Tag Archives: bad weather

The Peninsulas of SA

Long time no blog! Very slack but very busy. Since my last entry we have done quite a bit of tripping around SA. In January we mostly free-dom camped along the Eyre Peninsula – Port Gibbon, Cowley’s Beach, Moonlight Bay, Louth Bay to North Shields near Port Lincoln for the Tuna Festival.

We spent a week re stocking and enjoying the Tuna Festival. Met a few of the same people we’d met further up the Peninsula and it was great to catch up. Port Lincoln is at the bottom end of the Eyre Peninsula, so leaving there we headed up the west coast to Farm Beach. This is a popular council run ‘caravan park’ for the fishermen. It was very busy and lots of people. We took the tinny out a few times when it wasn’t too windy. Met a good bunch of people and compared fishing stories at Happy Hour each day. Then we had a call from a guy we’d met at Arkaroola – said our pup was 8 weeks and ready to collect! Yes, we’d caved and said yes to a Blue Heeler Cattle dog pup – he had 8 pups and was selling the males and the girls were up for grabs! I didn’t have to cry and beg ‘B’ to get one, he was eager too. So goodbye Eyre Peninsula and hello Rawnsley Park Station in the Flinders!

We collected our new bundle of joy and took her to Willow Springs Station for a week to get used to each other. We named her Jeda. She is a real cutie and a bundle of trouble at the same time! Luckily she has had exposure to other dogs on properties we’ve worked at since and adapts well to new places and people.

From the Flinder’s Ranges we headed to the York Peninsula. We found a lovely little town called Alford that offered donation camping near a toilet block with BBQ’s. Then we headed to Balgowan, another popular fishing spot. Had bad weather there so not much fishing then on to Coobowie, Port Julia and Price. Still miserable weather so can’t recommend them for fishing as we didn’t get a chance to throw a line in.

By this time we’d been offered a house-sitting job (word of mouth from our previous employers at Willow Springs Station) so it was off to the Clare Valley!


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Rounded the bottom and in the middle!

Long time no blog! Last time I posted we were about to start the Great Ocean Road along Victoria’s south coast. Well we made it despite the cold, wind and rain. Unfortunately we didn’t have the best weather but we loved the views that we’d seen on TV over the years. One piece of advice I will pass on to Big Rig owners – it might be best to leave your rig at a van park and drive the short distances each way to see the sights. We left our van at Port Campbell and as we found out some of the car parks would have just fitted us and no one else! But we know of others that have had no problem, so it’s up to you.

We were a bit partial to the Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs and Loch Ard Gorge in preference to the 12 Apostles & London Bridge. Even in mid-winter it was inundated with bus loads of tourists all day long. We mostly had cold wet weather, so had to wait around for longer than needed to get photos with a glimpse of sunlight. Hubby hates the cold so he was suitably unimpressed!

Once complete we went as far as Warrnambool and Port Fairy and decided we’d had enough of the coast and headed inland to Ballarat. We both wanted to uncover the history of the area and we were not disappointed. Just loved the city with the architecture and history – and the Info Centre was very helpful with what to see and how to get around. I loved Sovereign Hill – I was a bit hesitant to go to a ‘theme park’ but after speaking with some of the locals in period costume who volunteer or work there my mind changed – it started off as a living museum visibly displaying the history of the region and we learnt a lot in a day and a half.

Then we were contemplating heading to Bendigo for some more history when I found a job that sounded like ‘us’ on the Grey Nomads website. We applied and got it so we did a detour straight to South Australia and the beautiful Flinders Ranges! So for the past couple of months B and I have been working on a 70,000 acre sheep and cattle property in the central Flinders called Willow Springs Station, owned & run by Brendan and Carmel Reynolds and their daughter Michelle.

This has been a fantastic experience for us doing different type of work (B even had a day lamb tailing) and getting to see what life’s like in this area. We have been welcomed by the Reynolds family and have loved doing sight seeing jaunts on days off to nearby Wilpena Pound, Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Gorge, Parachilna, Blinman, Hawker & Quorn. The fact that 3G and the Internet is 6klms away on the nearest lookout is great! Newsflash: we really don’t need all this technology ALL the time! The best 4WD experience has been Willow Springs’ Skytrek offroad track. It’s 79klms of ‘moderate’ rated 4WD tracks over the property and takes approx. 6 hrs to complete. The views are breathtaking and there’s abundant wildlife throughout the property. If you’re lucky there might be some shearing or mustering going on as it’s a working station. They also have secluded bush camp sites and accommodations in the Old Homestead, Jackaroos Hut, Overseers Hut and Shearers Quarters. If you’d like to check them out go to: www.skytrekwillowsprings.com.au

We are nearly finished here as the tourist season has ended so will probably head south to explore the rest of South Australia. Till next time hope you enjoy the new photos I’ve uploaded plus some of the pics in this post.

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Working our way round the bottom

Last time I blogged (it’s been awhile) we were in Tamworth with vehicle hassles. All fixed we headed off again. We visited some old mining towns such as Hill End, Sofala & Gulgong before heading to Katoomba to see the Blue Mountains.

Then we decided to bite the bullet and visit Canberra, Australia’s capital. We were very impressed by the way ‘us’ tourists are catered for – makes it easy to get around & see everything and without costing the earth.

From there we headed to the coast – the Eurobodalla & Sapphire coasts. Lots of lovely fishing villages – Eden being one of them. We unfortunately started getting bad weather that dampened the mood for touring a bit, but that’s winter in the south.

