We started our day nice and early at the Wilpena Pound campground and walked along the St Mary’s Peak trail – a 7km or so one way track up to the top of the impressive St Mary’s Peak at the edge of the Pound.
It was a pretty intense scramble for most of the way, so we were pretty satisfied when we got up the top and had a look around. The weather was perfect and even though it was pretty cold and windy up there, we had some food and took in the view for as long as we could before it got a little too cold.
Instead of going back the way we had came and putting our knees through the downhill scramble for 7kms, we opted for the inside track through the Wilpena Pound itself which was about 12km from the turnoff at the saddle of St Mary’s. It was much easier going though, and we got to wander through the inside of the pound and see the bizarrely flat and lush green landscape that we had looked at from above at the peak.
We got back and had our first shower in 8 days or so and then took the road up north through Blinman to stop in at the famous Praire Hotel in Parachilna for their ‘feral food’ menu (emu, camel, etc). The drive from Wilpena through Blinman and to Parachilna was amazing – the sudden change from rocky peaks and rough terrain to flat dusty plains happened in a split second it seemed, and heading west we were chasing the sun down as it set over the dead flat horizon. By the time we reached the Praire Hotel, we discovered that they had a function booked out for the whole hotel, bar and restaurant, so all we could get was a beer and sit and enjoy the fire outside as the people for the function filed in. You couldn’t miss them – it was the WA Variety Bash stopping in for the night! A car rally from Sydney to Perth in hilariously hotted up shitbox cars for charity. A rowdy but lovely crowd who very generously let us sit at their tables for the dinner that they had booked for the group of 100 or so travelling in convoy across the country (a few were sick with the flu and already in bed) and we had a night of excellent food, drink and conversation with some of the crew that were travelling. Too full of food and drink to follow through with our original plan of going back along our tracks to a camping spot near Blinman, we arranged ourselves in the car for the night just behind the pub next to the railway tracks.