We had a wonderful week at Grindells’ Hut in the Vulkathunha – Gammon Ranges National Park. The organization and experience made sure that our 5 walking days covered the variety of experiences available around the area – springs, gorges, petroglyphs, dramatic rock formations, old mines, the rare purple spotted gudgeon (fish), yellow-footed rock wallabies, kangaroos, wrens and other bird life; all among the spectacular scenery of the Northern Flinders Ranges.
Our starting group of 4 all arrived on the Saturday afternoon after quandong experiences at Hawker or Copley. We settled in and although we were concerned about the very dry conditions and the few flowers, we found the yellow–footed rock wallabies were surprisingly bold while seeking the permanent water at the bore and around the hut.
On Sunday we walked the Balcanoona Creek and Weetootla Gorge between the Red Tillite rock walls of Hells Gate and saw many more YFR wallabies! Later that afternoon our group increased to 7 all using the hut for meals and only 2 camping outside and the others enjoying the comfort inside. It turned out to be a very appropriately sized group who enjoyed sitting beside the fire inside every evening.
We walked a specially curated history walk on Monday up an unnamed but beautiful small gorge with sharply angled rock face walls to view ancient petroglyphs. We then traversed bare stony hills to the dirt road with a diversion to see the small cairn memorial to George Snell who was murdered in 1918, went back to the road to Gill’s lookout and returned via the side of the Illawortina Pound.
Our next walk took us to the Weetootla Spring after inspecting a magnesite mine shaft from the 1980’s. We stopped for some time to find the purple spotted gudgeons in a deeper pool before heading up along the ridges to the abandoned Monarch Mine. We had distant views of the Hut as we headed back down the stony hills.
Our rest day permitted a trip to Arkaroola via another set of petroglyphs, Nudlamutana Hut and Wooltana bat cave before refueling and 2 walking the Mawson Spriggina track. Our next walk covered an old station track route to McKinley Springs where we visited a little side gorge with dramatic rock walls. Although there was no sign of water, there were kangaroos and goats around the springs area. After some had viewed the Italowie Gorge rock walls we all returned to Grindells Hut in good time.
Our final day walking to Bunyip Chasm was through glowing red walled gorge sections over rocky dry waterfalls and some small water pools were still around. It was a great sight where the chasm narrows right down and disappears into the distance plus the nearby amphitheatre creek where the rock walls rise all around and the creek falls from a high level when it flows.
We had cool, occasionally very windy but mainly pleasant conditions for our week of walking. Many thanks to the organiser for such a great camp.