I have visited the Flinders Range National Park (and surrounding areas) a few times before; in fact, this is exactly where my first ever Australian camping trip happened some five or six years ago. It is also interesting to realise that I have negotiated this stretch road (Hawker to Lyndhurst) a number of times from south to north, but never from north to south, because I was always taking a different route to go back. It's about time I should fix that, I believe.

It was bright and sunny over the Lake Eyre; but the further south I get, the more cloudy it becomes. So much so that I stop the car a few times just to marvel at the sky and the adjacent mountains: I've never seen them looking so stormy before!

What magnificent clouds!What magnificent clouds!

Always love the dry bush.Always love the dry bush.

The Ranges look striking as always.The Ranges look striking as always.

Quite windy and rainy over there.Quite windy and rainy over there.

Look at these layers!Look at these layers!

My car is waiting patiently until I'm done fooling around.My car is waiting patiently until I'm done fooling around.

It's getting rainier!It's getting rainier!

Mount Aleck in the distance.Mount Aleck in the distance.

Looks a little bit menacing, even!Looks a little bit menacing, even!

You don't think?You don't think?

And yet there are always silver linings.And yet there are always silver linings.

Further south still, there's a turnoff to the Moralana Scenic Drive, which I also have never taken before... and now seems to be as good a time as any. I have a few hours to spare, and the clouds are just phenomenal. Would be a real shame to miss such a good photographic opportunity.

The start of the track looks promising.The start of the track looks promising.

Wow.Wow.

The track is unsealed and rather corrugated, but I barely pay attention to that, because the views are spectacular right from the start. Every hundred metres or so I stop the car to jump out and take yet another series of pictures. The cloud cover is constantly changing, and so does the wonderful scenery of this truly unique place.

The sky is fierce...The sky is fierce...

...but mostly harmless....but mostly harmless.

The track continues.The track continues.

And then continues some more.And then continues some more.

I take a proper stop somewhere in the middle of the track to have a quiet walk around and soak up the surroundings. The place looks unique also because there's so many conifer trees around: pines and cypresses and junipers and whatnot. Probably because the area is so elevated. It even looks like a Canadian or a Karelian forest at times, even though those are much thicker, and the shade of green is completely different.

The peaks are very imposing.The peaks are very imposing.

The scenery of the Flinders Ranges.The scenery of the Flinders Ranges.

Bushfire victims?Bushfire victims?

Conifers feel good around here. Some worse than most.Conifers feel good around here. Some worse than most.

Those layers again!Those layers again!

I continue my impromptu journey after that, and the sights never fail to impress the entire time. The soft light and the majestic clouds above me add a lot, of course; but the place is a feast for eyes by itself. Also, this seems to be the season when the wattles bloom, and their tender golden plumes pop up here and there in the most scenic fashion possible.

Oh, and this stretch of the road doesn't belong to the National Park itself (which is very close) and goes through the private properties, so you don't have to pay $10 for the park entrance. Penny saved is penny earned!

Further down the track.Further down the track.

Wattles are in full bloom.Wattles are in full bloom.

Near the dilapidated fence.Near the dilapidated fence.

Doesn't look too good.Doesn't look too good.

Such gentle colours.Such gentle colours.

Up closer.Up closer.

One last glance at the Range.One last glance at the Range.

Well, the drive is short, but by no means boring. I'm so happy about it, and I already anticipate how good these photos will look as I resume my journey back to Port Augusta. I decide to refuel there quickly, grab a bite, and then go back to my old beautiful camp; the weather forecast looks favourable, and I'm sure I'll be able to snap many more beautiful images there later on.

Once in Augusta, I visit the gas station and measure my fuel consumption after filling up the tanks (12.2 per 100 km; must be all those sidewinds), then visit the local Barnacle Bill to have some fish and chips. I've been here many moons ago, on my first ever journey across Australia, yet I don't feel sentimental in the slightest somehow. Too tired for that, probably.

And yet, after refilling myself and replenishing my supplies of drinking water, I decide to take a quick walk around the Arid Lands Botanical Garden which I also visited years ago: I feel like I need to finally put some names to some desert trees and plants that I've seen during my travels. However, the second visit leaves me disappointed. The signage is burned out by the sun and barely possible to read; the weather is too cold and windy for a leisurely stroll; and the labels seem to be missing from exactly the same trees and plants that I need to know the names for. Ugh. Maybe I'm simply too tired for this, too. Time to go “home” now.

Back at the old camp.Back at the old camp.

Been a long day.Been a long day.

Which I do soon enough, because the moon is almost full by now, and it looks wonderful amidst all the twisty trees as it slowly rises up in the sky. I'm extremely tired and hungry after the flight and the driving, but I just can't put my camera down: I won't be able to forgive myself if I do!

A frame for the moon.A frame for the moon.

Some Japanese flavour.Some Japanese flavour.

Going abstract with lines.Going abstract with lines.

It darkens rapidly.It darkens rapidly.

The night is coming.The night is coming.

Well, it's been a long, but a pretty spectacular weekend full of visual wonders. Time to spend another week among the twisty trees and see if something worthy of blogging about comes up later on!

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