a relaxing weekend away, and head back to an oft-busy city life, I can't help but think about Darryl Kerrigan and that famous conversation closing quote "So much serenity".