This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2010 Travels May 16

SUNDAY MAY 16     PORT LINCOLN

I woke feeling somewhat better, but still not one hundred percent. However, the forecast was for a weather change for the worse after today, so it was decided we had to do the Whalers Way drive today.

Whalers Way is a route around some absolutely brilliant coastal scenery to the south of Port Lincoln. The gravel track is on private property and access is strictly monitored. As the name suggests, there are some associations with the whale hunting of the early colonial times.

Off we went to the Information Centre in town, where we paid $30 for our permit to do the drive, and were given an access key, and map.

Initially, our route was the same as a couple of days ago – to Tulka. But then we kept straight ahead, passing the Sleaford Mere Conservation Park. Sleaford Mere is a large lake, at the area where the Jussieu Peninsula – where the Lincoln National Park is – joins the main land area. If Sleaford Mere was a bit larger, the Peninsula would be an island.

There was whaling activity in these parts, briefly, in the period around 1840. The names of various features around the drive, developed by the local farmer on his land, are largely whaling related. The actual whaling “settlement” was at Fishery Bay, by which the drive starts. This was as far as open public access went.

Fishery Bay

At the entrance station was an old blubber pot, in which pieces of whale would have been boiled down for oil.

At the Information Centre, we had been shown which of the side tracks off the main drive, to various features, were able to be driven, with 4WD, and which were best walked the relatively short distances involved.

First stop was by a track to be walked, to the Swimming Hole. Or, to be more accurate, to the cliffs above same.

The Swimming Hole

There were superb coastal views, the cliffs, and a very small, smooth pool.

Despite its name, attempting to try for a swim there would have been a foolhardy exercise, given the cliffs and the unpredictable nature of rogue waves in these parts. But it looked lovely.

Next, we walked the track to Whalechasers Crevasse. As named, a narrow inlet.

Whalechasers Crevasse

It was clear that more than this one day would be needed for us to visit every named feature along the drive. Our aim was to get a fair sampling of the variety on offer, so we did not detour to every possible place. Ate our packed lunches at the designated picnic area.

Cape Wiles was where the coastline “turns the corner”. The coastal rock formations here were unusual – small triangular shaped islets of rock.

At Cape Wiles

Between Cape Wiles and Cape Carnot, to the west, the cliffs faced south.

At Cape Carnot we investigated the Blowhole and Baleen Rock Pool.

Baleen Rock Pool at Cape Carnot

From this Cape, the coast swung away to the north west.

Coast beyond Cape Carnot, and windfarm

The geology of the rocks here is such that the pounding of the huge seas of the Southern Ocean has been able to open up long narrow crevasses along lines of weakness, or joints in the rock. Theakstone Crevasse was a great example of this – so narrow you almost felt you could jump across it, so deep that common sense prevailed!

Theakstone Crevasse

We continued on to the end of the track, at Red Banks. On the distant hills, there was a large wind farm.

Red Banks

Red Banks had obviously been named for a distinct red layer of rock occurring in the otherwise white/grey cliffs of the area. There was a rough camp area here, open, exposed, on sandy gravel.

We wandered about there, for a while. I’d gotten tired, after lunch, and left M and John to do some of the walking to features without me, whilst I waited in the parking areas.

Whalers Way was a dead-end track so we had to return the way we’d come. The main track was a good firm gravel surface, with no tricky driving at all involved. I suspected that the lack of a sealed road, plus the cost, deterred many visitors to these parts from tackling it. That was probably good in conservation terms, preventing “over love”, but it was certainly an experience we would recommend to any of our friends visiting here.

It was a great day and worth every cent of the $30 fee.

We got back to camp about 5pm. Tea was whiting and fries.


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2010 Travels May 15

SATURDAY MAY 15     PORT LINCOLN

I woke in the morning feeling poorly, after a restless night of bad dreams and disturbed sleep.

John had come to bed late, after playing games on his laptop, and that woke me. Then his “heavy breathing” kept me awake. It was a really cold night, too.

After I got up, couldn’t stop shivering. I didn’t feel like Weetbix – or even coffee, so decided I must be sick! Bugger – for a while there, thought I had whatever bug it was, beaten.

We took me off to a clinic, where a temperature of 40 degrees was measured, and urinary tract infection confirmed. A strong antibiotic was prescribed, with orders to drink lots of water and cranberry juice. We bought the necessary items and went back to camp.

I went to bed. John went to bowls. M went off for a drive and a walk in the National Park. They enjoyed their various afternoon activities.

M’s outfit about to take off – Port Lincoln

Food did not interest me, so John and M went and bought themselves KFC for dinner. Always a welcome treat for John!

An early night was had by all.


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2010 Travels May 14

FRIDAY MAY 14     PORT LINCOLN

After breakfast, we set off to explore some of the Lincoln National Park.

We followed the coast around from Port Lincoln, along the Proper Bay road, to Tulka, then went east around Proper Bay Road to Cape Donington, at which point we were directly across the bay from the town, which we could see in the distance.

We left the vehicles at the parking area by the Cape Donington Lighthouse, and then walked the 6km Donington Circuit Walk. This took us over rocky outcrops. through coastal scrub and along some sandy beaches.

On the eastern side of Cape Donington
She wouldn’t be doing this if it was still alive….
September Beach and Cape Donington Light

From September Beach, the track cut back inland, supposedly to the other side of the Cape and then back to the start. However, we mislaid the track on the inland section, where there were lots of vehicle tracks, and no signage. So we short-cut the last part, walking up the main road instead.

We probably walked about 5kms in all.

After that foray, drove around to Fishermans Beach and ate our lunch there.

Fishermens Beach

The coves and beaches, and rocky points, out here, were really pretty.

Drove around past Spalding Cove and Surfleet Cove, to the parking area below Stamford Hill. A short walk track went up to the top of the hill – only about 500 metres – where there was a monument to explorer Matthew Flinders. John was very tired by now, so we didn’t do the Hill walk, but watched birds whilst M went off and did the walk.

We got back to camp about 4pm, after a great and scenic day out. The Lincoln National Park was definitely worth visiting – for day trippers like ourselves, or for campers. As with Coffin Bay National Park, if we’d had more time, we would have thought very seriously about bringing the van out and staying a few days in the Park.

Tea was kingfish dipped in tempura flour, and fries. Very nice fish. The availability of good seafood was another plus of staying in these parts.


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2010 Travels May 13

THURSDAY MAY 13     COFFIN BAY TO PORT LINCOLN   45kms

Despite prior performances. we were packed up and in Port Lincoln by 10.15am.

On the way out of Coffin Bay, we drove up to the lookout over the town and surrounds, knowing that there was plenty of room up there for the rigs.

Coffin Bay township from Lookout

The vegetation around the lookout had really grown up since last we were there.

M caught another mouse last night, so – hopefully – that cleared them out of the Troopy.

The Port Lincoln Caravan Park was a big one, but it had some strange sites. The park was on a hillside that sloped down to the sea, which made for some magic views. Sites were terraced down the slope, but not all of them were even.

On the phone, I had said that we had an 18 foot van – which we did, if one counted the drawbar. I didn’t know if the Reception people had no concept of size, or didn’t know their sites, or just didn’t care – or all three! We had to do a lot of manoeuvring about, to fit onto the site we were allocated, which sloped from back to front, and sideways too, for good measure. Even with a block of wood under one wheel, we would still be sleeping heads downhill. There might be problems hitching up again, as the car and van would be on quite different levels.

M was able to fit her tent on the site allocated, next to us, but there was no room for the Troopy, except for parking it on a very small site next to her.

We should have walked down and inspected the sites, before taking them. You would think we had learned that basic precaution by now. But we had so rarely had any problems, especially in a big and popular place like this, that we had become complacent.

Up the hill from us were some rows of drive through sites. They had easy access, and great views, but there was not enough room for them to put out awnings. A strange park indeed.

The cost of our site, after discount, was $23.40 a night.

The price for the wonderful  views across the bay was that it was windy, most of the time.

John went off to bowls. I did a load of washing, pegging it out on the line very firmly!

Today, I felt quite well again. All a bit of a mystery.

M and I walked the Parnkalla Trail – a walking trail that follows the coast from the Marina around to the port area. After a little detour around the main wharf area, we were back on the foreshore walking track, to the town centre. It was a pleasant 5km walk to get from camp to the centre.

Port Lincoln with caravan park location shown (Google)

We bought an excellent coffee at a cafe and sat taking in the beautiful outlook over the bay.

Walked a more direct route back to camp, via streets, but what the map didn’t show us was that it included a big hill. We must have walked about 9kms in all. The soles of my feet were sore, and I had a back ache. Couldn’t walk all day like once I could!

John got back from bowls about 4pm, having enjoyed his game.

It got even windier later in the afternoon, and turned really chilly.

Tea was pasta with a sauce I made up, based on mushrooms, ham and cream.


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2010 Travels May 12

WEDNESDAY MAY 12     COFFIN BAY

M and John were up and away early, to go to Port Lincoln to do the boat trip they had booked.

I was able to sleep in until 9am – a nice luxury. While I had the chance, gave the van a good clean and tidy, and then spent some time on the laptop.

The tourists got back about 2pm. They thought the cruise had been good value. The boat only took eight passengers at a time, so there was attention for all. They gained lots of snippets of interesting information, about Port Lincoln and its area, and about tuna farming. They got to taste some of the highly valuable sashimi tuna. Port Lincoln was reputed to have the greatest number of millionaires, proportional to its population, of anywhere in Australia – due to the tuna industry.

Whilst still in Port Lincoln, they went to a chemist to buy some alkalinizing stuff for me – a product that M said her friend had taken, last year, when she had the same affliction during their Canning trip. The chemist told them I absolutely had to see a doctor, so they’d found an appointment for me – at 11.15 tomorrow.

I was actually feeling a bit better today – last night might have been the turning point. So I didn’t think I needed to see a doctor. That appointment would make tomorrow’s schedule really tight, as we were planning on moving from Coffin Bay to Port Lincoln, and John was booked in for bowls at 12.30. So I phoned and cancelled the appointment.

I also phoned and booked us into the Port Lincoln Caravan Park for five nights. We would use that as a base from which to explore the Lincoln National Park.

Went for a final drive out to the National Park – to the Point Avoid area.

Explored the side tracks to Flat Rock, Golden Island Lookout, and Almonta Beach too.

Near Flat Rock
Flat Rock area
Avoid Bay Beach
Point Avoid Lookout – Price Island
Golden Island Lookout
Almonta Beach

We contemplated driving the very sandy track through the dunes to Gunyah Beach, but the afternoon was getting on. John and I had been there before, and M was not keen enough on the idea to be bothered going through all the tyre letting down rigmarole – so we passed on that one.

Coffin Bay dusk

Tea was chicken thighs cooked with a packet satay sauce, with rice. Despite his aversion to coconut milk, John really liked it.

Another really cold night.


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2010 Travels May 11

TUESDAY MAY 11     COFFIN BAY

In the wee small hours of last night, we were woken by a really loud bang. Lay and listened for a while, but heard nothing more. In the morning, M told us that a roo had bounded full pelt into the side of the Troopy. It woke her up with a hell of a fright. Apparently, it was determined to maintain the course it was on, and crawled and scrabbled under the vehicle to the other side.

She had just gotten back to sleep, when a mouse trap went off in the drawer under her bed. Because the drawer was metal – and empty – that made a fair noise too. One mouse less. The roo did not appear to have damaged the Troopy. M was less than enamoured with wild life, right now.

On a day that was overcast, with occasional showers, we drove to the National Park.

First stop was Templeton Lookout, where there were great views over the bays and inlets of Coffin Bay, and towards the ocean in the other direction.

Looking towards the ocean from Templeton Lookout

On to the Yangie Bay area, where we walked the Lookout Walk circuit – about 2kms.

Little Yangie Bay – part of the larger Coffin Bay

Along the way, we looked at birds, admired the brilliant scenery, took photos.

Weather variable….

The walk was well worth doing, through thick but low coastal scrub and trees.

Casuarina on the Yangie Bay track

Ate lunch at the Yangie Bay camp area, which was a lovely place, with tent nooks tucked away in the trees, and close to the sea. The van section, though, was further up the hillside and open, bare, unattractive. Had we been able to park the van in a “tent” site, we’d have been strongly tempted to move out here next.

Next, we tackled the drive to Black Springs, some 13 kms away. After a couple of kms, reached Lake Jessie and there we had to deflate the vehicle tyres, to be able to continue through the sand dunes.

Deflating tyres in order to continue through the sand

The track was a mix of sandy surface, alternating with rough, rocky stuff. Originally, we’d hoped to go and drive along Seven Mile Beach, as John and I had done in ’93. However, because there was a kangaroo cull happening, there was no public access beyond Black Springs. The drive that far was lovely, though. I really enjoyed the coastal bush and the scenery in general.

We went for a short walk at Black Springs, then retraced our route.

Black Springs

Used our air compressor, with its inbuilt air storage tank, to re-inflate our tyres at Yangie Bay. That was such a great tool to have, fixed as it was and wired in, tucked under the rear passenger seat, with the tank under Truck. Much easier than fiddling about with a portable compressor. Over the years, it had been worth every cent it cost to have it installed, back at the beginning of our travels.

Back to town, along the beautiful drive beside the bay.

I had not felt properly well, all day, and was in quite a bit of pain. It was not the greatest condition in which to be travelling over rough tracks, but I was glad we had done the drive – such a beautiful area.

A hot shower seemed to ease the pain somewhat, but I didn’t feel like any dinner. Made some pasta with a bottled sauce, for John, and M had the portion that would normally have been mine.

The night was very cold, and I had feverish bad dreams. The degree of pain was such that I wondered if, in fact, my occasionally grumbling appendix had come to life again.


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2010 Travels May 10

MONDAY MAY 10     COFFIN BAY

It was an overcast day, with some rain.

After a leisurely start to the day, we drove to Port Lincoln. At the Information Centre, we bought an 8 week Parks Pass, for $27. M did the same.

We did a little shopping while there. M actually managed to buy some mouse traps and I could see an evil gleam in her eyes.

I had been feeling increasingly unwell over the past couple of days and was now starting to think I might be developing a urinary tract infection. It was decades since I’d had anything like that, and so I wasn’t really sure. I tried to buy some barley water at a health food shop, but they had nothing like that, so I bought barley at Safeway and made my own, back at camp.

Had a Subway lunch in Port Lincoln, before driving back to camp. Subway seemed to have replaced KFC as John’s travelling lunch of choice. I think he thought it was healthier.

We lazed about for the rest of the day. I was feeling very tired – always an ominous sign for me of something being amiss.

Lazing about at camp

Tea was open hamburgers – for all of us. I made special meat patties and served them on a half roll, with all the usual hamburger additions and extra salad. They were very yummy – but huge.


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2010 Travels May 9

SUNDAY MAY 9     COFFIN BAY

There was much condensation outside, under the awning roof, in the morning. There were far too many drips for us to be able to sit under the awning. Guess it had something to do with being by the sea. However, it turned into a beautiful day.

M had now declared serious war on mice. Not only had there been the rustling in the night, and the chewed things, but this morning, when she pulled out a storage drawer in Bessie, there were FOUR of the “little sh**s” – her words. Two immediately bailed out and ran off into the bushes, two went back into hiding. So she got determined. Everything that was left in Bessie came out.

All of the Troopy contents being thoroughly checked through……

The storage drawers were emptied. She even took off some of the wall lining panels. No mice to be found, but they were still in there somewhere. So much for lavender oil….Short of demolishing the entire vehicle, she’d done all she could. She left all the doors open, hoping they might sneak out and away. And hoping that the others didn’t see it as an invitation to come back!

There were Sunday markets in the township. We walked to those, but there was not much of note. However, I did buy a pair of earrings made from quandongs. Walked back to camp along part of the Oyster Walk, seeing some very nicely situated homes along the shore.

Mt Dutton from the Oyster Walk at Coffin Bay

Coffin Bay had, on our previous trips, always reminded me of a much smaller and laid back Lakes Entrance, in Victoria. The bay seems more lake-like, being so land enclosed. It was certainly beautiful – one of the very few places in SA that John and I would have found liveable. In fact, had this been somewhere on the Victorian coast, we’d have been sold up in Melbourne and shifted ┬áby now.

The name was not as morbid as it sounded. Matthew Flinders named the bay for a friend of his called Coffin.

After lunch, we drove out to the Coffin Bay National Park – a lovely drive because the road was beside the bay for some of the way. At the Entrance Station, when we saw the charges, decided we would be best served by buying a Holiday Pass, rather than do daily entries. But we would have to go to Port Lincoln to get that.

So, turned around and drove the other way, to Wangary, on the way we’d come from the north a couple of days ago. Took the minor road from there to Farm Beach. When we first visited these parts, in 1993, we had been amazed to see a parking area, by the beach, full of old tractors, and then – all along the back of the long beach, rows of parked caravans. We eventually worked out that the tractors were used to haul the caravans along the beach, as well as to launch fishing boats.

Coming from Victoria, it was rather unbelievable to us that people were allowed to have this unregulated van settlement actually on the beach. We wondered about hygiene: there were no amenities, and this was before the advent of en-suite vans.

Now, there was a basic caravan park on “proper” land at Farm Beach itself – $5 a night, no power available. It would be alright for a few days’ stay. There were now no caravans along the beach.

Farm Beach – once was a long line of caravans right the back of this beach

There was a big tractor “graveyard”, and still some in use on the beach, for moving boats. We were told that the tractors all had to be cleared out soon. A few could stay, but they must be roadworthy and registered! So, the quirky nature of this place was giving way to the nanny state, it seemed. A pity we couldn’t be flexible enough to allow a few such places to remain – not the vans polluting the beach, but the practical use of old tractors for the boats.

We walked along Farm Beach for a while. Watched a couple of boats being launched or retrieved.

The northern end of Farm Beach. Pacific gulls and ordinary silver gulls.

Drove further around the inlet and looked at Little Douglas – a few houses, a beach. Like at so many locations around this part of the coast, we looked out over Coffin Bay – quite a large expanse here.

Little Douglas and the expanse of Coffin Bay

Then retraced our way back around to Mt Dutton Bay. This had a Heritage-listed, beautiful old woolshed that dated from the 1870’s, and jetty to match. Back then, coastal shipping was used to take wool bales to markets, and to bring goods in for the local pastoralists.

Mt Dutton jetty
Mt Dutton Woolshed

A little further north from Wangary and Farm Beach was Gallipoli Beach, which was turned into “Anzac Cove” for the film Gallipoli. But John was fading fast, so we did not go on to look at that.

The area visited today (Google)

Tea was garlic prawns and rice.


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2010 Travels May 8

SATURDAY MAY 8     COFFIN BAY

The morning was foggy, again.

After breakfast, M was in her tent, opened a plastic container to get something, and a little hopping creature bounded out and exited the tent, heading for the nearest bushes. She couldn’t remember when that container was last open, so we wondered where that had originated?

The mouse in the Troopy was still disturbing M’s sleep. She sprayed a lot of lavender oil around in there, this morning. She thought she’d read somewhere that mice don’t like lavender, so was hoping it would now leave voluntarily. At least, she should have a calm mouse!

I walked to the shops and bought the Weekend Australian, and some leatherjacket fish cheeks – apparently a local delicacy. Would try them for tea, tonight.

John had been hoping to go to bowls here, today, but found out there was none on. With the day now free, we decided to visit Port Lincoln, about 30kms away.

