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Olary Ranges, 440km north-east of Adelaide, embody the South Australian outback, with its rocky outcrops and red earth.
A yellow-footed rock-wallaby atop Weeroopie Hill, just one of their granite citadels on Plumbago station.
A flock of galahs are on the move at Boolcoomatta reserve in outback South Australia.
The Olary Ranges form an archipelago of domes and blocky pinnacles rising from expanses of saltbush plain
A tree dtella gecko greets the morning sun atop ‘The White Lady’, a prominent quartz rib on Old Boolcoomatta station, part of Bimbowrie Conservation Park.
Arcing 160km from SA’s mid-north to the New South Wales border, these substantial yet little-visited hills are mostly tucked out of sight north of the Barrier Highway.
The rocky hills, with all their diversity and niches, are the hub of a rich diversity of plants, reptiles and birdlife.
A rainbow forms over a lonely tree in the Olary Ranges, in outback South Australia. The ares is home to many birds, as well as the yell-footed rock wallaby.
Two yellow-footed rock wallabies are camouflaged amoungst the red and yellow rock of the Olary Ranges. A two-decade-long conservation push involving Aboriginal landholders, pastoralists, volunteer conservationists and government agencies has brought the population up from 50 individuals to more than 2000.
The vast saltbush plains of the Olarys were pushed hard. Pastoralists arrived in the district from the mid-1800s. A measure of early grazing ambitions is the imposing Antro Woolshed, another of Bimbowrie’s important heritage sites.
A wedge-tailed eagle sits atop a rocky outcrop, built from mineral deposits and geological processes dating back more than 1.7 billion years.
The remnants of a wagon from times past. The Olarys were settled in the mid-1800s but the once busy sheep station is but a ghost area, save for the wildlife a and some conservationists.
The evolution of the present-day landforms came about through an extraordinary sequence of ructions and sedimentation. It’s made this one of the most mineral-diverse corners of the continent – and it gave rise to the lodes that put Broken Hill on the map. Over the past 1000 years–500 million years, bouts of uplift and sustained weathering have gradually stripped away younger rocks to expose a vivid spectacle of bedrock structures.
In 1906 a 24-year-old lecturer in mineralogy and petrology at the University of Adelaide, who would go on to be our most famous polar explorer, spent weeks exploring the region by horse and motorbike. So began Douglas Mawson’s lifelong association with these remote, hard-bitten hills.
Rolling bullock bush shrublands and rocky rises spiked with mulga are interspersed with sandy drainage lines flanked by river red gums.
Home Travel Destinations Gallery: Olary Ranges, South Australia
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