A funny thing happened on the way to the shops……

Earlier this month, Fred and I headed in the van to Port Augusta, to buy a few things not available locally.  Shopping isn’t necessarily my favourite past-time, so we (I) decided to do a little bit of pleasure first, by heading to the Port Augusta Arid Lands Botanic Garden.

I LOVE this place, and plan on doing a separate post on it another day.

However, when we took the Highway to the Gardens, a large road sign showed the next lot of towns and distances…. including Darwin.  I said to Fred, how about we go there?  To which there was total agreement!  So we sailed past the turnoff to the Gardens and kept going!  Ha!  It felt good to be hitting the highway again, even if we were just having a pretend time of it.  (the cats were home and I had limited supplies in the van and other obligations the following day)

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The landscape is totally different to that of the Flinders Ranges.  This is flat desert country, with funny flat-top mountains at the beginning of the Stuart Highway. 

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This road is said to be the Gateway to the Outback.

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Perhaps one day I’ll do it, but have no real immediate plans, as it’s an awfully long long way without a co-driver. As it was, we drove about 30 kms, and then found a nice little rest area and did some little exploring before heading back the way we’d come.

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The Australian movie, Last Cab To Darwin, tackles both the road and a controversial topic.  I’ve seen the movie twice and love it.

The road signs were a little different, so I took some shots of them to share.

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Coming back, on my left were the Flinders Ranges, always enticing even though without the afternoon sun on them from this perspective, their full charm is hidden.

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On making adjustments…..

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a dearth of notifications from W/P, and thought that perhaps most people were simply taking time out from blogging…. but, eventually the penny dropped that something wasn’t right.

Somehow my notifications got turned off.  Not by me.  A glitch.  Yes my intention for this year is to reduce distractions, to fine tune my focus.  But delete my blogging  community? No way! Honestly, if it wasn’t for the friends I’ve made here over the years, I probably would be going troppo.  Even without living in the tropics. 🙂

So I’ll try to catch up with the missed posts, but please forgive me if I don’t manage it. The intention is there…..

Currently I’m preparing to leave the summer house we’ve been staying in (thank God for it over these 45C plus days!) sometime in the next few weeks.  I need to make adjustments inside the van furniture wise, preferably first, and also at some point, upgrade my solar system so I can recharge camera batteries and run laptop, without having to stay in a costly caravan park too often.

Longer term, I’d like to purchase something along the lines of this unit or something similar.  When I first decided to live on the road, I had no idea how I or the animals would go with it.  So I purchased something within my limited budget so I’d have no debts and away we went. I have unresolveable health issues and have to work with that on a daily basis, even though I’m extremely grateful I’m now able to do more than I ever expected to.  Usually.  Not always.  But being on the road suits us all, despite  being cramped in the little van, and so that’s what it will be for who knows what time…..

Lacking a large bank balance, I can’t purchase a new vehicle just yet.  However,  if Lady Luck decides to favour me with a gift of a slightly larger home for life on the road, I’d not turn her down! 🙂  A Toyota please.  Very reliable and parts and service always accessible.  A kind loving home guaranteed.  🙂

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Eyre’s Waterhole

Edward John Eyre (after whom Eyre Peninsula was named) has many monuments and plaques across the countryside.

On our way to Streaky Bay, we stopped at Eyre’s Waterhole (Aboriginal name – Cooeyanna) and while the water in it today looks not very inviting, it would have been most appreciated back in the day.  And most likely of better quality – such is the price of ‘civilisation’.

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This invention helped to build the roads in the district!

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You can see that it’s limestone country. 

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Fred looks but didn’t feel inclined to go any further.

There’s a really nice parking area just off the highway, very large and with some light shade.  Just perfect for an afternoon snooze after doing the exploring …… 🙂

 

Secret Rocks

Continuing  the story of my recent travels across Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, is my visit to Secret Rocks. All I knew about it was the name on the map…… but as I’m keen on rocks of any description, it was sufficient to pique my interest.  Sometimes I research a place, but other times prefer to simply let it unfold.

I turned off the Lincoln Highway……. Secret Rocks is 2/3rds along the unsealed road which meets up with the Eyre Highway in north-westerly direction.  Now unsealed roads can vary greatly in their condition, from well-maintained traversed in top gear, to low-gear bone-shakers……………

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Boneshaker

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Corrugations……

Unfortunately, the section from the Lincoln Highway got worse the further along I went, and there was no point by then of turning back, so it was a matter of slowly chugging along at 5-10kms p/h, listening to everything in the van protesting – including Frank being very vocal about communicating his displeasure!

At one point, another vehicle overtook me, but that was the only other vehicle I saw the whole time…. tick tock tick tock….

Eventually, hurray!  There’s the sign pointing to Secret Rocks!  There’s a nice parking area, and we found the vehicle which had overtaken us was parked there.  Fred had a brief pit stop, and then I went on alone to explore.

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I was most surprised by all that I found, as I’d no idea Eyre Peninsula had such interesting formations, and further into the trip I found more.

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In general, the land is fairly flat, so any rises are most welcome to get a broader view of the area.

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The crevices and folds in the rock, captures moisture, and provides a wonderful habitat for vegetation.

Delicate native ferns in particular grow here.

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Not the best of photos sorry, but you get the idea of it. Slightly different from another plant that grows nearby.

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Spikes

There was also another soft leaved plant I didn’t recognise.

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On reaching a high point on the rock I came across the occupants of the vehicle parked below.  A lovely young couple on University break from Adelaide, who were visiting the region.

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David and Michelle.

We chatted for a while, then they continued further up the rock and as time was getting on, I headed down to continue the journey.

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It’s one of those places I’d like to return to, as there’s much more to explore there.

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Back onto the boneshaker…… and to our great relief the road was much improved from then on to the Lincoln Highway.  Obviously I’ll be using that direction on any return visits!  All part of the learning and experiencing life on the road 🙂

 

 

Yanerbie Sandhills

South of Streaky Bay on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, are the Yanerbie Sandhills. I was hoping for a chance to find sandhills on this trip, and these were the most accessible for me without an off-road vehicle.  Just my own two legs got me to these dunes.  Definitely a place I’d like to return to again – with charged batteries!  Opportunities to recharge my camera batteries can be tricky at times, and as I took these images early in the morning, I needed to save my next battery for the rest of the day. However, perhaps it was good that I ran out of battery power – otherwise I many have stayed out in the sandhills long after I should have left, such is the appeal they have for me.