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.
Sunrise over jetty at Haslam
Low tide at Haslam Jetty
Edward John Eyres sculptures at Kimba White Knob Lookout
Seen better days! Accommodation in Melrose
Unusual accommodation at Melrose
The North Star Hotel in Melrose
Rock formations at Murphy’s Haystacks
Rock formations, Murphy’s Haystacks
Aerial of Murphy’s Haystacks
Sunrise – Murphy’s Haystacks
Kimba – AH&F Society Mural near Rec Ground
Aerial of Pildappa Rock
Jeda on wander over Pildappa Rock
Early morning cardio workout over Pildappa Rock
View from Pildappa Rock picnic area
SA’s version of Wave Rock
North side of Pildappa Rock
Entering Horrock’s Pass (note the embellishments on sign)
Having a wander of Tcharkulu Rock, very windy
One of many rocks forming Tcharkuldu Rock
Hut has graffiti inside, used by campers, Tcharkuldu Rock
The ingenius water collection idea used throughout SA
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!)
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.
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 area. Coorabie 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.
Towards the end of January it was time to move on. We headed towards the Barossa Valley and found a small caravan park at Eden Valley, part of a recreation grounds. Quiet, small and best of all had an oval for Jeda to exercise on. We visited the oldest wineries and thoroughly explored the region, most enjoyable.
Picnic lunch at Seppeltsfield
Victor Harbour Horsedrawn Tramway
Then on to Strathalbyn Caravan Park, also next to an oval, and caught up with friends we’d met years before in Darwin who now manage the park. It’s a great central location for day trips, dog friendly and next to an exercise oval. We did trips to Goolwa, Victor Harbour, Hindmarsh Island, Willunga (great Farmers Market), McLaren Vale and Cape Jervis.
After a number of weeks playing tourist we had to head north, which meant going through Adelaide. This doesn’t sit well with ‘B’ or myself and a restless night beforehand and dual headaches accompanied our trip the next day. We made it through (no thanks to our GPS) and on to Gawler, Port Parham and Port Augusta to head back to the Eyre Peninsula.
I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last blog! Time just flies when you’re enjoying the road. Haven’t been doing a lot of photography this year (must be having a block) just ‘happy snapping’ our travels.
I left off when we were in Whyalla SA getting repairs done after doing ‘the tracks’ and Birdsville. We then went to Arno Bay on the Eyre Peninsula for a week of fishing. Met up with some friends and enjoyed a week of squiding and fishing off the jetty. Then on to a free camp we’ve been to before, Cowley’s Beach with our friends. Only October but it got so cold, happy hour started early and finished late in front of a warming fire. Enjoyed Calamari in panko crumbs for lunch a few days (life can be tough!) and too soon it was time for us to return to Whyalla as ‘B’ was to have an op at the local hospital. I must say South Australia has brilliant medical services compared to Queensland. Within 2 weeks of fronting up to Whyalla Hospital ‘B’ had seen a specialist and was booked in for a non-major operation. In Queensland he’s still on the waiting list!!
After two weeks of recovery in Whyalla we were chomping at the bit to head off. We decided to meet same friends for a week at Haslam, on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula. We had already agreed to return to Clare Valley for ‘B’ to work Harvest for the same farm as he did seeding, so we had time to fill in. Only took 5 hours drive straight across and we arrived, set up and ready for Happy Hour!
We enjoyed big seafood cook ups in that week. Our friends had some Redclaw they shared, then we had calamari in garlic butter then flathead crumbed. Whilst at Haslam we heard from a lead for a house sitting job near Ceduna and because we weren’t that far away we decided to drive up to meet the prospective home owners. They live at Laura Bay, 20klms south of Ceduna. We met and loved the place as soon as we drove up the dirt track. It is in a Conservation Park, which was my only hesitation. But this will test our training with our Bluey, to keep her from wandering or eating baits.
Melbourne Cup fell whilst we were in Haslam and we had a BIG day. We invited surrounding caravanner’s for a BYO beverage and snacks lunch whilst watching the big race. The days got hot so we found the best place to cool off was under the jetty with a bev and good friends! Too soon it was time to head east back to the Clare Valley for that four letter word…. ‘work’!
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!