Monday, September 17, 2012

Black Magic on Wilpena Pound's Peaks

A bushfire back in January cleared the way for us to tackle some of Wilpena Pound's peaks - this time Mt Karawarra, Point Bonney and Tumburru Peak. Previously the vegetation was so dense it was a difficult 1km/h, but now that fire had blackened the landscape we could get in.
SUMMARY - Wilpena Pound peaks
Duration3 days
Start/endWilpena Pound Resort/General Store
FridayWilpena to Hills Homestead for water, on to base (1h45m). Base to Mt Karawarra (1109m) and return 4 hours
SaturdayBase camp to Point Bonney (1133m) 2 hrs, along ridge to Tumburru Peak 1hr, return to base camp via deep gorge 4 hrs
National ParkFlinders Ranges National Park

We weren't certain how much had been burnt, despite the fire maps we had, or how clear the vegetation now was. Numerous previous trips had shown that the vegetation on the Pound walls, including on this southern side, meant walking was slowed to 1km/h and was tough going.

From the pound floor it took 90 minutes to reach the summmit of Mt Karawarra, despite the burnt vegetation not being as extensive as the fire map detailed. It wasn't until the following day, when looking at Mt Karawarra from Point Bonney, did we really appreciate just how steep Mt Karawarra really was.

We base camped on the pound floor, enjoying each other's company each night. We shared stories around our small fire, and exchanged gear talk (a favourite of hiker's everywhere). Tim mixed and baked a carrot cake on his wood burning emberlit, promising a self-saucing chocolate cake next time! We shared wine, crackers and blue cheese. Inadvertently we later shared the blue cheese with an inquisitive wallaby or goat, but they showed no interest in our rocket and basil dip.

On the second day we climbed up Point Bonney, skipping past Iluka Hill, saving it for another day. Simon and Vicki had previously climbed it, it was a relatively easy climb from the outside. It's true, I had been up it twice before, and failed in both attempts due to time constraints, but this time it was better left for later. At the summit of Point Bonney we found the logbook, with just 32 entries over 20 years. One entry from this year, one from 2010, one from 2008, 2006 and 2003. That dense vegetation kept people away.

The rock slab cliffs beneath the peak were enormous and dramatic, and a stark contrast to the gentler slopes inside the pound. We lunched at Tumburru Peak overlooking the cliffs.

Walking down from Tumburru Peak we descended quickly to a creek below, pushing our way through the burnt out sticks of the vegetation. It's hard to imagine getting through this vegetation at all prior to the fire. We dropped into a deep gorge we had been eyeing off for a while. It had escaped the fire, was shielded by high rock walls and filled with boulders and rock pools. Kate nearly stepped on a colourful long snake, which wasn't particularly aggressive, and later identification from parks staff confirmed it as a carpet snake.

On Sunday we walked back out from our base camp, partaking in more than one icecream on our journey home, spending an pleasant hour in the courtyard of the Cradock Hotel for lunch.

View in full screen format
Download GPX file of the Mt Karawarra, Point Bonney and Tumburru Peak hike - for use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit
Download KML file of the Mt Karawarra, Point Bonney and Tumburru Peak hike - view in Google Earth


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