A few days wandering South Australia's Mid North

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by bull600, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    499
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    With the unpreceded storms and wet weather that has gripped South Australia recently a leisurely solo ride up through the mid north was almost scuttled as my holidays drew to a close. With flooding in a number of areas that I intended to visit just a week prior, I eventually bit the bullet and packed up for a three day jaunt to check out the Mid North of the state.

    This was my route:

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    Ready to roll

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    Not far from home I swung off onto Lower Hermitage Road, one of my favourite nearby rides.

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    The was some evidence of the recent rains

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    But the local roo population seemed pretty happy amongst the grass

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    This road skirts the boundary of the large Sampson Flat Fire that occurred in January 2015, where more than 12,500 ha of country was affected. The damage caused was still very evident throughout the nearby forest areas.

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    The idea of the ride, as always, was to avoid the bitumen as much as possible and seek out the less travelled roads and tracks. It wasn’t long before I picked up a nice little track to follow

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    It wasn’t long before a log over the track and spinning rear wheel reminded me of how wet the soil really was

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    After a few minutes of man handing I was able to move on and as I travelled north up towards the Barossa Valley the green crops that would be so evident over the next few days began to unfold.

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    Soon the vineyards spread out before me

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    I crossed over the North Para River at Rosedale and saw evidence of where the water had been raging the week before

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    It was then through Greenock and out past Lincoln Nitschke’s aviation museum. Where an English Electric Canberra Bomber

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    and Mustang replica are parked by the side of a dirt road

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    I then followed an easement

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    That wound through some nice scrubland

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    Before passing a few wire gates

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    That led me past an old ruined farm

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    The track became a little harder to follow with the high grass and as I moved on I met a herd of cows that I gingerly idled past – I certainly didn’t want to upset the farmer..

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    The track soon came to an end so I headed towards Kapunda via Mary McKillop Walk, which crosses over the River Light (that is usually bone dry)

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    Once past Kapunda I took Ray Rd

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    Before hooking up with one of the nicest roads through the area, Taylors Run Rd

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    It was pretty slippery with lots of puddles but still a good run

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    From there I weaved my way towards Riverton through a number of different tracks, with a few gates to open and close along the way (this would become a recurring chore over the next few days)

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    So far the tracks had been ok with just minor slippery sections

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    But things soon got a little worse

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    And then worse again!

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    and I was forced to backtrack on a few occasions. Once past Riverton I took the Old Main North Rd that crossed the recently flooded Gilbert River. The water had receded from the causeway but the flow had left a nice concrete ledge that luckily I saw before hitting it at any speed.

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    Further on the Gilbert was crossed again and this ford was quite deep

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    After jumping over the Barrier Highway I then wound my way north towards Clare. The strong winds of the previous week were evident everywhere, with lots of big trees down.

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    As I passed west of Auburn masses of Salvation Jane were evident in the paddocks that lined the track.

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    Soon I found my way along Upper Silky Rd and then Hughes Park Rd. This is a great ride, with the road following the Skillogalee Creek for much of the way. The only issue this time round was watching for the slushy bits that had been left over from the floods.

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    More evidence of the storm was soon found as my path along Trevarrick Rd was blocked by fallen trees.


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    After a bit of a back track I snuck along past the ‘Road Closed’ sign (this became a common trend as the days went by) and made my way past Spring Gully Conservation Park via Saw Mill Rd. There was plenty of water in the dams!

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    With all the slow progress I was glad to finally roll into Clare and hit the bakery before fuelling up and heading north once more. The Clare Valley was in great shape, no surprise after all the rain!

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    After heading north for a while I then turned east and took Cas Hawker road over the range past Mt Gregory, before crossing the River Broughton and following Kunoths Pipeline Rd

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    As I was on the lookout for a campsite I decided to check out an area of forest near the Bundaleer Reservoir but like most Government run organisations it was locked up tight

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    With this crossed off the list I headed north around the reservoir on Bundaleer Rd before picking up part of the Mawson Trail that headed out through some farmland.

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    This was a great section of ride that eventually led through to the southern end of the Bundaleer Forest Reserve. With time getting on I found an area of scrub just before the reserve and went for a recce. After following a small creek I soon found a great spot for a camp and pulled up. The weather during the day had been cool but with little rain. However, the drizzle started as I began setting up camp:eek7. It didn’t take long though and I had things sorted

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    I had brought a small soft esky so once the fire was up and running I sat back and enjoyed a beer (or two) while watching “Races to Places” on my tablet :clap

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    Then it was just a matter of cooking up my grain fed fillet steaks and knocking off the last of the beers! (well it was my birthday after all :lol3:lol3)

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    After being woken by scores of roos that had come down to the creek for a drink, I heard the constant dripping on the tent fly, which indicated a drizzly start to the day. After packing up I headed off down Springs Rd before stopping briefly at the start of Conservator’s Walk that passes through the forest.

