This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2010 Travels May 13


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


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


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


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


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  by 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


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


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.

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2010 Travels May 6


Packing up again took a long time – for all of us.

The gear was wet too, which didn’t help. As the sites were fine gravel, trying to clean off and fold up the wet awning roof, without picking up lots of little stones too, was a challenge.

M really needed a different “living” arrangement, in my opinion. That current tent was a fool of an arrangement.

After all the trials of the pack up, we had only gone a couple of kms from Streaky Bay when John noticed that the temperature gauge was rising too much. Pulled over. When he checked under the bonnet, saw that the coolant expansion tank was almost empty. That was a worry. He added some water to that, then we did an about turn and drove back to Streaky Bay and bought a container of coolant. We always used to carry a spare container of this, in our general travels, because we were often in remote areas. Never needed it. Of course, this time, when we did, the spare coolant was at home!

Started out again, somewhat tense about what might be going on under the bonnet.

Stopped at the next town down the coast, Venus Bay, for a little explore. Walked out along the unusually curved jetty to where there were some fishing boats tied up. A dinky little “railway”, with manually pushed trolleys made it easier to move the catch, and provisions, back and forth along the jetty, which was really too narrow  and decrepit for car or truck transport.

Venus Bay jetty

On our wanders, kept a very wary eye on pelicans perched on top of the – substantial – light poles. A “splat” from one of those would not have been at all pleasant!

Walk below at your peril!

We drove up to the Lookout, behind the town. Well worth the effort of doing so – great views.

Venus Bay coastline

While we were parked up at the Lookout, I noticed coolant leaking from under the heater on my passenger side. The accounted for the acrid sort of smell I’d been noticing for the past three days or so, and not been able to find a source for. John and M had a fiddle with the pipes but without any apparent effect.

We stopped at Elliston to buy lunch. We’d read good things about the bakery there, so bought a selection of pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Lunch cost us $23! Not something we’d do too often, at those prices. The food was alright, without being awesome. I tend to find the thought of sausage rolls much nicer than the reality, anyway.

There was a Scenic Drive, from Elliston, which followed the coast around in a loop. M went off to do that. John did not want to do it with the van on, and what we could see from the town didn’t look all that scenic, so we continued on to Coffin Bay alone.

Elliston – Scenic Drive in distance

On previous passes through these parts, John and I had not been attracted to either Elliston or Venus Bay as potential places to camp for a while. We still weren’t.

A little way past the hamlet of Wangary, we turned onto Airport Lane, which we knew would take us through to the Coffin Bay Road.

Booked into the Coffin Bay Caravan Park for a week. $26 a night, with the seventh night free. We had stayed here a couple of times before, so knew we would want to spend that time here.

The Park had expanded since the last time we were here, with a very nice new amenities block built.

We were put onto one of the older sites at the top of a gradual rise, not one of the newer, drive-through van sites. This was because of M’s outfit being a vehicle and tent – and we wanted adjacent sites.

We had a goodly amount of space around us – sites in this park were pretty spacious. And grass underfoot again! Kangaroos grazed around the sites at night – there was plenty of evidence of that around!

M arrived not long after us. She had missed the short cut turn off, so had done some extra kms.

Set up, then relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

After the big lunch, tea was small – chicken noodle soup thickened up with a tin of creamed corn.

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2000 Travels December 1


After packing up, which did not take long, we went for a little walk around the camping area, and managed to give away our surplus fruit and veg.

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Famous in surfing circles – the Caves Break at Cactus Beach

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The Cactus Beach camp area from the track to the beach

Had to retrace our route of yesterday, back to the highway. Again we passed the vivid pink lake. There is water both sides of a causeway. On one side it is pink, on the other side it is an ordinary coloured lake!


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Contrast each side of the causeway

After that, it was a straightforward run to Ceduna, through low scrub and mallee country.

We had to stop, of course, at the quarantine checkpoint on the outskirts of Ceduna. Here, I had to hand over cucumbers and onions – I hadn’t been sure about these, so had kept them to check. No – not allowed!

Then of course, we had to do a shop in Ceduna, to stock up on fruit and vegies. And bread, which we’d run out of.

Refuelled Truck there – $1.03cpl.

We continued on to today’s destination of Coffin Bay, travelling down the western side of the Eyre Peninsula. It was a pretty drive, passing through several townships and hamlets that would have been interesting to stay at and explore, had we the time. It certainly looked as if there was interesting coastal scenery along that stretch. Maybe another time?

We booked into the Coffin Bay Caravan Park for a week. $17 a night, with the seventh one free. This is our final treat for ourselves – the time to relax here and explore, because we really liked what we saw on the few days we stayed here in ’93. It is a village by an extensive lake and bay – very much reminded me of the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, except not as developed.

In the six days since we have left Perth, we have travelled 2,539kms! Not our preferred rate of covering country…..

This year, we have been in every Australian State and Territory, except the ACT. Six States and one Territory.

We set up on a good grassy site. It did not have much shade, though. Although it is high up, there are not views of the bay. However, the TV is great – John was pleased!

There seemed to be some noisy and rather feral, other campers around.

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Visitors at our Coffin Bay camp

There was also another Trakmaster van – a Nullarbor one. We spoke briefly with the owners – they have only had it since October and this was their first trip of any length.

There was a phone message from T at Wonga Beach – reminding us not to forget to send them one of our Xmas letters!

Tea was potato soup and fishcakes made using the potato I’d cooked yesterday.

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