Driving between Loxton Town Centre and the Caravan Park we passed an interesting median strip, we’ve stopped at the carved tree sculptures before but we decided to check out the Conservation and Heritage Park this time. Just about anywhere you go along the river there are reminders of the flood of 1956. I remember Dad collecting up hessian chook food bags to be sent to Mannum for sandbags that year. Loxton has an interesting way of illustrating the various flood levels. Paths wove between lovely garden beds and past the many cairns in the Heritage Park.
Click on any image for a larger photo.
The lowest cairn.
The highest cairn.
Early settlers had plenty of stone available for buildings.
Beautiful Gum blossoms
Taplan is a town about 33kms from Loxton.
Something interesting across the road.
When I lived in the area in the late 1960s there were thriving Drive-in Theatres at Waikerie, Barmera, Berri, Renmark and Loxton but in the 1980s most closed. The Loxton, Riverline Drive-In opened on 26th December 1959, and closed on 29th March 1986. The area where cars parked is now bare ground but there are lovely gardens around the cottage which can be hired for functions.
Old Riverline Drive-in
“Bedrock” not open at the time.
Another place we thought was worth checking out was Thiele’s Sandbar because free camping is available there.
Track to Thiele’s Sandbar – some tracks needed a high clearance vehicle
Loxton water tower
Truly and old tinnie.
Murray River crocodile
Houseboat moored upriver
Plenty of campsites for self sufficient campers.
Back at camp everything was peaceful.
Vines and fruit trees are all around the area.
Mallard Drake at our campsite
Adelaide Rosellas loved the Caravan Park grasses.
The weather forecast for the day was 39 deg C or about 100 deg. F so it wasn’t a day for great activity. After breakfast as we sat gazing across the peaceful river we heard a loud “CRACK” immediately followed by an almighty “CRASH”. Directly across the river an enormous dead Gum Tree disintegrated just like the towers that collapse when explosives are detonated at their base. It was a stark reminder of why you should never camp under a Gum Tree yet there we were in our chosen spot under a big Gum Tree. We didn’t shift camp but I was well aware of our situation and determined we wouldn’t ever set up camp under a Gum Tree again. Interesting things were happening around us and when I saw a horse float go past I decided it was time to check things out.
Fisherman off to find the perfect spot to hopefully catch a Murray Cod rather than Catfish or Carp.
Pair of Wood Ducks with their brood.
Gum Trees are certainly resilient.
Large flocks of Corellas can be very destructive.
Corellas enjoying the irrigated lawns.
Everyone appreciates the cool water.
This part of the river is known to be safe.
Near the Caravan Park we noticed a sign to Heaven Lookout and decided to check it out.
Not a wet weather track!
Plants need to be tough to survive.
View from “Heaven Lookout”
You can see the river through the trees.
It was so hot by the afternoon I needed to take a siesta. Through the skylight the view of a dead branch suspended in a fork of the Gum Tree was quite disconcerting! Taking a little drive into Loxton seemed a cool option. I came to Loxton in about 1965 to cut apricots on a fruit block, we cut the fruit and placed it on wooden trays which were then treated with sulphur before being laid out on wire racks to dry in the sun. I remember going for a meal at the Loxton Pub and it looks just the way I remember it.
The Loxton Hotel
Still putting out a paper each week but this year joined forces with the “Murray Pioneer”.
The old State Bank building.
In the late afternoon the road behind us started to get more traffic. A short walk from our campsite is a safe place to get into the river and that’s where the cars were headed.
Cliffs beside the river further downstream.
Some people came to swim.
Some people had fun on a jet ski.
Several skiers took to the water.
After such a hot, sunny day I was surprised that there was no colourful sunset, guess I need to check out what causes one.
After some frustrating issues with our Camper we were keen to go on a little jaunt to check out that everything was working properly so we headed for a few days in Loxton. From home we headed to Stirling and the South Eastern Freeway which took us to Murray Bridge and on to Karoonda where we had a short break.
Click on an image to see it full sized.
What a neat, tidy rig!
Surely a Bullock Wagon could turn in the Karoonda main street.
Newcomers have taken on struggling businesses.
Wind, Water, Life
The eye is upon you.
A group of men playing in the dirt. What were they doing?
“The Karoonda Shuffle”, represents the importance of grain in the Mallee region. Painted Silo in the background.
The grain stalks appear to shuffle as you walk past them.
After our short stop it was time to repack the hairy, white passenger and continue on to Loxton where we were all welcome at the Riverside Caravan Park.
All set up in the shade, time to relax.
Our perfect view.
Our river-front site was in a group of 6 which were all apparently in use until that morning which was very lucky for us because we were able to get the only one in shade. The Park is extensive but there were very few campers, no one was anywhere near us.
Kookaburra – we were on his patch.
Knowledge alone is not enough.
Mama Wood Duck with her 13 babies.
Why a lion on a nearby park Toilet Block?
Oh, I see, it’s a Lions Club Park.
This was our first camping trip with our hairy, white passenger and we had no idea what the night would bring, we were soon to find out.
And so the day ended.