9th October 2019
I recently spent 3 days and 2 nights in and around the Mount Remarkable National Park area and a beautiful place it is.
The first night saw us in a swag camping at Mambray Creek Campground in the national park. Mambray Creek is dominated by old growth Wirra gums with kangaroos and emus grazing and living side-by-side with campers . The facilities in the campground include hot showers that work very well and were much appreciated after some solid hiking in the region. The bush walking in this area is amazing. A contrasting change from the Salt bush plains outside the park, trekking up the river beds with the Wirra gums immersed in the valley and the gorge of Mambray Creek. Little wonder the indigenous people rated this place so highly. For an arid climate in a drought there was some water in the creek and abundant shelter in the base of the Wirra gums.
Next day I drove North then East across the range via Horrocks Pass. A majestic Drive with some old stone building ruins from another time. My destination this day was the town of Melrose. A quaint little town beautifully positioned on the creek at the Foothills of Mount Remarkable. As I was here in winter it almost felt like I was in an old part of New Zealand with the mountain so close, the old cafes, pubs and buildings. I would highly recommend spending some time at Melrose, this place has a lot going for the everyday adventurer. Unbeknown to me at the time but Melrose is a large mountain biking venue with countless kilometers of well groomed and sign posted tracks for all range of mountain bike enthusiasts.
There is a range of accommodation available from old school stone cottages to a big campground located either side of the creek. And the camper trucks out the back of the North Star hotel in the photos were probably some of the funkiest accommodation I have ever seen. There is nothing sterile about this town. The pubs are from another time when pubs were the heart of the town. The Outer edge cafe and bike shop supplies great food and coffee and a large range of specialist bikes and equipment with a smile from the lovely staff. I walked up into the Foothills of Mount Remarkable and could have trekked for days.
I had noticed a private campground North of Melrose and thought I would give it go for a night. It was called ‘Kookaburra Creek Retreat’. This place is a funky, semi alternative campground on private property owned and run by a couple with artistic flair, Joe and Melita. They have bush camp sights of which I chose as I was in the swag. They also have a house, lofts, cubby house, stone cottage and an old Bedford bus with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. There are a range of bush walks directly adjoining and within the property. They have a full hot shower and toilet facility for bush campers. Firewood is abundant and available. I would recommend a stay at the Kookaburra Creek Retreat and if you do, have a walk around check out the signage, artwork and sculptures as they are quite unique. This place is a welcome change from the bigger van parks.