From Kangaroo Island to Gammon Ranges

Once we had arrived back on the mainland from Kangaroo Island, our next destination was Adelaide. We were signed up to do a two day 4WD course as part of our work with National Parks SA, which meant we would need to stay in a…caravan park (*shudder*). When we made the decision to leave Melbourne, our idea of travelling Australia and getting off the beaten track did not include staying in caravan parks (or camping suburbia as I like to call it), with people crammed in side by side. However, for convenience, it was our best option for the next couple of nights while we did the course. Unfortunately, getting off the KI ferry at Cape Jervis mid afternoon did not give us much time to get to the caravan park to check in before the office shut, which meant driving through peak hour Adelaide traffic. Surely it couldn’t be anything compared to Melbourne, right? I mean, Adelaide is hardly even considered a city!! Well, the whiteness of Marc’s knuckles and the high reading on my Garmin’s heart rate monitor by the time we rolled into the caravan park suggested otherwise. Our “favourite” part was how many Adelaide roads seem barely wide enough for the Ranger, much less the caravan we were towing behind it. Nevertheless, we made it without any mishaps, and after a bit of time in the camp chairs with a few beers, our blood pressure had returned to acceptable levels.

The 4WD course with Adventure 4WD consisted of one day of theory and one day out on the tracks putting that theory into practice. It was very useful, even if for Marc it was more of a good refresher/confirmation that he hasn’t been doing things completely wrong all these years. It was great fun and we’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in four wheel driving.

4WD course, Adventure 4WD
Yes, I’m meant to be in this ditch!

After our course we continued north, traveling through the Barossa and Clare wine regions. While the Barossa region was beautiful, we found the wines of the Clare region much more enjoyable.

One of the beautiful wineries in the Barossa
One of the beautiful wineries in the Barossa

Our favourite of all was Kilikanoon Winery, where we were also lucky enough to find proper wine glasses in travel-friendly packs, so no more drinking wine out of plastic cups for us! From the wineries we decided to go inland as opposed to taking the coastal route, having done that drive during our South Australia road trip in December 2016. So we headed to an area called Red Banks Conservation Park, just outside of the town of Burra. Red Banks is named so due to the red cliffs within walking distance of the campground, which light up with vibrant hues at the beginning and end of the day.

The imposing Red Banks
The imposing Red Banks

Nearby is Worlds End Gorge, where South Australian surveyors decided the land beyond was impassable, thus naming the area “World’s End”. It has a beautiful camping area along some picturesque billabongs, with emus hanging around.

Worlds End Gorge
Worlds End Gorge

After one night at Red Banks, we headed back west to Mount Remarkable National Park. We didn’t know much about this park but it seemed like a good stopping point before making the journey to the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges, and we’re glad we did as we thought it was significantly underrated! Our campsite at Mambray Creek, with its pristine, peaceful spots along the river red gum-lined creek, was our favourite camp of the trip so far.

Near Mambray Creek camp

We just had to keep our eyes out for several large lace monitors skulking about, especially when they could smell the BBQ cooking something tasty!

Lace monitor, Mount Remarkable National Park, South Australia, Australia
These guys will take your lunch if you’re not careful!

We had a couple days at Mount Remarkable, which we passed doing various walks throughout the park. One day we completed the 18km Hidden Gorge loop, which we recommend doing anti-clockwise, starting towards the gorge first, so you complete the steep climb of the bluff going down instead of up. Or do it the other way; we won’t tell you how to live your life. The walk through Hidden Gorge makes you feel like you’re worlds away from civilisation, such is the serenity.

Hidden Gorge
Hidden Gorge

It includes a fun climb over a rockfall that has blocked the path, then the path gradually climbs to fantastic 360 degree views of the park and coastline towards Port Augusta before finishing off with a steep climb down the bluff back to Mambray Creek campground. One drawback to Mambray Creek is that Alligator Gorge, one of the main attractions of Mount Remarkable National Park, is not easily accessible. To get there, you must drive about an hour out of the park and back in on the northern side, but it is well worth the drive. Access to the gorge is via a couple hundred steps down but it is well worth the climb down (and back up).

Alligator Gorge
Alligator Gorge

Make sure you watch out for snakes in the park: we saw a fairly large yellow-bellied black sunning itself on the path of the Hidden Gorge loop, and at Alligator Gorge I came within centimetres of stepping on a small whip snake. Enjoy the views of your hikes but don’t forget to keep a close eye on where you’re placing your feet!

Yellow Bellied Black
The yellow Bellied Black snake we spotted near Hidden Gorge

We left Mount Remarkable feeling energised and with a sense of excitement; from here we were heading to the most remote terrain we had seen so far on our journey: the Gammon Ranges…the red hills were calling!

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