Archives for posts with tag: homeschool while travelling

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.

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

 

Finally get around to arriving in Elliston for a quick overnighter. While B is home we are supposed to free camp but we seem to a) take ages to pack up and get moving in the morning and b) spend too much time sight seeing and not enough time to get set up and settled at a free camp…..besides, after about 3 days in the bush I end up with a giant pile of washing.

Elliston has two parks but we opted for Waterloo Bay and the kids were glad that we did. This is the first time I have come across a pedal cart hire in a caravan park and for keeping our kids occupied while we were setting up and getting dinner ready this was just the thing.

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Some days this is my favourite view of these two

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Only another couple of years until he can get his learners.

Persisting in a seemingly hopeless quest, B rigged up the rods for another torture session  fishing trip. 

Either there are no fish in the ocean surrounding the jetties of SA and all the other anglers are liars or we are just completely useless at fishing. Fortunately, all of the jetties here also have a lovely sheltered seat close to the end and I find these to be a great place to make phone calls from whilst B cuts up bait and then stands aimlessly until the kids start complaining and we head back to the van.

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B from his best angle, Little excited about wetting the line & me on the phone – yep, that’s how we roll.

I think that I might actually have reached my limit for cliff top scenic drives, they are all beautiful but they are kind of all the same (Oh no, I sound like my kids) but the drive at Elliston includes artworks from the Sculptures on the Cliff Festival which makes it a bit more interesting.

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Saw that Coffin Bay National Park got a pretty good wrap on some of the online travelling groups (Facebook) so we thought that it would be a nice place to spend a few nights and days.

As we were driving into the Yangie Bay Campground, Little spotted a sizeable mud puddle and his eyes literally lit up – so glad that I got all that washing done at Elliston. B couldn’t get the bikes off the back of the van quick enough for him!

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Mud in the eyes….not this time around.

It was a beautiful spot where we pulled up and the weather held out nicely until we went to bed that first night. The second day was a bit of on and off rain but still able to get out and do a walk trail (saw an adult emu with a couple of youngsters) – or filthily a few more pairs of pants, Little!

So many little birds here, just wish that they would slow down so I could identify them in the bird book…..one was forced to slow down as he hit the side of our mesh tent, I keep imagining him going “bloody hell, that wasn’t there yesterday”. Fortunately, he just shook himself off and flew away. The usual visits from the kangaroos – how cool is it that native wildlife visits become the norm living this life.

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What’s that Skip, I should bring my bike and follow you through the mud, Skip?

The last day was just rain, rain and wind and so the inside of the van was disgusting and we started getting a bit of cabin fever. Must be time for a drive. Jumped in the Patrol and took some great tracks from the campground out around past some of the loveliest beaches and these sections of road that look like they belong on postcards….you know when the trees kind of meet up overhead and create a leafy tunnel….I am in my happy place again.

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I can see why this is a favourite destination over Summer for the locals.

My friend Rach had done a trip around Oz while we were still at the planning/building stage and when we were looking through her pics from the trip she told me that she would have loved to have had more time on the Eyre Peninsula. So being the good friend I am, I decided we would do it for her 🙂

First stop from Ceduna had to be Streaky Bay, can’t remember why now – probably why I should blog while it is all fresh in my mind!

We drove around town, did a bit of shopping, walked on the jetty – South Australia does jetties well – they all have great metal signs that are engraved with images of the local fish as well as your bag limits…..there is nothing like catching a fish and then having to walk around asking people what it is you have actually caught and whether it is edible. They also all have a steel mesh netted area that ensures that your jetty jumping jaunt doesn’t end in Jaws eating you.

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One of Sister’s photos of the netted swimming area

Instead of being total whus bags and opting for the caravan park option (so tempting in Winter) we headed out to the Sceale Bay Bush Camp (you say it as Scale Bay). Any bush camp that has a flushing toilet gets my vote and this one is a real gem. Pete and his family have created a lovely spot that is quite affordable at $5 per adult and $2 per child – apparently the bay is popular with surfers and Kelly Slater had visited recently….never know who you might bump into down here.

Even though the camp is unpowered and mobile reception is a bit hit and miss all you need to do is walk/ride about 4kms down the road to the gazebo at the beach and you are able to plug in to the power board and get great reception as well. The kids have been doing an online writing class with home2teach and so the poor things had to use the gazebo as their classroom – hard done by, aren’t they?

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Trying to find a shot with the view onto the beach.

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Big and Sista hard at work. Think Little was riding a bike down the steps at this stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We could only spend a couple of days here as we needed to get to Port Lincoln so B could catch his plane back to work but we still managed to have a 4wd around the tracks and bays to a cool sand dune area where the kids had fun on their boogey boards. There is a sea lion colony just a couple of kms down the road at Point Labatt with a great viewing platform.

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Little and Sista have a look at Heart Bay

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Too scared of the Great Whites, Big will stick to sand dune surfing..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulling out, we knew that we wanted to stay at the Coffin Bay NP for a couple of days so that’s where we headed towards. One of the benefits of travelling the Southern route during Winter is that you don’t need to think ahead about booking into parks or grabbing a spot at the free camps before everyone else……I hold onto that thought as I look at all the pics coming up online from other families travelling Oz, sitting around in shorts and bathers up North somewhere. This is also very fortunate as I am not the most organised person

Driving towards Elliston we saw a sign that said Talia Caves – we have decided that if we ask ourselves “should we have a look” then the default answer is yes!

So glad we did. The Woolshed was spectacular, even if Sista was terrified that B and Little where in danger of losing their footing and being swept away.

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The cave is inside the hill to the left of these stairs

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From the inside looking out – I imagine that the waves would smash in here in bad weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can you see the edge of the hole behind the sign?

 

We also had a look at The Tub, which is what I imagine a sinkhole must look like and I got stung by a bee (I think). Next, we managed to see one of those amazing displays of nature in the form of a big group of dolphins – there must have been about 4 separate pods of 4-5 dolphins in each and they were jumping up and doing somersaults and held us entranced for a good ten minutes…….of course the only photo we got shows you nothing other than a couple of fins!

 

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I initially thought it was a school of sharks as the fins stayed on the surface for longer than usual, just circling each other.

 

Apologies for any picture/text alignment issues – if anyone is a wordpress expert I could use some help on making everything stay where I want it to.