Category Archives: Travel

…Autumn on Da Block

From a hot & sweaty summertime we have graduated to a cooler and a bit windier autumn. The trees are turning bronze & gold letting us know the cool weather will be on it’s way! Exactly what I love! The vineyards look beautiful now vintage has finished, autumn colours abound.

Excavations on Da Block went well: the new septic is in, heaps of plumbing trenches, installed two cattle grids, digging some tree holes, solar panels installed and much more. We were able to setup a rock garden on a long bank with beautiful huge Bluestones and the Yuccas & Agaves I’ve been nursing and cuttings from friends. Unfortunately the pumpkins & rock melons I grew from seed didn’t survive – I’ll have to watch more ‘Gardening Australia’!!

I’d like to give a plug (for any local’s reading this) to Terra-Firma Earthworks & Contracting based in Clare, SA – brilliant job and attention to detail.

B painted up the inside of a container to be his ‘tool shed’. It’s taken time but we are seeing progress week to week. We moved the van for the 3rd time to the container pad (better for when the rain comes). We’ve just had a couple of dust storms when it was really hot which was a new experience.

Today I have the heater on!

Looking forward to a break. Heading north to the Big Red Bash (www.bigredbash.com.au) in July as B volunteering setup/pack up. We are able to take Jeda to the concert in the desert as dogs are allowed. John Farnham is headlining with Hoodoo Gurus, The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and more…..

Western Queensland here we come!!!

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Clare Valley Autumn Colours, SA

From the Ocean, to Rocks to the Hills into the Valley!

Been a bit busy since last post so I apologise for that. We continued around the Eyre Peninsula visiting our favourite sites and campgrounds.

Haslam is one – south of Ceduna. A small fishing village where oysters are the main industry. There is a small campground with a nearby toilet, picnic area & water tap. A boat ramp too leads to a very rocky and weedy beach, but the jetty is great for fishermen.

Easter was approaching so we headed inland to Murphy’s Haystacks, a group of rock formations on private land and also a camp site. As luck would have it we had overcast days so the colours I was hoping for on the rocks didn’t happen. But we caught up with the property’s owner and had a good yak. He now sells local honey from the area.

Then on to the Minnipa area, to Tcharkuldu & Pildappa Rocks. Both have camping areas with drop toilets and picnic tables. A good workout to walk around and over! Quiet too, even on a long weekend!

Bad weather was looming so we decided to head to a Recreation Ground at Kimba to wait it out. Good thing too as we had heaps of rain and flash flooding. Kimba really goes all out to accommodate Travellers with camp areas at low-cost ($15 per night, no power but full amenities, honour system) and incentives to spend and enjoy their town. Kimba is halfway across Australia geographically.

As the weather wasn’t getting any better we decided to head straight to the Mid North region, to Port Augusta (for supplies) through Horrocks Pass and Melrose – beautiful areas. Along the way we stopped overnight at Goyder Line RA and Yacka Picnic Ground. Yacka is also a lovely town but seems to be dying since the pub closed. Volunteers and residents do their best to make the picnic grounds a lovely spot to stop for a night. Only $15 per night with power.

Now we are helping out on a farm in the Clare Valley that was our very first House Sit many years ago. It’s Autumn and the colours are just magnificent. Will post photos of the Valley in my next blog.

House sit at Laura Bay, SA….again!

Whilst waiting for our new axle to be sent from Brisbane (the floods put the order back a bit), we stopped at Laura Bay, about 25klms south of Ceduna to do some fishing.

We had a good run with many days bringing in ample King George Whiting, Blue Swimmer Crabs and squid. It’s a lovely bay but not sheltered that much from the winds, so we had many days of just watching the tide go in and out! It DOES have an abundance of mosquitoes and March flies though! We did a short house sit for the owners of the house in the Conservation Park again before packing up and heading off to find somewhere to go for Easter

I’d like to promote the business in Ceduna that worked on our ‘scrubbing out our tyre’ problem, Ceduna Metal Solutions, 70 Schwartz Street. The owner spent a day trouble shooting with B eliminating things to decide what was causing the problem. Turned out to be the axle. Highly recommend them!

