Archive | March, 2013
29 March 2013

Ceduna –

Welcome to our UK readers. Just caught up with Suzy and Barry again (29th)

Outa Ceduna 28th. Diverted to Mckenzies Ruins 5k out. Not sure why in retrospect but promised ourselves we would check out everything along the way. Interesting though that someone would see farming opportunity, sink big dollars (OK – pounds) and then abandon the place. Same story for Yalata homestead out of Fowlers Bay.IMGP1703 IMGP1704 IMGP1705 IMGP1707





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Of course we had to check this one out. I would have liked to get to the limit. I’ve never worked so hard – 30k in, 31k out, over 3 hours travel time. Talk about corrugations. And for those not aware Winnie tyre pressures are 100lb. Very harsh, very slow, very rattly, very exciting opening cupboards afterwards.

 But interesting, if only for the sand dunes which make Fowlers Bay look like an alpine ski resort, just 40 degrees hotter.IMGP1718 IMGP1720 IMGP1721 IMGP1722






Got off the Eyre Highway again to see the Head of the Bight. No whales this time of year so only 5 bucks to get in. Triples in whale time.

But – a very impressive viewing location, whales guaranteed June – September and a fabulous outlook…….PICT0004 (2) PICT0014 (2) PICT0020






Got robbed at Nullarbor Roadhouse.IMGP1752





Fortunately only needed 50l – you do the math. I guess thats the price you pay to park up and go exploring. Murrawaijinie Caves sounded enticing and pictures of the road in looked less than Winnie friendly so off-loaded Suzy and took to the bush……

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Found some local fauna……PICT0048 IMGP1745







which looked nothing like the warning…..IMGP1732







We’re parked up 25km west of Nullarbor Roadhouse for the night with old friends Suzy & Barry and  new friends Tony and Denise listening to the roar of road trains (yes, even on Good Friday). No TV, no radio but we do have the interwebby thingy so I’m getting to rattle on, particularly after ‘happy hour’. But now I’m tired an wanna go to bed – its a long way from home Mummy.

27 March 2013

Eyre today, gone tomorrow

We’re in Ceduna, they say, the oyster capitol of SA (or is it the world). Bought enough with us from Smoky Bay so no local purchase. We’ve come up the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula starting at Coffin Bay and dropped into most of the bays/towns along the way. There is some beautiful scenery but most importantly there are endless supplies of fabulous oysters. Prices range from 11.00 per dozen (shucked) down to 6.00 not opened. Had to buy a shucking tool (and learn how to use it without destroying hands). We’ve also overnighted in a couple of free camps and met a range of fellow travellers.IMGP1676

Parked up in Coffin Bay then surrounded by Barrys (3), Sue, Judy, Leslie, Anne, Ian, Sue, Geoff



 Barry, Susie, Judy, Lesley, Barry, Anne, Ian taken by Barry Sue and Geoff from NZ




 More Barrys






Filled the tank in Streaky Bay at $1.61, the dearest so far (116 litres, you do the math). We’re averaging 22.5l per 100km even with 60 – 70 km /hr winds hamering us most of Monday and Tuesday. We have opted to van park yesterday and today to prepare for the Eyre Highway/Nullarbor crossing ie top up water, fuel, tyres, laundry, food etc. Ceduna is on the water and quite an interesting place. Very large and very obvious indigenous population and from what I’ve seen a very active police presence, but everything seems very expensive. Like 1 litre of milk $2.55 at the supermarket.

The Eyre, like the Yorke is predominantly a grain growing area but the Eyre adds a very large oyster and fishing industry. We continue to be amazed at the magnitude of the grain storage facilties. The coastline is spectacular and it would rival the Great Ocean Road if not for the fact that you have to venture off the main road and onto some very second class dirt roads to see it.Coast at caves Coast at Talia Elliston Rip 3




Different art at EllistonDust storm





Very windy, top soil everywhere.

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The Nullarbor beckons!

26 March 2013

Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou

To all of those who have sent greetings for my birthday, on the web, phone and secret parcel placement weeks in advance……..Thankyou.  I feel really loved in absentia.

In Ceduna tonight.  Hot (40+) very very windy, and the flies are trying very hard to cart me away.  Barb and Ken the fly nets, and I must admit I didn’t think I’d use them, have proved to be the best thing since sliced bread.  Feel a bit silly hanging out the washing with a hat and net on, but sooooooo much better than swatting.

Yes Mags, am really missing you too.  Thought Barry might play a game or two, but no such luck .  Backgammon withdrawal is not nice.  Don’t get very much TV, so am reading every thing I can get my hands on.  Will probably have to spend some Amazon dollars.

Till next time.

22 March 2013

The night before Jude becomes closer to 70 than 60!

