This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2004 Travels April 19


Having had a look around the place, yesterday, we decided to extend our stay here, mainly so John could go fishing.

I walked on the beach for an hour, in the morning, before John got up.

We drove to one of the access points to the Fowlers Bay Beach and went through a very sandy cut onto the back of the beach, where John drove on further, following previous vehicle or quad tracks.

The tide appeared to be coming in fast, and I thought our situation was rather precarious, so was worried and could not relax.

John caught four grass whiting off the beach.

We left as the water was getting up close to Truck. Going back up off the beach, through the sandy cut, was not easy. John had to gun Truck somewhat, and we slewed badly to the side in the sand – not good on partly flat tyres! John and I have always disagreed on what was an acceptable risk with the vehicle. I guess that, being the passenger, and not in control of what is happening, makes it seem worse. Or maybe I am just more conservative – or more sensible?

We went back to town and fished some more, off the jetty, catching another whiting.

After lunch at the van, drove out to Scotts Bay and fished there. John caught one whiting.

There was a very colourful sunset, whilst we were out there.

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2004 Travels April 18


The final pack up and departure from the caravan park was straight forward.

We refuelled in Ceduna, again, having managed to clock up 401kms in our explorations and jaunts around town. Diesel was still 96cpl.

Today’s was not a long drive – only 145kms of towing. We set out on Highway 1, westwards. Passed through the “windmill township” of Penong, without stopping. Just west of Bookabie – a general location rather than a specific settlement – turned to the south, onto a road that led to Fowlers Bay. This was an unsealed but firm road – mostly pretty reasonable to travel on. There was about 30kms of it, before we reached the village.

The country we passed through was pretty flat and uninteresting – grain farms alternating with scrubby sections. More of these as we got closer to the coast. The few low trees were stunted and wind shaped, pointing inland. As we neared the coast, distant, high sand dunes appeared. By the time we reached the little township, these bare dunes loomed over the far edge of the town, leading us to wonder how long it would be before the settlement was engulfed by shifting sands.

We booked into the small caravan park, initially for one night, which cost $17. We really wanted to check the place out before committing to any longer stay. When we did eventually extend, it was $16 a night.

The park was a bit basic, but ok. It was right by the waterfront, by a jetty that extended some way out to sea.

After set up and lunch, went for a walk, firstly out on the jetty, then along the beach front. There was a lot of accumulated weed on the beach, so we walked in flattened tracks made by quad bikes. It seemed that quite a few people had these, here.

Fowlers Bay was an interesting little place. Once, it would have been a small port for the surrounding farm country – the fairly long jetty attested to that. Now, there was only a handful of people there.

At the front of the caravan park was a small kiosk/store, and that was the extent of commerce here.

The village was a couple of blocks deep, extending back from along the shore. The looming sand dunes were already mentioned.

The two main access roads, both unsealed, pass by, or over, salt lake areas.

Our mud map, and information, indicated that the main fishing – apart from off the jetty – was to be had at Scotts Beach, to the west, and – a bit further on from that – at the beach by a conical offshore rock formation known as Mexican Hat. One must follow tracks that skirted the big dune area, to reach these.

John let some air out of Truck tyres, in preparation for driving on sandy areas.

We went for a drive to Scotts Beach and Mexican Hat, being careful on the harder access roads because of the flatter tyres. There was some guess work involved in trying to reach the happy medium in tyre pressures, due to the differing surfaces.

There were people fishing at Scotts Beach, which was apparently a salmon fishing beach.

All we did this afternoon was to check out what the area had to offer.

After tea, John had a phone conversation with his travelling cousin, M. They were at Kalbarri, so quite some way ahead of us.

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2004 Travels April 17


I did three loads of washing in the morning. It was quite a windy day, so good for drying.

We went into town and did a grocery shop, in preparation for a few days with limited available supplies.

The Chescold fridge we used as a supplementary one, outside the van, had not been working for a while. John had conferred with the local fridge repairer, who had organized for a new element to come in the mail, by plane. He then brought it out to us – great service. So today, John fitted it – the fridge was working again and John was quite pleased with his efforts.

Later in the afternoon, we went fishing. It was very windy and chilly out on the Thevenard Jetty. The little cockles John had gathered on the beach, the other day, proved to be too soft and small to work as bait, but John caught a garfish and that became bait. He caught a good sized whiting and a small Tommy Ruff, but overall it was a frustrating effort.

I kept a very close watch out for my scary seal!

We did some preliminary packing up and, of course, I picked in the dry washing and dealt with it.

We were as ready to go, as was possible.

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2004 Travels April 16


After breakfast, drove into town and mailed daughter’s birthday card, cheque, and a Crossing the Nullarbor polo shirt.

