17 March 2009. After a pleasant three days in Bendigo we are heading
towards Whyalla where the CMCA has their motorhome rally. In three
days 700 KM to Mannum via Ouyen. We are back in South Australia. The
countryside is flat with a lot of grain being grown and very dry. 20
March. Camped beside the Murray River for the weekend and we are
spending this with the Adelaide Wanderers, a chapter of the motorhome
Chapter meeting with the Adelaide
Wanderers in Mannum. Barossa Valley from Menglers Hill and
|23 March heading towards Whyalla and the
Barossa Valley. This is one of Australia's premier wine regions. A lot
of the villages have still German names and lovely old buildings. All
the villages are within a 10 KM radius. We visited Seppelt's winery
and did a tour which was very interesting. Their 100 year old port is
only $1000. Also visited Jacobs Creek cellar but this is only a modern
building with some historical information but no character. We did not
spend too much time here but had to visit it, as we have consumed a
"few" of their wares over the years. Maggie Beer is a famous
Australian TV cook but her potions were a bit on the expensive side.
Hall. Mintaro. Claire Valley.
|26 March. Spend the night in Kapunda.
When we were here two month ago we left before we had seen everything
because of starting problems. This time we did the heritage tour.
Which is a 10 KM drive around an old copper mining town. We had our
second flat tire but were on the road again within the hour. From one
wine region to the next. Claire Valley region has like the Barossa a
lot of old stone buildings still preserved. The grandest was the
Martindale Hall which was build for a 21 year old sheep farmer. All
the furniture was still as it was left in the 1880s.
We spend 3 days at Point Lowly. This is 30 KM north of Whyalla with a
view over the ocean. The day of the rally we woke very early to be at
the gate at 7AM. There were a few motorhomes in front of us but we did
not have to wait too long to be given a place on nice green grass.
There were e few people we recognised from previous gatherings and the
seminars, and entertainment is keeping up busy.
Whyalla rally. We are one of 750 motorhomes. Woomera the
birthplace of Australian space technology.
|7 Days of going to seminars, talking to
people and Susan doing line dancing. The place stops at 4 PM because
of happy hour. Every early morning there is bush poets and every
evening entertainment. The rally is finished on Monday but we stay
another day to help clean up.
7 April on the way north. As soon as we left the coast the landscape
turned nearly flat and hardly any trees. The earth is 70% rock. For
about 1000 KM the landscape is about the same. First stop Woomera.
This used to be a large restricted military camp where spy rockets
were developed and lounged. We went to two museums but there is not
much else going on. The 300 American personnel who were stationed here
called it a place of hardship.
9 April and we reach Coober Pedy. Here low hills but all the action is
under ground. A lot of locals live in dugouts which have all the
comforts of home Opals are what they looking for and Susan bought here
birthday present here.
Coober Pedy. All the old houses are underground. You can dig for
opals and build a house extension at the same time.
|We stayed a few days because everything
closes over the Easter break and there is an opal festival on. We
parked the bus on top of a hill and the view from the bus are the two
Underground church in Coober Pedy. Dogfence
2250 KM long. Golfcourse Coober Pedy. They do have a sense of humour
|10 April. Susan did the laundry. The
dryers were out of action therefore we camped a few KM outside town
and put the washing lines up. In the afternoon we went for a drive to
the dog fence, breakaways ranges, underground churches and in the
evening to the drive in cinema. They have it once a fortnight here and
free entrance. There are two dog fences in Australia with a total
length of 5500KM. They keep the dingoes contained to a part of
Australia where they don't keep sheep.
Next day and the opal festival in Coober Pedy.
is a giant vacuum cleaner which sucks the diggings out of the hole.
Lake Hart. There are a lot of lakes here but they are all salt.
|Another 700 KM to Alice Springs. We were
just out of Coober Pedy when there were a few aboriginese on the road
hitchhiking. The driver had fallen asleep and they had crashed the
car. There was a hitchhiker from Norway amongst them which we did give
a lift to Alice Springs. Later on we heard that they burned the car
which is normal up here when you can't drive it any further.
Alice Springs by night. Fred and Mien Blom
|13 April. Alice Springs has expanded
considerably since we were here 25 years ago. There are no drunk
aboriginals walking around as far as we could see. They are asking for
money and you can't miss them because the stench which they generate
is not pleasant to say it politely. We met Leslie Reilly with who we
worked in Port Keats 30 years ago.
Susan had read a book a year ago about a Dutch lady who had migrated
to Australia and wrote about her experiences. We did find her and had
a pleasant afternoon and we camped in front of their house. Mien has
written three books in the meantime and Fred is making "draaiorgels"
or street organs. He has four of them under the house. They had a
large article about them in the "Libelle."
|15 April visited the desert park and the
heritage precinct which has a lot of paintings from Albert Namatjira.
