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Australian Adventure Part 1

2012 hasn’t been all thrills, more like ‘spills’ with family ailments keeping us anchored in Newcastle for periods of time. However after the Driver had a shoulder operation, the Navigator took over driving duties and headed north to visit our friends Rob and Jacky at Ingham when we had a 6 week window of opportunity. We also managed a few days at Etty Bay, near Innisfail and were welcomed back into the family of regulars who spend time each year in this wonderful paradise. On returning south ‘S.Cargo’ had a holiday at the new premises of Paradise Motor Homes and was adorned with an automatic hydraulic levelling system. While that was happening the Driver and Navigator boarded a plane and spent 7 wonderful days on Norfolk Island, a place of history, culture, warm hospitality and beautiful scenery. We’re looking forward to a return visit sometime in the future.

After returning to Newcastle for a final check up with the Driver’s specialist we headed south via Nowra to visit
the Driver’s sister and family and to catch up with friends Gayle and Alan in Ballarat. A few days at Lake Bunjinon and Wannon Falls in Victoria and we were back at Arramagong, where the Driver immediately jumped on the ‘big boys toys’ and mowed, whipper snipped and trimmed the property to within an inch of its life. It was lovely to catch up with Ginny and Tony but now into November ‘S.Cargo’ was keen to head west for Christmas.

We veered off the highway at Murray Bridge and meandered through Mannum, Mt Pleasant, Williamstown, Lyndoch (Barossa Valley), stopping at Jacobs Creek to see where all our money has gone over the years of drinking Sparkling Rose. The grounds surrounding the Tasting Rooms are beautifully kept and a very special river gum, over 200 years old, has pride of place. The drive took us through Tanunda, beautiful Seppeltsfield and joined the highway again before ducking into Gawler, continuing onto Two Wells and north to Dublin. A visit to the butcher was a priority before heading to Port Parham. We spent 3 nights here waiting for the wind to abate. Our next stop was Port Germein where we stayed overnight at the caravan park run by a lovely, enthusiastic couple, Norm and Joy, who gave us lots of information about the Southern Flinders Ranges.

Sunday morning we crossed the highway and headed to Murraytown via stunning Port Germein Gorge. Melrose, the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges, officially proclaimed in 1853, started life as a copper mining town, and became a police outpost with officers patrolling all the way to the Northern Territory. Ambling through town we discovered the amusing, quirky accommodation at the pub and stopped at Bluey Blundstone’s, once a blacksmiths shop and containing relics of its past. This wonderful place is run by friends of Norm and Joy (from Port Germein) as a coffee shop and bed and breakfast - an interesting stop for morning tea. Our journey continued on through Wilmington and up to Hancocks Lookout. A very hot strong northerly wind made a great camp spot, overlooking Spencer Gulf, a little uncomfortable but once we moved below the ridge we enjoyed our solitary position and a brilliant sunset. At Port Augusta we filled the pantry before spending the night at the Football ground, still being buffeted by strong winds.

Eyre Peninsula – Australia’s Seafood frontier or ‘A breath of fresh Eyre’.

We first explored this area in 2004 and our first stop this time was Cowell situated on the shore of Franklin Harbour, a 48 square kilometre natural harbour with calm, fish-filled waters and oysters. The harbour was named by famed 19th century explorer and former Tasmanian governor John Franklin. Cowell has one of the largest jade deposits in the world. Discovered in the nearby Minbrie Range in 1965, Cowell’s nephrite jade is recognised as the oldest and one of the largest deposits in the world with a variety of colours and patterns not found elsewhere. As with so many of these towns Cowell also has an interesting museum. Nearby on the Cowell-Cleve Road is a memorial and plaque commemorating the location of the first Australian home of renowned children’s author, May Gibbs. Gibbs spent her early childhood in the area, which is believed to have provided inspiration for many of her Gumnuts books.

We spent a few nights at Red Banks where the Driver caught our first fish meal . The Navigator was happy to play with the wildlife. At Tumby Bay, we splashed out and enjoyed lunch at one of the local pubs before heading onto Louth Bay, a small holiday community with a local club. The camping area has just 8 sites and is a great place to rest a while. It appears that all of the Eyre Peninsula Councils have recognised that travellers don’t all want to stay in caravan parks and have provided areas at a small charge for self-contained units. Their efforts are certainly appreciated and also assist small communities.

Port Lincoln – the Seafood Capital of Australia,-has provided several areas within the city limits for motor homes and after arming ourselves with information we headed to Billy Light’s Point near Lincoln Cove Marina. Here the Navigator had a wonderful time communing with Scrub Robins seeming to enjoy the exchange. We have previously ‘done’ the tourist things in Port Lincoln and were anxious to go ‘wild’ again.