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    Once out of the forest reserve the countryside opened up again and green pastures took over but rain was on the way..

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    I had previously used some nice hideaway camps in the Wirrabara Forest and was interested to see if any were viable after the massive Bangor Fires of 2014. The route I chose took me through some nice tracks

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    I once again skirted the lush pasture lands

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    Before deciding to check out the public campground alongside the Ippinitchie Creek which is just inside the forest reserve. The camp here was quite good, with a long drop toilet and benches. However, the lack of wood and other campers nearby would put be off, although it would be ok in a stretch.

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    It was then on through Wirrabara Forest Reserve, where the evidence of the fire was everywhere. It’s estimated that up to 90% of the forest was lost.

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    Our campsites were long gone and in fact the section where we used to go is still closed to any access. There was still plenty of water about and lots of fallen trees

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    My original plan had been to hook around and follow the Bridle Track back down to the plain. However, the storm clouds were brewing and it was likely that the top of the hills would be wet with low visibility. The track is a great one, giving good views over the gulf to the west but the weather was against me. Instead I took the Port Germein Gorge Rd which, interestingly, had been badly damaged after the severe flooding that followed the Bangor fires in 2014 (isn’t it always the way :baldy) Back then it looked like this (Photo: Flinders News)

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    After being closed for 6 months the road was finally fixed and is a great ride (in the dry!) Once out of the gorge I headed north again and passed the other end of the Bridle Track where the the storm clouds were hovering nearby

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    After following the main bitumen road for a few kms I then branched off again onto the dirt at Nectar Brook Rd. From there the peaks of the Southern Flinders Ranges near Wilmington were visible to the east

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    Soon the rain started again, which was pity because I had just reached the famous twisty stretch of bitumen than runs through Horrock’s Pass

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    I took the side road that runs out to the lookout but by then the rain had started in earnest and the cloud cover made seeing anything impossible. Defeated I returned to the main road and made the short run into Wilmington. After fuelling up (the town was almost deserted) I picked up Gunyah Rd and followed the dirt north once more.

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    This road soon veered off to Old Gunyah Rd before I took another section of the Mawson Trail along the now seemingly disused Richman Gap Rd. This led over the ridgeline through a few more gates

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    Before popping out near a farm in the valley, not far from Quorn

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    At Quorn I stopped for a cooked lunch with a few beers before heading off again along Yarrah Vale Rd and then crossed over the gorge

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    It was then onto Arden Vale Rd which I followed north until to Simmonston – the town that never was :eek7:eek7

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    It was then north again on Partacoona Rd past loads of wild flowers

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    and endless gates

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    Eventually I reached the junction with Yappala Rd and it didn’t take long to cover the last 20km into Hawker. With bush campsites in short supply I decided to splash out and headed to the Caravan Park (Overflow). It was ok, with a gravel campsite and camp kitchen. Although fires were allowed there was no wood so it was an early night.

    The next morning I refuelled and then started headed south towards home. The first leg took me along the dirt Hawker to Orroroo Rd before picking up the bitumen near Craddock for a short while and jumping off via a short cut to North Range Rd.

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    This is a great ride across the range that culminates in a rocky cutting that gives expansive views out over Weira Creek

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    The view back towards Craddock

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    Once down on the plain the track joins Baratta Rd and crosses the creek (some future campsites here :wink:)

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    I then chose Belton Rd to take me further south towards Carrieton. I crossed over the main road at Carrieton and took a variety of roads and tracks on the western side of the highway. Some said they were no through roads (not true)

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    and at one point my planned route forward ended when the road abruptly passed through a gate into a paddock with no sign of the original track :eek7:eek7. So I backtracked and found a way around.

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    I didn’t pass another vehicle all morning as I wound my way south.

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    As I got closer to Jamestown the union of wind generation and farming became apparent

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    As luck would have it I arrived in Jamestown with an appetite that only one place could truly do justice to :lol3:lol3

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    And a cracker of a bakery it is! I had originally planned to stay another night somewhere near Clare but I’d made good time so decided to press on home. As I headed south again it seemed that the windfarms were on the increase, with one on every corner

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    There was a stark contest between the old and the new

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    My route took me back over the range via Ee George Rd not far from Canowie before I picked up the old route from Burra to Clare. This section of the Mawson Trail is well worth the ride, through rolling farmland

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    And the occasional gate

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    As I reached the end of this section I decided to stop for a photo that quickly turned into a nap as I sunk down through the more solid crust into the slippery mud below

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    Well that was annoying :baldy:baldy. With the temperature on the rise I decided to take off my helmet and jacket before attempting to get it back rolling. In the end it wasn’t too bad as I was able to right it and head off into the grass at 90 degrees for some traction. After breaking out in a sweat it was ironic that a cyclist happened by just as I had finished :bluduh:bluduh

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    We had a bit of chat and I found he was doing the whole Mawson Trail from Adelaide to Blinman. He had been struggling with the mud in the area near Kapunda that I had passed through a few days earlier. Soon I was past Clare and heading south on a route that followed west of where I had come up.

