Saturday, 6 May 2017

Preparing for our 2017 Road Trip

With less than a month to go, preparations for our next road trip are well underway, a few upgrades/mods to the caravan have been completed as well as a service, I even stripped, cleaned and re-greased the stabilizer jacks, what an improvement - they now work as smoothly as I expect them too.
We depart on the 3rd June and trundle up to Poona, we then spend a week on Fraser Island, up the coast to Midge Point. here we turn inland (West) to Mt Isa then to the Stuart Highway and down to Alice Springs, we leave the caravan at Kulgera and head East towards the Simpson Desert
Old Andado

Molly's place

We will be caretakers at Old Andado (it is a heritage listed station) for about three weeks then spend two nights at Dalhousie Springs back to Kulgera to hook up the caravan and on to Coober Pedy for a few days. then to the Flinders Rangers for five days and on to the Barossa Valley for a few days then on to Broken Hill to do some research on the family tree as Kathleen's mum was born there. our final stop will be at Mildura for a few days and we should arrive home towards the end of September. We will cover some 10,000 Km without side trips
Our Planned Trip

The map does not include Broken Hill, I intend to post as we go, however it all depends on the time available.

Until Next Time: Turn your dreams into reality!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Kangaroo Island November 2016

We have been wanting to visit Kangaroo Island for some time but the cost of the ferry crossing put it on the back-burner, finally we paid the $671.00 and booked our crossing for the 25th November returning on the 2nd December.

Day 1 (23rd Nov)
As we were only travelling 356 Km to Nhill, we went to the 'big M' for out traditional departure day breakfast where we joined by Nadeen and her boys, then it was back home to hook up the van and on the road just after 9AM. Stopped a Warrawee Park, Ararat for a cuppa then a rest area for lunch. When we got to Nhill we discovered that they had special parking spots in the middle of town for caravans, what a pleasure! We parked and walked around, purchased a few 'goodies' we needed then on to the caravan park which has a reasonable pensioner rate of $24.00 for drive through. 

Warrawee Park
Nhill Caravan Park
Day 1 Map and Stats

Day 2 (24th Nov)
A leisurely start at about 9 AM after a good brekky as we only had 429Km to our next night stop, we stopped at Keith home of the 'Land Rover on a Pole' for a cuppa.

Memorial to the land scheme funded by Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP), which in 1950, funded the development of vast areas of bushland into farmland, resulting in a large growth period for Keith.

We walked around the town which has many historical buildings, some are still in use such as the first school building. The Church with it's lead light windows inspired by local history is well worth a visit. The water feature was designed by James Darling to celebrate the cycle of water through the Australian Landscape and the region's water irrigation feeding the large grain production as well as the large number of lucerne growers, there is also livestock grazing and a large olive processing plant, 

The town's slogan is "You're in good country now"

Historical Church
Inside the Church
Cycle of water feature with grain silos in background 
After a pleasant stop we proceeded towards Tailem Bend stopping about 5Km from the town for lunch then caught the ferry over the Murray River to Wellington then on to Cape Jervis. Once again we had a drive through site at a cost of $30.00, easy parking and well grassed, then it was time to relax with a cold glass of the good stuff and watch the sunset.
Murray Bridge Ferry (Tailem Bend)
Cape Jervis Caravan Park
Sunset at Cape Jervis

Day 2 Map and Stats

Day 3 (25th Nov)
Up early and down to the dock by 8 AM to collect our boarding passes then start loading about 8:30 for a 9 AM departure, reverse onto ferry. The crossing took about 50 minuets.

The dock at Cape Jervis
Loading vehicles

Ferry Video

Crossing Stats
Welcome to kangaroo Island
We landed at Penneshaw and drove the 62 Km to Kings Cote, which is the largest town on the Island to stock up with veggies etc., we walked around the town doing some window shopping and had a delicious hamburger at Rogers Deli & Cafe for lunch, it was then on to Western KI Caravan Park which was to be our base. 
Road to Caravan Park
We set up camp and while sitting relaxing looked up to see a Koala in the tree on our site, he stayed in the area for three days.

