Venus Bay to Fitzgerald Bay

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The last leg of our trip took is from Venus Bay across to the east coast of Eyre Peninsula via Cleve. We eventually ended up at Fitzgerald Bay just north of Whyalla at a free camping site.

Cleve has lovely wide streets and and a local radio station was blaring out from speakers on the streetlights. It was a very blustery day and we were nearly blown down the street. We managed to find an OP shop which is what you do in small towns

There is a fabulous sculpture of a draughthorse in the main street. It made entirely of engine parts, chains and assorted metal. It’s very imposing and some nice detail like a metal lizard.

Continuing our journey east we stopped in Arno Bay. A quick visit largely dictated by the stormy and blustery weather. We couldn’t even find a café open! We headed north along the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula from Arno bay towards Fitzgerald bay. A quick stop in Cowell to buy some oysters. Cash only but no complaints $30 for three dozen. Another town with not much open.

Scooting past Whyalla we headed to our campsite at Fitzgerald Bay. It’s a free campsite and it was dark when we got there. So dinner and to bed and ready for the trip home.

Streaky Bay

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Heading away from Venus Bay we travelled to Streaky Bay . This is another nice little town on the Eyre Peninsula. We arrived latish for lunch finding some shops already closed. We had fish and chips in a a café attached to a caravan park. Not the best fish and chips but certainly not the worst we have had on our travels. The worst fish and chips we have had were in Tasmania in a small town with the lovely name of Primrose Sands.

There is a fabulous clifftop drive in just out of Streaky Bay with lots of great lookouts. The coastline is quite spectacular. All the good spots are well signposted and have information boards.

Whistling rock was particularly interesting. There is a large cavern under the cliffs where the waves crash in. The top of the cavern is a quite porous limestone. The crashing waves push air up through the holes creating a distinctive whistling sound.

There are a succession of lookouts where you get a great view of the limestone coast. Every bit as impressive the great ocean road. The coast line is slowly being eroded by the crashing waves. There is an array of great walkways and raised platforms. Theses afford plenty of opportunities for great photos.

Venus Bay Caravan Park

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Venus Bay is small town with lots of holiday shacks. The caravan park is located on absolute beach front. The spaces are wide and the park is flat. So backing in is relatively easy. The van park has a nice shop which also serves the township and is a takeaway shop. There is no pub in town but there is a bus that runs between Venus bay and Port Kenny where there is a pub.

There is a sandbank just off the beach where lots of Pelicans, Pacific gulls and the more common Seagulls or Silver Gulls hangout . They are probably watching the jetty where the local fishing boats have moorings.

It’s a really nice spot to stop.

Organ Pipes Gawler Ranges

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This is another interesting geological formation in the Gawler Ranges and a bit more remote than Wave Rock. Access is mostly by dirt roads but they are no too treacherous. Our Kia Sportage managed this quite easily.

The roads are quite well signposted so as long as you an eye out you wont get lost. Mobile phone reception is a bit variable so relying on Google Maps or similar maybe a little tricky. It always good to have a physical map when travelling in remote areas.

Once you get to the carpark which isn’t huge there is a walk to the organ pipes. The carpark has a nice little gazebo and an toilet. The walk will take about 20 minutes and is for the most part easy. There are a few rocks to walk over or around toward the end. If you are a little unsteady a walking stick or pole would be well advised.

The walk is definitely worth it. The rock formations are really spectacular. I imagine if it was raining the would be a nice waterfall.

I was warned to be careful as there is some slime on the rocks. Despite this I managed to slip and fall quite heavily. Lucky not to break my arm, only denting my pride.

We did see some local kangaroos on the way back. We managed the organ pipes and wave rock from Wudinna in about half a day.

Wave Rock and Beyond

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We travelled to wave rock from Wudinna via Minnipa. The road to Wave rock (Pildappa Rock) is through Minnipa. This is a small service town with a population of less 200 people. Sadly there are a lot of empty stores in town.

Wave rock (Pildappa) is a remarkable rock formation that really does look like a giant wave. The rock is quite large and appears across on the horizon. As interesting as Uluru but a lot smaller.

There is an excellent picking ground featuring the a rather windy long-drop toilet. There is a one way road that circles the rock. Along the way there are many campsites nestled amongst bushes. Other than the toilets its strictly free camping so you need to be self-sufficient.

The site forms part of the Gawler Ranges National Park so you will require the necessary permits to enter and camp. We drive an all-wheel drive KIA Sportage and managed the drive quite easily.

Wudinna , Waves and Rocks

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The second stop on our Eyre Peninsula Adventure was Wudinna. This is another service town in the region. Our crew stopped at the Gawler Ranges Motel and Caravan Park in Wudinna. The caravan park is on the highway so you can hear trucks passing through the night. That’s to be expected as this is the main highway between Adelaide and Perth.

