Caernarvon Track

Monday, Nov 18, 2019 at 20:15

Stephen L (Clare) SA

For anyone that had driven the original Skytrek self drive four wheel drive in the rugged Flinders Ranges, will know that it gave you access to the highest 4WD self drive point in the Flinders Ranges, Mount Caernarvon and will testify that this true four wheel drive track was brilliant and in sections was not for the faint hearted. For a number of reasons, the track was closed to the public when the Bunkers Reserve was purchased from the Reynolds family by the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby Preservation Association.

The new Skytrek Mk 2 in my opinion just does not match its predecessor and it very different to the original drive. To the delight of the public, the Bunkers Reserve is again open to the public, giving access to the highest point accessible in the Flinders Ranges by vehicle, Mount Caernarvon, as well a completely new section of return track that in one section, is the steepest section of track for the complete drive.

Unlike all other paid self drive four wheel drive tracks throughout the Flinders, where money collected goes to the Pastoral Property where the drive is located, all proceeds from the Caernarvon Track support the ongoing conservation programs associated with the Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby Preservation Association.

Even thought the track is open year round, it is wise to contact the Association first to make sure that a Ranger will be at the Reserve, where you pay your fee and are given a key to unlock the number of locked gates that will be enchanted along the drive.

To get to the Bunkers Reserve, and if travelling from Wilpena, head north on the main Blinman Road and just pass the Oraparinna Airstrip you turn right onto the Wirrealpa / Martins Well Road and then travel around 25 kilometres until you reach the very distinctive Caernarvon Track sign. Once you leave the main road, just keep following the track to the Rangers Office, which is around 4 kilometres from the main road.

When your fees are paid, you will be given a comprehensive sheet regarding the drive as well as key for the locked gates. The track remains unchanged from the original Skytrek route until after reaching the highest point of the drive, Mount Caernarvon, and then as you make you way down, all seems the same until you get to a point where the original track turns and heads uphill, while the new track continues down.

You will encounter all new tracks from this point and full credit go to the dozer operator, John Gibson who must have nerves of steel who put this new section of track in. As you approach the last major lookout, you must decide whether it is wise to tackle the couple of hundred metres of very eroded track, that is on a sharp angle to get to the lookout, and do it on foot. At the top of the lookout, you have full panoramic 360° views. At the lookout, the new track was going to go down this extremely steep decent.

John had made a starting cut down the hill, but when he tried to reverse the dozer back up the new section of track,but it was far too steep for traction, so now he had to put in a safer way down to the bottom of the hill. The decent is strictly 1st low range and is by far the steepest section of track for the whole drive and not for the novice driver.

There are still a few steep sections, but the worst is over and then it is a matter of following the now easy tracks back to the Rangers Office. On the return of the key, you are then given a small envelope with a “thank you” letter inside for doing the Caernarvon Track and a special sticker for your vehicle.

So if you are passing through the majestic Flinders Ranges and would like to test your four wheel drive skills, the Caernarvon Track is a very rewarding drive and will give you access to the highest vehicle drive in the Flinders.

Stephen Langman

November 2019
Smile like a Crocodile
BlogID: 7651
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