Port August across Eyre Highway to Streaky Bay

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September 24th 2016
Published: September 27th 2016
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Port August across the Eyre Highway to Streaky Bay

Friday 23 September

After some fruit and vegie replacement shopping (since we lost some at the SA Biosecurity check point) we headed towards Port Augusta. Just out of Orrorroo we stopped at the Big Tree which was a red gum. It was massive and about 500 years old.

We arrived in Port Augusta and parked the rigs outside the Wadlata Outback Centre where we went through the “Tunnel of Time”. There were 2 excellent videos, 1 about the formation of Australia during the past millions of years, and the other on the settlement of the outback in South Australia. It certainly made us proud to be Australian. The hard working pioneers who endured the most difficult times including droughts and floods, hot and cold weather. It was a very interesting Centre and we will visit it to see the rest when we come back through after driving around the Eyre Peninsular coast.

Before visiting the Centre, we went to Doug and Leura’s favourite Vietnamese Bakery. We had pies and a pasty for lunch and I had a famous SA beesting. Yum!!

Next was a walk to the point of Spencer’s Gulf and to see a bit more of Port Augusta. We certainly saw the big changes to the town. Many parts were spruced up and they were doing great things for the tourist industry. We will see more when we return.

We headed for our overnight stay about 45km west of Port Augusta at the Nutbush Retreat Caravan Park. This is a working sheep property as well as a van park. The station still shears 18,000 sheep.

We had big drive-through stands for our rigs and we were in time for happy hour. The manager were fantastic people and we had several people to chat to over a few drinks.

This night was one of the AFL Preliminary Finals between Geelong and the Swans so after a BBQ fish meal Tom cooked, we watched the match until the 3rd quarter. It was a one-sided match with the Swannies winning. Oh well!!

Saturday 24 September

What is fantastic about caravanning is when you wake up, open the window shades and look out to the Australian bush and the sky is blue. It was a beautiful day and not too cold. What was interesting, when I came back from my shower, of the 12 vans that were at the park overnight, there was only 4 of us left!!! Do we get up too late? I guess we live at the other end of the day!!!

We said our goodbyes to the managers of the park and headed further west to Iron Knob. In the area there are mines called Iron Monarch, Iron Queen, Iron Prince, ….. I think you get the idea. Initially set up by BHP, this was the birth of the Australian steel industry. In 1894 the first iron ore deposit was discovered.

We drove around the town but we could see many places closed. The mine certainly produced a landscape of numerous colours and terraced, flat-topped mounds. I could see some rehabilitation along some of the mounds.

It was then off to Kimba. The landscape was a mixture of beautiful green crops, Mallee bushland and the Gawler Ranges NW of us. The wattles and cassia flowers, particularly on the side of the road, was prolific. We saw an incredible number of ‘grey nomads’ on the road. I guess that is us too!! It was a busy job waving to all oncoming vans. The road was good so driving was very pleasant.

We stopped at Kimba spotting the Big Galah and the sign that said that Kimba was the half-way point of Australia between the east and west coast on the Eyre Highway. It is the eastern gateway to the spectacular Gawler Ranges.

We stopped at the Lions Apex Central Park for coffee, then drove to White Knob lookout to see Edward John Eyre sculpture and a couple of caves and Secret Rocks. It was a 360 degree view from the top. Beautiful.

Tom & I went for a 2 km walk through natural bushland and local wildlife of the Roora Reserve Nature Trail. The trail also featured life-size sculptures of native wildlife. What was great was many of the plants were signed so we got to know more about the local flora.

The Kimba District Show was on but we didn’t go in.

We stopped at Kyancutta for lunch. This marks the junction of the Eyre and Tod highways. Kyancutta is the Aboriginal word for ‘watering rock holes’ because of several small limestone rock holes in the area.

We stopped at the pub at Wudinna to not only see the local pub, but to ask about the surrounding roads. These pubs are always interesting to visit as they are full of history and of course, the locals who are usually ‘Mr-Have-a-Chat’. From this pub, we got a great map as well as advice that even though it was pelting down with rain, the dirt roads to Mt Wudinna, Turtle Rock and Polda Dam were very safe and hard. It was a 25km loop to see these natural local features.

Before we left of the loop, we stopped at the Australian Farmer Granite Sculpture which was erected 8 years previously and in recognition of the local farmers and businesses. Interestingly, since it was erected, the Eyre Peninsular have had fantastic years with their crops. Interesting!!

Our 2 rigs were well prepared for this sort of terrane so first we went to Polda Dam. This is a massive slab of granite which forms one side of the water body. When we were walking up this hugh slab of rock, it was raining and the wind was strong. It blew Doug’s umbrella inside out. We were very pleased to get back into our cars.

By the time we got to Turtle rocks and Mt Wudinna, we decided to stay in our cars and take photos of these natural features. Off we went again, driving carefully in the rain. We got back on the Eyre Highway and headed for Streaky Bay. Our vans and cars were covered in white sandy mud.

We arrived in Streaky Bay at about 5.00pm.

Additional photos below
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