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Published October 27th 2012
An unforgettable outback experience
Quorn is a historic railway town 335km north of Adelaide in the Southern Flinders Ranges, and home to the Pichi Richi Camel tours. They offer a range of packages including full day and half day tours, half or one hour rides (if you're only up there for the day), or the 'camel to breakfast' tour.
Longer two day or four day safaris are available, or there is even an 'ocean to outback tour' which includes a cruise. We opted for the two day tour and elected to stay the night before in Quorn. There are plenty of accommodation options in Quorn including Hotels, B & B's, apartments, cottages, caravan park or cabins.
The majestic southern Flinders Ranges. Image taken by writer
Our friendly guide Graham was a real bushie and fourth generation cameleer. After arriving at 10am in the morning we were introduced to our camels. Our assigned camel was called 'Kakadu' (I'm just glad we didn't get the one called 'Feral'). The camels all varied in age, sex and character, with each one having its own personality.
Each camel has different traits. Image taken by writer.
The camels were led out all tied together in a "train" and we set off for a tour of Argadell's Range, filled with gum lined gorges. Picturesque Hannahman Gorge was cool and shady, followed by our arrival in a native pine glen for a well earned lunch.
Unfortunately our camel would get a bit bored with walking and would seemingly 'punish' us by leading us through low lying branches and thickets. Graham told us he had been tried at the front of the camel train but was not a leader, later they had tried him at the back but he was too prone to 'doing his own thing', so eventually the handler decided he'd be better off in the middle of the group. The camels were actually quite well behaved, with just a few shows of minor disobedience which were well managed by our handler. The ride was comfortable; especially with the proper saddles and stirrups.
Our 6 strong camel train stop for a well earned rest. Image taken by writer.
After a very hot day, a cold beer was just reward, and we sat down to watch the sunset across the timeless landscape. Our delicious three course meal consisted of all natural, bush foods including yabby cocktails, Desert Herb Encrusted Steak with Bush Tomato Chutney, or Lemon Myrtle Baked Barramundi followed by a Quandong pie for dessert. To cap it off we sat back in our deck chairs around the campfire to listen to some funny stories from our host and enjoy the brilliant night sky. We all slept soundly after a long day in the saddle in our swags on the cool concrete floor of the shearing shed.
The camels like nothing more than a roll in the dirt. Image taken by writer.
After a cooked breakfast the following morning we set off again beneath the inspiring Mt Arden, across high spinifex covered plateau's. We enjoyed picturesque views of the deep blue waters of the Spencer Gulf and the vast salt expanse of Lake Torrens, before descending to the mouth of South Gorge where we stopped for a fresh picnic lunch.
The ruins of a long abandoned pastoral settlement. Image taken by writer.
The good thing about this trip is our leader gave us plenty of breaks for morning and afternoon tea, which always included a plentiful supply of cakes and biscuits, and hot tea from the billy. I really got a taste for what those early explorers must have felt like, as they struggled to come to grips with this arid, unforgiving but beautiful landscape. Following a leisurely afternoon ride the tour concluded around 3pm and it was time to say goodbye to the camels which we had grown to love over the space of two short days.
Interesting rock formations. Image taken by writer.
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