Out of Wallaroo into Port Pirie. Stopped the night after walking the jetty at Port Germain – 3.5 km. Nothing else to see here. Took in the Railway Museum in Pirie Tuesday morning and then on to Port Augusta. Some major expense to see the Outback Centre in town so decided we would pick this up on the way back in September.IMGP1523 IMGP1545







We’re now sheltering up in Port Lincoln. The wind howled through Point Gibbon last night and rocked us to sleep (well some of the time). It eased during the day, enough to travel slowly on to Port Lincoln. The skies are overcast and its actually quite cool – the first cool weather we’ve experienced since October. We “free-camped” Monday and Wednesday nights firstly at Port Bonython near a crude oil and gas storage facility but with a great view out to Spencer Gulf. The place was chockers and we actually had to double park but we got to test some oysters and found some more frogs. Sophie & Max from France triple parked in their little old camper ute thingy and came for a visit. Met many locals, great exchange of interests.IMGP1550 IMGP1551 IMGP1553





Tuesday night we wimped and found a paid c’van park at Wyalla, primarily so we could offload Suzie and explore. Checked in for a steel works tour on Wednesday then drove out to Iron Knob to see where the ore came from. It doesn’ t come from there anymore and I’ve yet to see a more derelict township that people still live in. The ore is sourced these days from the same range but further south at like Iron Duke or Monarch or some other silly royal location. Everything is rusty – as you drive the road out to Iron Knob the road follows the train line on which the ore is transported and the iron dust covers everything and rusts. Same around town. Then you get into the plant and the rust is overwhelming or if its not rusty its covered in  coal dust. The steelworks are huge. Shots taken from town overlooking the plant don’t even suggest the magnitude. We actually took a bus tour around which lasted one and a half hours.IMGP1641                                                                                                                                                 IMGP1644 IMGP1646 PICT0021 PICT0023 PICT0032




What I couldn’t get over was the size for the outcome. The plant seems to go on interminably but all we saw at the output end were a few stacks of railway track and some I-beams and angles. Our driver did say that One Steel was doing it tough and there is some concern in the town that the plant might shut down and as it employs about 1700 people it would be disastrous for Whyalla. Took the tour over the “Whyalla” – the first ship built here in 1941 – a corvette for mine clearing one of four of the class built here and the first of 66 ships all told. Sad in a way to see it parked up on dry land but also a bit heroic for the townsfolk. Apparently they bought it back from Victorian Govt. where it served in the bay after WW II for 50K and spent 540K getting it to site. Still, good to see.IMGP1561 IMGP1565 IMGP1566 IMGP1572 IMGP1580 IMGP1594 IMGP1589 IMGP1588





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Moved on to Point Gibbon to freecamp only to find a 6 km very corrugated dirt road in but passable slowly and then a site also close to full. Just arrived in time for happy hour and met up with a new batch of roadys. Great fun. Bought fresh oysters in Cowell on the way through and worked out how to shuck’em. Oysters and pizza for dinner – wow!  Didn’t find the one that worked though.

17 March 2013

Port Pirie

A week on the Yorke Peninsula. Thought a couple of days would cover it. Not even close and I think we could have seen more still but as someone along the way has said “leave something to come back to”.

We had no idea of the Peninsulas mining heritage – Moonta, Wallaroo, Kadina, predominantly copper, dating back to 1863. Whilst most of the infrastructure has gone now, bits have been preserved to provide some idea of the magnitude of operations. As well as mining farming has as  long a history with some suggestion that it goes back to about 1840. Interesting that one of the early pastoralists, William Hughes I think, started out as an opium dealer out of England into China and funded land purchases here from it, then laid the first claim to copper mining rights on his own property after it was discovered by one of his shepherds in about 1863 around Moonta. Miners were employed from Cornwall, mine timbers were brought in from Queensland and Tasmania and equipment initially came also from Cornwall, but in time a lot was produced here. Mining finally petered out in 1923, but todays Rex Minerals claim to have discovered substantial new copper and gold deposits near Ardrossan on the east coast of the peninsula and are currently assaying their finds with suggestions that there is as much as 1.1 million tonnes of copper and 620,000 ounces of gold. Pull that out of the ground and I’m sure the peninsula will disappear.                                  PICT0001PICT0021 PICT0025 PICT0033





The Miners Methodist Church in Moonta is a wonderfully preserved relic dating from 1865. Click on the photo and look at the organ – 600 odd pipes and made in Moonta back then and still in use today.

Wallaroo also coughed up a few historical facts not the least of which was Gary Winders mothers’ prowess as a hockey player…IMGP1464






One of three photos of the team over 13 years, part of the extensive exhibition in the Wallaroo Natural and Nautical Museum. On advice we hung around in Wallaroo  for 4 days to experience the “best” sunsets, but it didn’t happen for us. But the time gave us opportunity to explore the various museums and other historical sites of which there are plenty. The Kadina Farm Museum was a real corker……..IMGP1491 IMGP1495 IMGP1498 IMGP1514






and, yes, thats an original “stump jump plow” designed and engineered by  Mays Engineering & Foundry here on the Peninsula. These are but a few of the photos from this exhibition. Much of the display is descriptive or video and provides a fantastic insight to the farming history of  the area.

We’ve headed out today (Sunday) with the intention of skipping through Port Pirie but in passing saw too much to avoid so we are now bedded down here. Had to watch the GP, particularly the drivers parade ….. Great job Greg and AHSDC …PICT0018





A sight for bug eyes.


