Amenities, Attractions and Axe Murderers at Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Wild Dog Hill Rock formations, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Wild Dog Hill Rock formations, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

He probably wasn’t an axe murderer.

I mean, skidding into the carpark in a cloud of dust, ‘Uptown Girl’ blaring from the stereo, and parking well away from the only other car in the car park?

Despite my lack of hands-on experience with axe murderers, I was pretty sure this wasn’t archetypal behaviour.

Was it?

Amenities, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Amenities, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

But through the clouds of red dust partially obscuring our view of the intruder from our vantage point half way up Wild Dog Hill, I couldn’t help wondering.

Was it just a coincidence that he’d arrived here in the wilds of the otherwise deserted Whyalla Conservation Park car park right after we did??

And apart from listening to an outdated, albeit entertaining, 80’s play list (by now BJ had switched to ‘Call Me’), he wasn’t doing ANY of the things on the Whyalla Conservation Park attractions checklist.

The longer we watched the longer the list of things he WASN’T doing got. More specifically, as Blondie switched to ‘Funky Town’, he wasn’t:

  • having a picnic OR

    Wildflowers of Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

    Wildflowers of Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

  • drinking (alcohol or otherwise);
  • hunting the elusive Western Grasswren, OR
  • trying to spot any other (feathered) birds;
  • taking photos;
  • checking out the rock formations;
  • walking the track around the base of Wild Dog Hill OR
  • hiking the 1.5 km loop trail to the summit of Wild Dog Hill;
  • reading the interpretive signs about arid land plant adaptation OR
  • admiring the diversity of sometimes rare arid land plants in the park; OR
  • just looking for wildflowers and rare lichens OR
  • Western Myall and Bluebush spotting (Note: sightings of both these arid land plant species in the Whyalla Conservation Park is what’s known as a ‘sure thing’)
Western Myall at Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park

Western Myall at Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park

Which pretty much covered off on the Park’s ‘Main Attractions’ list!

He also wasn’t

  • waiting for anyone.

Other than a possible imaginary friend. Because although he changed into a different T shirt shortly after arriving, no one else showed up.

Which, according to the axe-murderer avoidance manual, was probably a good thing.

Because being the only witnesses to a drug drop or illicit liaison mostly isn’t a story that ends well.

Especially so if you use the ‘I-didn’t-see-a-thing-I-really-only-used-these-binoculars-around-my-neck-for-bird-watching-not-to-watch-you-no-really’ defence.

Carpark from Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Carpark from Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Only 10 km north of – yes, you guessed right – Whyalla, on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, the dirt track from the main road through the 2000 hectare Whyalla Conservation Park leads through a landscape lifted straight from the remote Outback.

That means the public loo in the picnic area, a few kilometres over a rough, rocky road from the main entrance, simulates a remote Outback dunny almost exactly.

So even though Iron Triangle town Whyalla isn’t that far away AND you can see the coast from the expansive 360° view at the top of Wild Dog Hill, the (mostly) trackless arid landscape makes an outstanding Outback outhouse setting.

View from Wild Dog Hill Summit, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

View from Wild Dog Hill Summit, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Plonk an alien (or clueless tourist) down there and they’d think they’d landed on Mars.

But despite its impressive credentials, our carpark companion hadn’t driven all the way out here to visit the loo either.

Because by the time we reached Wild Dog Hill’s summit and Pseudo Echo had switched to (strangely appropriate) 500 Miles, I could see he also wasn’t:

  • scenic-loo-spotting OR
  • scenic-loo-using.

No, my psychic powers hadn’t turned hyperactive. The only track I could see leading through the scrub from the picnic area was the path to the dunny, and he wasn’t on it.

Loo from Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Loo from Wild Dog Hill, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Besides, the Proclaimers had switched to ‘Reckless’ and if I could hear it from way up on Wild Dog Hill, then it must have been dynamite right next to the car. He sure wasn’t leaving THAT excitement just to take a pee! Or to do anything else other than wander aimlessly around in the scrub near the parking area.

But maybe.  Just maybe he’d seen the empty car and figured we’d return sooner or later. And that’s when he’d make his move!

Australian Crawl faded away behind us as the track led down the other side of Wild Dog Hill and around its base en route to the scenic loo.

Wild Dog Hill Rocks, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Wild Dog Hill Rocks, Whyalla Conservation Park

And back to the car – tyres un-slashed, windscreen unbroken, locks intact. And ‘All Out of Love’ – possibly the most inoffensive, innocuous, insipid 80’s song EVER echoing through the car park.

It seems our conservation park comrade also wasn’t:

  • otherwise indulging in axe-murderish behaviour OR
  • interested in us AT ALL.

So OK.

If you’re thinking I’m showing the signs of early-onset (or perhaps advanced) paranoia, just remember that no one thought Wolf Creek was sinister either until the movie!

But as we drove the 65 km back to our campsite in Port Augusta I developed a working theory.

The Whyalla Conservation Park is no Wolf Creek (see link below) but if anything DID happen out there amidst the bluebush and western myall trees, there’d be no one to hear you scream.

