Argadells trip Report – April 17-18 2021

The Argadells’ Weekend was organised by Ralph Abbot, and had 8 vehicles attending, but with staggered arrivals.  As it WAS a 4 hour trip to reach our destination, folk took different options to travel there. Harry and Pammie left a couple of days earlier, and were already camped there when we arrived, and Trevor and Barb had arrived and set up their camp early Friday morning. We had stopped to see our daughter in Crystal Brook, so arrived mid-afternoon, calling in at the homestead to book our spot. On our way out to the campsite, we passed Hannaman’s Gorge, where camping is not permitted, as it is home to a Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby colony.

Friday’s campground

Argadells is 360 kilometres north of Adelaide in the ancient Flinders Ranges. It is a beautiful setting, with magnificent views, and is located approximately 28 kilometres north of Quorn. It is an historic working sheep property set amongst 32 square kilometres of spectacular scenery, and its near neighbours are Warren Gorge and Buckaringa Gorge.

 The Argadells are set in a rugged mountain range, with river red gums lining the gorges. Wildlife is abundant, and on our drives we were lucky enough to spot kangaroos, Yellow Footed Rock wallabies, and a multitude of birdlife, including kookaburras and cockatoos who serenaded us each morning. The property has several styles of accommodation, but we had most of our campers in the bush camping area, with a very well maintained drop toilet! The Carthews were up at the powered and ensuite area – so were very luxurious (apart from there still being a warning to only take short showers!).

 Ralph and Rosemary, Iain and his daughter, Emilee, and then Jenny and Rob were all late Friday afternoon arrivals. We were able to enjoy a few drinks around the campfire together after dinner. Adrienne and Ashley bravely left Adelaide after work, which meant arriving in the dark and setting up their tent. We were a little miffed when the rain decided to join the camp fire too! However, we braved the elements, and were rewarded with the rain moving on so we could enjoy the fire (and marshmallows) once more.

Saturday morning saw us up early for a cool-ish start, and ready to follow Ralph onto the tracks. We left our camp at Cockroach Valley, stopping at Vera’s Place to take photos, and then set off on what was called “intermediate” tracks, where we needed to deal with a quite rocky trail. The climbs became a little rougher  – certainly getting our adrenalin pumping, but our experienced drivers talked novices through the tricky bits, especially around larger boulders, and then into a steep creek crossing. After morning tea in Steve’s Gorge, we re-crossed the creek to continue our drive, once again being rewarded with beautiful views.

We returned to our campsite to have lunch, and while there, Ben and Chrystal arrived.  They joined us for the      afternoon drive, while Ashley and Andrienne stayed back, enjoying a nearby bush walk. We headed off towards Mt. Arden, but Ralph was disappointed that the track he wished to take us on was closed. Later, Ralph asked at the homestead why it had been closed, and the manager said it was due to heavy rain last October, and it  had washed out a track on a very tight gully. They had tried to fix it with the grader but couldn’t get it in there. They plan to bring in the bulldozer soon!

Lucky for us, we were able to take the “easier” track which is graded for trucks to be able to negotiate. On reaching the summit of Mt. Arden, we found a communication tower, a cairn and also a directions’ indicator post, which was installed by the Juett family in 2003. We were able to pick out significant areas like Wilpena Pound from this point.

The choice of descent was a point of discussion – and two cars’ occupants chose NOT to use Oh Sh%#* Track, but to have a leisurely descent, less taxing on their vehicle AND bodies. The REST of us used the challenging track, and it lived up to its name! So, it consisted of a lot of slow negotiation of rocky and slippery areas, and a climb out of a creek bed, that involved a rather rapid acceleration! To use the track required concentration, and an understanding of your vehicle’s capabilities, and also some coaching from the more experienced drivers, which is really a lot of what our club is about. We then met up with the other two vehicles, and headed back to camp for nibbles, and camp  cooking.

Saturday night proved to be a little cooler, so the evening once again was spent with drinks and camaraderie!

After breakfast, some vehicles headed off with Ralph to do the Ridge Track to Mt. Arden, and once again, it was a test of your capabilities to negotiate difficult corners, and find the track. Some drivers decided to go down Oh Sh%#* Track again, while others chose a different path.  The Mt. Arden group met up again to return to camp, where most people  began packing up to return home.

We couldn’t have had a better weekend weather wise,  and once again, it was great to have a mix of “the old hands” and some of our new members. 

Thank you to Ralph Abbot for organising the weekend away.  We appreciate all the work that trip leaders do to make these events successful.

Cecilia L