Yorke Peninsula

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September 24th 2018
Published: May 12th 2020
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Tuesday 18th September 2018

By 9am we were on the road again, on our way home, but via Yorke, and probably Eyre, Peninsulas, spending about a week on each one. It was good to be on the road again, and by lunchtime we reached Port Clinton, the first town going south on the east coast of Yorke Peninsula. This looked like a good place for a family holiday with it's sheltered beach and shallow water but we continued on to Port Vincent, stopping at Ardrossan on the way.

The caravan park we chose to stay at was right on the water's edge at Port Vincent, and only a short walk to the main street (aptly named Main Street) where there are a few shops and a hotel. As Judy has a lot of marking coming in and due in her tutoring role, we made the big decision to book in for a week. This will give her a chance to get on top of it all as well as giving us a base from which we can explore this part of the peninsula.

Wednesday 19th September 2018

The day started with blue skies and little wind but deteriorated during the day with strong winds and rain later in the day.

Didn't affect us too much as this was a big work day for Judy as she now has a large number of assignments to mark. She was getting a little stressed about having so much work due with more on the horizon so this stop will help.

We did go for a long walk in the afternoon along the "Walk the Yorke" trail. This trail goes all along the coast, both sides of the Yorke Peninsula and is for walkers and cyclists. A trip Rags would love to do, maybe in the future.

Thursday 20th September 2018.

Today was similar in weather to yesterday, with blue skies and sun in the morning becoming cloudy in the afternoon. Outside in the wind it felt bitterly cold.

To give Judy a bit of a break from work we travelled to Maitland for their local market held every Thursday and Friday. We thought it would be like a farmers' market but instead it was set in a shed next to the Mens' Shed and was more an art and craft display. Two long tables were in the centre and many ladies were seated around them talking whilst having their tea and cake. We ended up joining them and became part of the crowd. A hot topic was the solving of the 45 year old murder of a local lady. This was on last night's news and the police were going to dig up under a concrete slab today after the husband gave information yesterday. We'll probably hear more in tonight's news. Other topics discussed were the deaths of two husbands a few days apart by two ladies, the wedding of another next weekend, and, a fact that made Rags glad he didn't live in that town, only 2 husbands survived amongst the 10 or so ladies there!

After checking out the camping spots around town we drove to the western side of the peninsula to the town of Port Victoria. Quite a large town but there were very few people about except for the 4 or 5 fishermen who braved the cold wind out on the jetty.

As there was no bakery or cafe in town we dropped in to the pub there to see what was available. They did have counter meals apparently, but with only one other customer and a dreary looking bar, we took our leave and returned to the caravan in Port Vincent. Here, a lunch of bacon, eggs and mushrooms on toast had Judy ready to tackle some more marking whilst Rags got the blog up to date.

Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd September 2018

We spent most of the time in the caravan park over these 3 days with Judy hard at work and managing to break the back of her workload. Rags went on several bike rides around the town, just generally exploring. He did come across a colony of seals who had set up home on one of the groynes of the marina.

Rags was put off trying his hand at fishing due to the low tides and the strong, cold winds making it uncomfortable to just stand around. He only enjoys fishing when there is lots of action and in comfortable surroundings, much to the disgust of his son, Chris, who is an avid fisherman.

On Saturday we did venture out, to give Judy a break from the computer, visiting the next town 12 kms south, Stansbury. This town too was very quiet, many houses being holiday houses and vacant at this time of the year. The lady at the Tourist Office was most helpful and gave us a lot of information and tips on what to see further south.

We did go to a couple of places to get some oysters but found that the eastern coast of the peninsula had been hit by a virus, wiping out the all the hatcheries. These were now being restocked with new spat, and as yet were not large enough for sale. One did have frozen oysters from Coffin Bay but we passed on these as we wanted fresh ones. Hopefully we'll be luckier on the Eyre Peninsula.

Stansbury does have a pleasant waterfront with ample parking and many local murals painted by someone by the name of A. Harris. With a few people there and the temperature more conducive to being outdoors this would be a nice place to just sit around and enjoy.

Monday 24th September 2018

Today we spent the morning in the town of Edithburgh, 35 kms south of Port Vincent. Judy needed a break from work and she read that there was a trail from the town with mosaics displayed at regular intervals along it. This town too was deserted, most shops closed and few people to be seen. To the north was the port of Giles which apparently has one of the most advanced wheat loading systems in the state. There weren't any ships docked so we didn't check it out.

The walk from the town jetty to Sultana Point in the south, follows the Peninsula Walk trail for about 3.5 kms with mosaics on large rocks every 100m or so. These mosaics depicted local sea life and maritime objects of the past. Quite an interesting sight.

By the time we returned from this walk we had both warmed up even though the wind still had a chill to it. It was lunchtime but of the 2 hotels and about half a dozen cafes in town, only one hotel was open for lunch. As we only wanted a simple lunch, and only a formal menu, with prices to match, was available, we postponed our meal for when we returned to the caravan.

The afternoon was spent with Rags getting the first part of our travel blog published whilst Judy continued her work. Even though the sun was shining the afternoon has been cold, with a strong wind off the ocean and the temperature at 14 degrees. Rags is looking forward to heading north with the warmer temperatures there.

Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th September 2018

Tuesday was a travel day, Port Vincent to Warooka only about 50 kms south. The journey was very sedate with the road making travel over 80kph rather uncomfortable. We passed through kilometre after kilometre of farmland with their hectares of barley, canola and lupins reaching the service town of Minlaton. This town looked rather interesting but we passed through without stopping as we have to return this way.

