South Australia

Welcome back! It's Monday night and were at Streaky Bay, SA. (Google it)

We didn't make the 550ks to Eucla. We stopped short and free camped at Mundrabilla East Rest Area with the flies... a very uninteresting Rest Area short of Eucla. The flies here on the Nullarbor are unbelievable! Their favourite food is Aerogard!!

The night was cold and VERY windy and we left early and covered around 400ks, passing through Eucla, on to the SA border. We expected to be 'searched' at the border, but we drove straight through. It was a WA checkpoint... SA has their border checkpoint at Ceduna. 

On this leg, we called in to a spot on the Great Australian Bight, where we were told we would see whales. It is called 'Head of Bight' and was 14ks off the main highway and $14 admission, but it was all worthwhile. They have the area well set up and we saw several whales with their young, frolicking in the shallow bay. They didn't seem to be in any hurry to move south, back to the colder waters. The coastline across the Great Australian Bight is truly majestic!

View from Van

Leaving there, we again free camped at another boring spot with the flies, 150ks before Ceduna. That night, Sunday, we were awoken around 11.30 by a very strong wind.

Free Camping Nullarbor

We were certain a storm was coming, but when I went outside to check everything, it was a starry, moonlit night. The van shook violently and it took quite a while to get back to sleep. By morning, the wind had eased and it was a beautiful day.

We went on to Ceduna and were going to stay a night there, but moved on instead to Streaky Bay, where we have power and an internet connection. We've booked in for 2

Gulls & Pelicans at
Fish Cleaning in Park

nights for some R&R after the Nullarbor Crossing. There's not much here, but it's a pretty little place and the caravan park is right on the Bay... we have a lovely Bay view from our van. There's a boat ramp right here in the park and a fish cleaning bay for the many fishermen. The seagulls and pelicans swarm around when the fish cleaning is on.

Our next leg is 293ks to Port Lincoln, where we'll spend a couple of nights, taking in the race meeting on Thursday. Then it's off to Port Augusta and from what we've heard, it will only be an overnighter.

Port Lincoln, Port Augusta and Nuriootpa (?!)

Thankfully, we had fine weather on the trip from Streaky Bay to Port Lincoln. We arrived after lunch on Wednesday 25th and booked in to the Port Lincoln Tourist Park a Top Tourist Park, for 2 nights, before setting off to see the sights of the area.

It's a medium sized town, with a Coles and Woolies, but no shopping Centre, which we found unusual. Many smaller towns we've visited did.

No, we weren't the only ones there!

That night the rain pelted down, but the skies were clearer by morning so we went to the Port Lincoln Races as planned. We both lost, but had a good day.

Friday morning we made tracks for Port Augusta. We were going to stay at one of the 2 Parks there, but just before we left the Port Lincoln Park, Bev got talking to one the other guests and he told her about an inexpensive camp at the back of the local Sport's Club. He didn't know the name of it or where it was, so I Googled it and eventually found it... Port Augusta Football & Community Sporting Club. Petal (Navman, remember?) easily got us there and there were around 10 or so others already set up. The Club only charges $7 per night, but you need to be totally self sufficient, which of course, we are. Having arrived early, we spent the afternoon in the Club Tab, having a beer and a punt! Yes, I won. No, Bev didn't.

Our next stop was to be at Discovery Holiday Park in Adelaide. I booked online and paid for a week there, but later got an apologetic call that they were fully booked! All they could do was 2 nights on one site, move to another for 2 nights then another for 2 nights. Stuff that!

Thankfully, we met a lovely couple at the PAF&CS club, who suggested we stay at Nuriootpa.

We'd never heard of Nuriootpa!

So, long story short, we are now at the Barossa Valley Tourist Park in Nuriootpa (no I can't pronounce it either!) in the Barossa Valley for a few days.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we'll go to the races at Gawler 20 or 30 clicks away, then Monday I suppose I'll have to take a wine tour of the region! Yes, sacrifices have to be made.

