It is remarkable what a solid drop of rain does for semi-arid wilderness. The dry landscape I had seen here previously, with a meagre dappling of greenery, was transformed into a relatively lush well-vegetated scene, complete with fields of springtime wildflowers. It was a stunning sight and a beautiful greeting as we aired down to 16psi and made toward our first stop and camp destination, Mt Finke.
After topping up the tanks at the last available fuel stop we left Kingoonya, in South Australia’s central outback, and made for the Googs Track head roughly 75km away.
If you are like me, nothing puts a smile on the face more than driving a narrow, winding single track; gone is the blacktop and humdrum of well-maintained gravel and simply ‘making miles’. This is what it’s all about, and immediately we were enjoying the driving. The northern section is fairly open, flat terrain, but as you travel south this is broken up by the start of the dunes which continue well into the south.
Several years ago, I had travelled Googs Track from south to north, this time though I would be crossing in the opposite direction. I had heard rumours the track was one-way only; rest-assured this is not true, you can approach from either direction without issue.
Mt Finke is an easy deviation off the main track and is well worth the visit. It is one of only two designated camp areas along the track. It towers above the otherwise flat terrain and if you are up for the steep walk, the views are rewarding. Scattered around the base are campsites, and it’s best to follow the track to the northwest as the camps along there are secluded and serene in amongst the tree groves.
After a great night around the campfire, we travelled back to the main track and continued south. Now the dunes were frequent and slightly harder to traverse; although, at low tyre pressure, easily navigated. It was around here we encountered a solo traveller who was having some trouble on the more chewed-up southern dune faces; not surprising, really, considering he was running 26psi. It is worth noting that the southern dune faces are harder to negotiate than the northern faces, with many of them potholed and dug up by people running high tyre pressures.
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