Our camp Koala circled
Close up of the Koala

Day 3 Map and Stats
Day 4 (26th Nov)

Once again a leisurely start, first stop was the Flinders Chase National Park information centre to purchase a KI Tour Pass, it is good value (they have a concession rate) and give you 12 months access to the Flinders Chase National Park as well as admission to the following Kangaroo Island tours:
Remarkable Rock Formation

First stop was the Remarkable Rock formation, The wooden boardwalk makes easy access to these unusual granite boulders, we spent some time wondering around and soaking up the spectacular view.

Remarkable Rocks from the lookout


Cape du Couedice Lighthouse

Construction on the sandstone Cape du Couedice Light House was started in 1907 and completed in 1909 it is visible for up to 27 miles. Before construction could begin a cutting had to be made in the cliff so supplies could be winched up the cliff. Everything that was required came by steamship which visited about every three months, unloaded on the dock, winched up the cliff and stored. The tower used 2,000 pieces of local sandstone.

Cutting in cliff

Cape du Couedice Light House

LOCATION:                  Latitude 36° 03.5' S, Longitude 136° 41.9' E
OPERATOR:                 Australian Maritime Safety Authority
EXHIBITED:                1909
CONSTRUCTION:       Local Granite
CHARACTER:              Group Flashing 2 in 10 sec
LIGHT SOURCE:         120v 1000w Tungsten Halogen Lamp
POWER SOURCE:       Mains Electricity, Diesel Standby
INTENSITY:                  38,000 cd
ELEVATION:                103 metres
RANGE:                        17 nautical miles
HEIGHT:                       25 metres
AUTOMATED:             1957
DEMANNED:               1957
DEACTIVATED:           No
CUSTODIAN:               Parks SA
HERITAGE:                  Register of the National Estate

(information from Lighthouses of Australia Inc)

   Admirals Arch

Admirals Arch is a short walk from the lighthouse, then down a wooden boardwalk, it is a designated geological monument, one of many on Kangaroo Island. A New Zealand fur seal colony has made its home here. Summer is their primary breeding season, seal pups can often be seen playing on the rocks below Admirals Arch.



Vennechar Point

From here we decided to go to Cape Borda via Vennechar Point (West Bay) only to discover that the road is closed from the point so had to back track and drive up the centre road, however on our way to the point we spotted a Koala and a Rosenberg Heath Goanna

Vennechar Point Road
Koala on Road

Rosenberg Heath Goanna

Loch Vennachar was a three-masted iron sailing ship (clipper) that operated between Great Britain and Australia between the late 19th century and 1905. The name was drawn from Loch Venachar, a lake which lies to the south-west of the burgh of Callander, in the Stirling region of Scotland. It is understood to mean "most beautiful lady" in Scottish Gaelic.[1]

In September 1905, she sank without trace and with all hands, leaving a spray of wreckage scattered along the south coast of Kangaroo Island. In 1976, her extensively damaged remains were discovered in an average depth of 12 metres (40 ft) of water near West Bay, Kangaroo Island in South Australia (SA) by the Society for Underwater Historical Research
From Wikipedia
West Bay

Loch Vennechar Anchor

Cape Borda Lightstation

The lighthouse is at the top of a cliff overlooking the Investigator Straight, on the North-West corner of the Island. This unusual square lighthouse is quite unique, the maritime museum gives one an insight into life as a keeper and European history. The restored signal cannon is fired at 12:30 PM daily. The lighthouse was built in 1858 and converted to automatic operation in 1989.

