Port Augusta to Black Point.

We left Pildappa Rock and headed to Port Augusta for Sunday service. We went to the Presbyterian Church here and had a wonderful morning of fellowship around the traditional morning tea before heading off to the Yorke Peninsula. We had planned to stay overnight at a free camp, but we missed the first one and the second was no go as it was on a highway junction and would have been a very noisy location. We drove on and found that our 3rd choice at Red Hill. We stopped by the pub there to ask directions only to find that the free council campground no longer existed. The very friendly pub owner suggested that we camp up the road 200 metres alongside the river. She said it is such a safe and friendly town that we wouldn’t have any problems. Which is what we did and she was right, it was nice and quiet.

In this sunrise photo you can just make out one of the water side shack

We continued on the very bumpy & wavy roads towards Buta which has a delightful fauna park right next to the highway and a picnic area. The fauna park included the customary red & grey kangaroos, emus and some parma wallabies. It also had some black swans, Cape Barron Geese, white bantam chooks and some other animals. Though it wasn’t big, it was a delightful unexpected interlude.
Anyway on we go down the east coast of Yorke Peninsula. After the long distances we had become used to, it was surprising to come across towns every 30 – 50km. Yorke is so small! Our overnight stop was at Black Point which literally has shacks right up to the waters’ edge. We enjoyed a long leisurely walk along the water edge though our walk was cut short by meeting and chatting to a couple who were renting a shack. They have been renting the same shack for nearly 20 years. We enjoyed a couple of hours chatting with them. They informed us that these same dilapidated shacks are going for $1.5 million. The council here wants all the shacks pulled down but do not have the right to demand it so they have put severe restrictions on building and renovating. You cannot renovate or add to the shack at all, if you build a house further back on your block, you must demolish the shack, etc etc etc. Whilst we were with them we saw dolphins playing just in shore and then a manta ray swam past. By the time we stopped talking and walked back it was high tide and we literally had to walk right up against some of the shacks to get back.

The next morning was a glorious morning & I was up early to catch the sunrise on camera. I also caught up with the washing here  - I just had to wrestle with a twin tub, which I have never used before. I was doing well until I suddenly remembered that I had not rinsed the soapy water out of the clothes, so I had to do that & spin dry all over again. Oh well it is all part of the experience! We left close to lunch time to allow the sheets and clothes time to dry on the line.

Haslam, Streaky Bay & Pildappa Rock

One of the beautifully cute baby Hairy Nosed Wombats that I managed to nurse back in Ceduna

From Haslam we went and had a long leisurely pie lunch in a bakery in Streaky Bay where we also met up with some of the campers from Haslam. After a couple of hours in Streaky Bay we went on north to Pildappa Rock which is a smaller Wave rock which in my opinion nicer if smaller than The Wave Rock in WA if for no other reason than it is unspoilt!

We were able to park with the rock as a backdrop. There are free gas BBQ’s here and picnic tables & seats here too. It was such a nice quiet place to stop and rest for a couple of days, plus we weren’t in a hurry to hit the rough corrugated dirt road coming in here too soon, even though it was only about 15km – it seemed much longer when you are going so slow so as not to shake the guts of the van around anymore than you have to! We enjoyed the climb and the fabulous views from the top of the rock.

Oops – I got some places back to front

Oops, I ha ve done it again!
I made a mistake in the last entry “Ceduna” in stating that we stayed at Smokey Bay before we arrived in Ceduna...I was wrong it was after Ceduna that we stopped by Smokey Bay. Then we actually stayed 1 night in Haslam which is where we got the super fresh oysters!

Relaxing Days at Smokey Bay & Ceduna

The wharf at Smokey Bay

Before arriving at Ceduna we stopped at Smokey Bay which is beautiful though with a mightly cold breeze straight off the Antarctica I think!. The Oysters here are cheap and fresh each day. Bob tried them raw and didn’t take to them at all. He did buy a dozen & cook them up with Worcestershire sauce and bacon which I thought were lovely but once again bob is not keen. I guess oysters are not going to be a regular inclusion to our diet!

