Monday, April 28, 2014

Southern Flinders Ranges, S.A.

We have turned a corner in our travels, we are now heading towards home, although we won't reach there anytime soon! Mainly we are biding or time waiting for the School Holiday patrons to clear out of The Flinders Ranges before heading there ourselves. We pulled into the small caravan park at Crystal Brook to fill in a couple of days and found ourselves camped beside a couple from Bundaberg. Australia truly is a small Country. A little piece of Trivia, apparently Crystal Brook has the most train movements of any country town in Australia.  ANZAC Day came about while at Crystal Brook, so we rugged up to attend The Dawn Service with about 300 others. The local RSL was astounded at the turnout, the largest for many years. The previous ANZAC Day, 2013, there were only 4 remaining RSL members and 3 of those passed away during the ensuing twelve months. The local community rallied around to support their RSL Club and the organisation now boasts 70 Members!

Made a few more kilometres north along Spencer Gulf and pulled into another small town, Port Germein. This port is potentially great for fishing and especially for Blue Swimmer Crabs. One distinctive feature is the 1.5 kilometre long timber jetty. Officially, 1532 metres as it stands currently. There was another 150 metres to the jetty until it was storm damaged. The Jetty was originally constructed to load sailing ships with bagged wheat grown in the area.

Moved another 170 kilometres closer to The Flinders Ranges to make camp at Hawker. We can now see our destination. Hawker is a small town now totally geared up for the tourist traffic heading to The Flinders Ranges but it was once a railway station on the Old Ghan Line between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. Jeff Morgan, an artist in the town, has painted an awesome Panorama of Wilpena Pound in The Flinders Ranges. It took 4000 hours to complete the art work in The Panorama. If you are ever in Hawker this Panorama is a MUST see attraction. If the weather is kind to us we plan a 30 minute aerial tour of Wilpena Pound. Hopefully you will see photographs of this in the next Blog Post.

The pretty shopping centre at Crystal Brook.

The gardens and Memorial Pavillion in Crystal Brook, the venue of the ANZAC Dawn Service.

It is only a short walk from the caravan park to this historic railway bridge at Crystal Brook.

The old bridge makes way for the new!

A commemorative sculpture depicting the shipping history of Port Germein.

At 1532 metres, the Port Germein jetty seems to stretch out of sight. It is great exercise, over 3 kilometres out and return.

Arrived at the end of the jetty to find this large fellow waiting for scraps from the fishermen on the jetty.

The final 150 metres of the jetty is storm damaged and little remains. These piles wobble around in the swell so I guess they will disappear in due course.

Looking back towards Port Germein from the seaward end of the jetty with The Southern Flinders Ranges in the background.

The old Original Lighthouse was once positioned on the end of the jetty. After the storm it was rescued and is now secure on dry land.

The Hawker Hotel.

The Booking Office for Bush Pilots Australia aerial flights over Wilpena Pound. Hopefully, weather permitting, we will get to use their services.

The Flinders Ranges from the fringes of Hawker.

The Old Ghan Railway Station at Hawker.

The water tower that was used to refill the tanks on the Old Ghan Steam Engine.

One of the Murals that is also on display at The Jeff Morgan Panorama of Wilpena Pound. This outstanding mural is 15 metres across. I hope they didn't mind me snapping this copy.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yorke Peninsula, S.A.

Due to the, not unexpected, influx of Easter and School Term Holiday travellers to The Yorke Peninsula, we opted to make camp behind the Town Hall at the small town of Bute. In reality, we weren't left with many options as all the seaside camps were booked out! The beaut little town of Bute is situated in the central north of The Yorke Peninsula. By using Bute as a base camp we could drive in any direction to explore the peninsula.

The first day out took us to Port Broughton on the North West Coast. This is quite a picturesque seaside village. One thing I noticed was a newly constructed Nursing Home for the Elderly on the fringes of the town, only about 1 km further along the road is the town cemetery - moving the oldies out of town gradually! But not too subtly.

Further south along the west coast was the Port town of Wallaroo. Not an overly scenic town but there is a small sandy beach beside the Grain Loading wharf. Also at Wallaroo you will find the remains of the Old Copper Smelter adjacent to the port area but for some reason tourists cannot access the area as it is fenced off. It is not possible to take satisfactory photographs of the area. Go Figure!

Another day saw us travelling south along the East Coast of the peninsula. First town we approached was Androssan. Here the coastline is high cliffs. We continued south and arrived in Port Vincent for lunch. The town was bustling with holiday makers. Our return route took us through the towns of Minlaton and Maitland located on the Central Peninsula. The entire peninsula is almost entirely cropping with the seaside towns supporting ship loading terminals for the grain, fishing industries and general aquatic pastimes.

On a third days' touring, we drove to the west coast again. Passing through Kadina and Moonta, the first stop was Moonta Bay. This is a beautiful, scenic small town with sandy beaches and a large boat ramp area. After a walk around the beach area at Moonta Bay we drove the short distance (3 km) to the adjacent Port Hughes. We noticed some vacancies in the very exposed caravan park here. Travelling back towards Bute we stopped at Moonta for lunch and to purchase groceries for the caravan as we plan to travel northwards in the morning.

Our camp site for the Easter Period behind the Town Hall in Bute. There is a camper trailer beyond or camp and we had other campers for various lengths of time.

The main street of Bute with the RSL Club and the front of The Town Hall. Behind where I am standing is the IGA Store.

On the drive to Port Broughton we spotted this unusual roadside display in front of a farm house.

A very picturesque beach and jetty precinct at Port Broughton.

A grand old Hotel on the Main Street of Port Broughton.

The Town Hall and Memorial Arch in Wallaroo.

The main street shopping of Wallaroo.

The Wallaroo Lighthouse with the Nautical Museum in the background.

The Wallaroo Heritage and Nautical Museum.

The Pier and Port Area of Wallaroo.

Cliff top foreshore at Androssan with the Grain Terminal in the background.

Busy main street of Androssan with plenty of tourists strolling the street.

Port Vincent seaside with a Caravan Park in the background.

Foreshore Kiosk at Port Vincent.

The beach area at Port Vincent, looking north.

Moonta Bay Jetty looking back towards the town.

The same jetty looking over the sand flats at low tide.

A stoney beach at Port Hughes.

The car park picnic area at Port Hughes with a jetty in the background. The very exposed Caravan Park is behind and above me as I take this photograph.

Many of the buildings in Moonta Township are Heritage Listed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Melrose and Quorn, S.A.

We were a trifle undecided (or confused) about where we should be heading to because of the School Holidays and the Easter Break looming. One thought was for heading to The Flinders Ranges, that is why we are now camped in the Showgrounds of the small town of Melrose.  While in Melrose we made the 63 km dash up to Quorn for a look around there. Now, we think it will be too crowded in 'The Ranges' and are going to back track and head south to The Yorke Peninsula, we will be leaving Melrose tomorrow morning. We have located camping space on the peninsula and will be there for the week over the Easter Break.

Quite a lovely setting here at Melrose Showgrounds with Mount Remarkable in the background. We only have a short time of shade around 10 AM, other than that we are in full sun.

Adjacent to the Melrose Caravan Park is this Swing Bridge. There is also a causeway over the creek for access to tent camping sites. Many walking and cycling tracks begin on the far side of the creek.

Part of Melrose, with Art Work depicting the Hiking and Cycling possibilities of the town.

Quorn has many old buildings such as The Mill that is now utilised as a Motel.

The larger of several hotels in Quorn.

The Quorn Town Hall.

The Quorn Railway Station. The Pichi Richi Railway departs from this station.

The narrow gauge Pichi Richi steam train.

The Steam Locomotive of the Pichi Richi Railway.

Burra, S.A,

The drive across the South Australia Border and onto Burra was probably one of the longest single day treks we have made on this particular journey. The day was mostly wet and drizzly, therefore we opted to keep driving and stay out of the rain for as long as possible. We made camp in the Burra Showgrounds, the sites here are not very level but we found a reasonable site with some grass. The show grounds committee has levelled off two large areas for campers but the ground works are only in the early stages yet. The soil hasn't compacted and has not been sowed to grass. It was obvious to "Blind Freddy" that the fresh earthworks were not drivable but some idiots had tried to make camp there and gouged deep ruts through the soil.

Burra is a very old town, it originated because of the nearby Copper Mine.

The Burra Creek runs through town with this great Rest Area on the opposite bank.

The Servicemens' Monument and Bandstand in the centre of Burra.

An original riveted span bridge over Burra Creek.

This Jinker was purpose made to carry machinery to the Copper Mine.

The Open Pit Copper Mine. The water is 50 metres deep and is coloured green because of the copper oxides leeching from ore body. The Engine House (pictured below) is situated on the far side of the Open Cut.

This was the Engine House for the Copper Mine.