Cape Borda Lighthouse
The Cannon
Keepers residence - note the 'local'

It was now time to head back to camp after a most enjoyable day, on the way we stopped to see where the Finds had run aground and sunk in 1860 with the loss of 10 lives

Inside the museum

LOCATION:                         Latitude 35° 45' 3" S, Longitude 136° 35' 7" E (map)
OPERATOR:                        Australian Maritime Safety Authority
EXHIBITED:                       1858
CONSTRUCTION:               Stone
CHARACTER:                     Group Flash 4 Every 20 Seconds
LIGHT SOURCE:                 120v 1000w Tungsten Halogen Lamp
POWER SOURCE:               Mains Electricity
INTENSITY:                        170,000 cd
ELEVATION:                       155 Metres
RANGE:                              21 Nautical Miles
HEIGHT:                             10 metres
AUTOMATED:                    1989
DEMANNED:                      1989
DEACTIVATED:                  No
CUSTODIAN:                      Parks SA
(information from Lighthouses of Australia Inc)

Day 4 Map and Stats

Day 5 (27th Nov)
Little Sahara

On our way to Little Sahara we stopped a wee general store and petrol station (the last on on this side of the island) then on to the Kelly Hill caves but as they only open at 10 AM we trundled down to Little Sahara. These sand dunes are a system of naturally occurring coastal blow out dunes, normally they are close to the ocean but here they are quite a distance away. The dunes are about 70 meters, Little Sahara was heritage listed in the 1970's. Sandboards and toboggans can be hired from the modern facility at the car park. It looked like good fun but the climb up the dune after each run would have been a bit much, walking up once was enough although it was worth it.

Along the way we stopped off at Vivonne Bay which has been voted one of Australia's best beaches, due to its clear water, privacy and cleanliness. The bay is also famous for cray fishing and well worth the visit.
Vivonne Bay

The sign says it all 'To Dunes'

a long climb


View from the top
Panoramic View
Seal Bay

After a most welcome cuppa it was on to Seal Bay home to the Australian sea lions, the population is between 14,000 and 15,000 so is considered in danger, most live in South Australia and about a 1,000 call Seal bay home. Take the tour and an experienced guide will walk you onto the beach amongst the sea lions. We did the board walk and the lookout.

The Boardwalk

Returning from the boardwalk tour videoed this Rosenberg Heath Goanna near the car park

On our way out we popped into Bales Beach with it's stunning backdrop of cliffs, which is an Aquatic Reserve
Bales Beach

Bales Beach

We headed back to our site at the Western KI Caravan Park which is situated in a 17 hectare Wildlife Reserve, We walked around the Koala 'walk' and spotted three Koalas and many Kangaroo's. When we got back to camp we found our resident Koala leaving his day perch.

Day 5 Map and Stats

Day 6 (28th Nov)
We took a trip up to Western River Cove which is on the North side of the Island and is well worth the winding drive through the mountains.

Western River Cove
Not far from here we stopped at Snelling Beach for a cuppa

We continued on to Stokes Bay which is in the middle of the North coast, it is a popular place for holiday cottages.

Stokes Bay
We went on to the small town of Parndana which is approximately in the centre of the island and had lunch then on to the Kelly Hill Caves.

Kelly Hill Caves

A steep 200 meter walk brings one to the cave entrance where you are met by your guide, ours was an avid caver and had a vast knowledge of the caves and their history. After descending the steep stairs one enters the first cavern with magnificent stalagmites, stalactites, straws etc. it was quite something. The caves were discovered when a stock-man was on his way home and took a shortcut through the hills on a horse called Kelly. They fell down a big hole, the stock-man managed to climb out and went for help, when he returned Kelly had disappeared, no trace has ever been found of the horse and to this day it remains a mystery as to what happened to the horse.
The Walk!


Back to the caravan park after a most enjoyable day

Day 6 Map and Stats

Day 7 (29th Nov)
We woke up to another beautiful day in paradise. After brekky we set off for Emu Bay, one of the few beaches one can take a vehicle on, along the way we spotted these two fellows on Discovery Lagoon, not sure what they were doing. The lagoon is normally full in winter depending on the rainfall, over a 100 native birds have been recorded on and around the lagoon.
Discovery Lagoon

Emu Bay
From there it was a short drive to Emu Bay, we drove around and it seems that there are more holiday homes than permanent residents, one can see why as the water is very clear and it has a long beach that has beach access for vehicles. We walked along the fishing jetty which dates to 1918, found two fisherman but thy had nothing for the 'pot' at that time. A fairy penguin colony has mad Emu Bay its home but we did not see any. We drove on the beach and stopped at the water's edge for a most enjoyable cuppa.

