Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

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Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 9:15 am

The Heysen Trail is a very long distance track running from the tip of Fleurieu Peninsula below Adelaide - through the Adelaide Hills and the mid north to the Flinders Ranges up to Parachilna.
Covering such a distance, it involves significant road walking - not my cup of tea.
But this week a group of 4 of us did a more off road section just north of Burra.

Starting at Black Jack campsite we walked through a mix of scrub and abandoned farmland to Caroona Creek.
There were a variety of wildflowers out and colourful plants and saltbush in this dry area, refreshed by good rains this year.

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Washout with old farmhouse


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Rare water in Newkie Creek - nice place for lunch


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Colourful plant along the trail
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 9:29 am

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Tracking along the dry bed of Caroona Creek


There was a good shelter shed at Caroona Creek and we had several visits from bird watchers who think it is a terrific place for the variety of birds to see.
Caroona Creek camp is at the point where the creek has exited the escarpment and is heading towards the huge flats that run down to the Murray River - what we call Murray mallee country.
The track heads north in front of the escarpment before heading back up through Tourilie Gorge to the top again.
A highlight is observing the change in vegetation from the dry rain shadow affected plains and lower slopes to the lusher farm country at the top.

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Some colour amongst the saltbush with typical scrub behind and the vast plains beyond.


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A curious hill in Tourilie Gorge covered with lush patterned spinifex - normally associated with the deserts further north.
Last edited by eggs on Fri 08 Oct, 2010 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 9:49 am

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A wedgetail eagle flew over us while we were lunching in Tourilie Gorge


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The old timers had built a road through the gorge - this is an old section showing the stone wall edge to hold it in place. I suspect that washouts would have taken their toll fairly quickly on the road.


After ascending Tourilie Gorge, the track runs through working farmland - sheep and crops - to the old Mt Bryan East school house.
This has been converted to a hut for walkers and is quite comfortable. None-the-less, we did a car shuffle that night and took the opportunity to have a pub tea at Burra. Not quite roughing it :)

Next day was the ascent of the steep eastern face of Mt Bryan, and we wanted to get up for sunrise.
2 of us wanted to officially cover the trail and started in the dark at 5:30 am.
My wife and I were not so fussed about road walking and drove to the start point at 6am.
Mt Bryan is quite high for SA at 936m - and has a track running from the west to comms towers at the top.

MtBryanSunrise0353.JPG
Sunrise view about a 3rd of the way up the face of Mt Bryan
Last edited by eggs on Wed 13 Oct, 2010 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 9:56 am

I love the special light around sunrise and sunset & combined with the windswept mountain sides still green from a good winter and surrounded by patterned farmlands the views from the top were magnificent.
Well worth the effort.

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Looking back down the ascent ridge up the eastern face.


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The view south along the Razorback


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Looking south west - and did I mention South Australia has the most windfarms of any state?
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 10:01 am

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A few more Wedgetail Eagles were soaring around the top - far above the land below.


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A curious flower we found at World's End on the way home.


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Late afternoon view along the Razorback and Mt Bryan from the road during our car shuffle
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby DaveNoble » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 10:16 am

Very green! Is that typical or due to recent rain?
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 10:54 am

We have had good rains throughout this last winter, but this area is very brown and dusty and dry in summer.
You may also notice in the sequence a difference between more dry area vegetation on the lower areas from the farmland above the escarpment.
The mountain top is very windswept and probably always has very low cropped vegetation, but a nice shade of green this year.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby stu » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 2:29 pm

Great photos Brian, looks like a beautiful area & yes, much more lush than I'd have expected of this region.
I love the photo of the hill in Tourilie Gorge - such an intense blue!
Thanks for sharing :D
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby Maelgwn » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 4:30 pm

It is great to see it this green but it is rare.

In Adelaide we had our wettest August in a very long time but the Flinders Ranges would have been hit with both summer and winter rains this year. Soo much that there is significantly more water flowing and water pools than previous years (as the water table has risen). It is quite a shock after going there in recent years.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby Nick S » Fri 08 Oct, 2010 5:15 pm

You capture the atmosphere of the place very well Brian. Great sunset shots.
I've only seen SA in summer, it seems a whole new place!
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby jcr_au » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 1:57 pm

Eggs.

Thanks for those photos, bring back some old as well as recent memories

First time I camped at Caroona Creek Cons Park was nearly 10 years ago. I was on a driving holiday on my own & had gone thru Danggalli Cons Park towards Yunta, to see if it was a reasonable short cut to Arkaroola for us mexicans (it is shorter but the roads are much slower) and then turned left thru lillydale & ended up at Caroona. There was an old shed, with one side falling off, and a water tank back then but a good camp spot for the night.

Then Last year we walked thru there with the friends of the Heysen Trail - 2 days walk saw us get from about 10 km north of Burra to near the Mt Bryan school.

The terrain to the east of that range is certainly different, as you described, and is relatively flat dry mallee all the way to wentworth.

We had 2 weeks over that way in May (6 days on the trail) and there was a green tinge, but still reasonably dry.

We had another 3 weeks (8 days walking) over there in late Aug, early sept and there was lush green grass every where. Probably even greener after that as I gather Blinman had 120mm in one day the day after we left Hawker.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 3:20 pm

Strange - not sure what happened - see next post
Last edited by eggs on Wed 13 Oct, 2010 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 3:21 pm

Nick S
- yes SA is very seasonal. A vast difference in colour between the winter greens and the summer yellows & browns.
But you would have similar effects in parts of the East Coast area of Tas.
You may remember my last year winter Heysen Trail walk over Mt Brown - which had also been very green - http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=2501&start=0&hilit=mt+brown

jcr_au
you certainly get around. And yes we had a wet September - mainly in the first half.
The hut at Caroona Creek had a log book, and indicates it has been rebuilt a few times.

We also noticed that there had been a huge amount of wind damage along our walk - Black Jack shelter had been knocked out of action & there were fallen trees and broken branches every where.

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Black Jack shelter roped off - as it was damaged by wind.


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The newish shelter at Caroona Creek with tiled floor
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby jcr_au » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 7:01 pm

eggs

This is the hut I camped beside in 2003 (fortunately I dated the folder my photos are in - I thought it was earlier) wasn't where the current shed is, but we had a look for about 2 hours last August to see if we could find it but it seems to have gone

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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby eggs » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 7:40 pm

I suspect that is the "Old Shed" on one of the access roads into the park.
It was where the birdwatchers were staying and was about 2 kms further out from us.
See http://www.heysentrail.asn.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=456&accom_id=456&name=Old%20Shed%20-%20Main%20Camp%20-%20Caroona%20Creek%20Conservation%20Park
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Re: Heysen Trail - Caroona Creek, Tourilie Gorge, Mt Bryan

Postby jcr_au » Wed 13 Oct, 2010 8:10 pm

yes, thats the one all right. We must have driven off in the wrong direction last year.

If I'd found it then we were going to camp there this year, as we came over with our caravan, and didn't want to set up the van at a walkers camp. I did ring the friends office in Adelaide to see if anyone there knew of it but no luck.

I see your link has GPS co-ords on it so we'll have to look for it next time

Thanks for that
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