Thursday, January 27, 2011

Xmas 2010 - Darwin

Well after a week's stay in Alice Springs and stops at Wycliffe Well and Daly Waters Pub , oh and a night at the low level in Katherine we finally made it back to Darwin but ran into a snag when booking a caravan park.
 The Free Spirit park  said we could only stay for a month  so we booked into the Boomerang Park but were under trees and every time we stepped off the pad it was into mud so made enquiries again at Free Spirit and got a booking there. They were still saying something about staying only a month due to new legislation but other people think that it hasn't gone thought yet . However Free Spirit said we would just need to have an  interview after a month ,it didn't mean that we had to leave . So after a week at the Boomerang we moved to a nice site which we were able to select at Free Spirit.

 The reason we are in Darwin at this unseasonable time of the year is because my younger daughter is having twins.  They are due any day now . In fact if they don't arrive by next week  she will be induced.

 Anyway we were able to have Xmas dinner with her and my granddaughter. We had a lovely pork roast that she cooked on her BBQ and a beautiful ham that she bought and Lynn cooked in the caravan with a lovely marinade.  We decided it was too hot to have hot veggies so just had some nice salads instead.

 After such a nice lunch we came back to the park and had a quiet afternoon before getting ready to go out again for tea. We went to friends' place and had cold meat and salads which were really nice. We sat outside on their large verandah with lots of nice fans going to cool us down. We had a great evening but we had a very heavy downpour of rain which made it difficult to talk to each other it was rather deafening  and afterwards the green tree frogs set up a real racket  which didn;t help. We also lost power for a while due to the storm.
 the noisiest green tree frog!

 A not so noisy frog

 Lynn holding forth!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heading North December 2010

  We didn't get away from Port Augusta till late as we stayed the night about 40 klms out and the next day it was raining as we headed into fuel up before heading north.

 We then spent a very long day on the road and arrived at Coober Pedy about 6pm. after being stuck in the vehicle for so long I was very anxious to stretch the legs and didn't feel like cooking so persuaded Lynn to walk to the pub for a counter tea. It was still daylight when we walked back to the van which we had parked at the Information Bay on the edge of town. It is a free stop for trucks mainly and has no facilities but when we stayed there last year there was quite a few vans there but we were on our own this time.
 this truck was red last year but it now sports the Port colours

 the mural at the truck stop.
 From Coober Pedy we headed off again by about 7am so that we could travel in the cooler part of the day. We had a stop at  Cagney station for a cuppa and then continued on .

 When we were looking of a lunch stop we came across a nice rest area just north of Agnes Creek. It was quite a large area with shade and enough room to get back from the highway for an overnight camp. There was a motor home already parked there and the occupant came  over for a chat while we had our lunch. He had an interesting story to tell about some budgies that were nesting in the tree a t he back of his rig. Later he  showed us where the nests were and we saw a female budgie guarding her nest and waiting for her mate to come back and feed her.

 When we got to Kulgera Lynn was very excited as he thought he was going to get some Paul's Iced Coffee and the local paper but he missed out as they don;t stock either .  We finally got the day before's paper at Erldunda.
After another long day's travel we stopped at the Finke River rest area  for the night . We were very surprised to see water in the river as it is the first time in all the years we have lived in the Territory and travelled the Stuart H'way many times .

 I took a walk down to the river to get a better idea of much water was in it and found quite a bit of bird life around.

 the Finke River  with water in it !!!!!

Black fronted Dotteril
  We too had our tree with budgies nesting it . The big tree in the centre of the rest area had  at least one nesting pair that we saw and they weren't too perturbed by all the galahs and Corella's that were roosting in the tree too.

 By the time we got to Alice Springs the next day we were starting to warm up and enjoy the warmer weather . Unfortunately y we had quite a few storms and heavy rain  during the week we were there but we also had some quite hot days and enjoyed a swim In the pool at the park. We stayed at Wintersun Park and found they were clean facilities and friendly people. We had great neighbours who we shared lots of sun downers with.

 We stayed in Alice for a week to allow me to catch up on some sewing projects I wanted to get out of the way before getting to Darwin and so I could post them off before Xmas.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Eyre Pen again Nov 2010

  After visiting the Talia Caves we continued on to Sceale Bay, but were unable to contact anyone re camping there so continued down the dirt roads  to Westall  Way where we found a campground  but again were unable to contact anyone as there was no phone reception so we just stayed the night anyway before going on to Streaky Bay where we stocked up on food etc and I visited a patchwork place and bought a panel of funny dinosaurs for a quilt for my daughter. We also got some nice seafood there.

 From Streaky Bay we headed to Haslam and made the mistake of taking the first road signposted only to find it was a very corrugated dirt road so at the first opportunity Lynn turned the van around and only a few klms further on we found the sealed road into a lovely small campground just near the jetty and with 2 other vans there. It was a fairly nice day as the weather went when we set up but later on there was a shower or two and the next day it blew a gale , so we didn't get to try some fishing although some others were successful despite the wind and rain.

Haslam jetty : note the whitecaps on the water

 The history of Haslam is rather interesting . It was quite a busy port at one stage with wheat and wool exports. It is now only a very sleepy place with no shops and a tiny  postal agency . However there is a story board of it's history down near the jetty that tells of just how busy and important the town was many years ago.

 As the weather didn't seem to be improving and Lynn was getting very sick of the wind after 2 nights at Haslam  we decided that it was time to head north to warmer climes . Unfortunately as we went back along the highway the little towns along the way were very quiet being a Sunday and with almost no shops etc open we only stopped at Wuddina for a cuppa at the Apex Park before moving on.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lower Eyre Pen. cont

 As you can see I am slowly catching up my blog on our travels from last year.

After 2 nights in Elliston and no Fish!!! we wandered on up the coast wiht the ultimate aim of getting to Haslam before heading back across to the Highway and making our way east again before turning north.

 By mid morning and that means a cuppa break we were at Venus Bay where we had our cuppa sitting on the sand on a samll beach near the wharf. We watched the antics of a group of pelicans  which were waiting in anticipation of same tidbits. This spot is really delightful, very sheltered with some great limestone cliffs  protecting quite a big bay.

Pelicans waiting for a handout

 part of the bay, sheltered swimming spot

 Limestone cliffs at Venus Bay

As we were wandering on  from Elliston we  found an interesting area with names like the "Tub" and the " Woolshed cave" so we stopped and had a look at this interesting area wiht some different geological formations.

 Helen at memorial for a young person drowned off these magnificant and treacherous cliffs  last centuary.

The Tub looking towards the sea

 The tub looking back

 The Tub turned out to be a sinkhole wiht just a narrow bridge of cliff between it and the sea. The sea doesn't flow in very much so the water in the bottom was very murky. The cliffs inside the rim offer protection for a number of birds.

Woolshed cove
 The way down to this cave is quite steep but  nice set of wooden stairs have been biult to make it easier to reach. There was a nice cove outside the cave and fortunately we were able to wander around quite easily as there wasn't much of a sea that day a nd no waves crrashing in.

Woolshed Cave

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lower Eyre Pen cont November 2010

 As we hadn't picked up water for quite a while we decided to head to Elliston C/park so we could  catch up on the washing etc  and have a fish of the jetty with Breeze and PJ, the  Darwin couple we had met at Sheringa Beach.
The little communities we had been to don't have much water at the best of times so we were reluctant to get water there. We do carry  about 290 litres of water and 60 litres of that is so that we can get a load of washing done in the machine if we need to.
 On our arrival at Elliston we had a bit of a look around and then stopped at a picnic spot by the water which had an interesting story board about the wrecks in the local area and some very pretty flowers.

 After getting al my washing done including al the bedding we went down to the jetty to fish for squid but once again I had no luck but Breeze got a large squid. only a few of the other fishermen on the jetty were catching anything, mostly people were out of luck. However after tea we went downand gave it another go but again I didn't catch anything. Initially Lynn stayed back to watch TV but he came down later on to see how we were progressing, by which time it had turned quite cold so he brought down warm jackets.

 The sunset on the bay was magnificent. It looked like there was a fire all across the horizon . It gradually worked it's way across from the west until it filled the gap between the points on either side of the bay.
 Sunset at the jetty
 Lynn took this photo and unfortunately he missed the best of the sunset and  I took a few photos on my phone but they didn't turn out very well.
 One from my phone.

 Although we had only planned to be ther one night we decided that in order to explore the area as recommended by others we needed to stay another night so we booked in and then went for a drive on the Great Ocean drive at Elliston.
 We headed out of town a short distance to pick up the road and take in the route in an anticlockwise direction as recommended by the park manager. Our first stop was at West Beach where we saw some abolone divers unloading their boats. From there the road follows at the back of the beach round to the headland. It is on this part of the road that  we came across the Clifftop Sculptures which were a series of very different artworks. We were also able to see East Islandwhi is a conservation park just off the coast north of Elliston.

 Surfer wiht board and thongs . 1st clifftop sculpture

2nd sculpture which is very like the Easter Island stuff
This interesting marine sculpture had a very sad tale to tell in the letters under neath which told of an aboriginal person who had been moved to a settlement at Poitn Mcleay  and told of the deaths of some young children and the hardships both the aboriginal and the white person she was writing to  had to endure.

 From the headland to the west of the bay we continued back towards Elliston and then went on the second part of the journey which  goes past the Esplanade and up around  the clifftops to the left of the bay. Finally we drove up to the Lokout near the golf club which gave good views back across the Bay .
 East Island

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lower Eyre Pen Part 2

After stocking on some oysters at  Coffin Bay we headed towards Port Lincoln on our way to the Highway that runs north to Cummins.
 This delightful little town is in the middle of a major wheat growing area and the harvest was under way so that there was lots of hustle and bustle around the silos.Our first stop was at the grocers where we stocked up and then we spent some time exploring and found a lovely patchwork / quilting shop  before finding  a great bakery where  we grabbed some lunch before heading off towards the western side of the Eyre Peninsula.

