Recently I had the absolute pleasure of a complete disconnect. The digital revolution has created a highly connected world in which we are expected to reply to an email within a half hour, at least. A world in which the wifi connect is longer the be all end all, we now have 3G cell connect and can be in contact almost everywhere we go. Unless of course we go somewhere truly remote, somewhere past the last stop, completely off the beaten track, and purely into the wild. Enter the Gawler Ranges and step back in time to an area of prehistoric significance and of natural beauty that will take your breath away.
The Gawler Ranges National Park is located in the northern region of the Eyre Peninsula in SW South Australia. It has only recently (2000) been named a national park after a local land owner sold the area to the state government. From what I understand they wanted to purchase it mostly due to its geographical significance and pristine environment for endemic wildlife. The park is home to portions of the Flinders Ranges and great habitat for the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, dozens of shallow salt lakes playing host to an array of birdlife, and vast sweeping plains offering the perfect home for Kangaroos and Wombats.
The area was first settled by truly intrepid pioneers in the late 1800’s in an incredibly remote style. They had massive blocks of land used primarily for rearing sheep, both for wool and meat. The mustering areas were ginormous and still are to this day. The old pioneers would go weeks on end gathering their sheep in the hills and plains to annually take stock and sheer the wool. Now a days the stations on the park boundaries use ATVs, Dirt Bikes, and Helicopters to do the same work in a much quicker fashion. It is honestly amazing learning of the old ways people used to live off the land and fend for themselves in what is still considered extremely remote territory to this day.
The park lies within an area of 1500 sq km and covers some truly beautiful natural landscapes. Best explored by 4×4 off road vehicle and small plane, the park offers stunning vistas and overall the sense of complete and utter remoteness, an organic digital disconnect.
I spent three days exploring the park and learning from the locals about the immensity and historical grandeur of the area. Some of the Gawler Ranges highlights include fantastic opportunities to get up close and personal with Kangaroos and Wallabies in the wild, seeing and touching the evolution of time through the twists and turns of the geographical rock formations, and being one with salt lakes and plains that stretch as far as the eye can see. It is such a unique location to truly connect with nature.
For a generally unvisited part of SA, I continued to hear amazing things about the Gawlers throughout my time exploring the state. I was very much looking forward to my trip and it did not disappoint, I am truly happy to have had such a rewarding experience. The guides, transportation, food and accommodation were world class and I was blown away by the luxuriousness of the remote (African style) safari camp. Big shout out goes to Gawler Ranges Wilderness Safaris for providing the opportunity to visit the region and for being such accommodating hosts.
If you’re looking for a perfect getaway from the ever connected society this is the place for you. Whether it is camping and self-drive, or guided with luxury service, there is an option for everyone travelling to the Gawler Ranges and it is well worth the trip. Take your camera, zoom lens, lots of water, a good snack, a good map, and leave the cell phone at home. This place is the perfect reconnect to the natural world. Step back, breath in a sigh, and watch the clouds float by.