Sorrel uncovers the quirkier side to the South Australian outback when she crashes in the back of a truck.
Melrose, at the foot of Mt Remarkable in the Flinders Ranges, was established in 1853 when a copper mine opened nearby. It is the oldest town in the ranges and home to the North Star Inn, licensed in 1854, making it the oldest hotel in the area.
Melrose has several interesting historic buildings and a population of around 200. There are arts and crafts shops, a museum, a couple of hotels and a caravan park.
The North Star Inn, owned by the Rosenzweig family, is quite a remarkable place and tells the story of Melrose.
In 1881, part of the simple log house was demolished and a two-storey building erected. Over the past few years, a grand development has taken place.
The bar front is mesmate, a native wood, which was saved from an old jetty. The bar top is redgum. Various tables have been crafted from one tree. The floor is recycled stringybark. Stools have been created from goods purchased at local auction and on close inspection, you can see just what was used to make them. The bases of some tables are rims from Holden cars.
Windows were originally at the Wilmington Railway Station. A motorcycle club at Port Pirie kindly offered the refrigerator in the main bar to the hotel. Bench seats were once at the Masonic lodge and halved tree trunks came from Wirrabara Forest.
The Bistro Bar is made from native cypress pine and the lover's seat was once a miner's wheelbarrow in the copper mines.
There is accommodation to suit all budgets. Two heritage luxury suites are upstairs in the Inn. Named after the Rosenzweig and Jericho families, they reflect their lives of traumas and blessings. Each has king bed, ensuite, large sitting room and private balcony with views of Mt Remarkable.
Truck Chalets are classic historic farm trucks, each with a story. They are full of character with unusual architecture.
The Remarkable Truck is a 1945 Diamond T World War II American recovery vehicle. It has been used for farm and mining work and is still in running condition. It has an entrance foyer, reading room behind the steering wheel, separate toilet and shower room, queen bed and room for another double bed. The lounge area leads to a balcony with views of the mountain.
The Bugger Truck is an International with a lounge, upstairs is a queen bed and bathroom.
Bruce Truck is a trusty old Bedford which still fires up. Entry is from a verandah into a lounge room and up to a double bed. Bruce is reserved for homeless travellers.
Wheelie House was set up for disabled travellers. There are four spacious private rooms with a suitably adapted bathroom. There is ample room for a carer.
Melrose Inn is traditional hotel accommodation for travellers on a light budget. Four bedrooms lead off a passage and they share a lounge and bathroom.
Food is mostly locally-produced organic and Mum's Kitchen turns out wholesome country cuisine.
In amongst all that, there is a pool, grassy picnic area, a book collection of family history, local history and Australian and Aboriginal cultures.
If you fancy a tour of the area, there are four-wheel-drive vehicles and a 12-seater oka. Town characters act as guides and have access to several private properties with views of both sides of the ranges.