We have made a week's booking at the Discovery Park in Adelaide starting October 7, so we may have a few more nights in this area, probably at Gawler.

More later...

Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley Wine Region

Nuriootpa is a lovely little town in the southern edge of the Barossa Valley Wine Region. The Barossa Valley Tourist Park, where we are now, is a nice spot to be... close to the many attractions in the area. Joanne and Luke visited this area some time ago and Jo has given us some 'must see' places to visit, as well as some 'must buy' wines from the region!

The wine tours here are around the $95 per head mark, so we will probably only take one tour. From the brochures we have, one of the all day tours takes in the points of interest of the area, as well as the wineries, so they will probably get our loot. (UPDATE: Didn't take the wine tour. Instead of spending the $190 on a tour, I opted instead to buy some wine for less than half that amount!) We had booked into the Barossa Valley Tourist Park for 3 nights, but we can't get into our Adelaide Park until the 7th, so I was able to extend our stay here for 9 nights. That will give us plenty of time to tour the Region.

The tour started yesterday (Sunday) with a visit to the Gawler Races. We didn't realize, but it was Gawler Cup Day and the place was chockers and we had to stand all day. Tough for a couple of oldies!

Unlike Rocky where you need to travel 100ks south or 330ks north to get to the closest towns, the towns in this area are pretty close together. So much so, we were able to visit many small towns in the Barossa area (I call them Villages) and enjoy the 'country ambience' so to speak... the village bakery, the butcher shop, the PUB (of course) and specialty shops such as the coffee shop, the cheese shop and the olive shop, to name a few.

A visit to Maggie Beer's Farm Shop was an essential. Who's Maggie Beer? A celebrity chef on Masterchef, her own TV show on ABC... etc. She has a VERY popular 'Farm Shop" near Nuriootpa where
you can sample practically ALL her wares. We bought a bottle of her 'famous' marinade to try on steaks, lamb, etc.

We noticed on the TAB website today (Friday) that the Gawler Greyhound Race Meeting was on, so off we went. I'd describe Gawler as a big 'little town' in the area with a population of around 21,000. Nuriootpa would be second at around 5700. Some of the quaint little villages only have a few hundred.

We have 3 more nights here and then it's off to Adelaide, where we are booked into the Discovery Holiday Park at Semaphore Park.

'Till then... ...


Adelaide - Monday 7th October

Peacock at Toy Factory

It was only a short 70k trip to Adelaide from Nuriootpa and we were booked into Adelaide Beachfront Caravan & Tourist Park at 249 Military Road, Semaphore Park. Petal found 249 with no trouble... except it was nowhere near our Caravan Park!

Military Road is very long and apparently, there are several 249's. Seems the numbers reset as you pass through each suburb. A phone call to the park soon got us back on track. The Park is in a great location, just a short walk to the beach, but way too cold and windy to even contemplate.

On Wednesday, we drove to a nearby 'Park and Go' Railway Station and took the half hour train trip to the city. The Adelaide Railway Station is virtually underneath the Adelaide Casino, so it was a short walk for our first visit. As you know, Bev and I have visited the majority of Casinos in Australia and we would have to rate the Adelaide Casino well down the list.

Today, Thursday, we had planned on a self-drive 'Wine Tour' of the McLaren Vale Wine Region. But the weather again turned sour with rain and cold wind, so we instead went north to the Adelaide Hills.

Our first stop, after a winding road trip to match the Mount Morgan Range (but longer) was the Toy Factory at Gumeracha. That's the place that boasts the world's biggest rocking horse and they aren't wrong! They make and sell 100's of wooden toys, ranging in price from a few dollars to as much as $500.