12 March 2013

Yorke Peninsula SA

From Mt Barker we’ve headed to the Yorke Peninsula and along the way we picked up a couple of frogs and nearly skittled an indigenous inhabitant……….IMGP1407 PICT0003







The frogs were visitors, hitchiking around Oz with 5 months up since landing, the indigene wasn’t looking for a lift at all. (by the way – look at the frogs load in the foreground).

Yorke Peninsula is a surprise. Predominantly a wheat and barley growing area, the expanses of crop field are amazing – endless. It appears to be very dry and Oh so rocky that it is difficult to believe the extent of the cultivation. There are two bulk grain loading facilities down the east coast which are simply gi-normous….. 

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Monday/Tuesday 11 & 12 took us down to the bottom of the Penisula along some incredible cliff top roads and onto some of the most unspoilt beaches we have yet seen. My camera played up and I’ve lost a lot of Mondays shots but to whet the appetite heres a few of today……..PICT0041 PICT0022 PICT0017 PICT0016 PICT0005






Monday, we were able to take in the Bublacowie Military Museum. An almost unbelievable personal collection of military memorabilia spread over several pavilions and sheds put together by ex-Australian soldier Chris Soar and his late wife, all housed to the rear of the Bublacowie State School which is now the private residence. There is something of interest in this display for everyone, but to tease the knowlegeable………..IMGP1417 IMGP1418 IMGP1419






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Inneston was a bit of a surprise – chalky old town which some of you might even remember…PICT0067 PICT0068





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but I’m guessing that todays  predominant use of whiteboards has put a lot of people from this town on the dole. Can’t even afford a roof  now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The Peninsula is a pictorial feast but it is also very hot making it hard to get out of the car so most of the coastal shots have been taken fairly hastily (its presently 3 9). Back to the Hovel for a bit of liquid relief cos the cooling fans weren’t terribly effective even all 55 of them…PICT0078 PICT0081





(even the sheep had to find shade in front of the fans)

10 March 2013

Moving On

We returned to The Novel Hovel Thursday 7 March after a week long trip back to Melbourne and Lima East.

Melbourne was of course for niece Zoe’s wedding on 2 March. All the family was there and it was great to catch up and be part of a lovely ceremony. Congratulations Kristian and Zoe. It was a terrific event.IMGP1371IMG_1947IMG_1795IMG_1919IMG_1887


Some in attendance had few inhibitions as the night drew on………………

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Thanks too for the Dey hospitality over the weekend and Fergusson conviviality on Sunday.IMGP1400 

Finally managed to have a winch capable bullbar fitted to the Suzuki at a totally unreasonable cost but at least we can now bounce off kangaroos (and emus and maybe even camels) without life threatening damage. Also updated our phones and now we are old yuppies with i-phones. Jude even reckons she can drive hers and we do seem to have better reception.

Back to Lima East for a couple of days, just a check on things, a quick mow and with all in order we headed back to the Hovel in Mt Barker. New battery for the trailer, new windscreen for the truck and we’re ready to roll on.

Off to the Yorke Peninsula Sunday then on to the Eyre with more (minor) repairs to the Hovel in Whyalla.

4 March 2013

It must be Friday if this is Warranwood

Finally left Victor Harbour behind after experiencing rain for the first time in months and went on to Langhorne Creek where we found a beaut free camp along with about 20 others and stopped the night. Had to sample some of the local produce so set out to see who was who. Only recognised ‘Bleasdale’ I guess because it has been there for 163 years. Tasted and purchased and moved on to Lake Breeze which is relatively young at 130 years old but still tasted and purchased. Had a drive around some of the area – it is beautiful and so green with vine. I don’t recognise most of the brands and I don’t have the fortitude (Jude) to test them all so we retired to the truck for the night. PICT0083 PICT0084 PICT0085 PICT0086 PICT0087 PICT0088 PICT0089 PICT0090

Check out the houseboat on trailer. Bob and his wife have been traveling for 15 years, now and again launching their accommodation and heading up river or downstream or just living in it by the roadside. All towed by an old GQ diesel Patrol.


 Ran out of power. The solar storage batteries died. Didn’t think it political to turn on the generator at 4.00am. so snored for a while without the CPAP. Many phone calls the next day elicited mostly the response that we had done well to get nearly 4 years out of them. Replacements seemed a little elusive but finally tracked some down in Adelaide which could be fitted next day (Thursday). Back up to Mt Barker for the night  (becoming regular home base) and drove into town on Thursday for the privilege of handing over nearly $1100 for 3 new batteries. Anyway, good to go for a bit longer hopefully, but repairs and maintenance are stacking up to be the greatest expense of all. Those ‘pensioner’ meals are starting to become very important.

Before heading back to Mt Barker we took in a few other spots including Strathalbyn. Great bit of history. We were directed to the “city walk” which took in some 40 historical sights, including one of the most beatiful parklands we have seen so far.IMGP1322 IMGP1343 IMGP1344 IMGP1346





In due course look to the photo file on side to see more of the sights of Strathalbyn but along the way we stumbled upon this “Inn”….PICT0049 PICT0053 PICT0054 PICT0055






Parked up The Novel Hovel for a few days and are now in Melbourne for Zoe and Kristian’s wedding.