So much to see at Boolcoomatta

on 04 Sep 2014 

Our journey to Boolcoomatta Station in South Australia took in Birdsville, Innamincka and a night at the Coongee Lakes.

Travelling through the Moomba oil fields was an eye opener: we hadn't realised how extensive the industrialization of the outback has become, and what it means for the country. We had lunch at Arkaroola before heading south on the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges, camping overnight in a dry creek bed, and enjoying yet another wonderful outback evening - warm and golden as the sun set.

Gradually the landscape changed until we were in the heart of blue saltbush country. Soon we turned off the Barrier Highway, with the low Boolcoomatta Hills in the distance. Boolcoomatta Station is easily accessible, and we arrived in time for lunch to meet Glen, Boolcoomatta’s manager.

Staying at Boolcoomatta was yet another different experience. Glen, who has a deep love for the land, was able to take time out from his busy program to drive us around the property, and we marveled at the variation in what appears to be quite flat country with a uniform low bush cover.

Kangaroos standing sentinel watched us with mild curiosity from rocky outcrops, and wide creek beds revealed stands of some of the biggest red river gums that I have ever seen - quite unexpected.

It was an absorbing day, highlights being the many native birds and animals we saw, and our education in land management. Our eyes were opened to the secret ways water can seep across an essentially flat landscape to replenish the land much more widely once artificial water catchments are removed. We saw how native plants were taking hold in formerly bare areas, and shared Glenn’s pride in the two small mulga trees that were showing themselves amidst the rocks on shallow slopes - an immense achievement after a century of destruction of the mulga woodlands. Glen did warn us that they weren’t safe yet, however, since they were still small enough for rabbits to ringbark them in their search for moisture.

We would have liked to catch a glimpse of the rare yellow-footed wallaby that has been sighted on the property, but that would have been a bonus on top of a wonderful day.