Sunday, October 30, 2011

After much research

As some of you will know Gill has completed a lot of the research for our current trip, one of the things that we often talk about is updating the rig at some stage.  Well the good news is that finally I think we have found the new rig, we are probably going to have to do a few mods to the tug and put in some extra seating so that we both will be able to fit but I think that we are on the right track.   Another item that may need some adjustment is the power pac but we are sure that if we install a big enough solar panel we will be ok.

So without any further preamble let me introduce the outcome:-

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Yorke Peninsula

We were pleased to welcome Monday morning knowing that the working week had commenced so this meant that the local service station would be open - we made it to fuel up with just four litres left in the tank.  We were certainly pleased that we had decided to stop in Wilmington and not venture any futher.
 Wilmington Heritage Trail
The road from Wilmington to the Yorke Peninsula took us through Hollocks Pass which was no big deal with a good road but must have certainly been an adventure for early settlers.  We made Port Broughton our first stop.  This is a small seaside village with a lovely foreshore.  We had a wander along the foreshore and to the village shops before having lunch.  Caravans and campervans lined the foreshore and we certainly didn't feel out of place with the age of the other travellers!  School is back and all the retireds are wandering the roads.  It is good to be back travelling through some interesting landscape.  The Yorke Peninsula is a large grain growing area and we understand that the majority of the barley used in the production of beer in Australia is grown in this area.
 National Bank as shown on Heritage Trail display

We continued on as we had chosen to stay on the coast at "The Gap" which is about 15 kilometres north of Balgowan.  This is an isolated west coast beach and we were surprised to find five other groups already camping there when we arrived.  We parked the van amongst the sand dunes and settled in.  There was a short walk up the dunes to the beach.  The area is popular with fishermen and we watched some guys 4wdriving on the sand.  We stayed a couple of days and enjoyed the solitude of the area although we were joined by other campers the next day.
Port Broughton
Camping at The Gap, Yorke Peninsula
After two days we decided to head further south on the Peninsula and stay at an east coast village - Stansbury.  As we passed through Ardrossan we diverted to the scenic lookout to see the BHP open cast mine for dolomite.  There was also a large grain processing factory and wharf.  We are staying at a very nice foreshore camping ground and again have joined many other retired campers.  We were surprised how many campers were here but soon found out.  It is the time of the year when the crabs are swimming!  Lots of South Australian retireds come to the Yorke Peninsula to collect blue swimmer crabs - there is a limit of forty per person per day.  The place is a hive of activity around low tide time when the crabs are collected, then they cook them up in big pots and spend the rest of the day shelling and eating them.  We were soon given a bag of crabs to try and they were quite tasty.  However catching crabs is not something we wish to do.
The crab collectors
 The blue swimmer crabs after they have been cooked
 Sorting out the shell from the meat
Yorke Peninsula is shaped like a foot (a bit like Italy) and at the very base of the Peninsula is the Innes National Park.  On Thursday we followed the coast as much as we could down to the National Park.  We stopped off at various bays on the way including Wool Bay where there is an old lime kiln.  The whole of the peninsula seems very popular with holidaymakers and there were camping grounds and holiday homes lining the coast. 

We eventually got to Innes National Park just after lunch - there is a 25 km road through the park with tracks and roads into the various bays.  We stopped off at most of them and also walked into the Inneston historic village.  This village was a lively small town until the beginning of the Great Depression in 1930.  The majority of the buildings are now just ruins but there are a group of volunteers who have commenced renovating some of the buildings back to their original condition.  There are two lighthouses on points of the cape and we walked out to the Cape Spencer Lighthouse and could see West Cape Lighthouse from another point but the day was getting late so we didn't walk out to it.

The weather has been much cooler over the last week and today we had a few short showers.  We are not used to temperatures of around 20 deg.  We will pack up here tomorrow (Saturday) and commence the trip of 320 kms back to Port Augusta ready to have the car serviced on Monday and leave the caravan in storage there on Tuesday.
The beach at The Gap
 View from the sand dune by the caravan
Walking the sand dunes
The rocky shore at The Gap
 Isolated west coast beach Yorke Peninsula
View from sand dune by caravan at the Gap
BHP mine Ardrossan
Grain facility Ardrossan
 Looking towards Ardrossan
Ship loading at Ardrossan
The old lime kiln Wool Bay
 Loading grain at Edithburgh
Another boat waiting
 A grain facility at Edithburgh
Wattle Point wind far
 View from lookout at Marion Bay
Innes National Park
 Stenhouse Bay jetty
The cliffs from Cape Spencer
 Cliffs to the east of Cape Spencer
 Cape Spencer Lighthouse
Driving in Innes National Park
  Renovated cottage in Inneston village
 Original chalk factory
The renovated Post Office
The beach at Ethel Wreck
 View from west cape
Three islands on left called North Island,
Middle Island and South Island
 Pondolowie Bay
Near Pondolowie fishing village
Pondolowie fishing village in the distance

And in case you care our site at Stansbury
Not too many out fishing/crabbing  today - Stansbury beach

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for another gorge

 Welcome to Wilpena
After three days of relaxation in Port Augusta it was time to pack up the caravan again.  Before heading north we went into Port Augusta to do some food shopping – it is always good to be able to shop at either Coles or Woolworths as generally they have an Australia wide costing policy.  The joy of shopping in Woolworths today was to see bananas for $7.95 a kilogram.  This is the cheapest we have seen them for months and have got used to seeing them at $11.99 regularly.  So for the first time on this trip we bought a whole bunch of bananas (anyone that knows me well will know that I love banana and for years have had a banana sandwich every day for lunch at work) for $9.17 and we will really enjoy these over the next few days.
 Emu family at Wilpena

