Desert Sky Tours


In This Issue
Our new vehicle!
Eric Oldfield
4WD Adventure Show Mc Callum Park WA
Strzelecki Track upgrade
Trip itineraries
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Issue: 10 November 2010

This is the first Newsletter for a number of readers who have moved from printed to electronic format.

Welcome to you all and I trust you will continue to enjoy reading our newsletter! Hopefully I have transferred all information correctly, however if something is not correct, please let me know.

We will continue to mail a "hard copy" to those readers without computer access, and a copy will be placed on our website under "Newsletters".

Thank you for your continued interest.

Cheers..... Howard
Our new vehicle...Again!!
All signed up and ready to go~!
4WD vehicle
Desert Sky 4WD
I couldn't miss the opportunity to show our vehicle complete with it's new colours!
The signs were designed by Nicholas Signs - the same people who did the signage on our bus 15 years ago!

View another pic of the vehicle and the rear storage system

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Recent Trips
Since our last newsletter, I took a specially designed "Outback" trip with passengers from England and New South Wales. The itinerary included Coober Pedy, The Painted Desert, Oodnadatta Track and Central Flinders Ranges.

Sturt Desert Pea
It is the first time I have seen the
Sturt Desert Pea growing on the sides
of the Stuart Highway between Glendambo and Coober Pedy!

We stopped to photograph the first couple of sightings but after that it was merely a comment ...ah.. more Sturt Desert Pea!!!

Two trips to the Flinders Ranges and Arkaroola went well with perfect weather, as did the three to Marree with plane flights over Lake Eyre. A summary by Mary, one of our guests on the first Lake Eyre trip can be viewed here.

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Legend of The Birdsville Track
Eric Oldfield

The Marree Community and much of the Outback are saddened at the passing of Eric Oldfield last month.
Eric Oldfield
Eric was born in Marree, 12th October 1933 - the fourth child to Claude and Dora. When he was six, he moved with his family to Mona Downs and stayed at Cowarie until the end of 1960.

From there he moved to Mungerannie and married Val.
They had three children, Susan, Kenny and Martin - all of
whom he was very proud. He married Beverley in 1976 and together they moved to Meadows. They lived there for two years, but Eric could not forget his love of the Birdsville Track, and so in 1979 they purchased Marree Station.

In 1992 they bought the Marree roadhouse and later, The Drovers' Rest Caravan Park. In 2008 they reluctantly sold
these businesses and moved to Hamilton Vic.

Eric was boss drover of the last mob that went down the
Track to the railhead at Marree before the big road trains took over. He was also boss drover on the 2005 Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive.

The Marree Community remember Eric with great respect and fondness.
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Australian National 4WD Radio Network
4WD Adventure Show - McCallum Park WA
I have just returned home from Perth where I was part of the VKS-737 team at the 4WD and Adventure Show from November 12th to 14th at McCallum Park.

VKS-737 is part of the Australian National 4WD Radio Network, providing emergency and general radio communications assistance services to travellers in rural and remote areas of Australia.

I have been a "Base Operator" since March this year, with the majority of broadcasts or "skeds" being on Charters Towers base.
The VKS Display
The VKS-737 display

The 4WD Show was a great success, and provided opportunity to speak to many visitors about the benefits of the VKS-737 Organisation.
Strzelecki Track
Track Upgrade
Strzelecki Track sign
The Strzelecki Track is a 472km-unsealed road providing access to the north-eastern portion of South Australia for mining exploration and development, geothermal industries, pastoralists, tourism and the community. No services are provided along the Track, making it the longest distance between towns and services in South Australia.

The combination of slower moving heavy vehicles (road trains) and tourist vehicles often with drivers not experienced with long distance travel on unsealed roads, with the variable local conditions associated with the road surface, dust, bulldust holes, loose gravel, floodways, vast travel distances and extreme weather conditions raises the risks for all road users associated with overtaking manoeuvres, general road safety,
accessibility and fatigue management.

