Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for September, 2011

Streaky Bay 2 (jumped out of sequence!)

We got up. The wind got up. Yesterday was so nice here but what a difference the wind makes. It blasts straight off the sea and as the other campers seaward of us packed up and left we were more and more exposed. The annexe was flapping about and nothing seemed to stop it so we just decided to go elsewhere. The attractions of Streaky showed some loops you could drive so we went on the Cape Bauer Loop which was a nice drive but the Whistling Tubes weren’t whistling, the Blow Holes weren’t blowing and the Ospreys were obviously staying out of the wind. Looking down from the boardwalk where the Blow Holes were was quite scary with the waves coming in over a giant slab of rock. A boat was just around a bluff in a quieter patch of sea and we saw the “diver below” flag put up but didn’t see anyone go in while we were watching.

Because we’d been told the Cape Bauer Loop was the most interesting we changed our minds about going on the Westal Way Loop and instead decided to check out the Powerhouse Museum but it was closed so then we headed up the road to the Oyster Shed where tours showing all stages of the processing were advertised. A nice young guy there told us they don’t do the tours anymore but we could buy some oysters.

We decided to come back to the Campground, have some drinks and snacks while reading in the lovely big, clean Dining Room. When we reached the Dining Room other campers were already there and ready for conversation & then more arrived so we didn’t read but we did fill in and hour or more talking about different Camper Trailers, campsites and motoring skills/behaviours. After that we walked on the beach so not much to report today. Tomorrow we’ll go to Point Labatt where we’ve been reliably informed there are plenty of Sea Lions to see then we’ll go on to Port Lincoln. Depending on the wind we’ll either stop there or find somewhere more sheltered.

Diver Below

Not sure how the Oyster processing goes but I know they need gloves!

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Despite the forecast of very strong winds starting at 12:00, the night was reasonable with only normal rain, and the morning looked lovely so we took the opportunity to look around Lincoln for a while. We went to the Lookout and cruised around some of the streets looking at the “Tuna Mansions”. We saw the statue of Makybe Diva on the foreshore yesterday. Neither of us had any inclination to go Tuna feeding or swimming in a cage beside sharks and with the awful weather forecast on our minds we decided to head for home and just see how far we got before fatigue set in. We thought Tumby Bay was a nice little place and spent some time in the Bakery there but when we left we could see the dark clouds forming behind us and we could see bands of rain radiating from them. Before we reached Whyalla the rain hit us and by Port August although the temperature was still 28 deg. the wind was really buffeting the car. By “The Tin Man” near Port Pirie it was only 12 deg. black sky, strong gusty wind and heavy rain. Driving was difficult because the big trucks not only caused blinding sprays of water but also added their draught to the wind gusts. We felt sorry for all the campers heading off up the road in such foul weather while we would soon be in a nice, solid house where we could shut the doors and leave the weather outside!

The holiday is over, the unpacking begins …………….tomorrow.

Port Lincoln

It was a beautiful morning in Streaky Bay, calm and sunny so we took our time packing up. There was a very strange noise coming from trees near us and eventually I saw a couple of herons, canoodling, I think. I would never have expected to see them in trees but maybe they’re like Storks.

After yesterday’s disappointments we were looking forward to seeing the promised Sea Lions and we weren’t disappointed this time. There wasn’t an enormous number, maybe 30 and they were spread out over different rocky areas but they were quite active. Different ones went swimming and the water was so clear you could watch them all the time, some sat up watching and others looked like giant slugs stuck to rocks. One quite big male made his way out of the water and it was interesting watching the reactions of those which had been lying peacefully before. I presume it was a younger male that had to move away closer to another group of peaceful sleepers.

After the Sea Lions we went to see Murphy’s Haystacks which we’d been told were just a few rocks like you’d see in dozens of paddocks but we liked them. The shapes and textures were interesting and we certainly didn’t mind donating a couple of dollars since effort had been put into making the place a pleasure to walk around. The farms around are certainly looking lush but lots of sheep look dirty and thin and we thought they might have been brought in from a drought affected area.

We also went to see the Woolshed Cave which I found scary. The water has cut giant troughs through the rocks and the waves force the water up the troughs ending with forceful sprays before the water recedes again. The sides of the troughs weren’t level and looked as though they were coated with slippery sand so neither of us ventured too far towards the cave. The top of the cave had very interesting rock formations and there was one Native Bee hive hanging from the roof.