The sunset at the Ceduna Wharf

Arriving in Ceduna the next day, the major caravan parks were full and we ended up at the A1 Cabins & park which is a very low cost park $18 pn. It is not the best looking park but it is quiet and we later learnt that the manager is a person with a great heart who assists the Anglican minister with emergency accommodation etc. We ended up staying here for 4 nights. Many of the residents are permanent but are courteous and keep to themselves.
We made sure to arrive here in Ceduna for a Sunday Service. We had greetings from Harry & Pam to pass on to long term members. This is the first church Harry & Pam served in and they have many fond memories of their time here. Bob & I too, enjoyed our fellowship here. There was a children’s section within the service and of course the fellowship over tea & coffee after the church. Most people said hello & welcomed us. We made arrangement to meet up with the minister, Brian the next day. We had a quiet lazy afternoon and went to the wharf to get some lovely sunset photos to cap off the day just nicely. We had the most amazing fresh fish and calamari at Bill’s Fish & Chip joint just across the road almost from Foodland. I heartily recommend this. It is the best calamari I have ever had.

Same wharf, same sunset - just a different angle

After Bob getting a mechanic to assess the  worrying ‘noise’ the engine / clutch  had started making on the Nullarbor and changing the oil and a few bits & pieces, we set off to meet the minister, first picking up a cake for morning tea. They decided to drive out to Penong in the afternoon so Bob could advise Brian on repairs to some white ant damage to the church building there. Brian took the opportunity to introduce Bob to many locals along the way. Since Monday is Brian’s regular day off and he had been looking forward to working in the garden, I offered to stay behind and weed & prune it for him, so that he doesn’t get further behind. Who knows when he might get the time again? A minister’s time off is rarely ever cut & dry. We also invited Brian and Heather to a baked dinner at the Robbiebago on the following night. All in all it was lovely to take a few days in one place again and feel like we were contributing to society again, even in a very small way.

The famous Nullarbor

All of us have heard of the famous Nullarbor or the more correctly named Eyre Highway which crosses the Nullarbor. We decided not to stay at Norseman after leaving Kalgoorlie as it just didn’t appeal to us on the trip up so we decided to tackle the beginning of the Nullarbor straight away and make use of one of the many free camp sites along the way, the first one being the Fraser Range Rest Area. (#25 in the Camps 5 book). Second night stop was at Moonini Bluff (#10 in the Camps 5 book). The third night across the Nullarbor plains sees us stop at Bunba Cliff Lookout which was just east of the WA/SA border. This has a superb view of the water and cliff erosion on the coast of the Great Australian Bight. Many of the camp sites earlier are closed due to the unstable cliff faces from the forces of nature on our land. Even if you don’t intend to stay at any of these camp sites I do recommend that you stop and take a look at the cliffs – they are so beautiful in their ruggedness. As for the drive across the Nullarbor, it varies from low shrubby area, to rocky plains, treeless vistas (Nullarbor means no trees). The wind can be rather strong at times cutting across the road from the coast. The long stretches of road including many straight sections as well as the famous longest straight stretch in the world. The long drive can rather dull the senses at times, but if you look for it you can see interesting shapes in the trees or whatever.

At the edge of the Great Australian Bight

We stopped at the head of the Great Australian Bight even though it is not Whale watching season. This is a place where apparently it is common to see as many as 50 whales in a single day! Wow! But not surprisingly there wasn’t any on our day. However the walkway is easy to take and the scene on the western fork is amazing. It is well worth the small $5 pp charge.

Fuel gets rather expensive

Just a note aside here.

Fuel (diesel) prices lately have been around the $1.54 mark in most of the lower towns of WA. We were warned that fuel going across the Nullarbor was going to be expensive, so we tanked up in Kalgoorlie including a spare jerry can at $1.46 (4c discount included) and then again in Norseman at $1.64. Some places along the road were $1.92 & $1.96 but we made it nearly all the way, to Eucla, just before the SA border, where it was $1.82. Penong just east of Ceduna is our next fuel stop where we purchased some for the more reasonable price of $1.58.


