This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2010 Travels May 4


My baby turned 36 today. I’d already posted a card to him, from here, on Sunday, but today sent him birthday wishes via text, as well. Didn’t think the mail service was that efficient.

Today’s sightseeing was the Westall Way Loop drive, ranging a bit further afield. This took us out the Sceale Bay road, then off on a side road, firstly to High Cliffs.

High Cliffs

High Cliffs was a bit of a misnomer. Where the track took us to was a parking area above a moderate slope down to a beach some distance below. However, from the parking area there was a clear outlook to  high and steep cliffs to the north.

Rock shelf south of High Cliffs

We clambered down a rough track from the top, to a small beach with some granite outcrops at their end, and explored amongst those for a while.

Very photogenic, they were.

Scrambled back up the track to the vehicles, then drove on further – only a short distance further – to another lookout. Here, there was a built, stepped path, down to similar rock formations. We decided we’d just been exploring part of the Granites – from the other side – and had done it the hard way!

Did some more exploring there. There was something exciting about wandering around the rocky area while the waves crashed further out. I think the rather stormy skies actually added to the attractiveness of the whole area – certainly made it more dramatic looking.

We had come down the incline in the distance

Our next stop and wander was a bit further south again – Smooth Pool. It is as it sounds – an area in the granite rock shelves protected from wave entry, so just smooth water. I imagined that, in warmer weather, it would be a great place for children  to cool off, in a safe area.

Continuing on around the Westall Loop Road took us to the turn off to Yanerbie, and we had to go have a look at that settlement. It was a small collection of beach houses and shacks. Frankly, we couldn’t work out why people would be bothered to be there! It was bleak, barren and with no services. A pleasant view over Sceale Bay to Cape Blanche was its only redeeming feature.

We parked and ate lunch by a weed covered “beach” near Yanerbie, and watched a seal – or a little sea lion? – swimming about. These lunches with marine life entertainment were great!

The Yanerbie Sand Hills that we drove by, on the way back to Streaky Bay, were something different in the otherwise flat and rather boring landscape. A section of the coastal sand dunes at the northern end of Sceale Bay had become destabilized, probably through vegetation disturbance or removal, and the dunes had begun to move inland. They were quite high, as in much taller than houses, shining white, and slowly encroaching on the surrounding farmland, such as it was.

Google view of the Yanerbie sand blow

Got back to camp mid afternoon.

Fish and fries again for tea tonight – the whiting was excellent.

The night was very chilly, and with drizzling rain. We lent M our small electric fan heater, to warm her sitting tent.

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2004 Travels April 4


Had a lazy morning and early lunch, then went for a drive – south to Point Labatt, to see the Australian sea lion colony that lives there. This was unique as the only permanent mainland sea lion colony in Australia.

Sea lions have similarities to seals, but also key differences, one of which is sheer size.

We went out of town and south on the Flinders Highway, then took the turn off to Calca, then the Point Labatt road, before we reached Sceale Bay. Once off the highway, the roads were unsealed, but firm and fine to drive on.

Baird Bay is a strange shaped inlet that extends north from Venus Bay in a long, narrow, shallow finger of water. West of Calca, we travelled along its northern edge for a way, with it seeming to be almost level with the road. Then the Point Labatt road ran south on also a narrow finger of land, between Baird Bay on one side and the Southern Ocean on the other. In places we passed sand dunes, other parts were scrubby or semi bare. Again, in places, we ran very close to the shore of Baird Bay.

We were surprised, and rather horrified, to come across a land subdivision on the way to Point Labatt, stretching from the shore of Baird Bay, to the ocean, across scrub and sand dune terrain. They were large acreage lots, but I would have thought the environment there was pretty fragile,  and with problems to do with water sourcing and waste disposal. I guessed they did things differently in SA!

Point Labatt faces west, onto the Southern Ocean. Here, the high cliffs of that part of the coast, have been eroded back to form rock shelves and platforms, and small bays with little sandy crescents of beach.

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Sea lions on rocks below the lookout point

One views the sea lions from a lookout point on the cliffs, high above the small beach and rocky areas where they live. There is no access down to their level, which was probably a good thing for both the sea lions and people. Binoculars were a distinct advantage, as was the zoom lens on my new digital camera – a feature of it I’d not used before.

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Big bull male, and others

There was a mix of a few big bull males, several females -smaller – and younger, part-grown ones. There was not a great deal of activity from them! They definitely gave the impression that their life was all about just lying about, sunbaking.

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There was the occasional ungainly waddle, from one point to another – clearly, their thick layers of fat were heavy to haul around on land. There was some movement from the water onto the rocks.

Despite the lack of action, watching them for a while was strangely interesting.

The males were distinguishable, apart from size, by the cream colour on the back of their necks.

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Sea lion tracks above the tide line

We tore ourselves away from the sea lion show, retraced our way back to the Sceale Bay road, and turned west again, to visit that hamlet. There was a small, basic caravan park there; the majority of the houses seemed to be holiday ones rather than full time dwellings. Apart from wonderful views to sea, there was little to recommend the place.

We followed a roundabout route that took us to Smooth Pool, The Granites and High Cliffs – all scenic landmarks on what was a rugged and spectacular stretch of coastline.

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Smooth Pool

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High Cliffs

Unfortunately, we really did not have enough time to walk about and properly explore those features.

It was almost dark when we got back to camp.