Earlier in the week, when looking at information and maps of the area, had noticed Googs Lake, roughly to the north. This seemed an interesting destination for a day trip. I was able to buy a Westprint map that we could navigate, reasonably accurately, from.

The skies over Ceduna were overcast and rather threatening, but we didn’t want to keep hanging around Ceduna waiting for better, so decided to do this expedition today, hoping the day might improve a bit.

So, after the Post Office visit, set out, taking a packed picnic lunch with us.

The main Quarantine check point was just on the western edge of town, as we’d found the day we went out to Denial Bay. We had some fruit with us, for lunch and snacks, so stopped at the checkpoint and mentioned to the man that we would be returning in the afternoon and might have some leftover fruit with us. He was very pleasant.

Just past the checkpoint, we took a road to the north, towards Lone Oak Farm. Googs Track was built by the Denton family, from this farm, between 1973 and 76, working mostly at weekends. “Goog” was the dad. His idea was to link his farm to the Trans-Australian Railway, to the north, hence giving him access to wider markets than he had through Ceduna.

Lone Oak Farm was about 30kms from Ceduna. It was just a bit before we went through the new electrified Dog Fence – 6000 volts! I had to open and close the access gate, and was cautious about what I touched.

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After the gate, we were soon into the proper Mallee scrub of the Yumbarra Conservation Park. Very interesting – scrub on red desert sand – just the sort of country we love.

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There was much variation in colour and texture along the track. We saw no-one else.

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In places, there were sections of red sand dunes – up to 25 metres high. Most of these were quite straightforward driving and nowhere near as tricky as, say, the Simpson Desert. It would have been a challenge for truck to have pulled the van out here though.

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We stopped to look at some small pools of water that had collected in hollows in large rock slabs. These were water “holes” for aboriginals. Goog believed that he was the first white man to have seen them.

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Rock pools by Googs Track

At one point, there was a diversion in the track, to take it around a large mallee fowl nest area.

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Detour around Mallee Fowl nesting area

About 50kms from Lone Oak we came to the track junction where Googs Track continued north, but the side track from there to the Lake branched east. At this point, there was a memorial to Goog and his son. The latter died in an accident in 1993, and Goog died in 1996.

The lake was about 5kms from the memorial corner. There was a little water in the lake, which was salt. It was a fair size – about 1km wide and stretching off into the distance for about 15kms.

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Googs Lake

Surrounding the lake were scrub covered red dunes – very photogenic.

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It would have been a great place to camp for a few days.

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We ate our lunch at the lake, and wandered about on foot, exploring around the edge and taking photos.

The solitude was superb.

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All too soon it was time to commence the fairly slow trip back to camp, retracing our route of this morning.

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The Dog Fence stretching into the distance

The man at the Quarantine Station let us keep our leftover lunch fruit.

It was a great day’s outing – I loved it.

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2004 Travels April 15


It continued to rain all through the night and into the morning.

We went for a drive, following the road past the caravan park and on, roughly southwards. This turned to a firm, unsealed road, and took us through the usual sort of low SA coastal scrub country, to the Wittelbee Conservation Park, by a lovely little bay.

We walked on the beach there. John dug up a few small cockles – possible bait.

That only took us about an hour. Apart from that, it was a quiet day.

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2004 Travels April 14


Another cloudy day.

We still had things we wanted to do, so booked to stay on for another three nights. These cost $19 a night.

After an early lunch, went fishing off the main jetty at Thevenard – the port part of town. It was rather industrial around there – naturally, given that there was a major grain shipping facility, amongst other things. But the jetty gave us access to deep water.

We caught some fish – 3 salmon trout, 3 whiting, 4 Tommy Ruffs. I caught one of the salmon – quite a big one. I had another big one get away off the line.

At one stage, I was leaning over the edge of the jetty, not far from the water surface, to check my line, when a big seal suddenly surfaced, right under me – with a loud snorting noise and spray of water. We almost rubbed noses! It scared the hell out of me. I had fishy nightmares during the night!

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It started to rain, at tea time – light, but steady.

We ate some of our catch for tea – very nice.

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2004 Travels April 13


The day was cloudy.

It was a day to rest from bowling, and to go for a little drive.

Filled with diesel – 96cpl.

I posted a parcel of books that I wanted to keep, home. Sent a knitted vest for the baby, to daughter, and a postcard off to grand daughter.

We then drove out along the coast to the west of here – through Denial Bay village, to Davenport Creek. Although the country was flat and dry, it was an interesting and varied trip.

Denial Bay was a cluster of houses, and a jetty.

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Denial Bay

Davenport Creek was a sort of swampy, tidal inlet, creating an arm of land between it and the ocean and beach.  We did a little driving on the Ocean Beach, and a bit of harder, scarier (for me) track driving through the scrubby dunes.

That little outing was enough, and after that it was back to camp.