Archives for the month of: December, 2013

We can’t stay in Whyalla forever, even though I just want to stay in bed and sleep my flu away while B takes charge of everything, but on the road again we must go.

We usually don’t have much of a plan as to where we are stopping, all we know is that B flies in and then we have 2 weeks until he has to get back on the plane and fly back to work. We usually know where he is going to fly out from and so we aim to end up somewhere close enough to the airport for that to happen – someone has to earn the money to keep the kids and I living in style 🙂

Shall we stop at Port Augusta….no, let’s have a quick shop and get back underway. The kids are getting really good at snapping up opportunities as they appear and the skate park behind the shops is calling their name. Sending B and Big shopping is always a little dodgy, there is always lots of fruit and nuts and bread in the bags but usually nothing helpful in the way of ingredients for an evening meal…but I am too tired to care and so use the time to lay the seat back and have a snooze.

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They’re back, the Camps 6 book comes out and we have a look at what might be within a few hours drive of us, decisions need not be made yet but it is always good to make sure that you at least have the page open at the right map.

We drive and I, as always, point out the beautiful countryside which everyone drags their eyes towards and then promptly drops them back down towards iPod screens, Mad Magazines etc. I bet my kids wish they had a dollar for every time I say “Just have a look, take it in….one day you will tell your kids about this.” The countryside is amazing and I am happy to gaze out at it and wonder at what a task it must have been to take power lines up, over and through these hills.

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Shortly afterwards we slow to a crawl on the highway as we come across the aftermath of what looks like a three car accident. One car is in a field, looks like they drove off to avoid an oncoming vehicle. They are loading another vehicle onto a truck and in the middle of the road is the shattered shell of a caravan, just the floor and part of a side wall cling drunkenly to the chassis. Thankfully, nobody is badly injured but I feel sad for all involved, especially for the people who’s van trip has been cut terribly short.

We don’t have the heart to go much further and so pull into a little place called Baroota Campground. We are greeted by three dogs running in from a paddock where a 4 wheeler is working. Much to our delight and amazement we watch one of the dogs jump clear over the paddock fence whilst the others look on longingly. It’s a little muddy, we are the only people here but the fireplace is fantastic, the “shower shed” is huge and Little has a brand new friend, Matilda, the blue heeler.

Can we keep her?

Can we keep her?

Decisions have been made and we are going to head down the Yorke Peninsula to Innes National Park so off we go again.

The weather is awful, it is Winter and I have once again NOT excelled at navigation. We make it as far as Maitland and I suggest that there is a Showground where we can overnight. How good was it to pull in and see this undercover area where our van can snuggle underneath overnight!

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

Again, just a single overnighter and we are back on the road down the Yorke. On either side of the road are fields of green, which I later find out is barley. Apparently our next stop, Minlaton, is the barley capital of the world. It is also the home of The Red Devil, Captain Harry Butler’s monoplane. This “must see” monument radiates the pride and respect that the people of the Yorke Peninsula feel for their flying ace. I was inspired by this “self educated” pilot who was fascinated by flight from an early age but then also devastated to find out that he died so young, at 34, in 1924, possibly as a result of injuries sustained in an earlier plane crash in 1922. He was married in 1920. Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.

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So, I am inspired, the kids have played at the park and we have only about 100kms to go until we reach Innes National Park.

Teens with attitude...at the kiddies playground.

Teens with attitude…at the kiddies playground.

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With a last tin of tuna given to the cat who adopted us and an unexpected loss of breakfast by yours truly, we departed Port Lincoln – just before the arrival of the next force ten gale.

My birthday is fast approaching and I am sick as a dog with some kind of hideous flu – I never get sick!!…..until I do. I am so glad now that we had an early birthday celebration with Deb and family (thank you again for the beautiful cake xx).

First stop is Cowell where B grabbed “his best coffee so far” and a short playground experience for kids and dad alike. I think that this is also the town where B scared a woman as he ran down the pathway (he was trying to get to the shops without Little seeing him). He is not a small man, and with hoody up and thongs a-slapping he is a bit of a scary sight.

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No really, get off, it’s my turn.

You can catch a ferry from just outside Cowell over to Wallaroo if you don’t want to go up and over the top of the Eyre Peninsula. It saves you about 250kms of road travel. South Australians love their ferries. I think it has something to do with their “distance perception” (this is my own term, created after realising that Crow Eaters do not like to travel far from home at all, or even leave the town of their birth if possible 🙂 )

We got as far as Whyalla that first day out and I have to say that I was expecting barbed wire fences around every property, based on information provided by other travellers, but instead found a fairly large “mining town” that didn’t seem that much different to a lot of North West towns we have lived in or passed through……in my defence, I was delusional with fever. We had planned to stay overnight but B was very keen to check out the Onesteel Steelworks and as luck would have it we were able to get on a tour the next morning. What can I say, the man loves his metal!