Warooka is a smaller service town with just a several shops, school and hotel, as well as the shire plant. Here they have set up a camping area, adjacent to the town oval, with a toilet and a toilet dump station. You have to be fully self sufficient. A donation for staying there is expected.

On Wednesday we woke to a still day with blue skies, perfect for our day trip to explore the Innes National Park about 50 kms further south. We dropped into Marion Bay on the way, this looking like many of the coastal towns we have seen on the peninsula, quiet and mainly consisting of holiday homes.

This area in the past was an area where gypsum was mined, this being converted mainly to plaster used in the ever expanding Adelaide. Now a National Park, the area has been rejuvenated whilst still retaining some of the machinery, jetties and houses of that era. Stenhouse Bay jetty was used to export the gypsum by ship, this jetty now used by visitors for fishing.

Further round the coast we came across the wreck of two ships which ran aground in the early 1900s, the 'Ethel' and the 'Ferret'. All along this coastline there are the wrecks of ships lost on the treacherous reefs, most with the tragic loss of many of the crews. Lighthouses were later built to make this area safer and it was near one of these , West Cape Lighthouse, where we stopped and had our lunch. The picnic spot was high up on the side of a hill overlooking a spectacular bay with islands. It was a little unfortunate that the wind had come up and made it a rather uncomfortable.

Some of the beaches along this part of the coast looked magnificent and we were lucky to have a sunny day to see them. Being a National Park meant the wildlife was protected and we were able to see many kangaroos and emus in their natural state, most of them ignoring us most of the time being used to humans.

Walking through the Inneston Historic Township gave us an insight into the hard conditions the workers and their families must have had, with only a few trees of any size for shade, and very dry conditions. From the signage it appears they made the best of it with gardens around their houses, and cricket and football facilities built. In those days the only way in or out of the settlement was by boat, the 200+ kms to Adelaide by land having no roads or towns in between.

For dinner this evening we decided to spoil ourselves to a meal at the local hotel and we made sure we got there at 'Happy Hour'! We had a good meal and in this way put a little more money into a community which encouraged campers.

Thursday 27th September - Sunday 30th September

The little town of Moonta was our next destination, this being an area where the Cornish miners first came to South Australia in the 1850s, some of whom were Judy's ancestors and the reason we came here.

Moonta is very RV friendly and has reserved a large site right on the edge of town where caravans and campers may stay for 48 hours. The only service provided is a fresh water tap, for the rest you must be self-sufficient. As it was a long weekend we did stretch the 48 hours to over 60 hours, but we did add to the community's economy by spending at their supermarket, service station, an hotel, a cafe,a tourist tour, and a market there on the Sunday. More towns should take note of the benefits they could gain by providing these facilities.

During our time in Moonta we explored the town, spent some time in the cemetery where Judy did get to take a lot of photos of possible descendants' graves, did a train ride around the old mines and visited the port nearby. By Sunday evening we both felt that we given this area the attention required for Judy's family interest.

Monday 1st October -Wednesday 3rd October

Can't believe the date! Time flies. Left Moonta nice and early and headed north. Made it a big day of over 400 kms and ended up in the small town of Cowell on the eastern coast of Eyre Peninsula. The Lions club there have set up a camping spot just outside of town, you must be fully self-contained as the only things there are a BBQ and rubbish bins. Great if you are just passing through as we were, a donation of $5/night is expected in their collection box. The park in town looked very uninviting and at over $30/night was not a viable alternative. As it was a public holiday everything was closed so we unable to buy any of the local oysters grown there.

On Tuesday we continued on south to the town of Tumby Bay where we set up camp amongst a group of holiday cabins. Wikicamps, our bible for these trips, steered us there, and the owner was only too happy to give us a quiet spot with a pay 2 get 3 deal. We'll use this town as a base and drive further south without the caravan. Had a tasty and filling lunch at their local bakery -good pies but the vanilla slice and apricot pie we had for dessert rated well but not as well as Yankalilla bakery.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Tuesday, no wind or clouds and the temperature in the mid 20s. Feels like summer is near. This feeling was shattered during the night and rain pattered on the van's roof. In the morning we woke to grey skies and light rain, which continued for most of Wednesday.

This didn't stop us from driving the 60 or so kilometres to Port Lincoln, however, where we renewed our acquaintance with the town which we first visited about 8 years ago. We were only there for a day at that time and didn't get to see much at all. This time we did tour a little more extensively. It is surprisingly large, set in a huge bay. At the marina we saw the large tuna fishing boats plus other fishing boats, as well as the port area with its large grain silos. The town itself didn't appeal overly much to us, it appearing to be a haphazard mix of old and new and not very appealing.

For lunch we drove about 60 kms north on the western side of the Peninsula to Coffin Bay. Coffin Bay itself is a large bay, almost enclosed, and obviously a good, natural place to grow oysters. Their oysters are as good as they advertise, and as their reputation. With a chilled wine each we soon devoured a plate of them before finishing off with a Fisherman's basket of fish, prawns, squid, fish cheeks and chips.

From there we returned back to Tumby Bay via several gravel roads as the bitumen roads tended to go either much further north, or south, rather than direct. The road was smooth and Rags enjoyed a bit of brisk driving on the winding sections. With the rain set in we spent the rest of the day reading etc in the comfort of the van.


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