This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 2

TUESDAY 2 JULY     BROKEN HILL

As I was having my breakfast outside under the awning, a departing caravan went past, with a horrible noise coming from a wheel. People were yelling at the driver to stop – he must not have realized the screeching racket was coming from his rig. The wheel was very wobbly. A couple of the wheel studs had sheared right off. He said he’d had a tyre repaired, on that wheel, a day or two before he even got to Broken Hill. He said the tyre place had used a rattle gun and must have over-tightened the nuts.

It was quite scary to think that he’d probably been doing a fair speed on the highway, with a wheel like that – because the missing studs were nowhere to be found on the site he’d occupied. He set off again – very slowly – to limp around town to see if he could somehow get it fixed.

We got going about 11am. Drove to daughter’s office and I went in and collected the glasses. I thanked her, politely, refused to engage in any discussion, and left.

I wanted to drive out to The Pinnacles, about 20kms SW of town, to see them closer up. The road was unsealed, but quite good to drive on. The first venture of Terios “off road”.

Closer up, they looked really interesting, so I was looking forward to some walking and exploring there. Then we came to a locked gate with No Entry on, and were passed by a mining type truck that had come through it.

The Pinnacles

I took some photos from a greater distance than I’d hoped, and we turned back.

Different Pinnacle shapes

Subsequent research, which I hadn’t thought to do before hand, indicated that there was mining for silver, lead and zinc at The Pinnacles, for a hundred years, from the 1880’s. It seemed the closed mine was now re-opened.

After that anti-climax, drove back to town, to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park again, to give dog a good walk.

Being a week day, the adjacent Perilya Mine was working and of interest to the male of the establishment. I preferred the park without the background noise and dust.

Mining memorabilia at Perilya Park

With our tourist venture for the day completed, John decided he could fit in a game of bowls, so it was a quick change for him at Bus, and to the bowls club. I kept Terios, in order to do some shopping, then had computer time and walked dog again.

I bought a sink plunger to try to unblock the grey water tank, which had not received any attention since Gol Gol. As a plumber, I was a definite failure. It didn’t occur to me that there was an outlet from the shower, too, into the tank – and it was lower than the sink. The shower base was being used to store things like shoes and dog food. All I gained from the plunger exercise was a big, unpleasant, clean up job of the shower and its contents, after my efforts  caused some of the grey water tank contents to take the line of least resistance.

I collected John from bowls, where he’d had an enjoyable afternoon that took his mind off personal issues. He was less than impressed with my DIY plumbing effort, but did concede there was definitely a problem. I thought we’d established that days ago!

I made tea of ham steaks, pineapple, potato wedges, eggs.

After tea watched an interesting episode of a TV program called Kitchen Cabinet – personal encounters with various politicians on their home turf.


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2013 Travels June 30

SUNDAY 30 JUNE     BROKEN HILL

Daughter had said that she had to go into the office to do a few end-of-financial year things, in the morning, so we had arranged that she would contact us when finished and we would go do some walking.

At 3pm, after we’d waited, and lunched, decided to do it alone, and drove to the Perilya Twin Lakes Park, where it was pleasing to find they allowed dogs on leash.

The park was lovely and the walk around its perimeter long enough for us to feel exercised.

Perilya Park

The adjacent Perilya lead and silver mine contrasted with the green lushness of the park, which had been established by the mining company.

Part of the Perilya Mine

Drove up to the Line of Lode, as I wanted to take some photos looking over Broken Hill.

We had, on previous visits, explored the cafe and display centre, located up here, and the Miners’ Memorial, in its distinctive rusty building. The huge mining waste “hill” shows the line of where the original ore lode stretched, in the low jagged range that was the “broken hill”. The position on top makes these buildings visible from much of the town.

On the Line of Lode

From the top, one looks out over the main, central part of the town, in one direction, and South Broken Hill in the other. It is very much a physically divided town. As well as the Line of Lode bisecting the town, the east-west railway runs just below the hill line.

Broken Hill central city area, north side of Line of Lode

I was hoping to be able to take a photo that showed the Pinnacles in the distance, having previously bought a Woodroffe painting showing these hills. They were more distant than I realized.

The railway from Line of Lode. Pinnacles just visible in distance

At the adjacent visitor centre, I collected some tourist material. Looked for polo shirts, but could not find any that tempted purchase.

