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

Archive for August, 2021

Day 71 Gladstone to Adelaide

It seems as though the rain came north to meet us, last night Fergus refused to go and find a tree before bedtime because he was getting wet! We could hear rain hitting off the canvas through the night but there weren’t any puddles in the morning. The Gladstone Caravan Park is very well maintained and there is gravel on what would otherwise be bare ground but there are plenty of trees and garden beds.

Our journey continued along the Horrocks Highway, we do think the Roads Dept. are very liberal with their use of the word, “Highway” but the road was OK. It wasn’t long before dark clouds loomed and we remembered the last time we came back from a long trip and gave up on a final night camping because it absolutely poured.

Around Clare the Canola crops looked glorious, they really brightened the day.

Now we’re back to the green, green grass/weeds of home. The heaters are on, the kettle has been boiled and with some help from Matt the camper is under cover but unpacking can wait for tomorrow. There will be a lot of red dirt to clean away from both inside and outside the car and camper.

Our holiday is over, it’s time to start thinking about next Winter. I’ll leave it up to you to judge who grew the best beard while we were away.

Day 70 Woomera to Gladstone

As a little defiant gesture to Herr Commandant when we left the Caravan Park today the Prado Pilot drove out the Entry gate. We’ve learned a bit more about Woomera and it isn’t a town at all but still a Defence Force Base, we still went to check out the “centre of town” though and this time in our drive around we saw one man and also a black and white cat.

There were some more roadworks on the Stuart Highway but that gave us some entertainment listening to conversations on the UHF radio. The vegetation does change from completely flat for as far as the eye can see to quite hilly. There were also a couple of salt lakes.

Our first stop was at Range View Rest Area where the composting toilets were broken and DISGUSTING. The views though were unspoiled.

As we drove along we heard snippets of conversation between two truckies and it seemed that there was some connection between Port Augusta and Covid so we decided we wouldn’t stop for fuel as planned but drive straight through the town. The wind turbines were impressive.

The Princes Highway is very busy and as we came out of Port Augusta we had to pull over to allow a Fire Truck with flashing lights etc to get past. We decided to take the Horrocks Pass to get away from the madness but hadn’t gone more than about 10 kms when all traffic was stopped. A motorcyclist had crashed and the emergency services were attending so the road was closed until everything was dealt with.

The lush green areas were startling to us after seeing dry, red dirt for so long.

Melrose was our next stop, it’s a place we both really like. There are lots of bike activities in the area and we had a drink and snack at one of the cafes. A couple of places actually have GF offerings.

We decided to stop at Gladstone for our last night. I have a photo of my dad taken on sentry duty outside the gaol when it was used by the military to house Italian and German nationals during the war.

Our plans to have dinner at the hotel were scuppered when we discovered that all three hotels are closed, one is almost falling down. The Booyoolee Hotel now has a coffee shop but that closed minutes before we arrived there. The IGA was the liveliest place in town apart from the little park near the Caravan Park where Fergus had a wonderful time playing with kids and other “camping dogs”.

Gladstone was an important railway town at one time with all three gauges here.

This is our last night camping, tomorrow we’ll be back home to cuddles, our own bathroom, beds, kitchen and especially important, space to relax if there is a lockdown.

Believe it or not we can now hear raindrops on the camper, that hasn’t happened for almost two months!

Day 69 Coober Pedy to Woomera

As promised our neighbour-of-the-loud-voice left the Caravan Park at 7:30 along with a few others but we weren’t in a rush and it was about 9:00 before we left. The Stuart Highway doesn’t appeal to us because of the boring road and fairly constant traffic. There are no corrugations, potholes or patches of bulldust to keep you occupied. We did come across one long stretch of roadworks with a variety of vehicles in action and a little further on a couple of 4 metre wide loads came towards us meaning we had to get off the road.

We had a wee stop at Bon Bon Rest area then continued on to Glendambo where we were able to get some Dim Sims and hot chips. The place seemed much quieter than when we’ve been there in the past and the entire eating area was roped off but they were able to cook the usual Roadhouse fare. It was so windy that sitting outside was unpleasant so we went back to the car and continued on.

Our next stop was at Kokatha or Lake Hart, there’s a picnic area with information boards but no toilets. Several caravans were already set up for a stay and more were coming in when we left. The wind was blasting off the dry salt lake, it would be a spectacular spot on a still day especially if there was some water in the lake.

Between Lake Hart and Woomera we noticed a very long freight train.

Woomera Travellers Village and Caravan Park is our spot for the night and I’m glad we’re reading the reviews after we’re here. That may sound weird but the manager is so controlling and pedantic we found him laughable. Even though we fitted perfectly on our site he insisted Alex had to swap the positions of the camper and the car. He also said I told him we had a caravan not a camper trailer but in reality he assumed we had a caravan and when he asked me how long it was I said 21′. I thought the length was the issue not the material it was made from. Anyway we’ve had a few laughs at his expense but if I’d read the reviews we might have driven on.

Woomera is a town administered by the Department of Defence, when I was young it was generally known as the Woomera Rocket Range and in about 1964 I was invited to a Ball to be held in the lowly ranked men’s mess. To stay on the base we had to be billeted with a family but now it’s all changed. Most of the accommodation blocks seem to be unused and the former Officers’ Mess is now the Eldo Hotel. Two more accommodation blocks are used by the Travellers’ Village.

Instead of a lively town it felt today like a ghost town, we saw two Primary School aged children and one of High School age as well as two workmen. Tomorrow we intend to go in again before we leave to see if it makes any difference being a weekend. There are houses obviously lived in, so the people must be somewhere.

There is a lot of rocket and other Defence Force material to be seen around the town.

It feels strange having to wear a mask when entering any shop etc. for us, that has only been necessary when we passed through Alice Springs on our way north. I guess it’s something that will become second nature before long.