South Australia

Why does it always rain on me?

Just before the end of an episode of the Dollhouse, I felt a drip of water on my face. "Wow the condensation is pretty bad tonight" I thought. Jaks was asleep so I was reluctant to wake her. 10 seconds later the drop turned into full on rain!
We had thought about putting the fly on, but all afternoon and up until we went to bed 45 minutes ago it had been clear as a bell. I had spent a while stargazing just before bed and there was not a cloud to be seen.
Still it was pissing down now and we were lying in our sleeping bags getting wet! This being the bush we were somewhat scantily clad and running around in the rain in the altogether was enough to make us laugh and cry at the same time.
After getting the fly on in record time we assessed the damage. Not too bad considering.
It remained fine for the rest of night and it must have been a rogue cloud that dumped on us.
We left after a short walk up the hill to a lookout to search for a geocache. We found the remains of the magnet that used to secure it to one of the seats. Since that was all that remained of the cache we jumped in Hillary and took off. A short drive took us out to the coast and some speccy scenery. One brave soul was even surfing by himself.
Long straights and very few corners brought us to Elliston. A very nice coffee stop and back on the road. We considered stopping at Streaky Bay but there was a large lawn bowls competition going on so the park was very full. On the way out of town we came across a charity ride of Honda postie bikes riding from Perth to the east coast. Very keen.
On to Ceduna.
We came across the Colston Bakery roadside stall in the middle of nowhere. An honesty stall with some very nice rolls and different sorts of breads.
After several hours we rolled into Ceduna, the gateway to the Nullabor. It's actually quite a nice place and a lot bigger than we had thought.
There are lots of people here preparing to head off across to the west. We are definitely the youngest and the only ones in a tent!

Take It Easy

The friendly folk in Arno Bay were going to be hard to beat. We packed up the tent and headed south towards Port Lincoln.
There are lots of seaside fishing towns along the coast each with their own caravan park, corner store and pub (all the essentials really).
We armed ourselves with brochures from the Port Lincoln Tourist Information Centre and made our way around the tourist drive to the main fishing port. Port Lincoln is the "fishing capital of Australia". The total catch of the region is around 70% of the haul the luxury super yacht brings in at Orford.
Our lunch stop was in the Lincoln National Park at Cape Donnington. We ate our rolls whilst watching a couple of young chaps fishing - they weren't having much luck. This coastline looks a lot like the Bay of Fires at home. Same rock with the pretty orange lichen growing on it.
There are a couple of nice camp spots out here, but we were headed to Coffin Bay.
The road into the park is brand new and very smooth. We had a look at one campsite which was on a bit of an angle. We moved to a much nicer area a bit closer to the water. We did have a drive over a hill to check out another spot but the tide had come in and since it was salt water Hillary was not going to get moist! Many of these tracks are only accessible at low tide so we opted for the camp that didn't involve Hillary being covered in salt water!
So far no Mosquitos, the fire is going and the beers are cold. Happy times!
A nice easy day cruising down and up the Eyre Peninsula.

Don't Pay the Ferryman

Gypsum is very salty. We found this out as we were looking at the ruins of the old town at Innes. They used to mine the gypsum that was then made into plaster from the lakes in this area. Most older houses in Australia have some plaster that came from here.
From the old town we headed out to the coast to have a squiz at the lighthouse. There are lots of wrecks along the coast here and from high on the cliffs the waves can be seen breaking over the rocks that catch out the unwary.
Jaks drove up the long stretches of Bon Jovi highway to takes us back through Marion Bay, Warooka and Maitland. From there we turned north aiming for Kadina.
We restocked with food and petrol at the Woolies, did a small running repair to Hillary and drove the short distance to the ferry. The ferry was a lot bigger and nicer than we expected. Nice comfy seats for the 2 hour crossing.
The trip across the Spencer Gulf of 32 nautical miles was dead flat and we were only out of sight of land for a few minutes until the shores of the Eyre Peninsula came into view.
A short 50 km drive brought us to the town of Arno Bay. It's seems to be a fishing sort of place, with a few nomads camped up in flash caravans towed by beemers. X5s not GSAs.
The park is quite nice with very friendly staff who remarked when I told them that we were away for 6 months, "Oh you're one of those", in a friendly snarky way.
Tonight was $12.00 schnitzels at the pub. As its only 50 meters from the park we headed over. Again very helpful and friendly staff greeted us. After ordering, our meals were literally at the table before we sat down!
Now we are back at camp and getting ready for bed. Tomorrow we venture further south towards Port Lincoln and the big fish with big teeth! There are 2 national parks to check out and we are planning to camp at either Lincoln NP or Coffin Bay NP. We will see which one we like the best!

