Well the Nullabor plains were wonderful and how anyone could describe the trip as boring is hard to believe as the landscape is constantly changing. The road sign warning drivers to look out for wild camels, emus and wombats turned out to be very disappointing as we only saw one solitary kangaroo, in a paddock with 5 sheep, on the whole crossing which according to our odometer took 1200kms from one end to the other. There are supposedly 200 thousand feral camels in the outback so why is it that we can’t even spot one! Hopefully we will have more luck on the road north to Darwin!
Anyway part of the highlight of our on road travels would have to be the characters we meet in the camping spots and the great yarns and laughs shared, especially around a crackling fire. Another place to meet fellow campers for a yarn is at the dump stations and it is not uncommon to be still changing stories half an hour later! It really is a great life.
We stopped at the lookout at the Great Australian Bight and were incredibly lucky to see a Southern Right Whale playing in the waters
just off the coast as they only start migrating north in May and seen more in July and August. This one was enormous but still hard to photograph so please don’t be too disappointed with the attached photo!
We are now in South Australia and after entering the border crossing town of Ceduna we headed for the oyster and chips cafe which was recommended by several people we met coming over the Nullabor. We were not disappointed with our dozen battered oysters and will definitely be ordering them again if we can. While I have the facts in my head the Eyre Peninsula where we are now has only 2% of South Australia’s population but produces 60% of the states seafood. Hence there are fish factories everywhere and tonight directly from one of those factories we have had for dinner fresh “flake” which we have just discovered is actually “shark” and was absolutely delicious!
At Port Lincoln we took a half day tour on a small 8 seater charter boat to some off shore islands to view tuna, sea lions, New Zealand fur seals and dolphins. The skipper was very informative and actually never stopped talking! Still we
had a great time and were able to view all the sea life very close and get some great shots.
We stocked up on supplies in Port Augusta ready for our long hike up the red centre, checking our tyres too and all was going well until we heard an almighty bang and yes, we had blown one of the back outer tyres! No problem, Pete knew what to do so we changed it over for the spare and carried on our way to the next road house to top up our fuel, only for Pete to find that on checking the tyre that the inner tyre next to it had now got a gaping hole in it so that all the weight on that side of the vehicle was resting on the outer tyre just changed! We were miles and miles from the closest tyre shop so had no choice, being Sunday also, but to just carry on and hope we made it to Alice Springs only 475 kilometres away! The blown tyre began to lose parts of its rubber tread every 50kms or so and made loud flapping noises as it hit the undercarriage and the road,
making us glance nervously at each other every time! Just on dusk, when it became unsafe to drive we stopped at a road side camp spot at the South Australia/Northern Territory border and waited until today to complete the 275 kms to Alice where we thankfully were able, after the fourth attempt, to locate replacements. What a nightmare as Pete and I were constantly checking the rear vision mirror as we envisaged that we perhaps may have seen flames shooting up if the tyre had caught fire! Tonight we are going out for a nice meal and glass of wine to celebrate our good fortune that we made it okay on our trusty spare wheel!
So the moral of the story to all you fellow travellers is, on setting out on a long trip please check all your tyres including your spare and stand right beside the guy who is checking them so that you can also confirm that they are in top order. New tyres can also blow but a double check definitely saves a whole load of unnecessary stress for sure!
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