The upgrade project will improve the Track by:
  • Constructing six sealed overtaking opportunities which will be 7km long and 8m wide to allow vehicles the opportunity to overtake slower moving vehicles without the hazards of reduced visibility associated with dust and loose road surfaces.
  • Constructing three light vehicle rest areas.
  • Constructing three truck rest areas.
  • Re-sheeting a total of 54km of the Track, where sheeting material has worn away and the surface is in poor condition
  • Stabilising 30 minor floodways
  • Constructing three new major floodways at Frome Creek, McDonnell Creek and Mt Curtis Creek.

The sealing of the final two sections (between Monte Collina and Merty) is scheduled for completion this month.

Personalised. 4WD trips
These trips are in a Toyota Landcruiser vehicle with a maximum of 4 passengers:


Sillers Lookout - Arkaroola
Flinders R
anges & Arkaroola
(5 days) - $1950pp
Monday September 5
Sunday September 18

Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge,
Blinman, Arkaroola, Ridgetop Tour, Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole,
Gammon Ranges, Moralana Scenic Drive.

Skytrek Logo
Flinders Ranges & Skytrek
(4 days) - $1400pp
Saturday August 27

Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Willow Springs Station,
Skytrek, Arkapena Scenic Adventure & Chace Range Spectacular,Arkapena 4WD Moralana Scenic Drive.

Coongie LCoongie Lakesakes and The Cooper Creek
days) $2450pp
Tuesday May 10
Sunday May 22
Sunday June 5

Old Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, Coongie Lakes, Camp LXV, Cameron Corner, Sturt NP, Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Loch Lilly & Quandong Stations, Burra.

Birdsville Hotel Birdsville & Innamincka
(9 days) - $3250pp
Saturday July 9
Friday August 5

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,
Innamincka, Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, Tibooburra,
Broken Hill, Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide.

North Bourke Bridge
Back O'Bourke
(9 days) - $3250pp
ednesday February 16

Broken Hill, Mutawintji NP, White Cliffs, Wilcannia,Tilpa, Louth, Bourke,(accommodation Bourke Riverside Motel), Lightning Ridge,Gilgandra, Cobar, Balranald, Murrayville, Pinnaroo.

Wilsons Prom
Wilson's Promontory
(9 days) - $3225pp
Tuesday March 1

Grampians NP, Halls Gap, Penhurst, Mortlake, Colac, Queenscliff Ferry, Sorrento, Meeniyan, Tidal River, Waratah Bay, Walkerville, Agnes Falls, Strzelecki Ranges, Tarra Bulga NP, Grand Ridge Road, Skenes Creek, The Great Ocean Road, Mt Gambier, The Coorong.

Frenshmans Rock
(4 days) $
March 15
Tuesday March 22
(Includes Sealink ferry)

Penneshaw, Antechamber Bay, Cape Willoughby, American River, Kingscote, Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Borda, Admirals Arch, Cape De Coudic, Seal Bay, Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach, Western River Cove.

Close Up Emu

s Hill Circuit
(2 days) $650pp
Friday April 29

Gilbert Valley,Terowie, Peterborough, Franklyn, Ketchowla, Dares Hill, Mt Bryan, Clare Valley.

Tumby Bay
Tumby Bay and The Eyre Peninsula

(5 days) $1525pp
Saturday October 15

Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie , Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Tod Reservoir, Cummins,
Mt Hope, Point Drummond, Greenly Beach, Dutton Bay, Coffin Bay, Koppio Museum. Enjoy a Clydesdale Horse and trolley ride!
Return is via Horrock's Pass
to Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.

Naracoorte Caves
Limestone Coast & The Coonawarra

(5 days) $1500pp
Monday February 7

Tintinara, Mundulla, Naracoorte Caves, Penola, Mary McKillop Centre, Kalangadoo, Tantanoola, Pt McDonnell, Cape Nothumberland, Mt Burr, Millicent, Robe, The Coorong.
During this trip there is oppoertunity to visit a number of wineries, including Rymill Coonawarra, Di Giorgio, and Mt Benson.

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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours