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May 13th 2015
Published: June 7th 2015
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Admiring the fountain in the park adjacent to the Murray River
Wednesday 13th May 2015

Today was a day of cold, maybe not for those used to it but it was for us. The temperature never got above 15 degrees all day and this was made to feel colder because of the wind, which seemed to blow all day.

Renmark was our destination for the day and after crossing the border into South Australia where we passed through Quarantine without any problems, we arrived there before lunch. This town is similar to many we have been through, with the main street being the centre of activity, although here too, a large shopping complex with Woolworths or Coles as the main business, just out of town, appeared to be affecting the small businesses.

The banks of the Murray River dominate the important part of town as have most of the towns we have passed through. Riverboats, hotels and clubs seem to have a priority on the river frontages. We had lunch here and continued north to the town of Barmera.

This town is in the area Judy’s father grew up in. Just before entering the main part of this town we turned north to Lake Bonney
Lake BonneyLake BonneyLake Bonney

Huge expanse of water, one of the largest freshwater lakes in Australia.
with the plan to drive all the way around but as often happens with us this changed when we reached the northern part of the lake. Lake Bonney is a huge, freshwater lake and one where Donald Campbell tried to break the water speed record in his boat Bellbird.

Rather than return to Barmera as it wasn't a pleasant day to be wandering around in the windy which felt like it came straight off the South Pole, we continued north-east on the highway towards the town of Morgan. Morgan is renowned for the number of houseboats there, situated on a bend in the Murray where it turns towards the southwest to its delta below Adelaide. If it wasn’t for the cold we would have liked to stop here for a while, crossing the Murray on the free barge there. We did stop for a coffee and to take in the view from a lookout but not for long.

We continued to the town of Burra, one we have been to before, a place where Judy’s ex-husband’s relatives came in the early settlement days to work the lead mines that were there then. We spent the night at the
Burra Burra Burra

Lovely old council building
showgrounds with quite a few other travellers, not having any choice of staying elsewhere as the town caravan park was full.

We didn’t mind, as all we needed was a spot to stop and a power connection for the air conditioner to keep us warm. As said before, we are getting soft, but if it's there why not use it?

Thursday 14th May 2015

After a visit to the pretty town of Burra, the next morning, the day became mainly a travel day. Neither of us remembered much of Burra since our brief visit four years ago. It is a neat town, well restored and obviously set up for the tourist. We could see why it would attract visitors.

We took mainly minor roads out of the town, hopefully to avoid the many road trains on the highways. We succeeded and as a bonus the roads we drove along were quiet and much smoother than most we have driven on.

Jamestown was the first town we came to, another one street town very neatly set out. We appreciated the parking provided, as it catered for long vehicles such as ours.

Interesting displays and murals in this town. The hometown of R.M.Williams.
Murals painted on some of the old buildings give some idea of early life in the town. We took this opportunity to stretch our legs and have a good wander around.

One of Jamestown’s sons was Reginald Murray Williams, and his claim to fame was the R.M.Williams brand of clothing and boots. A park on the edge of town is dedicated to him with a wooden bust displayed and the story of his life depicted on several notice boards.

The road further on in the areas of Orroroo and Melrose was lined with wind turbines on the ridges of the mountains, these feeding into the electrical grid.

This road finally wound its way down the steep slopes towards the coast and met the main road between Port Augusta and Adelaide. We headed north along this until we reached Port Augusta.

Here, we did our final big shop before we get home, filling the fridge and cupboards with supplies we will need for the next week. We did limit the amount of vegetables and fruit because once again we will be checked by Quarantine, this time at the border into WA. What vegetables we did buy we intend to cook and freeze beforehand.

Our destination for the night was the town of Kimba, said to be the town ‘Half way across Australia’. We heard on the 2 way that the police were checking vehicles passing through the town, especially heavy vehicles, and we were a little apprehensive as we approached the roadblock. As it was, Rags was breath-tested and his licence was checked, the caravan and Jeep connections checked by others as this occurred. All was well and we were sent on our way.