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    It had been a long day so I stopped mid-afternoon for a break

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    Before the final run home through Hamley Bridge and Gawler. After a few diversions due to boggy tracks I thought I’d get through one section on Roberts Rd. This proved to be mistake but luckily I was able to push the bike out backwards after sinking down into the bog.

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    It was great to get away for a few days and experience the Mid North in all its finery!

    I have uploaded the gps log of the ride to this great site:

    http://transaustraliatrail.com.au/

    A zoomable map of the route can also be found HERE

    Until next time :thumb
    #1
    Ramdog, Oaters, flinders_72 and 33 others like this.
  2. johnno950

    johnno950 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,598
    Fantastic photos/report,countryside looks great.
    #2
  3. Eaglebeak

    Eaglebeak All roads rider, West Oz.

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,279
    Location:
    Perth.
    Hey mate, that was great !
    Thanks.
    I was over your way in August for the OCR and my mate and I discussed how little we had really seen of that area over the years.
    We vowed to come back for a better look.
    I'll send him a link to this report to get him fired up.
    #3
  4. Regemite

    Regemite Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2016
    Oddometer:
    45
    Good stuff that.
    #4
  5. Rider 101

    Rider 101 Highly paid idiot

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,037
    Location:
    Under a southern sky
    Almost makes me want to visit SA :-)
    #5
  6. James Cook

    James Cook O.H.M.S

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,116
    Location:
    Yarra Glen Victoria Aus
    Well done as usual,I have thought for a while SA is the place for adventure riding.
    #6
  7. TheDecepticon

    TheDecepticon Wannabe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    490
    Location:
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Good stuff Bull. Love it out that way and North Range Rd is fantastic! :clap
    #7
  8. kano650

    kano650 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    237
    Location:
    Tea Tree Gully
    Thanks for the effort put in to that bull600l! I just did a very similar trip last weekend taking some of the same tracks you did. You captured the beauty of the area much better than i did with your ride report and great photos. It's a stunning part of the country, particularly after all the rain we've had.
    #8
  9. Aussie Trev

    Aussie Trev aka DRTrev

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,154
    Location:
    La Grange, South Australia
    Good stuff Bull....... It's caused me to wander out to the garage and work out what I have to do to prep the bike for a ride. Cheers
    #9
    Noely likes this.
  10. XRman

    XRman Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,198
    Location:
    SW Victoria Oz
    Good trip Greg.

    I want to do this one with my mate from Warradale if I can get him organized. You coverd some of the tracks I did on my WTF ride.

    You should have called in at my sister's place in Stone Hut!
    #10
  11. Sol Erzenberg

    Sol Erzenberg Lost somewhere

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
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    Location:
    Adelaide - North East.
    bull600, sensational ride report mate & great photos, well done..:clap

    I have done some riding in the Mid North over the years & it's never looked that good, great part of the country I must admit, thanks for the report & you've made me want to get out on a decent ride asap before the warm weather arrives.

    Cheers, Sol..:thumb
    #11
  12. TerryK

    TerryK Ulysses

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
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    1,922
    Location:
    adelaide South Australia
    Good ride report mate
    #12
  13. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Hotlanta
    I grew up in Adelaide (Paralowie, Glenelg and Grange) but haven't been back since the 90's. Still as beautiful as I remember. Thank you for helping relive those trips. I spent a lot of time in those parts on the weekends.
    #13
  14. darren70

    darren70 KTM, Ready To Spend

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    great report mate
    #14
  15. dammitdave

    dammitdave Long timer

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    Port Townsend, WA
    Thanks for posting, I learned a bit about SA today! Gorjewus country and great pics! Thanks, Dave
    #15
  16. jtb

    jtb Long timer

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    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Good job! More parts of SA for me to look at :clap
    #16
  17. Nice Goat

    Nice Goat higher is better

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
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    763
    Location:
    Alabama
    Awesome photos! I've been many places, but never to the Oz. Someday...
    #17
  18. OZZY-DUCK

    OZZY-DUCK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Curled up in the corner
    Great report Bull
    I'm at Tarlee so all this is at my backdoor, some of the areas are new to me.
    I'm going to study that map and get out and explore
    Cheers for the effort putting it together


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #18
  19. bigborett

    bigborett Long timer

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    Narre Warren Victoria
    Great ride and report Bull.
    #19
  20. Sidm

    Sidm You get what you settle for!!!

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Middleton Sth Australia
    great report plan it for early next year one thinks, great pics, can anyone recommend a good GPS
    #20