From there, we headed on to Melbas Chocolate Factory at Woodside and stocked up on some 'necessities' to keep us fat. From there, it was down the road and into Hahndorf which, as the name suggests, is steeped in German history and tradition. You could be forgiven for thinking you had entered a Swiss or German Countryside Village. Although a smallish town, it has a l-o-n-g main street and there were people everywhere. The entire main street is lined both sides with cafes, pubs and shops of every description.

Back at the Park now, we've had dinner and the wind has picked up again. It got so windy last night, we were up after midnight raising the awning, which sounded like it was going to get airborne. Hopefully the weather will improve for the rest of our stay.

Monday, we're going to Victor Harbor for a couple of days, before heading off to Victoria. We've allowed 4 or 5 days to get to Victoria and travel the Great Ocean Road, before setting up in Melbourne for a couple of weeks.

Adelaide - Victor Harbor


I must be getting old... no mini-bus wine tour in Margaret River or McLaren Vale.

Instead we opted for a self-drive tour of wineries, which sucks really, 'cause I can't do all the tastings available and BJ won't drive the tug!

However, we visited 3 of the 4 wineries recommended by Joanne in the McLaren Vale area on Friday (11/10/13) and walked away with 5 or 6 bottles of modified grape juice, one of which I'm enjoying now. (hic!)

The town of McLaren Vale appeared to be a little more 'modern' than many of the small towns we've seen in South Australia. I don't know its history... maybe it's a little younger than some of the other towns.
Saturday, it was off to the races at Morphettville Park, Adelaide's major Metropolitan Track. I Googled the address and punched it into Petal, but when we arrived at that address, there was no sign of a racecourse. Thankfully, the new Navmans have search features which allowed us to locate the destination. Morphettville Race Course is an impressive complex and we had a 'good' day at the races.

Sunday, we took the train to the city and had a look around the CBD. After a Subway lunch in a Food Hall, we went to the Casino for a final visit. Bev dropped (gambling code for LOST!) fifty on the Roulette table, but I was able to turn my $50 into $170, so I gave her, her $50 back and kept the $70 profit for myself!

The weather turned crap again last night (Sunday) and blew a gale, but thankfully eased this morning to pack up and head off to Victor Harbor. We have the heater on tonight as it's quite cold and more strong winds are predicted. Tomorrow, we'll have a good look around Victor Harbor and Port Elliott, before it's off again... this time to Mt Gambier

Won't be long and we'll be in Victoria. From there, it's all uphill to Rocky!

Victor Harbor, Robe and Mt Gambier

Victor Harbor (yes, that's how they spell it...not Harbour) is a lovely little town, situated on the coast, 84ks south of Adelaide. It was a rather slow trip, much of it through suburban Adelaide and nearby towns being swallowed up by a sprawling Capital City.

We arrived just after lunch and booked into Victor Harbor Holiday & Cabin Park for 2 nights. The rain had eased, but the never-ending wind was always present. It was very noticeable during our walk across and back the 600m long jetty to Granite Island.

Granite Island was really worth the visit and is a top Penguin viewing location, but we were not keen to return at dusk, which is when the little fellas come out. There is a horse (Clydesdale) drawn 'Tram' that does the trip across the jetty every hour or so, but Bev and I decided we needed the walk. We are both starting to look like a couple of Clydesdales'!
Nearby Port Elliott was also worth a visit and like many of the towns in this area, steeped in history.

Strathalbyn, a name very familiar to us because of our horse racing interest, was only 48ks away, so we took a trip there Tuesday for a look around. Again, steeped in history, but really not much to see. We had a Pub Lunch at a quaint old country pub and headed back to the Park.

Apart from a good look around, that covered our visit to Victor Harbor and Wednesday morning, we left for Robe, SA with another cold front moving through the area. Our trip to Robe took us from Victor Harbor to Strathalbyn, onto Wellington, where we had to cross the mighty Murray River on a barge (free) and then onto Meningie, Kingston SE and finally Robe, a 332k trip.

