Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Eyre Peninsula

Well, inspired by Foo, I've decided to start this post with a video. Not one that has anything to do with the current post but one that just makes me laugh.... (Hopefully it works)

Yes, my husband makes me laugh!!!

This post is about our trip around the Eyre Peninsula - a truly beautiful place.

After passing through Port Augusta to fuel up, we drove to and then past Whyella (didn't look particularly interesting / attractive) and on to Cowell (which did). Cowell is a lovely wee town with a great vibe. We stopped off for some fresh oysters - $10 for a doz and freshly shucked right in front of us. These have to be the best oysters I have ever tasted in my life! We called in for a quick beer at the local hotel...

Then we drove out to Point Gibbon, not far from Cowell. We found a spot right by the beach all to ourselves which was just beautiful and a great place to have dinner...

and answer the call of nature..

We had a great sleep, lulled by the sound of waves and cool sea breeze.

In the morning we drove back to Cowell and cooked up some eggs to have wih our left over Kangaroo sausages to make Kanga Banga Sangas. We went in to the info centre / cafe and bought our first coffees of the trip. Yummy! We went for a walk on the jetty and had a yarn with some old folks who were crab fishing. We met a lot of lovely people in Cowell.

Cowell Jetty

We drove out to Shultz's Quandong Farm which we had seen advertised (Quandong are a fruit). We were met by a sweet old lady who showed us around her garden, aviary and house. We also tried some of her Quandong jam. Dave and I both felt like we were visiting our Nana and just wanted to give her a hug when we left!

Drove out to Lucky Bay where the ferry comes in from Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula and went for a walk along the beach. A cool little area with a row of old beach shacks and not much else.

We rove back to our spot at Point Gibbon for another night. We went fishing and Dave was very proud to catch his first fish of our trip! What a ripper!

We relaxed on the beach with a bottle of Coopers Pale between us and a hearty dinner of Baked Beans.... this is the life!!

..and were treated to a beautiful sunset (notice the Space Pig?!)..

The next morning Dave awoke early to go fishing again. He manged to catch a slightly bigger fish this time - a mullet.

We took it down to some caravans at the other end of the beach and a nice man showed us how to fillet it properly as neither Dave nor I had ever learnt to do it (Dad's job!)

We drove on to Port Neill and on the way were were excited to hit 222,222km (and 6236km on this journey)

We stopped at Port Neill and found a BBQ to cook up the fish with some fried potatoes - Awesome!!!

We saw a wedding taking place at the foreshore and felt sorry for them as it was blowing an absolute gale - much worse than at our wedding!

We drove on to Tumby Bay which is supposed to be superb but it was just too windy to enjoy so we drove on to Port Lincoln which is right down the bottom of Eyre Peninsula and was much more sheltered. We headed to the jetty to do some fishing using pilchards as bait. Caught HEAPS of baby salmon but nothing big enough. We also saw two huge sea lions swimming below waiting for people to throw their undersized fish back and getting a big feed of us, the lazy buggers!

We drove out to the marina where we had dinner and stopped for the night. In the morning we headed to the Maritime Museum and watched a re-enactment of the first landing which was quite entertaining.

We drove to the Old Mill which we climbed up and got a good view over Port Lincoln.

Port Lincoln

Very Artistic Guys!

We drove out to Coffin Bay where we found some clean drinkng water and SHOWERS. They were cold showers but since it was a nice day that didn't bother us too much. We went to the market there and bought a doz farm fresh eggs for $3 - bargain!

We drove back to Port Lincoln and Dave went fishing again - catching about 6 small salmon - just legal size (21cm) which we cooked up on the BBQ for dinner. We've been very impressed with the BBQs we've found around the place - often free but sometimes costing 20c for about 15mins. They're usually always very tidy, with seats etc - and usually maintained by the Lions or similar group.

Back to the Marina for the night (we're getting good at finding free spots!)

The next morning marked 4 weeks since we'd left Sydney. We drove to the Lincoln National Park which cost $7.50 to enter. We walked up to the Stamford Hill Lookout which was a hill the explorer Flinders climbed in search of fresh water. We then drove to a nearby beach which was covered in thousands of tiny seashells which looked like teeth or stick on fingernails! It was a very tranquil and calm spot to just sit for a while.

We saw a group of baby emus which were very cute..

We then drove on to Cape Donnington and stopped for lunch at September Beach. The lady at the info centre had recommended this spot and it was wonderful - being a weekday there was not another soul there and it was a great spot for a skinny dip!!!

We left the park and drove down to Fishery Bay where we stopped to watch a couple of surfers, before setting up camp for the night.

The next day we drove on to Elliston. We drove around the sculptures on the cliff...

It was raining all day so we were pretty car bound, but ended up heading to Lock Wells Beach after speaking to a couple we met at the jetty in Elliston who said it was a beautiful spot and a great place to catch salmon. Well they weren't wrong, the view was spectacular and a wonderful place to cook up dinner with a view...

and an incredible sunset over dinner...

In the morning Dave woke up early to go fishing. He waited for another car to arrive so he could head down to the beach (all 286 steps down!) with someone else. Funnily enough it was the couple we met yesterday who turned up first and Dave went down to fish with them. It was very foggy going down the steps...

Check them out from the bottom!!! Note the platform up the top to the right - that was where we had breakfast - what a view!!

Well, Dave's rod wasn't cut out for surf fishing - it wasn't long enough to get out far enough but Mark caught a couple of big salmon and filleted them for us which was very kind of him. We ended up eating them for lunch and they were pretty tasty!

We left about midday. On our drive we saw heaps of lizards - can anyone tell us what type they are?

On the way out we drove around the sculpures again in search of the giant thongs we had missed the day before. It was a completely different day this time - bright and sunny...

Same pic, different day!

Bingo - Big Thongs!

We then drove on to the Talia Caves...

"The Woolshed"

Monument to a nun that drowned

"The Tub"

We stopped at Venus Bay and saw some pelicans.

We drove out to Baird Bay which has been widely publicised as the place to go to swim with the sea lions but there wasn't much to see (this is for you Jamie!)

However we did find a hubcap to replace the one we lost up near Coober Pedy (must be karma!)

We had a drive around some lovely bays and ended up at Streaky Bay which is a lovely town. In the morning we went down to the foreshore and cooked up a feast of scrambled eggs on toast.

Streaky Bay Jetty

We went to the Council Building and got the key to fill up our big water container from their rainwater tanks. This is the best, freshest water we've tasted in ages!! Much better than the chlorinated stuff we've had of late from all the towns with water shortages. Thank you Streaky Bay!

We drove out to Cape Bauer. We stopped at the Whistling Rocks Blowhole and saw some men fishing off the rocks...

Yes, those are people!!

From there we drove on to Ceduna which is where I am writing from. We are staying in a Big4 Camp which means power, washing and SHOWERS!!!

From here we are making the trip across the mighty Nullabor which we plan to do over a couple of days. Tomorrow or the morning after we should cross over the border into Western Australia. There is a border checkpoint and you are not allowed to take any fruit or veges over the border in case of fruit flies or other pests. But...shock horror... you are not allowed to take over HONEY either - something to do with spores. We have about 1/3 of a jar of Clems honey left and we are devastated that we have to bin it before we go (or else gorge ourselves on sugar!). Dave did mention possibly stashing it in his clothes.. Does it sound to anyone else like we're trying to smuggle drugs across the border, not honey?

Hope you're enjoying the blog, til next time all

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Adelaide - Coober Pedy

Well, it's been a little while since the last entry - we've been around all over the place and quite often out of range so this entry will be our journey from Adelaide to the Yorke Peninsula and up into the Flinders area. We are currently in Port Lincoln but will save writing about that til we've finished the Eyre Peninsula.

So, after leaving Adelaide we headed straight for Harndorf - purely because we'd seen a picture in a book showing beer and sausages and well.... we just couldn't go past that!! So after having a wee wander around the town (revolving around its German history) we headed to the Harndorf Inn...
.... and indulged ourselves in a beer (only 500ml, not a whole 1L stein!) and the "Trio of Wursts" which was supposed to be for one person but did the two of us nicely for lunch. There was a dish meant for two that was made up of about 7 different sausages, a pork knuckle, steak etc but I'm glad we didn't go for that one!!! What is it about the Germans and sausages - do they really eat that many of them?? (Foo and sha - you guys were there recently?!!)

And of course we couldn't pass up the following photo opportunity. Hmmm, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dummer methinks..

We then drove on to the BAROSSA VALLEY for more wine tasting. We stopped at Williamstown and care of Scott and Jacq's recommendation we called past the "Whispering Wall" which is a concrete wall and due to its curved nature you can stand at one end and whisper and the person at the other end can hear you.. Pretty cool!

We then headed on to a rest stop in Truro. The next day we decided to head straight to Clare Valley and some more wineries. A couple of our favs were Crabtree Wines and Claymore Wines - the latter had some superb wines and they all had great musical names such as "Walk on the Wild Side", "Dark Side of the Moon" and our fav "You'll Never Walk Alone" Grenache Shiraz which was just beautiful.

We continued up North-East to Burra which was our stop for the night. We decided to partake in a bottle of our $24 a case ($2/bottle) cleanskin wine recommended by Sue - not quite up to the Clare Valley winery standards but not a bad quaff for the price!!!

Well, the one bottle turned to 2 and when we awoke in the morning Dave was feeling fine and chirpy but I was a little dodgy due to the fact I'd already drunk a fair whack at the wineries!! The egg sammy Dave cooked up for breaky helped, but the stinking hot day didn't!!!

We went into the Info Centre in Burra and got the key which you use to explore various places in the town. Its a pretty interesting old mining town (copper) with a lot of history. We headed to the Mine and saw Mophett's Engine House which housed a huge engine to pump out the water from the undergound mines.

..and saw the mining using the "open cut" method (view from the engine house)...

I was feeling a little worse for wear by this stage as it was such a hot day. Notice the large bottle of water in my hand... This is about the point I left Dave to it and went and sat in the shade for a while!

We went to an old lock up and saw a few Mills'.... well as Browns. You're on there a fair bit JB - Deserting ship, drunkeness and the like! The numbers on the side are weeks spent in jail. We also saw some Miner's Dugouts, Churches, and an old Brewery and it was all very interesting - would definately recommend it to anyone travelling near there (although without a hangover is probably the best way to go!)

After spending 4 hours walking round the town in 30 deg heat we decided to drive back down to the Yorke Peninsula and headed to Moonta Bay we stopped for a swim about 7pm by the jetty. This place is absolutely DEVINE and a place we definately hope to return to some time. Just beautiful and the water is so clear you can see the crabs and squid at the bottom of the water - making an easy job for the crabbers who just watch the crabs walk straight into their nets!

A lovely sunset in Moonta Bay.

Then it was off to a rest stop in Maitland for the night.

The next day we drove the whole way round the Yorke Peninsula but found it to be pretty barren. Leroy was right with saying its a "desert by the sea". However we didn't have enough petrol to venture down to all the little beaches along the way so I'm sure they were much nicer. It was pretty windy too unfortunately. We had a Magnum ice-cream each which I think was the highlight of the day... Hmmm, thats a little sad isn't it?

Oh - but for a couple of our friends back in NZ it was a much more magical day - Congrats to Andy and Nicky for the birth of Molly!!! Good on ya guys!

We stayed the night in Maitland once more and then started our drive up the the FLinders Ranges. At Bute we stopped at a little park with wallabies, Emus, Kangas, plus lots of ducks, geese and swans.


Dave was much more interested in the tractor...

We stopped at Port Augusta to stock up and went to the info centre to find out about the Flinders area. We were told the roads get pretty bumpy through the Nat Park and that we should have two spare tyres. We only had one and so were very hopeful we wouldn't need the second one (or the first one for that matter!). We were quite excited to be heading inland to somewhere a bit different.

We saw some great scenery - both flat and hilly and lots of red dirt and stopped to look at the Kanyaka Ruins and Death Rock.

We drove past Quorn (very quaint!) and had dinner at Hawker before heading to a rest stop at Nooltana Creek.

The next morning (day 21 -----> 3 weeks!!!) we awoke early and headed back to the Yourambulla Caves which we missed the night before as it was too late in the day. It was a great walk upto the caves where we saw some aboriginal cave drawings at 3 different sites. We also saw plenty of Kangaroos.

We then drove on up to the Flinders Ranges where we headed to Wilpena. We decided to do a 3 - 4hr walk up to view the Wilpena Pound from the top. The Pound is like a huge natural ampitheatre (and I mean HUGE!) This was a walk rated as "difficult" and I found it very challenging - there were lots of steep climbs and it was a very hot day (who leaves for a 3 hr walk at 11am, the hottest part of the day??? Us of course!!). It was also pretty hard on the knees on the way down but the view at the top was well worth it. Dave didn't struggle too much though - I'm rather unfit at the moment!!

Here's a couple of pics from the internet (sorry they're a little small):

We then drove onto the Bunyroo Gorge and the Brachina Gorge - the latter was very spectacular! Here's a photo of the pig taking on the Bunyroo Gorge - Poor old Pig - she did so well!

We drove out of the Nat Park and got a good shot of the ranges:

..and had to stop at the Parachilna Hotel for a well earnt beer! Never tasted better!

We drove on to Leigh Creek - a mining town that was only built in 1978 so its quite new and purpose built (they tore the old town down prior to this) - much bigger than we expected! Stopped here for the night at a rest stop.
The next morning we headed up to Maree - heading Coober Pedy way.
We stopped at Leigh Creek Mine which gave us the chance to take a few photos:

We called in to see "Talc Alf" who does talc carvings on a variety of things. He was a real character and even has his own theory of the origins of the English Alphabet.

We saw a snake which we later found out was probably an Inland Taipan. Glad we were in the car when we came across this!!

We then headed for William Creek and stopped for a beer and to dust ourselves off at the famous William Creek Tavern which is full of thousands of photo ID's, items of clothing including underwear and shoes - all attached to the walls, roof etc. The bar lady said that the bar would probably fall down if they took everything off!!!

It was here we realised that the poor pig had lost a hubcap in the bumpy road!!! (it is all gravel / dirt road from Lyndhurst (Talc Alf) to Coober Pedy - over 400kms!!)

We then drove on to Coober Pedy - famous for Opal Mining and known as the opal Capital of Australia (or is that the world? oops shows how much I was listening!) We stayed at Reba's Underground camping where we took our mattress underground to sleep which was very nice and cool - and no flies (of which there were millions). We also had a tour of their mine. We had a good sleep apart from being woken at midnight by noisy German backpackers who didn't seem to realise or care that their voices were echoing around the walls!
Hooray for a shower - it'd been about a week this time since the last one (apart from the swim at Moonta) and phew - we must've smelt as bad as the backpackers we saw at Clare Valley who came in to look for work and caused the assistant to turn her nose up at them!!! After she told them there was no work available they then asked for a wine tasting and you could tell she wasn't too happy about it!
That night we met a lovely couple - Deborah and Andrew who have been travelling round Australia for 4 years! They work the tourist season and then travel the rest of the year. They were heading up to the Bungle Bungles (up nearish to Darwin) to look after a camp and said they may be able to employ us for a bit which would be great!!

In the morning we had a look round Coober Pedy Town and saw four Underground Churches, an underground bookshop and the Underground Comfort Inn. In case you haven't realised a lot of the houses and businesses are underground dugouts - to escape the heat in summer and the cold in winter. They stay an ambient 24 degree yearround.

Underground Church:

Dave spotted some old tin:

Lookout - as you can see its basically a lot of dirt and dust... not my sort of town!!!

The Coober Pedy Gold Club - famous for having no grass and black greens:

Danger Signs around the opal Fields:

The "Dog Fence" - 5500km long and built to keep the dingos away from the sheep:

We hung around the town for most of the day despite being a little over the heat and dirt, because we heard the sunset in the Breakaways (about 30km North) was amazing. We headed out to check it out:and it was pretty cool - the "painted hills" are famous due to the changing light at sunset which makes them look like they have just been painted on to the landscape:

..But the flies were something else entirely....

...and didn't make for the most "romantic" sunset we've ever seen..

After sunset we drove on back South for about 100kms and stayed the night at a rest stop. We awoke the next morn to a beautiful sunrise - even better than the sunset the night before!!

We drove back to Port Augusta and called by Lake Hart - a smaller salt lake. Still too many flies so we retreated back to the air conditioned safety of the car.

We stopped at Port Augusta to buy jandals (sorry - THONGS!!) for Dave who also mysteriously lost one somewhere - what is going on??? I also picked up a pair for the bargain price of $1(!!!) to replace the mismatched pair I've been wearing for the last couple of weeks.
And this is where the blog will end for now. Stay tuned for the Eyre Peninsula which we are taking slowly because it is just beautiful and there is too much fishing to be done. Plus the locals are damn friendly and we're having a blast!!
All our love to everyone and Bye for now xxx