The dirt roads seem to have Sleepy Lizards crossing every few hundred metres and countless squashed ones. I’ve never seen one following another hot on its tail before and wonder if it’s mating time because we saw at least a dozen like that.

We arrived in Port Lincoln late in the afternoon so only had time to set up ten go into town to find some food. Almost all the sites here are drive-through so that’s a plus but they’re very narrow so no room for the annexe, in fact, the pull-out kitchen reaches the edge of our space. Tomorrow we’ll have a good look around the place if the weather stays nice.

Giant slugs

That’s MY patch!

This one is more of a wave than a haystack -Murphy’s Haystacks, Streaky Bay

Signs like this make me nervous!

Steps to Woolshed Cave

In hot pursuit.

Streaky Bay

No other campers came into the parking area last night so we had lots of space. At the old telegraph station , Eucla, yesterday we were talking to some people travelling in a big red bus, they had to hand over their fruit and veg, and even the bird seed they had for their birds. We expected to be stopped by the quarantine mob when we crossed the border so we gave them all the stuff we had but we weren’t stopped at all. Rather than buy more then have to relinquish it near Ceduna we had a make do meal with some left over bread roll from Esperance, steak and Tomato Relish. The steak was fine and the relish added a touch of piquancy ( for any foodies) but I can tell you Turkish Bread which is worth delaying your departure for on Day 1 is very tough and not worth fighting over on Day 2!

We packed up and drove out it was 7:30 SA time so we stopped for some breakfast at Nundroo. Alex is very relieved that the long stretches are behind us. We’ve been trying so hard to obey the road signs and watched for wombats all the way but only saw 2 and they were “out of this world” or to put it more bluntly, dead. Thevenard was our next stop and from a lookout we could see lots of seabirds clustered on rocks and then someone pointed out some seals. We had fun watching the antics for quite a while.

Smoky Bay didn’t have anything to keep us there so we came on to Streaky and have decided to stay for 2 nights. The Campground is nice, right on the waterfront but hopefully not blasted by winds, the amenities are perfect and there seem to be interesting sights to see.

Pelican Pair hanging out at the fish cleaning station.

Seal and Cormorants.

Kidnippi, 20kms west of Nundroo

What would you expect to be transported into WA on semis? Villies pies, Maggie Beer Quince Jelly, Annies Lane wines, Electrolux washing machines or even Holden cars but swimming pools? Yesterday we saw a semi with two stacks of pools, each stack had 10 pools one inside the other, just astonishing. Why wouldn’t they be made in WA?

Nothing like that today, just boring semis, some emus with chicks, one wallaby, some quails and driving into the Head of Bight, Whale Watch Centre, lots of Sleepy Lizards –mostly squished. The whales we saw were close so easy to watch, a mother and calf. There were some further out breaching. We thought the mother was feeding her calf because she was lying on her back and the calf appeared to be nuzzling her but apparently that’s what the mothers do when they don’t want the calf to suckle.

Before we reached the Head of Bight though we went to the old Telegraph Station at Eucla where there were no signs of any business other than the telegraph, no old fuel pumps or bits of shop. When I was there in the long ago, the “Service Station” with its old pump up bowsers was down there beside the half buried old Telegraph Station. The dunes have now reclaimed that area and Eucla services are now on the escarpment above.

We weren’t sure how far we’d get today and because of the two long stops we haven’t made it to Penong which is about 94 kms further east. This place is just a Free Parking spot with no facilities apart from cleared areas where you can set up camp. There are 3 other lots of people in here but I expected more. I guess it’s the lack of facilities which makes people bypass it but the reality is those parks with toilets are often overcrowded and the toilets gross.

Tomorrow we’ll probably mosey down the western side of Eyre Peninsula and around towards Port Lincoln.

Old Telegraph Station, Eucla.

“Nullabor Nymph”, Eucla Roadhouse.