We have hit the road again and wandering around parts of the Eyre Peninsula we haven’t yet been or revisiting some we enjoyed previously….stay tuned! (Happy Easter everyone!)

Crossing the Nullarbor – West to East

After crossing this expanse of Australia again I can safely say….it’s a ‘heck of a long drive’!! Most people can do it easily in 2 days – we took around 7 days to get from Norseman to Ceduna, but who’s counting?!

We did however have a slight setback on Day 1 – a blow out on the truck!! Our first (and hopefully last) whilst towing. B was amazing keeping the truck and caravan under control. The passenger side rear tyre blew sending us over both lanes (no on coming traffic) and into the dirt. Once our hearts had returned from our mouths to our chests, we got about unhitching the van and moving the truck to firmer and flatter ground for the glorious task of getting the buggered tyre off and getting another on.

Blown tyre on truck, mudguard wrecked too

An hour or so later, we were on our way again. I did make an observation though…of the many traveller’s & trucks that passed us whilst doing this repair, only ONE caravanner stopped to offer assistance!

So night 1 we headed for the nearest camp site which happened to be Newman’s Rock. It has a beautiful vista at sunrise (we had clouds) and when not too many people are camped there, the cattle and animals drink from the waterhole. I will admit a couple of alcoholic beverages were partaken that evening!

At Balladonia Roadhouse we stopped to look at the museum – the main focus is on the fiery re-entry of NASA’s Skylab space station in 1979.  The collection includes documents from NASA, a recreation of actual events, and photos. They even have a life-sized replica of some of the debris sitting on top of their roof!

As expected we saw many Wedgetail Eagles indulging in a fresh piece of road kill (weirdly they were all on the WA side). We stopped the night at Jilah Rockhole, a big camp area with plenty of room. The next day the dust & wind started…and continued basically staying with us for the rest of the week!

It wasn’t that far to Eucla then the WA border. We finally gained the 2 hours we lost coming over nearly 2 years ago!! Because of the wind we stopped the night in a gravel pit overlooking the Great Australian Bight – how good is that? Full moon, not much road noise and no neighbours.

After getting up at sunrise (which is freaky because it’s now 7:30am not 5:30am!) we packed up and ventured off the highway to a favourite spot, Koonalda Homestead, about 18kilometres north of the Eyre Highway. Warning to non off road travellers: I wouldn’t go this road if you aren’t fitted out for rough roads. We let our tyres down and took it slow. The first 4-5 kms are rough, then it’s dirt with ruts but better (as long as there hasn’t been any rain). We had dust and wind and march flies nearly the whole time there which almost ruined it, but the sunrise was worth the drive in. The Shearing Shed and blowhole are also worth a look. The Homestead used to service the old Eyre Hwy for fuel, accommodation etc. Oh, and they now have a drop loo!

I will give a blatant plug to a farm stay we recommend- Coorabie Farm.  The following info is from their Facebook site: “Coorabie Farm Accommodation is 8km off Eyre Highway on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor, 5kms east of Nundroo or19 kms west of Fowlers Bay. There are unpowered & powered sites and can sleep up to 15 people in the accommodation areaCoorabie Farm Accommodation is ideal for fishing or tour parties. Facilities include a self contained cabin + 5 separate bedrooms all with reverse cycled air conditioners in (Linen is available on request). Fully equipped kitchen/lounge area with TV & Mobile Coverage. Amenities block with laundry, all on rainwater. Gas BBQ & Camp fire area. Fish cleaning area & cool room available. There is a Private Aircraft Landing Area 900m long x 25m wide within walking distance from the accommodation. Please ring for permission.”

We spent 2 days at Coorabie when crutching was in progress. Deb & Poggy are great hosts and have all the local info you need to enjoy your visit to this area. Unfortunately that rotten wind and dust followed us there too. In the cooler months you’ll just love their unique firepit!

So we were nearly at the end of our Nullarbor trip….smoko at Fowlers Bay, a quick visit to the new Windmill Museum at Penong (which boasts the Biggest Windmill) then on to the quarantine station at Ceduna. We are currently getting repairs done before venturing around the spectacular Eyre Peninsula.