Well over 1,400kms had now been traveled, just under 3,000kms to go! It is a big country! Across the South Australia Border, having Tiki Tourer checked for fruit and vegies!
We then drove through Renmark.
Just before Waikerie Tui spotted an awesome free camp , Holders Bend, right on the banks of the Murray. Seven Day Camping time limit. So peaceful we didn’t want to leave.
Tui had fun feeding the Pelican’s.
Waikerie is well known for citrus growing and gliding, as the flat dry terrain provides good thermals. Waikerie hosted the 14th World Gliding Championships in 1974. Tui was really keen to fly the Murray in his Microlight but once again the weather put a stop to that!
There are several Locks on the Murray River and as we approached Blanchetown we noticed a sign Lock 1 so turned off to have a look! Lock 1 was completed in 1922. Torrumbarry weir downstream of Echuca began operating in December 1923. Of the numerous locks that were proposed, only thirteen were completed; Locks 1 to 11 on the stretch downstream of Mildura, Lock 15 at Euston and Lock 26 at Torrumbarry. Construction of the remaining weirs purely for navigation purposes was abandoned in 1934. The last lock to be completed was Lock 15, in 1937. Lock 11, just downstream of Mildura, creates a 100-kilometre long lock pool which aided irrigation pumping from Mildura and Red Cliffs.
Each lock has a navigable passage next to it through the weir, which is opened during periods of high river flow, when there is too much water for the lock. The weirs can be completely removed, and the locks completely covered by water during flood conditions. Lock 11 is unique in that the lock was built inside a bend of the river, with the weir in the bend itself. A channel was dug to the lock, creating an island between it and the weir. The weir is also of a different design, being dragged out of the river during high flow, rather than lifted out.
As we had never been through the Clare Valley Region we opted to take the inland road through some lovely little towns. The Clare Valley wine region is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, best known for Riesling wines. It lies, approximately 120 km north of Adelaide. The valley runs north-south, with Horrocks Highway as the main thoroughfare. No we didn’t stop at any Vineyards!!
Back to the coast at Port Pirie. We didn’t venture right into Port Pirie but took a little detour to the coast before heading to Port Augusta. We were now on roads previously traveled but it is good to revisit familiar ground at times.
We stayed in behind the Central Augusta Football Club where they have set up a Motorhome Park for self contained vehicles at $7 a night. We had decided to support the Club and have dinner there, however we picked a night that they didn’t have meals. Pizza delivery instead!!
This photo was taken as you approach Port Augusta.
Kimba was our next stop to empty our tanks and fill with water! There is 7 metre tall statue of a big Galah beside the highway marking halfway between the east and west coasts of Australia. Unfortunately we didn’t get a photo! Kimba Apex Lions Park free camping area is located right in the centre of Kimba and next door to the local swimming pool. The park has a picnic shelter and electric barbecue area along with nice shaded areas. The park also features an Apex playground and toilet facilities. The great scenery around the park makes this an ideal place to stop. They do ask for a donation. Bit early in the day for us to Camp up.
Arrived at Ceduna around 4.30pm and Jude had found a free camp on WikiCamps, Wittelbee Reserve. Looked and sounded really good. We were however a little worried when we started driving out there as it turned into a gravel road. Then the track in was looking a little narrow and we had no idea if there was anywhere to turn around once we got in there! All good though, and we had the place to ourselves.
We usually fill up at Penong but as Tiki Tourer was getting a bit low we decided to fill at Ceduna then top up again at Penong. Did a bit of a Tiki Tour and took some photos of the windmills, which pump water from the Anjutabie water basin. The town and the surrounding district is so dry that the underground water is supplemented by rain water and water which is carted by truck from a reticulated water supply connected to the Tod River pipeline some 15 kilometres east of Penong. This is really the beginning of the Nullaboor Plain.
Lunch was at the Nullaboor Roadhouse where we had a really nice burger. We took a photo of a scale model of the old “station/garage and Whale that stands in a prominent position outside the current Roadhouse. The new Eyre Highway is a highway that links South Australia and Western Australia via the Nullarbor Plain, allowing easy travel between the two locations. It became open to the public in 1942, creating a convenient route for travelers to get from the southern to western portion of Australia. The last unsealed section of the Eyre Highway was finally sealed in 1976.
Driving the Nullaboor takes in magnificent views of the Great Australian Bight. Lots of free camps and although cold & windy we camped at a great spot overnight. Another of those places when Tui would have liked to fly his Microlight but the weather prevented that yet again.
Over the WA Border! Very strict at this border patrol and although Jude had frozen onions, they were confiscated. Luckily she had cooked up all other vegetables and had no fruit. Honey is not allowed either!
90 Mile Straight, said to be the longest straight stretch of road in Australia: 145.6 kilometres, between the small roadhouse communities of Balladonia and Caiguna. A big day driving and we had intended to get to Kalgoorlie, however we got to Norseman and decided to Camp up for the night. Once again on WikiCamps we found that there was Free Camping at the Norseman Sports ground. Good spot! Sorry no photo!
Arrived at Kalgoorlie before lunch, did some shopping, dumped our tanks, filled with water. Then as our mates George & Vicky were busy at Go Karts we parked at Centennial Park till they arrived home. This is another Free Camp we have stayed at before and is right in town.
Parked up outside George & Vicky’s for a couple of nights. Awesome to see you guys!!
Jude had opened the trailer for George & Vicky’s future son in law to have a look and heard hissing and a smell of gas. On investigation the screw that is tightened when the gas Bottle is filled had come loose. Very lucky! It would have been a big boom had it gone up! We took the Gas Bottle out for a day just in case and left it behind! Tui had it in one of his overhead cupboards and hadn’t shut the cage door. We traveled all the way to Southern Cross, over 200kms, before we checked the contents of the trailer and not a thing had moved! Good driving or what?
Arrived back in Perth right on peak hour but had a good run through the Roe, Tonkin & Reid Highways. Tui’s Mate had a roast ready for us so we camped there the night. Thanks Paul & Sue for your hospitality. As you can see by the fire it was STILL cold!!
Back to our house next morning and we were shocked to see that everywhere we looked work needed doing!
Back fence by the pool replaced, painting, oven cleaning, gardening etc. etc. Thanks for the help with the fence Paul! Hayden (Jude’s son) and Tania came and visited us the first day. Great to see you both!!
It has been full on with working all day on the house and we have also managed to catch up with a few of our friends. Jude has had another birthday since we got back. Thanks for the pressies guys! Tui handed Jude $50 so down to Body & Soul in Kinross for a pedicure! Nice!
We had resigned ourselves to moving back into our house then our Property Manager found tenants. Mixed feelings! Now camped at Paul & Sue’s till who knows when. Still need to do a few things like change the Suzuki to WA plates etc.
Well it took 2 weeks to drive back from Grafton and we were cold all the way and it is still cold in Perth! Next time it will have to be a summer trip!
Well that’s about it for now! Until next time “Laugh more, live longer!”