Then we crossed the border to Victoria and followed the coastline. Found some lovely areas to stop for a while – Mallacoota & Eagle Point. We did have a wonderful encounter with a wild koala near Nowa Nowa whilst we were photographing the trestle bridge. We went inland and stopped at Leongatha and did day trips to visit Wilson’s Promontory & Phillip Island. Found quite a few ‘Bigs’ on Phillip Island but not much else. To do anything cost money, even to see penguins or fur seals. Wilson’s Promontory was much better, except we had a lousy weather day which made for dull photos.

Then it was on to Melbourne for a look. We spent 3 days in the city and we’d had enough! Out of the way of being in cities and around so many people. We stayed at the showgrounds at Berwick (south-east of Melbourne) & then moved to Werribee South (south-west of Melbourne). We will be moving on next week so will blog again after the Great Ocean Road…..

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Moving on from Ayr

This entry is a bit delayed due to Christmas & New Year and the fact we’ve both been RnR-ing since leaving Ayr. We headed north from Ayr and re-visited some of our favourite spots on our way to Cairns.

A spot to remember at the north end of Mission Beach is Bingil Bay. It is a council area with clean amenities and the most beautiful beach right on your doorstep. We were slightly longer than the sign stated but we were the only ones there so we fit nicely.

We spent some time at Kurrimine Beach (another council run park at a good $) then up to the Atherton Tablelands to Yungaburra. They run a fabulous market which we enjoyed (because I didn’t have a stall!). We spent Christmas there at a van park walking distance to Lake Tinaroo.

Then on to Mareeba for a few days (very hot) and then down to Palm Cove at the north of Cairns. We got there New Years Eve to see the fireworks off the pier. Another council run park right on the Esplanade which I would highly recommend (as there aren’t very many beachfront van parks in Cairns). A week in Cairns then we head south again to a few beach parks we knew.

One place we would highly recommend is Paronella Park at Mena Creek near Innisfail. One thing though – go in the cooler months after plenty of rain so the falls are running. We visited here over 20 years ago and it has been well looked after and has a wonderful history of its owner Jose who built it from scratch. With your entry fee you get a powered site for the night in their small van park next door – they run a night tour as well as tours throughout the day.

At present we are in Ayr again as we had to base ourselves so we could order some more batteries as our’s started to die whilst we were free camping – 4 more are now installed and we are ready to move again. But we have to contend with some flooding that has hit the east coast this past week. We were confined to our van for 4 days straight due to non-stop rain and wind and now the south is getting their share. Lets hope it’s not as bad as 2011 floods in Brisbane.

Will post again soon – new photographs on their way……

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Canopy complete!

Just thought I’d upload a couple of pics of the canopy we just had made. We are extremely happy with it and it has passed the ‘rough Queensland roads’ test on the way from Brisbane to Ayr. We came up the inland roads to cut down the traffic – but instead we contended with bad weather, some roadworks and road trains – but it’s still our preferred route than the coast road.

We are now here till the end of the cane season whilst ‘B’ is cane hauling again. Looking forward to some spectacular cane fires again this year – will post them on my Gallery-Fires page for anyone interested during the next few months.

Don’t forget if you happen to be heading to North Queensland this year stop in and check out Ayr – it’s not just for the cane workers, it is a lovely town for tourists to spend some time – fishing in the creeks and estuaries or enjoying the sites of the fires at night.

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Visiting Western Qld Dams

Our rig outside Clermonts Finnigan Hotel

We finished the cane season in Ayr and we decided to head south to do some routine maintenance on the van. On the way we thought we’d check out some of the dams we hadn’t visited before.

First stop was Finch Hatton which has a beautiful Gorge. Then on to Eungella Dam up in the hills west of Mackay – tested out our F-Truck at least on those steep mountainsides. Plenty of room around the dam and bird life was in abundance – especially a Darter who squawked all day and night! We had visits from a couple of friendly horses grazing around the dam edge most days. Didn’t catch any fish but enjoyed the surrounds.

Next on to Lake Elphinstone (north of mining town Nebo). Unfortunately we had bad weather the whole time – windy and rainy, so we kept going. On to Clermont and Theresa Creek Dam south-west of the town. We loved the wildlife there. It was a bit more ‘structured’ – with a kiosk and sheds for shelter (and you had to pay to stay), but it’s worth a visit. You will be knocked out by the amount of waterlilies covering the dam and the cattle that continually spend the day munching on them, up to their neck in the water. We were woken to the sounds & sites of lorikeets (so tame they eat from your hand), miners, apostle birds, spoonbills, brolgas, egrets, darters, comb crested jacana (or lilly trotter), magpies & magpie geese – a heap of photo opportunities!

Unfortunately we had to keep moving, so next stop was Clermont where we continued our history lesson of the area with a lively old fella called Bernie Bettridge and his wife Jeanette. He is solely the ‘Master keeper of Clermont’s history’, going from his stories and photos he showed us. He comes out to the dam every afternoon to talk and meet the travellers – he invited us to his home and we spent two fascinating hours checking out all his ‘treasures’ he’s collected most of his 80-odd years. You begin to wonder what will happen to all his things when he’s no longer around to ‘teach’ and show younger Aussies all about their past.

Bundoora Dam at sunset

From Clermont we headed south-east to Bundoora Dam (near German Creek Mine). This would have to be our favourite spot on our short trip. It’s mostly used for the workers for skiing and recreation. No fish to speak of but some Redclaw near the dam wall. We had a beautiful sunset and sunrise the first day, but after that the wet weather set in, which was a bit disappointing, but didn’t deter us from enjoying the scenery. Not as profuse in bird life but still a pretty spot and perfect for the locals for fun sports.

Even though it was only two weeks I did get some lovely photos that I will shortly upload to my catalogue for you to see.