Life on the Edge … Carrieton South Australia
Live on the edge from just ten bucks a night.
That’s all it costs for a powered site at Carrieton’s Horseshoe View Caravan Park with the Stay-2-nights-Get-2-nights-FREE deal*.
And that’s a small price to pay for a chance to explore Carrieton South Australia, perched on the edge of the vast expanse of the Minburra Plain stretching east with virtually nothing civilised to stop it until it hits the Barrier highway en route to Broken Hill.
Although that doesn’t really count as civilisation either!
Three hours north of Adelaide on the alternative route to the Flinders Ranges, Carrieton is a TOP Aussie town – and a hidden jewel in South Australia’s mid-north that’s often ignored in favour of the big ticket items further north.
But bypass Carrieton and you’ll miss some of the least well known, but most intriguing and delightful Outback scenery in South Australia!
It’s no hardship to stay for 4 nights and get the full benefit of the Horseshoe View’s special deal. The superbly set up AND quiet little caravan park off the main road in the old school grounds purchased by the community when the school was closed a few years ago has everything.
And if you aren’t a camper, you’ll LOVE how the locals have converted the old school buildings into cottage and bunkhouse style accommodation …
The locals are used to living on the edge. Yanyarrie Whim on the outskirts of town is all that remains of the watering point on the 1800s North/South Stock Route and mining trail responsible for putting Carrieton on the map.
Partly responsible for keeping Carrieton ON the map these days are the annual December night Rodeo – one of the largest in South Australia – and April/May Campdraft and Gymkhana.
On the wrong side of the Goyder Line, surveyed in 1865 to determine the boundary of cropping land, the district’s low and inconsistent rainfall drove many from the land leaving only a legacy of stone ruins behind.
Later when the Prince Alfred mine closed in 1907, then the railway in 1981, followed more recently by the school, Carrieton faced an uncertain future.
But also taking responsibility for keeping it on the map is a determined and forward-looking progress association that refuses to let the town die.
Community owned and run, the caravan park is just one innovation to keep the town afloat. The excellent and well stocked general store – also a community initiative – means visitors don’t have to leave town to purchase fuel or food.
But the REAL reason to base yourself on the edge in Carrieton is to explore this amazing and intriguing region of South Australia that many Aussies haven’t even heard of, let alone seen! A selection of sightseeing options will make up several day trips – and don’t forget to factor in some time to relax in the beautifully kept school grounds, and chat to the friendly locals.
So here’s one version of how to spend 4 days on the edge in Carrieton South Australia:
Day 1: Eat and Explore
Drive 44 km north to the Cradock Hotel for lunch. Sightings of the ghost of former publican ‘Lawrence’ aren’t guaranteed, but you WILL get a great meal served up with country hospitality!
When you return, explore Carrieton’s attractions like Yanyarrie Whim (see below) and the excellent 12 metre Mosaic Mural depicting the town’s history on the Public Toilets – and YES, the Loo AND the mural are IN MY BOOK!
Ask for directions to the creek behind the caravan park and walk up the creek bed where massive river Redgums and high RED cliffs tower above you.
Then set up a date with the sunset over the Horseshoe Range …
Day 2: Ruins and Redgums
Take a picnic lunch and drive 20 km east on the Oladdie road to Johnburgh. The superb mountain scenery includes farmland, many ruins and unusual rock formations.
After looking around almost-ghost-town Johnburgh, take the Belton turnoff and follow the marvellous Bendleby Ranges to the Weira Creek crossing.
The massive River Redgums are locally known as ‘widowmakers’ because a branch big enough to crush a house (or a person) can fall without warning …
After lunch, return to Carrieton via the Belton road – and watch for the clouds of pink dust billowing behind you on this oddly coloured road surface.
Oh! And the scenery’s not bad either …
Day 3: Lookouts and Landscapes
Drive 35 km south to Orroroo then further south via Pekina (check out the Pub and Coffee shop!); to Magnetic Hill, an intriguing natural phenomenon.
Return via Black Rock and take a detour to the Black Rock Lookout for superb views across the valley to the Pekina Range. Take a walk through Black Rock Conservation Park to get an idea of what the countryside looked like before being cleared for grazing and cropping.
In Orroroo, the Tank Hill Lookout has superb views to the north and a superb cafe in the main street. Then check out South Australia’s largest River Redgum, the old Railway Bridge and the historic buildings in town.
On the way back to Carrieton, stop at Walloway, site of a nasty train crash in the early 1900s then take a look at the Eurelia railway siding for a sample of the area’s history.
For a total heritage experience, take a detour and return via the historic town of Hammond.
Day 4: Ranges and Rocks
Take another picnic lunch and drive 28 km west through the superb countryside of the rocky Horseshoe Range towards Moockra Tower. When the road gives out, hike to the Tower for splendid views over the Range and Willochra Plain to the west.
Back in Carrieton, after testing out the golf course circumnavigating the town, make another date with that sunset …
And thank me – along with the locals!! – for introducing you to this little-known wonderland. It won’t take much to make Carrieton part of your South Australian Flinders Ranges, Mid-North or Outback experience.
Although my stay in Carrieton South Australia undoubtedly assisted the local community in a small way, it didn’t take long to realise the locals were doing ME a favour by making it easy for me to stay and enjoy life on the edge!
* Subject to availability; 10% Seniors Discount also available
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