Thru Hiking the Lavender Federation Trail – Sept 2018 – Page 17

27 September – Preamimma to Monarto Oval 11km

As we left this morning the owners of Preamimma Station were on hand to wish us well. They had already been up for hours mustering sheep when we left. We thanked them again for their hospitality.

The trail now crossed several creeks but all were dry – our next chance of water was at Monarto Oval, which, because of yesterdays big day, was now only 11 km away. We crossed over the Murray Bridge to Onkaparinga Pipeline and climbed easily up to Highlands Road, which is well named because a glance at the track profile tells us that from here to Murray Bridge is all downhill!

Close to an impressive farmhouse of contemporary design, the trail turns off the road to go through the Monarto Forest, a huge area of rehabilitated woodland originally set up as part of a Greater Monarto City concept in the 1970s. The satellite city plan failed but the forest is still here and is being enlarged with vast new areas being planted. The trail wound its way through the Monarto Forest for around 5km following a dry creek. The original plantings are now mature trees of 40 years old, but many, being not indigenous to this area have not survived this harsh climate. I wished I could have identified the different trees but one I could identify was a robust boab, which was doing very well.

This area is the longest section of foot track through woodland so far on the LFT and a delight to walk through. We passed a ruined stone cottage and inspected its rooms, now being used to store items by the tree planters. The trail has been rerouted since our map was printed to go through more forested areas to the north of Hartmann Road.

On a short day we were in to Monarto Oval early and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the sun, exploring the area. A walk was taken, over the old railway tracks, to explore a possible side entrance into Monarto Zoo to access their kiosk. The faint track on our maps is not accessible and we are left to dream of all that food so near and so far away. Tonight, again we must settle for rehydrated pasta.

L-R Ross Kendall (Ballina), Roger Edwards (Canberra), Alan Gillard (Ballin) at Monarto Recreation Reserve
L-R Ross Kendall (Ballina), Roger Edwards (Canberra), Alan Gillard (Ballin) at Monarto Recreation Reserve

Graham Hallandal visits us in the later afternoon to discuss our impressions of the trail. He brings a bottle of champagne, which tastes like liquid gold, to celebrate our hike. Thanks Graham!