It’s not very hard to find the Tourist Centre at Whyalla. They have very conveniently popped the HMAS Whyalla outside the front door. It was the first ship built at the naval shipyards here in 1941 and was brought back and parked up in 1987.

Yep, it's a big boat.

Yep, it’s a big boat.

We all piled onto the bus for our one and a half hour tour of the steelworks. The raw materials come from local iron ore mines and are put through the blast furnace, coke ovens, reed beds, steelmaking and casting plant and the rolling mills. It is a massive operation and quite a dirty place as well – you can almost hear the beer ad in the background as the dirty, sweaty men finish work. We all enjoyed the tour right up until we got back to the Tourist Centre and then Little’s day was ruined when he and Sista got off the bus and the driver said “Have a nice day girls.” Might be time for a haircut Little?

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He's starting to be mistaken for a girl a little too often now.

He’s starting to be mistaken for a girl a little too often now.

 

Ok, I am officially very far behind with my blogging….what can I say, life just gets in the way!

So now I must cast my mind back to South Australia and to one of my very favourite places, Port Lincoln.

We came into Lincoln from the west side, nothing overwhelming initially – some railroad tracks and light industry – but passing through the town centre we noticed that it had a Woolies & a Coles all on the main road….we have hit the jackpot! We had opted to stay 10km out of town at the caravan park in North Shields, part of the reason being that it was about $100 a week cheaper than the park in Lincoln and a lot more roomier.

 

The drive between Lincoln and North Shields “had me at hello”. It’s winter, everything is green and growing, on one side of the road are green fields sloping upwards to rolling hillsides and on the other side is Boston Bay, water like glass and this island, Boston Island, just begging you to jump in a boat and play Robinson Crusoe for a few days….or months.

There are just a couple of small issues, the bloody wind and apparently, a very high fire risk in summer. Our first day in we couldn’t even put out our awning as we were positive that it would act as a sail and either rip off or flip the van over (maybe that was just me worrying about that). When it blows down here you certainly know about it! Thankfully, it is not an everyday occurrence and you find yourself falling in love with the place all over again….until the next time.

We ended up spending about six weeks here and even then I found it hard to leave…Looking back, I think that it had a lot to do with meeting great people and also being in a place that is so full of natural beauty…..that and staying for an auction on a piece of land (I know, the trip could have been over before it started!)

Whenever we are stopping for a few weeks I try to touch base with local homeschoolers – it’s always nice to be with peeps who understand you – and the kids enjoy hanging out with friends their own ages as well. With a bit of googling and a bit of luck we managed to find the delightful Deb and family who then introduced us on to the gang of girls who were Donna and family. The welcome we received was amazing – invited to tea after one email, sleepovers for Sista, getting taken up to Glenforrest animal farm, riding motorbikes, lots of shared meals….thankyou so much to you wonderful women and your gorgeous families…we still talk about you.

You can’t visit Lincoln without heading out onto the water and B had already placed his order for Swimming with the Tuna. It  worked out at around $50 a head and I can say that it was worth every cent! These guys run a very tidy operation and the pontoon setup is amazing for all ages and abilities (if you didn’t want to swim you could check out the touch pool with an informative talk or view the underwater areas from a fully enclosed walkway). Can I just say that wearing a wetsuit is actually more flattering than you might think ….at least I hope that everyone on the cruise that day wasn’t too offended by the sight…not that I cared, I was mesmerised by the fish in the middle aquarium and ended up being the last person still in the water. Little even managed to catch sight of a whale and calf as we were cruising around the bay to finish off our day.

I just know that I have forgotten some great things already – thank goodness for photos to remind us 🙂 even if I can’t get them to line up perfectly on the page!

At the top of the Stamford Hill Hike, Lincoln National Park

At the top of the Stamford Hill Hike, Lincoln National Park

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The view from the block we looked at

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How cool is this touch pool?

 

 

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What you see under the surface in the middle 

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aquarium.
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Looking so cool on our tour of the wharf.

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Sista loves doing her schoolwork.

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He will hide anywhere to get out of doing his maths!

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A lounge chair makes our Big a happy young man.

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Hello ladies, how do you like my spunky hat?

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A view of Boston Bay from the fire lookout above Port Lincoln.

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Lovely Lin from Sydney who spent the day with us after we gave her a lift to the Fish Factory Tour.

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The kangaroos at Glenforrest Animal Farm know exactly what those little white bags mean….and they are not shy.

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No Little, stay on the road when you are on a segway