The caravan park is clean and tidy but the facilities are dated. The camp kitchen which has an electric barbeque but is basic. The toilets and showers are clean and tidy but showing their age. We were able to have a fire in the caravan park so we had an enjoyable couple of nights.

There is a nice pub in Wudinna the Wudinna Hotel Motel . We had a great meal one night and lunch the following day. Serves were generous and the food well cooked. The staff are friendly a nice place to eat.

We managed a visit to the local opshop as I needed an emergency pair of pants after I had a slip on some rocks. I can also report that the Wudinna Bakery is worth a visit when you are in town.

The other site of note in the town was the Australian Farmer a huge statue on the main road.

We also visited some geological sites in the region of Wudinna

Kimba a Big Galah and a Silo

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Our recent caravan holiday across the Eyre Peninsula started in Kimba. An overview of the trip can be found here. We arrived late because we left late from home. Various late minute disasters including me losing my phone . We eventually got going and were hampered by lots of road workers. I firmly believe if roadworks were an olympic sport Australia would be a gold medal contender. We arrived after dark and our travel companions were already well settled.

The drive took nearly six hours for the 279 kilometre drive. our only stops were toilet breaks and to have a coffee. I suppose a side effect of the late arrival was that we saw a spectacular sunset. We camped at the Kimba Free camping site . A great site with a camp kitchen , showers and toilets. There is a nominal charge of $10 per night and $2 to use the showers. The sites are unpowered but as we have two deep cycle batteries in our van so this wasn’t a problem.

We did a very brief tour of Kimba which mainly resulted in us looking at the Big Galah and the very interesting mural on the grain silo. Kimba is essentially a service town so there is really a lot to see. Diesel way a good price which surprised us so we filled up. The next stop on our trek was Wudinna and a caravan park. This was a relatively short drive a little over an hour away from Kimba.

Touring the Eyre Peninsula

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We had a brief trip to the Eyre Peninsula with three other couples in their caravans. This was first for us as we have never really travelled across this part of South Australia. We stayed in Kimba, Wudinna, Venus Bay and Fitzgerald Bay.

In between we visited places in the Gawler Ranges and in and around Streaky Bay. There are lots of really interesting geological features in the Eyre Peninsula. The coastline is absolutely amazing in particular the limestone cliffs.

It’s my intention to create a series of post which will be more specific to particular sites we visited.

The Ghost and The Bounty Hunter -Adam Courtenay

No Gravatar The Ghost and the Bounty Hunter: William Buckley, John Batman and the Theft of Kulin CountryThe Ghost and the Bounty Hunter: William Buckley, John Batman and the Theft of Kulin Country by Adam Courtenay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this volume. It’s an interesting story about an escaped convict William Buckley who eluded the authorities for a long time. The author Adam Courtenay who is the son of Bryce Courtenay.
The book encompasses British social history, early colonial history as well as Aboriginal history in and around Melbourne between 1800 and early 1830s.There is some insights into the troubled time in Tasmania with land grabs, relations with aboriginal people.
William Buckley was a convict who was sentenced to transportation landing in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). He wound up in what was an early attempt to colonise the area around Port Phillip Bay. He managed with others to escape custody and elude the authorities for many years. Living amongst the local Aboriginal people, he did overtime gain an understanding their language and customs.
William Buckley’s story has been reconstructed from two accounts. One is form a minister of religion and the other a journalist. According to the author the journalist account is somewhat sensationalised probably to appeal to popular audiences at the time. There are holes in Buckley’s story in part due to him being illiterate and not very articulate. He does come across as being sympathetic to the plight of aboriginal people. He was caught between the colonisers and the aboriginal people with whom he had lived.
It an easy book to read and provides some insight into the early colonial days form both sides. What is most interesting is the aboriginal side of the story that is often miss-told or not told at all.

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Shatter the Bones Logan McCrae #7

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Shatter The Bones (Logan McRae, #7)Shatter The Bones by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the seventh in the Logan McCrae series. This time the crime is an abduction and involves a reality TV show. One of the contestants and her child are abducted. As is the case with this genre our hero Logan, “Laz” McRae is always in some sort of bother with his superiors. Stuart McBride’s writing is fast paced and laced with humour much of it dark.
The main cast does change much form book to book but this shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent to picking up any in the series. There is enough reference within the book to get a sense of the characters and their relationships. The longsuffering Logan is rewarded for his hard work in this tale. McBride manages a not so subtle dig at external experts that come in to solve. This is a feature of modern organizations. They turn up unannounced and tell you the bleeding obvious. It does end up with some amusing results.
There is quite a good surprise twist at the end that I won’t attempt to spoil here. Thankfully, there are more books to come in this series

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