I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet.
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Published February 18th 2016
Kangaroos, Bullocks and Burghers
The drive from Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges and through Parachilna Gorge had taken all of the previous day. Hard driving but the wonderful scenery and wildlife had been worth it. After an overnight stay at the iconic Prairie Hotel and a classic bush tucker meal, it was time to turn for home.
My route back included one more classic bush drive along the Moralana Scenic Drive that cuts through the lower region of the Flinders between Wilpena Pound and the Elder Range. The entrance to the track is about half an hour's drive from the hotel. Just a couple of kilometres along the dirt road we discovered our first 'roo'. It was a euro or wallaroo, a robust, shaggy- furred species that prefers the hill country to the open plains frequented by its larger cousin, the red kangaroo.
During the next half an hour we encountered quite few euros feeding near rocky outcrops and watched a pair of reds bounding across an open expanse of grassland towards an old wooden corral by the roadside. The historic site was marked with an interpretive sign that explained the structure as a cueing yard used for shoeing the bullocks that hauled native pines for the overland telegraph in the late 1800s.
Emus are also common throughout this part of the ranges and one particular bird seemed quite unintimidated by our presence. Pecking the ground in search of seeds, insects and just about anything else that was edible, the bird approached close enough to get a nice portrait shot.
In some areas the open, wooded countryside gave way to rocky outcrops where we left the car to fossick amongst the boulders for other kinds of animals. As luck would have it I caught sight of a rock skink that was basking near a crevice it called home. Nearby, the scatterings of empty snail shells indicated the presence of shingleback or sleepy lizards feeding amongst the rocks.
Near the end of the trail, just before the dirt meets the paved road that leads south south towards Hawker or north to Wilpena, a small group of horses were feeding in a shallow creek bed near some huge red gums. Whether they were wild animals or saddle horses from one of the resorts, is uncertain but the classic outback scene was certainly a great way to finish our journey along the Moralana Scenic Drive.
This is an excellent drive and on a good but dusty wide dirt road.I would suggest that it be driven in both directions if one has the time..the view is spectacular either way and somewhat different.The morning and evening light has a dramatic effect on the ranges, so bear that in mind when you take this route.