Our first stop in the town was at a fish co-op sales outlet – it closed at midday, so we had to get in quickly. Bought prawns and oysters. Put them in the little esky lunchbox, with some ice.

We went to the very comprehensively stocked Information Centre and browsed there for a while. M and John booked to go on a boat tour on Wednesday, that would take them round Boston Bay and to the tuna farm out in the bay.The weather forecast for then looked as if it would be favourable for being on a boat. I wasn’t all that keen on the offering, so spent some money on a set of electro-plated little gumnut earrings, instead.

We meandered around the shops and along the foreshore parkland. Saw the statue of Port Lincoln’s famous Melbourne Cup winning horse, Makybe Diva, owned by a local tuna fisherman. She is the only horse ever to win three Melbourne Cups, and the only mare to win that race more than once.

Tribute to Makybe Diva. Port area in background.

Port Lincoln was very attractive and picturesque, with the sun shining. Like Coffin Bay, it was in a superb setting. It was first explored  by Matthew Flinders, as he charted the Australian coastline, and named for Boston in the UK. Back in the 1830’s, this area was originally a contender for the main settlement of the new colony of South Australia, but was rejected in favour of what became Adelaide.

These days, it is a centre for tuna farming and deep sea fishing, and a terminal from which grain s from the hinterland are loaded on to ships, and fertilizers for the area’s farms brought in by ship.

Drove up to Kirton Point Bowls Club, where John found out about a game of bowls next Thursday afternoon.

We did some of the Tourist Drive suggested in the information brochure – to the very large Marina, home of the largest commercial fishing fleet in the southern hemisphere.

Port Lincoln Marina

There, we walked around and looked at boats – naturally! What else is there to do in a marina?

Lots and lots of serious fishing boats
……and a very nice recreational fishing boar

Since it was just a short distance further on, we drove to Billy Lights Point. This gave a good view of Boston Bay, and the large Boston Island off Port Lincoln. This island was a privately owned farm, grazing sheep. I wondered about the origin of the name, Billy Lights Point – maybe it was named for Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor General of SA, the man who rejected Boston Bay in favour of Adelaide.

Looking across Boston Bay to the large Boston Island – from Billy Lights Point

By this stage, John had hit the wall, so we went back to Coffin Bay. He watched bowls on TV for the rest of the afternoon. M and I sat outside, reading and chatting.

For tea, had half a dozen oysters as an entree. Lovely they were. Then the leatherjacket cheeks, dipped in tempura flour and fried. They were really yummy.


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2010 Travels May 7

FRIDAY MAY 7    COFFIN BAY

Woke up to a foggy morning, but it eventually cleared.

Today was a camp based one – mostly relaxing.

Our site with M’s beyond.

M and I walked to the General Store, after breakfast. There were no mouse traps to be had in Coffin Bay, either.

I picked up our mail from the Post Office, forwarded by daughter, to whose place I’d redirected our mail before leaving. There was nothing of note there, apart from a set of spectacles for John. He had ordered these, over the Internet, before we’d left home, wanting them for close-up work – reading and computer use. When he tried them, though, he found they were like his “proper” glasses – fine for normal seeing and distance – but useless for close up work. I suspected that the Internet was not the best way to acquire glasses that worked….

John phoned our new, good mechanic, at home. The one who had already done much work on Truck, this year. His advice was that the best solution to the coolant/heater issue, was to divert the coolant away from the heater, until we got home. Sounded logical. John did the necessary pipe shuffle, as described to him by mechanic. Now, we had no functioning heater. If the weather turned wintery, there could be some very cold feet.

After lunch, M and John went walking, on the Oyster Walk track, which follows the shoreline for kilometres, from Kellidie Bay, along Kellidie Inlet to Mount Dutton Bay. They walked a long way and were away for about three hours. I didn’t go because my back was a bit sore, and I didn’t want to aggravate it.

The Coffin Bay area (Google)

Chicken kievs for tea, with broccoli.