Highway One: Pildappa Rock, South Australia
Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia.
THE DAY’S MUCH-ANTICIPATED highlight looked set to be a walk through Gawler Ranges National Park, South Australia, to the widely talked about Organ Pipes. While we enjoyed our stroll, it was a rock of a very different kind that captivated our imagination just outside the national park.
We had Pildappa Rock earmarked as a good place to camp, but it is so much more than that.
A giant pink granite inselberg that glows tangerine and gold at sunset, Pildappa Rock stretches for 100m, its flaring, weathered walls cresting like waves frozen in time.
Gentle rock spurs rise three to four storeys high to a lichen-covered summit pockmarked with dozens of gnamma (water) holes, many holding rainwater and sustaining flowering grasses. At its base, there are excellent picnic and camping facilities – shelters, with tables, gas barbecues, lights, rainwater tanks, rubbish bins and toilets. And the camping is free.
To get there, turn north off Highway One at Minnipa, 270km west of Port Augusta and follow the signs.
The gnamma (water) holes on Pildappa Rock, South Australia (Credit: David Bristow)
…More Highway One articles
Australia’s 18 top camping spots
Camping: the classic Aussie past-time
Top 5 great Aussie road trips
Australian Geographic’s top 100 icons of all time
Top 10 Australian outback experiences
Wilderness by bike: the Munda Biddi Trail
Predict the weather without a forecast
Rottnest Island’s best beaches
Touring the Kimberley from the aerial highway
Australia’s 8 greatest surf spots
6 great Australian train trips
Best winter escapes in Australia
Travel photography tips
10 best kayak day trips in Australia
18 of the best day walks in Australia
Massive new Indigenous Protected Area declared
Gallery: The top five greatest Aussie roadtrips
Indian Pacific celebrates 40 years