Plush

We were really glad we decided to camp at Rapid Bay. The rain and wind dropped out during the night and we awoke to a dry tent, sunshine and clear blue skies. We headed back to Cape Jervis for a look in better conditions. The view was much nicer than the rainy night before. We agreed to return one day and visit Kangaroo Island when we had more time to spend there.
We meandered our way up the west coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula towards Adelaide. We stopped at some micro breweries in the wine growing region of McLaren Vale. Nothing wrong with sampling beer at 11.00am is there?
Then the Adelaide treasure hunt began. Only two items to collect - a National Parks pass and a carton of Windhoek larger. We arrived at Belair National Park on the outskirts of Adelaide, to be told the computer system was down and we would not be able to purchase a pass until at least Thursday or Friday. That put an end to that item. We had more luck with the Windhoek lager despite having to visit a few bottle shops to find it. Explaining that the beer came from Namibia and not South Africa caused a few problems but we tracked down a slab in the end.
Next stop was Adam's cafe in Glenelg. We met Adam when we were bike riding in Africa and it was great to meet up again and reminisce over some cold Windhoek lagers. Adam was kind enough to lend us his washing machine, wifi and a spare bed so the tent remained in the car for the night.
We had a lovely meal in Adam's cafe (Crema - 8-10 Jetty Rd, Glenelg) and also met his parents.
This morning we said our goodbyes and agreed the next reunion would be in Tassie for a bike riding trip.
Thanks for everything Adam!!
The forecast was plugger weather (27 degrees) so away with the shoes and out with the flip flops. Not sure when we will need shoes next.
Finding our way out of Adelaide wasn't too bad. We seemed to miss most of it and found ourselves on a very hot and windy highway. Bon Jovi could write a song about it if he hasn't already. A few hundred kilometers later saw us heading down to Innes National Park at the tip of the Yorke Peninsula. The scenery was very flat and with open paddocks stretching out for miles.
We thought about stopping for a fish off the jetty in Ardrossan. A walk to the end of the jetty put an end to that idea and we decided the wind would probably blow the bait off the hooks so we continued on the drive.
As It was very windy the whole drive down here we were not looking forward to putting up the tent. The wind had abated by the time we found a campsite. So we have settled in and had dinner. The jetboil Helios and the Biji Barby (shameless product placement) worked very well. There is only one other family here so it's nice and quiet.
Tomorrow we head up the west coast of the peninsula and catch the ferry across to the Eyre Peninsula. The ferry saves us about a 350 km drive up through Port Augusta and back down again.

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

After a fitful nights sleep listening to the doof coming from the pub down the road we were not early away. A long drive through the Mallee region saw us eventually hit the coast at Goolwa. We were here with Marty and Vikki last year. We travelled further down the coast towards Cape Jervis and some worsening weather. A quick stop at Deep Creek park to chat to the ranger put paid to camping out in the scrub. We eventually found a nice spot at Rapid Bay. It's named after a ship.
It was blowing and raining quite hard so after putting up the tent we headed off to Cape Jervis to see the most expensive ferry around. We had planned to go to Kangaroo Island but it is over $400 just to get there! A 45 minute ferry ride! No thanks.
So now we are in our tent and it's raining softly outside. Nice and snug in here and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else.