The Jetty

Under the jetty looking toward the boat ramp

Beach access

Driving on the beach video

Time for a cuppa
We stopped at the Island Pure Sheep Dairy which is near the Cygnet River, on our way to Kingscote, the have some 1,500 sheep which they milk daily from about 2 PM, we had a look around and purchased some cheese - tasted good to me!

Sheep Dairy


From here we proceeded to Kingscote, here is an extract from my better halves FB post:

We then went onto Kingscote which has a huge amount of history it's at this point were Duke of York landed as well as 3 other ships. You will see a jetty that looks washed out is were they docked. There is a memorial to the pioneers there. Looking out to the mainland i thought of my ggg, gg, g grandparents sailing past to dock in Adelaide. Their journey must have been horrific on those sailing ships especially when one reads up on all these voyages to get stock and transport various goods. My heart is deeply touched by their courageous spirit. Hard times it must have been.

Reeves Point Memorial to the first Settlers who landed in 1836

View from the memorial

Reeves Point
It was a short drive or long walk to the flagstaff, the inscription on the plaque reads:
This flagstaff celebrates the achievements of the pioneer settlers who from 27th July 1836 lived, worked and created a foundation for our community. 

From here we proceeded to The Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery, which is about 20 Km from Kingscote. It is the only Eucalyptus distillery in Australia and manufactures 100% pure Eucalyptus Oil which can be purchased in their shop as well as a range of associated products and well worth a visit.

After browsing through the shop and purchasing some gifts we decided to return to camp via Murray lagoon which is the Islands largest freshwater lagoon, however when we arrives we discovered that the road was closed and had to back-track about 10Km, we were able to see the lagoon.

Murray Lagoon

Some of the bird life at Murray Lagoon

Day 7 Map and Stats

Day 8 (30th Nov)
We decided to have a slow day, we trundled to Hanson Bay and had a walk on the beach. There is a 18 Km hike which takes one passed the Grassdale Freshwater Lagoon and ends at the Kelly Hill  (caves) visitors centre, we gave it a miss.

Hanson Bay
It was then back to the caravan and time to relax, but not for long, after lunch we strolled down the bush walk to the lake. On the edge of the lake we came across an Echidna who just ignored us and continued feeding. there was a large flock of Cape Barron Geese, Black Swans, Ducks and many bird species, a most enjoyable walk.

The Lake


Cape Barron Geese
Yacca also known as the Grass Tree
Some grass tree resin was harvested in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, but most of it came from South Australia. Germany was originally the largest market for grass tree resin, though trade was interrupted by the blockade at the outbreak of the Great War. In the 1920s and 1930s, grass tree resin was also sold to the United States, and Britain and France also purchased modest amounts. However, as the harvestable grass trees were used up and the constituents of the resin became more cost-effective to manufacture synthetically, yacca gumming slowly died out.
Today, only a small industry on Kangaroo Island continues the practice, harvesting from stock-piled dead stumps. The powdered resin is used in fireworks and explosives, and in the formulation of high-quality resin varnish. Grass trees are now sought out for more decorative purposes – woodturners use the trunks for their unusual texture and colour, their foliage is used by florists, and the seeds or entire intact plants are prized by gardeners. In most states, harvesting is controlled by law to ensure the survival of these distinctive Australian plants.
The Author Dr Mark Kellett 

Day 9 (1st Dec)
Up early and pack to move to Pednneshaw, where we night stopped, but first to Kingscote for stocks then we detoured to American River where we had a cuppa, on our way out we stopped at the Mutson Lookout, no problem with a caravan.

Turn off to American River

American River entrance

Muston Lookout

Lookout car park

Arriving at Penneshaw
Map to Penneshaw
We walked around town and had fish and chips (delicious) at one of the local eating places. After lunch we decided to visit Cape Willoughby Light Station, as we left town we spotted a pod of Dolphins at Bates Landing.
Pod of Dolphins
Once again on a very good sand road to the oldest light house in South Australia.