The gi-normous Super Pit

This is 40 times zoom on the middle of the photo above

Just a little 220 ton truck like what they use down in the Super Pit

Finally we move onto Kalgoorlie which is a town that has legendary proportions for me from my school days and stories of the gold rush and streets lines with gold.
We made the long drive and arrived early enough to take in the views over the Super Pit. It is so enormous, apparently it can be seen from the moon. We wanted to go to the Miner’s hall of Fame but the tour was another hour or so away so we took off to get some lunch first and then came back for a later tour. It was well worth the tour.
Poring a gold bar

We went underground and even get to have a go hammering into the hard rock as it would have been done by hand in the early days...too much hard work for me no matter how much gold I’d get! We also saw a gold melting/pour demonstration and we took a electric car drive around the place, which is well worth the $5 for all the info the guide gives you. You can walk it all but you just don’t get the history or explanation of the various equipment that an experienced miner can give you. It was so good we came back for a second look the next day and some of the exhibits which we missed the day before.

Esperence and Cape Le Grande National Park

We stayed in Esperance for 3 nights, the weather became overcast with light spitting type of rain mostly. Yet it was still warm, in fact it is warmer here than in Albany & Pemberton. Esperance is surrounded by beautiful bays of super fine white beaches, none we found were really surfing beaches but lovely quiet coves that are perfect for picnics. I had a real hankering for a pizza and the one & only pizza joint was closed. Then we tried a kebab shop, it didn’t have chicken. Then we tried a couple of restaurants, but they were $55pp & we weren’t really dressed for that, being in shorts and thongs and anyway we didn’t want a fancy meal. Then we tried a noodle house but no seating, only take away. There is a Subway but we tried to avoid that this time. We eventually found a Chinese. Boy it was hard work to buy dinner that night!

One of the beaches at Cape Le Grande NP

Another one of the beaches at Cape Le Grande NP. You can't believe just how fine the white sand is.
Frenchman's Peak at Cape Le Grande NP

During the day we went into Cape Le Grande National Park and thoroughly enjoyed more beaches and coves in the area.

Rob still thinks I am worth photographing from time to time!

We saw a few prostrate, almost white flowering banksias which I haven’t seen before.

Bremmer Bay, Ravensthorpe, Hyden & Wave Rock.

We moved on to Bremer Bay & stayed at Beaches Caravan Park which is a terrific little shady haven though not within coo-ee of a beach with the nearest one being 1.6km walk away but 8-10km drive. It is a very undeveloped and unspoilt town with nice beaches.

Next we stayed at Ravensthorpe, mainly so we could leave the van and drive up to Hyden and Wave Rock. Wave Rock is smaller than expected and spoilt by a long concrete barrier on top of the rock. One could only get a photo of the rock without the concrete barrier showing if you stood under the wave itself. It even put us off climbing to the top.

I virtually had to stand under the wave to get a photo without the ugly concrete barrier on top

It is pretty obvious why they have named it Hippo's Yawn!

Nearby is a rock formation called Hippo’s Yawn, (right) and yes it does look like a hippo with his big mouth open (no teeth lol). The flies were pretty bad here. We stopped in Hyden itself and we loved that. There is a park with a metal sculpture of recycled materials depicting old days. Just on of them is a truck with a old water tank place sideways on the back as the ‘bus body’ with ‘windows’ cut out and then a profile of kids and people sitting on the bus, etc

We took a dirt road back for most of the return country trip via Newdegate and it was worth it. It was much more pleasant scenery and the dirt road surface was not bad.

That is not snow: Lake Varley is a dried salt lake (wonky photograher!)

It's our Anniversary: 30 years - where have they all gone?.

Last Monday on the 28th March, it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. 30 years of living with my very best friend. This man of God who has stood by me in the good times and in the hard times. There were some terrible times especially when I suffered depression for 4 years. Looking back I know that God held on to me and Rob held on to God.This hard working, praying, wonderfully supportive husband just happens to make my life complete.

We even had the table number 30 to mark the occassion!

This marriage has brought forth 4 wonderful children who each have their own personality and bring both us much pride and joy. We love each of them dearly. We also have a marvellous daughter in law who obviously loves our son and together with him has given us a delightful granddaughter with another baby on the way.
The years have also seen many people come into our lives and have richly added another dimension to them. We thank God for each and every one of you.

The girls & I - unfortunately I don't have a recent photo of Bob & the boys on the laptop!

We can truly say we have been wonderfully blessed by God. Where did the years go? and more to the point, "who stole my figure"?

Would I do it all again? With great exuberance I can say yep, every second of it.

We great enthusiasm I thank God and thank you Rob. I love you and hope we have many more years together. Our life together just gets better and better all the time.