We headed north again into the Flinders Ranges.  This is a national park with a number of camping areas within the national park as well as a privately owned resort, Wilpena Pound Resort.  There are two small towns on the way to the Park, Quorn and Hawker.  We stopped in Hawker for lunch and wandered along the few shops before continuing the trip – a total of 180 kms.  After checking the only Park campground that was easily accessible for the caravan we decided that the Resort would be a better option.  This is a huge camping area and we soon set up camp and as we relaxed with a drink we were watched by a group of kangaroos just a few feet from us. 
 Kangaroo in front of our caravan at Wilpena
Next morning we took the scenic trip to Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges.  This is a gravel road of around 30-40 kms.  Our first stop was Yanyanna Hut with very old cattle yards, then at the Bunyeroo lookout.  We didn’t find the Bunyeroo Gorge particularly fantastic – perhaps we have seen too many gorges and rocks over the last few weeks.  We stopped for lunch and we were surprised to meet up with the French cyclist we had camped beside at the Finke River at the end of September, about 1200k’s from where we had seen him last.  We never expected to meet up with him again.  He told us he lives on a budget of $5 a day which includes any camping fees and his food. He was truly amazing.
Yanyanna Hut, Flinders Ranges

Soon we came to a T junction and took the road to Brachina Gorge.  We were so pleased that we did – this gorge was quite amazing.  There was a camp ground in the gorge and would have been a great place to stay and explore.  There were quite a few emu wandering around the gorge.
Historic yards at Yanyanna Hut
As usual we like to take each of the side roads if we can – this scenic trip was no different so we took the side road to Aroona and climbed to the lookout.  This area was settled by pastoralists because this was one of the areas in the Flinders Ranges where there was a spring (like Wilpena Pound).  We saw the ruins of the original homestead.  The original hut is still standing however but has a new roof so looks quite modern.   Again there was a great camping ground near here but not really accessible with our caravan.
Not a walk for us!

There are quite a few ruins within the Ranges and we stopped off at Youngoona Hut ruins.  We walked down to the waterhole but there was no water so was a little disappointing.
 Buneroo Valley - see the wild flowers
At the end of the scenic road we diverted and drove to Blinman which is a very small historical village in the centre of the Flinders Ranges.  There is still a working mine at Blinman but we chose not to visit instead Peter had his eye on an ice cream at the general store.  The buildings at Blinman are certainly interesting.  Peter had visited this small town earlier in the year when he was travelling with a group of guys. He told me that the lattes there are good as well.

 A goanna's guest book - quite humerous
On our way back to camp we stopped off at “The Great Wall of China” – this hill top rock certainly looks like the photos we have seen of the Great Wall of China.
 More wild flowers
On our last day at Wilpena Pound we walked to Hills Homestead and the lookout to Wilpena Pound.  It was extremely hot so we took the option of the hotel shuttle the first three kilometres and walked from there.  It was interesting to see the Homestead (again it has been reroofed) and read the story written by a lady who lived at the homestead when she was young.  We didn’t find the view of the Pound particularly spectacular however.

We said good bye to a couple (Ray and Dawn from Perth) who we met when camping at Port Augusta.  We will head south again towards the Yorke Peninsula and they will head north to Lyndhurst.  It is great meeting people along the way and surprising when you meet up again.

We drove from Wilpena and had a late lunch at Hawker before heading east slightly.  We stopped at the rural town of Orroroo and saw the huge red gum tree that is believed to be about 500 years old.  It was certainly huge.
We are now staying at Wilmington which is a very small town.  It was not our initial plan to stay here but we pulled into town around 5 pm with empty diesel tanks. (Almost coasted into town)  We did not anticipate the town to be so small or that the service station would shut at 11.30 am on a Saturday and not open again until Monday.  There was an afterhour’s number, with the offer to open for an additional $5.00, but we got no reply to our call.  So we have stayed two nights in the caravan park and will head further south again tomorrow after we fill with diesel.  Wilmington has a heritage trail and we enjoyed wandering around the small town looking at the various old buildings.

When we booked in we asked the lady does the area get channel nine as we wanted to watch the live telecast of the World Cup finals on Sunday night.  She said that some channels were hard to get but we should be okay.  She was a good sales person – we paid and stayed and no television!  Just as well ABC had a live broadcast on the radio and we could get it on the car radio.  Great to be a kiwi tonight and celebrate the All Black win, even though the win was narrowly won.

 Flinders Ranges
View from our picnic spot
  Road into Brachina Gorge
The sheer rock face
Emu on track
Brachina Gorge
Brachina Gorge
Info on Aroona Run
Aroona Spring
Info on Aroona Lookout
 Info on Aroona Homestead
Ruins of Aroona Homestead
Aroona Hut
Feral goat info
 Info on Aroona Hut
 Inside Aroona Hut
Youngoona Hut info
Youngoona Hut ruins
 Historic home in Blinman
 Great wall of China Flinders Ranges
Great wall of China, Flinders Ranges
Get off the road!
 Caravan park at Wilpena
 Carving at Wilpena Pound
 Walking to Wilpena Pound
 At the pound lookout
Wilpena Pound
 Aboriginal legend Wilpena Pound
 Hills homestead info
 Hills Homestead
 Hills Homestead
  Wild flowers at Wilpena Pound
Giant red gum tree Orroroo
Giant red gum tree Orroroo