7th January - approach to the Finke river country and the Macdonnell ranges
This stretch of country was a real revelation. It was entirely flat and covered with stones, there was no apparent vegetation, no trees, no visible stock, no anything. The scenery was the same from both sides of the train and here one got an insight into the dimensions of space.
Gradually, as we go north toward the Finke river, the country appears to improve. Grass is still in isolated tussocks, but the number of dried watercourses increases and a few trees make their appearance. The country is also becoming more hilly, and at the moment we are travelling through more minature forests of stunted trees, mulga for the most part. The Finke, as we expected, was just a half mile of sand surrounded by precipitous hills of stone, the railway passes the point where the river comes out of the mountains.
From here the country immediately became bare sand hills, covered with spots of salt bush and parakeelya, mixed with stunted mulga. The parakeelya is just about the only source of water for the stock for months at a time, but they seem to do very well in this country. Here the train passes through Heavitree Gap in the Macdonnell Range. The ranges appear tremendous after the miles of flat plain and seem to be made almost completely of loose stones. In some of the low outcrops the strata are perpendicular and where there is any vegetation it seems to be mostly dead mulga.