Although listening to a few eighties hits might be pleasantly nostalgic, a prolonged overdose in a confined space could easily bring on a screaming fit.

Or worse.

So what’s a not-so-sinister-somebody hanging out for an eighties-music-hit who’s lives in a zero-tolerance household to do?

Yep, you got it.

Rocks at Wild Dog Hill Summit, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

Rocks at Wild Dog Hill Summit, Whyalla Conservation Park, South Australia

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32 comments

  • Haha I can’t say I have hands-on experience with axe murderers either, though I definitely get suss when we get into very remote places and a person rocks up out of the blue with no apparent purpose! Side note, Whyalla Conservation Park looks like quite beautiful outback landscape 🙂

    • I guess the people with axe murderer experience are mostly dead??!! But that little element of uncertainty that makes life so exciting also adds another dimension to what was already a mighty fine Outback location!!

  • I grew up in Western Australia’s outback (Karratha, Meekathra, Laverton etc) and this brings back so many fond memories. All the red dirt, long drives down a dirt road and there are no facilities for km’s! Wolf Creek also scared the hell out me! It’s definitely not my type of movie.

    • I SO agree, Katherine! The Outback has that distinctive look and feel, no matter where you are – but even without the facilities, nothing beats those wide open spaces. Unless there’s an axe murderer lurking about, haha!

  • Looks like a really cool place to explore. Very interesting too.

  • Happy to hear you didn’t get axe murdered!! I’ve never been to Australia but I’m *dying* to get there, haha. See what I did there?

    • Hahaha, you’re the man Nathan!!! Actually, you’re the only one who’s expressed any kind of pleasure that I wasn’t axe-murdered, so I’ll take a ‘stab in the dark’ (see? I can do it too :D) and say you must be a nice guy!!

  • I’m surprised that despite your concerned about the possible axe murderer hanging around nearby you still managed to capture some great photos of the place! 😀 I especially love that collection of wild flowers.

    • Haha, maybe the threat of danger added a bit of zing to my photos, RaW! It was a bit early for too many wildflowers, so I was surprised to find as many as I did!

  • Haha. Love the way you have written the post. I’m glad it ended well! I have been in a similar situation where I thought the inn owner was a murderer. Just like you mentioned it, overactive imagination! The conservation park looks beautiful. Does look a bit like Mars.

  • Ah I was expecting something scary to happen! I’ve been in a few situations like this and gosh, doesn’t the mind wander! Luckily, no bad experiences from this side either (touch wood)! Polly

  • Lovely story. I had a similar thing happen to me many years ago when I was dating a photographer. We’d got up VERY early to catch the morning light and were in the middle of an isolated welsh valley. Another car appeared and parked, music blaring loudly.

    After about 10 minutes – presumably when he spotted us treking off to take pics, he got out of his car and started to soap it up to wash it. He’d parked by a small lake – and it was during a hosepipe ban, so he’d clearly come out into the country to sneakily wash his car before anyone spotted him!

    • Haha, that’d be a bit scary if you actually confronted him, or he thought you were threatening in some way Fiona! We had another experience in Tasmania where we arrived a bit early to do a waterfall walk before heading off to another location. A few minutes after we arrived, a wild looking guy in a ute with a couple of massive dogs arrived. He hung around for a bit then when we didn’t immediately go down the track took off like a rocket – we’re guessing he was planning to go hunting with the dogs before anyone got there. A big no no in a National Park!

  • Wait, what did he do? Nothing? You’re hilarious. I wish Whyalla did have a scenic loo, I missed reading that! Gotta catch up with your blog!

    • It’s amazing how many people SO want the story to end by me being attacked by an axe murderer??!! But really, nothing happened! The scenic loo is kind of secondary to this story, Aleah – but you can see it in the pic of the plains from the top of Wild Dog Hill 😀

  • Great tips thank-you! Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I need to explore more of australia…

  • Psychic powers.. Hahahaha. I was expecting something big would happen. You kept me on suspense then nothing. So sad. But really, the landscape looks accommodating for stuffs like that.

  • A very interesting and captivating read. Along with a virtual tour of the conservation park. Made me want to get here and be a part of your adventure.

  • I think you have definitely been watching too much Wolfe Creek! We had a couple of similar experiences when we were travelling around some of the more remote regions of Australia. My guess is that some of these solo travelling men are running away from something, but are generally pretty harmless. Whyalla Conservation Park looks beautiful despite the 80s music! I really like 80s music!

    • You think??!! I wasn’t seriously worried … I just started thinking ‘what if’ which is always a dangerous game to play when you have an overactive imagination like mine, Kathy! I’m an 80’s music tragic too – that’s how I recognised all the hits 😀

  • Whyalla Conservation Park looks wild and beautiful. I would love to get out there and experience the thrill that seems to envelop the area. Of course I would keep a wary eye for any wannabe “Axe Murderers” though.

  • Yours is as good an explanation as any. The landscape is very impressive.

  • Sure is a wild looking area with wild sounding visitor. Keep safe in the outback.

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