The night was spent at the Kimba Recreation Park set on the edge of town. The park has a community hall plus netball facilities, which were in use until about 2000. A section is set aside for where travelers can park, with toilets and a pay-shower provided. A gold coin donation is requested for entry. About eight units spent the night here and we are certain it was appreciated by all. we did spend some time chatting to another Jeep driver and looking over his home made mud flaps which if we had had them, may have stopped the stone dents we have managed to get at the front of the van.

Friday 15th May 2015

After a good night’s sleep we were off very early because we had run out of gas and couldn’t even make a cup of tea. It was cold outside but soon warmed up in the car.

We stopped at the entrance to the town of Wudinna to see the granite sculpture known as “The Australian Farmer”. This sculpture was made quite recently by the sculptor, Marijan Bekic, and depicts the settlement of the upper Eyre Peninsula and depicts the highs and lows of agricultural life in the region. It was funded entirely by the local community. Impressive, but didn’t really hit home the message to us.

Minnipa was our next stop, both of us now a little hungry. A cappuccino each solved this problem and we continued on to Streaky Bay.

The road was excellent, no wind and very little traffic so we made good time.

Streaky Bay Caravan Park was just as we remembered it from previous visits and after a little delay due to their computer going down, they booked us in to a beachfront site as we asked. This was right next to the one we had last visit, and from comments made by our neighbour we only got this sought after site because the previous camper had left early.

A drive along the coast followed and we saw the oyster leases here in the distance and after following the limestone road we visited several beaches with blowholes which weren’t working at the time, as well as some spectacular cliffs at Bauer Point.

On our return we met a camper who had relatives, in the area, who ran an oyster farm and we were able to get 3 dozen delivered at $8.50/doz.

We spent the evening at the neighbour’s campfire on the beach until it became a little too cold even after more than sufficient red wine!

Saturday 16th May 2015

At breakfast we decided to extend our stay for another day although this will mean having to drive several long days if Judy is to attend a meeting at Curtin on Thursday.

A walk along the foreshore towards town was first on the agenda and after walking along the long jetty in the town (reputed to be the only North – South jetty in Australia) we bought some fattening buns at the local bakery.

These were eaten on the beach by our van, washed down by a coffee. The weather was perfect, a little chilly but sunny with little wind. Rags made his weekly call to his mother from here, she told him that it was cold and rainy in Perth.

The rest of the day was spent going for a long walk along the beach, and sitting around and enjoying the sun, every once in a while doing something like a load of wash or preparing the van and car for the 2000+ kms home.

After pre-dinner drinks on the beach around a campfire, we returned to the van and sat down to a delicious meal of lamb with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and gravy. A lovely finish to our last day before the long drive home.

Sunday 17th May – Tuesday 18th May 2015

These days were driving days, 2030kms in fact. We reached the S.A./W.A. border late in the afternoon and found a sheltered spot off the highway, in the company of several other campers.

An early start on Monday and we drove over 800kms to Coolgardie in atrocious conditions into strong wind. Fuel consumption was not at all good, although about 18l/100kms was good compared to what many other vehicles would get.

Through Wikicamps we discovered the free 24-hour rest stop right in the Coolgardie township, in front of the old railway station. So although it was dark and we disliked traveling in the dark we kept going until we reached this. No facilities are provided, you need to be fully self-sufficient, but that was no problem for us.

Another early start on Tuesday after a very good night’s sleep, and by 1500 we were home. It was lovely to see the house again, the garden looking fantastic thanks to our friend, Vera, who looked after the place whilst we were away. What a great friend she is!

Both of us were a little lost in the house; it seemed so large compared to what we had been living in for the past 3 months.

Once again a friend helped out, Helena came around whilst we were unpacking and promptly invited us to dinner at her home. An enjoyable evening was had once again.

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