Port Augusta to Pildappa Rock @ Minnipa, South Australia
19.7.14 - 20.7.14
Woke up to a cold, windy and cloudy morning in Port Augusta, unfortunately it stayed like this all day.
Today, we are heading to some new scenery. We are away fairly early and soon are driving past the huge open cut Iron ore mine. The iron ore found here at Iron Knob was of such high quality that it started an iron smelting industry. It is referred to as the birthplace of the steel industry in Australia. Huge dump trucks were working on what looked to be a new mine.
Iron Knob mine
From Port Augusta, we are travelling along the Eyre Highway which is the main road to Western Australia. What we notice is how green and lush everything is, especially the Blue Bush and Salt Bush,obviously the area has had rain recently for the area to be looking so good.
Countryside after good rains
It is lunch time and we are near Kimba, the town known as the "halfway point" when crossing Australia on the Eyre Highway.
Halfway across Australia
It's Saturday and the town is dead! All the shops are closed, but the one where the "Big Galah" is located, is open. A photo shoot is in order!
Big Galah @ Kimba
The flowering Gum trees are a picture and another photo is a must!
Flowering Gum Tree @ Minnipa
We see a Brown Tourist signpost pointing to White's Knob. Last time we didn't go there, so today we did. The hill isn't that high although high enough to give good views over Kimba, the Golf course and the surrounding countryside.
Overlooking Kimba and surrounds
Also at the Lookout are two wonderful sculptures made out of bits and pieces of steel. One if of Edward John Eyre, a famous Explorer who was the first man to cross Australia from Sydney, NSW to the Swan River in WA. The other sculpture is of his Aboriginal helper "Wylie," who he relied upon for his bush skills.
The expressions on the faces look so real!
As we follow the road downhill and back into Kimba, I glance towards the showgrounds and realize it is Saturday and all the townsfolk are here watching football. The Showgrounds had some very interesting Murals to take a look at!
Time to leave Kimba behind and follow the Eyre Highway to Minnipa. Along the way we had to stop at the small town of Yaninee because of a funny mural painted on the public toilet block. A good one!
Toilet Block @ Yaninee
Our last town today is Minnipa, but we aren't stopping there, but following the Tourist signed road 15kms to Pildappa Rock where we will free camp for the night.
Wow! What a sight Pildappa Rock was, just beautiful! Only one other camper was there. He thought Pildappa rock had better colour than the famous WA Wave Rock. First we set up camp for the night near the Free gas bbq and picnic table and benches. A toilet was located a little distance away.
Pildappa Rock camp area
Next, I went for clamber up the side of this giant pink granite monolith that was formed about 1500 million years ago.
Pildappa Rock is known as an inselberg. Its outstanding feature is a unique wave form or "flare" structure extending for quite a way, often at a height of 2 - 3 stories high. Pildappa's flared slope is the product of complex chemical weathering below the surface.
Located on the top of the rock I found numerous gnamma waterholes, some empty, many with water and tadpoles and plants growing in them.
Also of interest were the constructed gutters I found made by pioneering farmers to channel water run off from Pildappa Rock. How clever were they, as the gnamma rockholes were the only permanent source of water to be found in this part of Eyre Peninsula. The local Kukatha tribe of Aborigines realized these rockholes were essential for their survival in the dry and arid environment. Early European settlers also recognised the value of such waterholes. I even found the remains of dam walls on the top of Pildappa rock, made by pioneering farmers in order to increase the rainfall catchment area of gnamma rockholes.
Dam walls on Pildappa Rock
At the base is an extensive system of man made gutters. These gutters were constructed in 1928 and designed to channel water runoff into a huge underground water tank on the northern side of Pildappa Rock.
Wall around the base of Pildappa Rock
Other points of interest were the mosses growing on the rock and the loose rocks which had been sculptured by the wind.
And don't forget to take in the wonderful 360° views you get from the top of Pildappa rock, these were great too!
View from the top of Pildappa Rock
After spending plenty of time on top of Pildappa rock, it was now time to completely walk around the base of the rock. It wasn't a long walk, but another interesting one as I was viewing the rock from a different angle. All the way around was black stripes made by water running of the rock during heavy rains. What a sight it would be in the wet as there were dozens of these areas which would form waterfalls in wet weather.
Watermarks on Pildappa rock
That a stunning rock this was and with so much historical interest!