16 April. Mac Donnel ranges and visiting all the gorges. Rugged and
beautiful country. We spend a few days exploring the sights around
19 April. Heading south towards Ayers Rock.
Stanley Chasm. West Mac Donnell ranges. You can just see Susan.
Kings Canyon from the canyon floor.
21 April. It took two days and 470 KM. A lot of people only walk to
the lookout at the canyon floor, but to really appreciate it you have
to do the 6KM walk over the top. It looks a bit like the Bungle
Bungles but a lot more deep gorges in between the hills. Where the two
walls meet is called the garden of Eden. There is a permanent
waterhole and a very important site for the natives. A lot of driving
for this. Ayers Rock is 320 KM away and another long and fairly boring
road. We see a lot of camel droppings and hoof prints but no camels.
There supposed to be 1 million wild camels here. After we settled at
the caravan park we drive to the spot where to observe the sunset
from, but it is clouded and the sun disappears quickly with hardly any
changes in colour in the rock. 23 April. Next morning up at six for
the sunrise over the rock. It is raining which is highly unusual for
this time of the year but for a brief moment the rock changes colour
with a rainbow beside it. We do a guided tour with a ranger to explain
the aboriginal stories from the rock.
aspects of Uluru. (Ayers Rock.)
|24 April. Leaving the area after we have
walked through the Olga's. This is a series of huge domes protruding
from the earth but are connected underground. The flies in a lot of
places are a big pest and we decided to walk around as tourists and
buy a flynet. They look horrible but do the job. On the way back to
Coober Pedy we did see six wild camels. I got fairly close but I had
no idea what they would do if I got too close and they can run faster
than I can. A good telelens can fix this.
25 April. Did a lot of driving and got to 200KM from Coober Pedy.
Spend one night in Coober Pedy.
Us with fly protection. Net fixed to
|27 April. On the way to Port Augusta. A
lot of driving with very little to see. There are several road signs
in different languages. This cow must have been killed by someone who
did not understand the sign.
The eagles like something like this.
|28 April back in Port Augusta. We end up
here because there is not that much choice, unless you want to drive
on a lot of unsealed roads. Finally a chance to check out the Flinders
ranges. Last time the road had washes out and it was not possible to
get in. The road is very impressive. Fairly flat country with
mountains in the distance till you get closer and drive through them.
We went past the Flinders Ranges through Parachina and started from
the top down. They did work on the road and instead of an unsealed
road the whole length through the middle is sealed. As soon as you
want to see something you get on an unsealed road. The road to the
Sacred Valley was very rocky and the Aboriginal rock art was not worth
the drive. We booked in at Wilpena national park campground. $20 to
just stand there. 30 April. I had a long walk to the top of Mount
Ohlssen. Bagge. The track was fairly steep. I can feel I am not 65 any
more. Flinders Ranges are promoted as the most rugged scenery in South
Australia and it is. You get a bit spoiled when you travel and see
many different sceneries but it rates amongst the top.
After I came back from the walk I saw that we had a flat tyre, the
third one so far. They could repair them before but this time it had a
big split in it. We had to drive back to Port Augusta which we did not
want to do but we also did not want to drive around with no spare
tyre. I decided to get two new tyres and they had to come up from
Adelaide. Another day in Port Augusta. From there we head to Renmark.
We stopped at a Terowie and Burra. When you walk through those places
like this and most only have a population of a few hundred, you
realise how much history here is. Terowie population 200 was an
enormous rail junction where the width of the rail changed from
standard to narrow gauge. This means that all goods had to be
transferred from one carriage to the next. During WW2 42 trains a day
passed through here. General Mc Carthy had his famous speech here with
"I shall return." Burra was an very wealthy copper mining town in
1860. A few buildings remain. There also happened to be an antique
fair on this weekend. Susan in her element. At the first of May the
weather changed to winter. We have the stove going in the morning and
night for heating. The locals in Burra find it cold too. The photo
shows the smoke from the chimneys.
Burra at eight in the
morning. Mildura, paddle steamer on
the Murray River.
|4 May. On the way to Renmark we pass
through Berry. Here is the largest juice factory in Australia. One
side of the road is all grapevines and the other side oranges. Last
time we passed here the juice was more expensive here than in the
supermarket. Renmark is located besides the Murray River and we will
be following the river for a while. Found a camping spot in a national
park and we stayed here for a day. Could do some maintenance because
all the rough roads have taken their toll on the equipment. Off to
Mildura. This city was started as an irrigation project to make the
Now it has 20 000 people living here. We stayed for 6 days. Things to
see and a bit more maintenance to the bus. The weather is cool but
clear skies and perfect for a trip on a paddle steamer.
|On one of the trips around Mildura we
went to Wentworth. Here the Murray and Darling River come together.
Also there is the little Sahara Desert. A bit of a disappointment but
looks good on the photo. 11 May heading east.