Point Drummond
  We came out on the coast at Point Drummond where there was more of the freat limestone cliffs and sand dunes behind the beach. Amongst the cliffs/ rocks there were steps leading down to a small cove and safe swimming area . We wouldn;'t have known about the steps except for the story board, we didn't investigate
 however as  the steps appeared to be in a bad state of repair.
 Beach at Point Drummond : note sand dunes in background

 Swimming cove

 A visit to Hall Bay was was very disappointing as there was no beach and a walk up the sand dunes ended at the cliff edge with a small rocky cove at the bottom. The area was quite sheltered and there were  cray pots set in the cove. Turning the van around at the end of the road was quite a challenge as there wasn't much room and there was lots of soft sand. From there we continued north to Sheringa store where we picked up a permit to camp at Sheringa Beach.   We finally started to get some better weather but it was still quite windy and  while we were at Sheringa we actually experienced our warmest day of 38 with a very warm wind blowing from the north instead of the south which was the direction that the wind was usually blowing. We had a good time at Sheringa with great company. Debbie was travelling on her own but welcomed having a sun downer with some company and a few days after we arrived we came across a Darwin couple who we knew quite some time ago . While we were at Sheringa we took a drive around the cliff top to check out the coast further along. We were very surprised to find a large group of surfers catching a few waves just around the headland from the beach. As we drove along there were tracks leading down to the beaches so we drove down and then went for a walk along a magnificent long beach which only had a few fishermen on it but they weren't catching anything.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coffin Bay Nov 2010

 While we were at Louth Bay we saw signs up for a market on a Sunday at Coffin Bay so 4 cars from Louth Bay travelled across to Coffin Bay which is about 30klms . The market was fairly busy but didn't have many stalls and very little in the way of goods for sale. While we were there we went looking for oysters to buy but all the sheds were closed and the shops were sold out.

 We also took a bit of a look around and went up to the lookout and down to the boat ramp and walked along the tiny beach there. Coffin Bay we decided was where we would move to when we left  Louth Bay. On our way back we stopped at the Windy hill lookout which over looks Port Lincoln and gave a great view over Boston Bay and  the national park etc.

The shingle back lizard that marks the entrance to the Lookout
 We moved to Coffin Bay National Park a few days later. On the way we stopped at a Lookout which gave great views back over the sea and over the various islands etc in the National Park and in the surrounding area. The photographic story boards were very helpful in identifying the various landmarks.

From the lookout we continued on deeper into the park and passed quite a number of emus who obviuosly enjoyed the sanctuary that the park offered. We eventually came across the campground at Yangie Bay which even had an area set aside for caravans. It is the first time we have come across this. However there was also camping in a more sheltered area across the road so we set up there.

 The area was rather noisy with all the bird calls although it wasn't easy to see many of them. I did however manage to get a photo of this very cheeky Blue wren.

 The bay itself was also quite pretty but very shallow and no good for fishing even though I gave it a try.  The next day the rain came in again although it was fine when we left for a drive across to Point Avoid  so  the views of the coastline were a bit blurry through the rain.

Golden Island off the coast at Point Avoid

At Yangie Bay there were a number of walks to different places.  They varied in lenght from a few klms to 10 klms  and varied in difficulty from easy to quite strenuous. I took the easy option and took a walk to another lookout over the bay . It even had benches situated at various places so you could rest and enjoy the view.
 Lynn walking on the track to the Lookout with views back over the bay behind him
 We really enjoyed out time in Coffin Bay and thought it a lovely place  that we would like to come back and spend more time around, and yes as we were departing  we managed to get some of the famous Coffin Bay oysters.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lower Eyre Pen Part 1

While we were at Louth Bay and even before that we were having electrical problems where even though we should have enough power we were suddenly loosing power late at night. Despite various attempts by Lynn to track down the problem it was decided that we should take the van into Port Lincoln Caravan repairs.

We dropped the van off early in the morning as requested and then went into town to do some errands . As it was still  early and we had to wait for them to contact us we decided to explore some of the coastline nearby.

 Initially we went to Port Lincoln National park nut opted not to pay the $7 entry fee and so we continued on to Sleaford Bay . Here we came across the rugged limestone coast for the first time. It really was spectacular with rugged cliffs and quiet rocky coves interspersed with beautiful beaches with no one on them.
 From Sleaford Bay we drove around to Fishery Bay which has a colourful history being the base for an old whaling station. The coast line was a whaling haven in bygone days and there were many whaling stations along the coastline.  Whaler's Way  is a tribute to this era.

 Looking west at Sleaford Bay - typical coastline
 Pied cormorants on a well used rocky outcrop
The most memorable image I have of South Australia is of the numerous bottle bush trees and shrubs which were all out in flower. The roadsides around Port Lincoln were ablaze with colour and all the towns in cluding Adelaide had streets lined with these lovely red  explosions of colour.