Expedition to Pitjantjatjara Lands (APY)
- Duration: 5 Days
- Location: Jamieson, VIC
- Product code: P4XQ22
We depart Alice Springs and travel south along the Stuart Highway to Erldunda. We turn on to the Lasseter Highway and head west towards Mt Ebenezer. On Curtain Springs Station we depart the bitumen and head south around the western edge of Mt. Conner the massive Mesa associated with the Ninya, or frost men who create the winter frost and cold winds. At Mulga Park we cross the original Gunbarrel Highway and enter the APY Lands at the South Australian border. We travel southward on seldom trafficked tracks to Ngarutjara. Diamantina first travelled to Ngarutjara back in 1988 and have been regularly visiting the homeland ever since. Ngarutjara is at the foot of the highest mountain in South Australia, Mt Woodruffe, a whopping 1435 meters above sea level.
We explore the area around Ngarutjara. We are in the center of a wide valley with massive red mountains enclosing us on three sides. We are camped beside a dry river bed lined with river red gums. To the west is Yunanpanya, site of a Little Mouse creation story. Yunanpanya resembles one of the tors of Kata Tjuta, 100kms to the north. Nguratjara is also the home of Wati Ngintaka, the great Perentie lizard man in the form of Mt Woodruffe. We will visit rock art sites and also enjoy some quiet time in this amazing place.
We depart Ngarutjara and head to Pukatja, site of the old Ernabella Mission. We visit Ernabella Arts Inc, which is Australia’s oldest Indigenous art center, and has been in continuous operation since 1948! Originally working in wool, in the 1960s batik was introduced, and in 2003 work began on ceramics. There are also paintings and prints. From Ernabella we track south through the Glen Ferdinand Valley and out onto the plains. We enter the northern extremity of the Great Victoria Desert and swing west to the Everard Ranges and our camp at Victory Well. We are in a valley surrounded by huge red granite boulders. The Everard Ranges are domical inselbergs, huge granite tors that rise abruptly from the surrounding plains. These landforms are also found in places like Wilsons Promontory in Victoria and the New England Plateau (Bald Rock). Here the granite is deep red. The landscape is breathtaking.
We spend the day travelling along dreaming trails in the Everard Ranges with local Aboriginal guides, through the Sandy Bore Indiginous Protected Area. The Everard Ranges contain many important dreaming lines, or songlines. These stories include the Tjintir-Tjintirpa (willy wagtail) Tjukurpa (dreaming), the Wanampi (watersnake) Tjukurpa and the Walawuru (wedgetail eagle) Tjukurpa. These dreamings are told in the gorgeous landscapes we encounter as well as in numerous and extensive rock art galleries. This day is unforgettable.
We depart the lands at Induklana and travel north arriving in Alice Springs late afternoon and the end of an extraordinary experience.