Mini Me -Eucla

Holding back the wind, Kidnippi

Cocklebiddy

What a way to start the day. We were evicted from Woolies!!!! We left the Caravan Park just after 7:00 and went to the Turkish Bread Shop but it was closed so we went up to the Shopping Centre and bought some stamps in the Newsagents then went in to Woolies to get some supplies. Alex went to get some meat and I went looking for biscuits but a Woolies Worker caught up with Alex & said they weren’t open yet then they both came looking for me. I’ve never been evicted from a shop before! We went back to the bread shop but the bread wasn’t ready so we decided to walk on the jetty but when we got near the jetty there was a caravan called the “Coffee Cat” and they were serving choice coffee and other hot drinks. Chairs were set up on the lawn and lots of people were drinking coffee and gazing out to sea. At first we thought there must be something special happening out at sea but then it appeared to be just a normal morning event so we enjoyed hot chocolate and coffee then went back for the delicious bread.

Nothing eventful happened between Esperance and Norseman, a town named after a horse which fortuitously kicked up a gold nugget and so made the place a good one for a town. When we were about 10kms out of Norseman we passed a Storm Trooper striding along the road and then later a person in a wheelchair being pushed along. At least they had a support vehicle behind them but we didn’t see any support for the Storm Trooper. A few days ago we heard on the radio about a guy who was walking to Sydney, I think, and there were plans for a mass greeting by suitably dressed Star War fans when he walks into Adelaide. At least his Storm Trooper helmet was protecting him from the flies.

Alex had the pleasure of driving the 96 MILE straight which started just outside Baladonia but he did remember how to turn the car when we arrived at Caiguna.

The mechanic’s shed here is the same one that housed the original Cocklebiddy “Roadhouse” but there is now a new Snack Bar/Restaurant and Motel units which seem to be filled with workers. We passed quite a few gangs working on relaying sleepers on the railway line and wondered if they were contributing to the strings of bottles discarded along the roadside. Not just beer bottles but heaps of flavoured milk, water and also “energy drink” bottles.

We’ve been hooked by a couple of garrulous people so we now should know all about the cost of petrol and the best camping places from here to Timbuktoo. I do now know that Combivans, 5th wheelers, Winnebagos etc  and campers that fit on the back of utes and are all considered motor homes by the organisers of the Motor Home Convention being held in Kalgoorlie  next month. I also know that different groups going to the Convention are also playing the longest Golf Course in the world, the Nullarbor Course. You won’t be surprised to know the editor thinks there are far too many trees on it even though he hasn’t checked out a single hole!

After Grasspatch the country to starts to dry out a little.

The Horse That Named a Town

What was the original “Roadhouse”, Cocklebiddy.

Not exactly “lush”. Cocklebiddy Campsite.

Esperance 2

Our first job of the day was to try and find warmer clothes & neither of us managed to ferret out anything from the car or Camper so we went to the shops. In keeping with the camper’s uniform Alex bought a druggie shirt but I didn’t manage to find anything so will just have to use layers. We walked around the old buildings beside the Museum, not solid stone buildings but weatherboard and corrugated iron. There is an old schoolhouse, church, railway station, hospital, doctor’s surgery etc. After a stop at the Coffee Shop which had an English theme with posters of Hillman cars and a selection of lollies like Fry’s Chocolate Bars & Dolly Mixtures, Yorkshire Tea etc we set off for the Arboretum. It’s about 15kms out of town and we’d seen it mentioned in relation to wild flowers but it’s like a forest with plots of different trees. The trees are all labelled but any wildflowers are interlopers so you just have to look out for them & find out for yourself what they are. Alex was good at spotting wildflowers but naming them isn’t in his skill set. This morning session must have been good training for him because late in the afternoon we went on part of the Kepwari Wetland Walk Trail & a lady coming out said there were orchids flowering so Alex became an Orchid-Spotting-Maniac.

The Great Ocean Drive was excellent with lots of viewing places to see the islands, rocks, surf and beaches. We could see water spouts from whales far out near the horizon, no seals or sea lions though. As we drove back into the town we saw that a tanker we’d seen lying off the harbour was being brought into Port so we sat and watched as the tugs manoeuvred it into position. Fine entertainment especially with commentary from a man sitting not far away, I think he was hoping for some kind of “incident”.

Tomorrow we expect to leave for Norseman.. There are long sections with nothing much to spark interest so we’ll probably keep going until we’re too tired to continue. People who came into the park today said there are places with fuel every couple of hundered kms. and plenty of places to camp so we’ll just see how we go.

Old Church, part of Museum display.

28 or Port LIncoln Parrot at the Arboretum.

Banksia

Orchid

View of rocks from Ocean Drive.

Tug and Tanker