On the way to the Line of Lode, John had “discovered” where the Bowls Club was located.

To Woolworths to shop for food, but with no idea whether I was catering for two or three, tonight, then back to Bus.

Daughter eventually appeared. She hadn’t gotten up till 3pm! She stayed to tea, of fettucine with a tomato sauce (no meat!), followed by strawberries with yoghurt and cream.

After some discussion about possible arrangements for tomorrow, it was decided that daughter should take John out to Menindee, for a look around out there, and take her dog out for the treat of a day out for it. I said I wanted to stay at camp with our dog, and do our washing. I quite looked forward to just dog and me, for the day!

We planned that, on Tuesday, John would spend the day doing handyman work around daughter’s house and garden. There were quite a few things she wanted done, and found it hard to find tradesmen she trusted – or the money to pay for same. She had arranged to be off work on Tuesday, so tomorrow I would see if I could book us an extra day here.

My wrist seemed almost better, in terms of pain. Just the occasional twinge if pressure was put on it at certain angles. But the bruised area still looked bad – pretty sure I had somehow broken a blood vessel in there.


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2007 Travels May 5

SATURDAY 5 MAY     ARKAROOLA

It was a hot, sunny day, with just some scattered light cloud.

After breakfast, we walked up to Reception, at the main complex. Maybe the campground was a bit further away than 500 metres?

We looked at displayed information and collected walk leaflets. Booked ourselves in for tomorrow’s Ridge Top Tour.

Decided to do the walk that went along the Mawson Valley to the Pinnacles, and return by the Spriggina Track. It was an 8km circuit – a reasonable stroll! After walking back to camp to get organized with things like first aid kit, drinking water, muesli bars, cameras, our proper walking boots, we then had to walk back to the village centre again, to the trail head. So that was a kilometre walked, before we’d even started!

The first part of the trail paralleled a little, dry, creek. It was attractive and photogenic, with a surprising variety of vegetation – almost none of which I could name. Mt Oliphant was off to our right.

Mt Oliphant

Around half way to The Pinnacles was the granite outcrop of Sitting Bull, named by Douglas Mawson in 1945.

Sitting Bull

The track flanked Sitting Bull and soon we could see The Pinnacles – similarly, granite. These were all intrusions, or plugs, exposed when the softer surrounding land was worn away.

Track flanking Sitting Bull on the way to the Pinnacles
Pinnacles

From The Pinnacles, we followed a track back to the Bolla Bollana road, crossed that, taking a trail towards the Spriggina fossil replica, then followed low ridges back to the campground. Taking this trail meant that we avoided walking back on the road, but it was more open, hot and less attractive than the first part of the walk had been.

On a flat area below the trail, so walkers could look down on it, Reg Sprigg had built a much enlarged replica of the Spriggina, an ancient fossil that he discovered in 1946, west of Beltana. It was like a worm and was the first animal fossil discovered to have a definite head. It was one of a most significant group of fossils found around the Flinders Ranges area, called the Ediacara Fossils – for the geological age when they crawled around on the sea floor. They were the first multi-celled animals to appear on Earth, some 600 million years ago.

The Spriggina replica (Zoom)

From the last part of the trail, as we came along the ridge, there was a really attractive view of the campground, with Griselda Hill behind it.

The campground and Griselda Hill

John found the latter part of the walk hard. Neither of us was very fit, after the ailments of the past few months. The shingles that John contracted, back in February in the Pilbara, really knocked him about. I was hoping that a recent cortisone injection had finally fixed the troublesome Achilles tendon that plagued me all last year. I was pleased with how it stood up to this walk – a positive sign. M, of course, the former PE teacher, was totally fit and agile!

The route of our walk

We had a late lunch back at camp and relaxed in shade there for the rest of the afternoon.

M drove up to the mechanic’s to collect her repaired tyre. They had found there was a hole in the inner tube, caused because some drongo at the tyre service place, back home, had left a valve cap inside the wheel when her new tyres were put on, last week! Why is it so hard to get competent workers?

There were notices up, that the Gammon Ranges National Park, to the south, would be closed for feral and weed control work, in a week’s time, so we would have to do all that we wanted to, there, before then.

As we pored over maps and brochures, I was already suspecting that a week would not be long enough, here.

Tonight, sitting outside, we faced the other way and watched the moon rise over the hills. The moon always seems larger, here. The stars are certainly brighter.