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse

Light Station

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse
Cape Willoughby was the first lighthouse to be erected in South Australia, and lights the Backstairs Passage between Kangaroo Island and the mainland, it was established in 1852, and originally known as the Sturt Light after Captain Charles Sturt, It is constructed from granite and limestone quarried from a cleft in the cliff at the base of the tower.
Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

LOCATION:                    Lat. 35°50.7' S, Long. 138°08.0' E [map]
OPERATOR:                   Australian Maritime Safety Authority
EXHIBITED:                  1852
CONSTRUCTION:          Stone
CHARACTER:                Group flashing (3) every 30.0 seconds
LIGHT SOURCE:            200 Watt Sealed Beam Lamps
POWER SOURCE:          Mains Electricity, Diesel Standby
INTENSITY:                    370,000 CD
ELEVATION:                   75 Metres
RANGE:                           23 Nautical Miles
HEIGHT:                          20.5 Metres
AUTOMATED:                 1974
DEACTIVATED:               2003
CUSTODIAN:                   Parks SA
(information from Lighthouses of Australia Inc)

There have been 70 shipwrecks around Kangaroo Island, the first recorded was in 1847 and the last was in 1996.

It was then back to the caravan for a good nights rest after a most enjoyable day, tomorrow we go back to the mainland.

Day 10 (2nd Dec)
We were in line by about 9 AM collected our boarding passes and loaded the rig at about 10 AM for a 10:30 departure. We arrived at Cape Jervis about 50 minuets later. So sad to see wind turbines spoiling the landscape.

Cape Jervis note the 'Wind Turbines'
We drove for about 25 Km and stopped at the HMAS Hobart Memorial for a cuppa.
Easy parking at the Memorial

The view

Anchor from HMAS Hobart
We then took a leisurely drive crossing the Murray on a ferry to the Mannum Caravan Park which is situated on the river, a great place to water ski, set up camp and relaxed.

Waiting for the Ferry 

Home for the next two days
Day 10 Stats
Day 11 (3 Dec)
A rest day, we did some window shopping, went to the lookout, the Mary Ann Reserve home the the oldest Paddle Wheeler and Paddle Steamer and just relaxed at camp. A small crowd had arrived and were boating, skiing and wake boarding, brought back many fond memories of my water-skiing days during the 1960's.
Lookout View East

Lookout view West

Our Caravan
Mary Ann Reserve

Flood high water marks October 1956 was 5.1 Meter
And so ends another great day.

Day 12 (4 Dec)
Being our last day before heading home we decided to take a drive up the Murray to Pallaring Flat, Caurnamont,Swan Reach, Nildottie, Walker Flat and Purnong. Along the way we found a farm gate stall with a honesty box, we purchased some fruit and it was delicious. We stopped at Swan Reach lookout for a cuppa, think we crossed the Murray on ferries about six times.
Swan Reach

Time for a cuppa
Walker Flat

Houseboat Marina

Mobile Home?
Nildottie Park
Crossing the Murray again!
It was back to camp and pack the caravan in preparation for an early start the next day.
Map and days stats
Day 13 (5 Dec)
We had decided to 'run' for home in one day and not the two as planned so up early, brekky, hook the van up and at the ferry by 7:30 AM crossing the Murray for the last time on this trip, we had a pleasant trip stopping along the way for a cuppa and then lunch. We stopped a Boarder Town to have a look at the white kangaroos, sad to see that their enclosure had deteriorated and we could only spot two. We eventually arrived back home at 4:32 PM, good to be home but also rather sad that another great trip had come to an end. Anyone who is thinking of visiting Kangaroo Island just do it you won't be disappointed.
Early morning crossing the Murray

On the road again

White Kangaroos
South Australia/Victoria Boarder
Day map and stats
Some statistics:
Distance travelled...................2,996 Km
Diesel used............................583 Lt
Most Expensive.....................Kingscote $1.37
Diesel cost............................$594.68
Caravan Parks........................$335.80

Until next time............wherever you go take time to appreciate how blessed you are.

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