In the middle of Summer, Robe would probably have been a nice place to visit, but with the continuing bad weather, it wasn't pleasant. A drive around with closed windows was enough for us. (No photos)

That night (last night) the strong wind, rain and hail hit, shaking and hammering us all night. Thankfully the hail wasn't large, but was very noisy on the caravan roof. This morning (Thursday) we packed up in the VERY cold wind and headed off slowly for Mount Gambier. It was so cold packing up outside this morning, I think hypothermia was setting in. I had difficulty breathing and my fingers were so cold I had a lot of trouble doing up the safety chains and the weight distribution hitch.

We finally got away on the short trip to Mount Gambier mid morning and arrived here around 11.30am. We had pre-booked at Blue Lake Holiday Park, a lovely Big 4 Park next to the famous Blue Lake, setting up again in the very cold wind. We had no longer set up camp, when the light hail hit again. By tea time the wind and rain had eased and the sun came out, but what breeze there was, was COLD!

We are here for 2 nights, so I'll update before we leave. Our next stop is Warrnambool in Victoria, bypassing Portland, before we hit the Great Ocean Road. We have already booked into Melbourne Big 4 Holiday Park at Coburg, just 9ks from the CBD. We'll be there for 15 nights starting October 23rd, so we've got a couple of days up our sleeve before then.

South Australia to Victoria

One thing we've noticed, travelling around this huge country of ours, is the difference in geology from area to area. We go from flat, dry rolling plains one day to hilly, rocky escarpments the next. Arriving in Mount Gambier, we were struck by the large number of craters in the area. For example, the Caravan Park we stayed at was the Blue Lake Holiday Park, so named for the huge 'lake in a crater' I alluded to in my last post.

Nearby was the 'Mutton Leg' crater, that looks exactly like that (from the air) and the Valley Lake Crater, and others, which to my mind is the result of ancient pre-adamic volcanic activity. Another 'crater', which is in the heart of town, is the 'Umpherston Sinkhole'. (Read about it here)  It's a very impressive sight and Bev and I took the walk down to the bottom, mainly to escape the bitterly cold wind above!

After the shitty haircuts we both got in Bunbury, WA., Bev couldn't stand it any longer. We sussed out a hairdresser Thursday and made an appointment Friday for BJ to get a perm. When I went back to pick her up, I got a trim, to make my haircut less shitty. (Didn't work!)

We didn't plan it this way, but working out our travel schedule for the next few weeks, it turns out we will be in Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup!

I only packed one pair of slacks and one long sleeved shirt, neither of which would be 'suitable' for The Cup. So we went shopping here in Mt Gambier Thursday and I bought a pair of slacks, a shirt and tie. I have yet to buy a pair of black shoes and maybe a sports coat. Bev got herself a nice expensive (in my mind) dress, a jacket and a lovely pair of shoes, so I guess we're nearly ready for the Big Event.

We had a good look around the nearby area and headed off Saturday morning, to Warrnambool, 182 ks away.
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Our solution to this dilemma was to install a Satellite TV System. My research had narrowed the choices down to 2 companies:

Both companies offer a full Satellite Caravan Kit at great prices. I was ready to order a full kit from Access Antennas, when an email changed everything.

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Caravan Improvement Projects
I love working on new projects that will improve our quality of life on the road. Here's one project I just completed recently. See if it will suit your setup... you may want to do it for your van. 
                 Water Purification Project


Usually, we don't stay in a Free Camp location longer than 2 days. We like to share our Free Camping experiences with Caravan Park stays. Therefore, we don't need a lot of Solar. Even so, our setup includes 2x 130w Panels fixed  on the roof (above), powering a 110AH Battery. We also have a second battery in the tug.

As a supplement, we also have a 120w Folding Panel.  We have never come close to running out of power, thanks to our van's highly efficient LED lighting and low power draw appliances.

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Simply enter your current location in the box and hit enter. It's preset for the Optus C1/D3 Satellite.

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