Waking up only slightly fuzzy headed, following the previous days romp through the many wines on the tasting menus of the Barossa Vineyards, we set off in the direction of the outback.
Later that afternoon we were joined by Mark and Kate and a sleepy Felix and Finn to commence our family holiday to the Flinders Ranges. Off we set as a fully loaded convoy, out onto the open road.
Stargazing, sausages on the barbie and teaching Felix the rules to UNO filled our first evening together in Melrose. We awoke to a gorgeous sunny day, which we spent hiking up Mount Remarkable past Cathedral Rock.
What struck us most as we continued driving further towards the Flinders Ranges was the amount of space around us and open sky, and for Tim who was now doing most of the driving the lack of bends in the roads. The shear nothingness between small towns, a big contrast to most of our coastal road journeys up until now.
We arrived in the late afternoon giving Kate, Bee and Felix time for a leisurely stroll as the sun set, turning the crater rim of Wilpena Pound a burnished orange. Tim went kangaroo spotting with Finn as Mark started on our dinner.
Exploring Wilpena Pound with Mark, who had been many times before as a child turned into a great adventure, taking off-piste tracks under and over branches and across boggy swamps. Tim befriended a pair of Ravens and was nearly not seen again, off tracking them with his camera, trying to catch their best side.
Reaching the final lookouts, we were rewarded with amazing panoramic views inside the pound, over huge areas of bush, a scramble to the summit for Bee and Tim followed by sightings on our return at dusk of kangaroo's up close. Cheeks glowing from a day in the great outdoors we headed back to camp at Rawnsley Park Station.
A true Aussie breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked over an open fire was a real highlight. We headed down an unsealed into the national park for a scenic drive. Felix joined us in the van for a bone shaking van ride to a picnic spot by a stream. All the boys (big and small) went back to nature splashing in the water and jumping on rocks.
Finally it was time to head back to Adelaide after a wonderful family trip together. It was time to pack up our backpacks for a new continent. No longer would we be needing hiking boots, winter clothes and multiple woolly jumpers. It was time to send our first parcel home, a suitcase filled with 15kgs of stuff, we were looking forward to travelling lighter! Not to mention the bags of camping paraphernalia and other junk we bequeathed to the Lawrie household.
This wonderful stay with our much missed Oxford friends was topped off by a gorgeous wedding present dinner from Mark and Kate at Red Ochre Grill, overlooking the river and a twinkling city skyline. We felt a little guilty sampling some of the local delicacies, a few of whom we had seen running or hopping on our journey, but were treated to mouthwatering dishes of kangaroo, emu, crocodile, and quail.
With teary eyes in the early morning, we bid farewell to our friends, hoping it wouldn't be as long until we next saw them again, and off we went to board the plane to Singapore.