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1998 Travels May 11

MONDAY 11 MAY   LAKE MCKENZIE TO CATHEDRAL BEACH  

Overnight rain meant that we packed up a damp tent that we will have to dry out later.

Some of the latest crop of backpackers were quite rowdy last night, and are very seedy this morning. I was walking up the track towards the toilets, behind a couple of the lads, and heard one ask the other: “Do you remember the name of that chick I screwed last night?”……..an interesting insight into backpacker antics! I wondered if this was a peculiarly Fraser thing, or if maybe it was like that when my step-daughter and her friend went off through India and South East Asia. I wasn’t sure I should share this with John!

After pack up, took the quickest way to the east beach at Eurong, where we shared a portion  of the beach with a plane. This is not uncommon, here.

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Sharing the east coast beach “highway”

Then drove north along the beach, stopping at various tourist sights.

At Rainbow Valley, we walked up amongst some of the spectacular coloured sand cliffs that occur in these parts, where clays have stained the sandstone and also hardened the sands somewhat against erosion. The cliff walls really were multi-coloured, from greeny through to ginger, and with varied erosion patterns. Unfortunately, it was a very hard scene to photograph and do justice to, due to the narrowness of the little gorge.

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Rainbow Valley

Further along, we came to an area called The Springs, near one of the sand blows, and spent some time wandering amongst dry channels and hollows in the soft semi-rock.

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John exploring the formations at The Springs

Then we came to Eli Creek – a major attraction of the island. This is a fast-flowing, clear water creek, with a board walk along side. The creek discharges some 80 million litres of water a day, into the sea! There are huge ground water reserves under Fraser Island, that feed the occasional spring fed creek. Eli is a stop on the day tour circuit, so it was relatively crowded. We had our lunch there, watching fish and a big eel swim in the creek. Obviously a “to do” thing here is to float/body surf down the creek, from the board walk’s end to the beach. We were not tempted – there were a few too many younger bodies to compete with for space in the water. I managed to take a photo of Eli Creek, but it took quite a lot of patience to capture it without bodies

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The incredibly beautiful Eli Creek

Further north again, we stopped at the wreck of the “Maheno” – a former liner and WW1 hospital ship. In 1935, it was being towed to Japan for scrap when cyclonic conditions blew it onshore here. Then it was used for bombing practice in WW2. It is now an interesting, rusted out, photogenic skeleton partly buried in the sands. We wandered around – and in – it, taking photos. There was another pair of dingoes at the back of the beach, here. A Ranger drove through and stopped near them and they went away. Seems they associate Rangers with being unwelcome!

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The wreck of the Maheno

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Two dingoes on the beach at the Maheno wreck area

Just north of the “Maheno” is the Pinnacles formation – more coloured sand cliffs, this time fronting onto the beach. These appear on many of the Fraser Island postcards – as does the ship wreck. We walked and took photos and admired the structures. I found the erosion features of the Pinnacles more significant than the coloured sand layers. I remembered that, many years ago, when my children were young and spending a holiday with their father, they did a day trip here and brought me home a souvenir bottle of coloured sands from these parts, which I still have. I doubt that they were old enough to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the island, though.

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The coloured sands and erosion features of the Pinnacles

After this, we reached Cathedral Beach, with its private campground, some 29kms along the beach from Eurong. It took a long time to do that distance – there is a lot packed in there to see, along the way. The camp cost us $20 for an unpowered site. I was not impressed! We were the only tent campers there – given the cost and the nearby cheap camps in the dunes behind the east beach, I am not surprised. Still, it is a nice setting, there are lots of birds, and the location suits our plans for tomorrow.

We put up the small dome tent that was part of my farewell present from my staff. First time we have used this. We wanted it for overnight stays like this. Our lilo just fits in the dome tent, with a little crawl space on each side. As the night is supposed to be fine, and not too cold, this open air camp will suffice. Very bare ground all round.

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Our basic camp at Cathedral Beach

After our quick camp set up, John went off down to the beach to fish. I had a very enjoyable shower – the first for three days! I could not be bothered, where we have been, queuing up with the backpackers for the shower there – and putting up with the mess they created in it. But I enjoyed this one – and it was warm!

John did not return until after dark – fish-less.

Tea was tinned tuna, in the absence of fresh fish –  and some salad.

There was no dingo chorus tonight.