The indigenous word ‘ikara’ means ‘throwing stick’, one of the native words for that clever lever that Australian aboriginal hunters used to give their spears more power. It is also the name of one of Australia’s most wonderful national parks, known to us whitefellas as the Flinders Ranges.
If you have a suitable off-road motorcycle and you haven’t explored the Flinders Ranges, you have missed out on some of the most wonderful dirt riding in the world. The Ranges have superb gravel roads, tracks, trails and whatever comes next. You can camp among the wonderful raw and untouched scenery that you’ll find anywhere on the planet. You can wake up to the primeval Australian bush among the sounds of its unique native animals – and then you can go and eat them.
Ah. Yes. This is a bit of a surprise to many people. But at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, the main attraction at dinner time is the Road Kill Platter consisting mainly of kangaroo, emu and camel products. Now I’m here to tell you, having tasted it, that the platter is excellent. The culinary staff at the pub have been well advised to avoid the bird life – the usual Outback recipe for cockatoo, for instance, being to put the cockie and a stone into boiling water and eat the stone when it’s soft, throwing out the bird.
The hotel is a bit on the trendy side but don’t let that put you off. It is actually worth the money for both the meals and the accommodation, and you will be dining out (elsewhere) for many years on the dishes you had. Good fun on the one hand, good tucker on the other. The rooms are quite upmarket, which justifies the price.
Sitting out the front of the hotel on a clear night is an experience worth a lot more than you’ll pay for it. Australia’s Outback provides memories that you will not find anywhere else, especially at night. So okay, the train goes by at some stage during the evening but if anything that just makes the whole thing seem more genuine.
You can reach Parachilna on the tar from Hawker, but if you do that you will be wasting the best of the opportunity this place offers. Go via Blinman and Angorichina, and you’ll get maximum value for the ride. It’s hard to explain the attraction of this ride; do it, and you’ll know what I mean.
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After years spent faffing around with old Harleys, The Bear rode a Honda XL250 around the world and then decided he might as well keep writing about bikes. Three books and endless magazines later he now spends his time looking for those special bike roads.
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