This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

Leave a comment

2010 Travels May 5


Today a longer drive was on the agenda, to wrap up our sight seeing from the Streaky Bay base.

Again, headed south on the Sceale Bay Road. The roughly 30 kms provided some variety – farmland, low scrubby bush, then the Yanerbie Sand Hills off to the west, and finally, views out to sea.

The settlement at Sceale Bay was similar to Yanerbie.

We didn’t linger, but doubled back a little way then took the Point Labatt road. This route, in part, followed the western side of Baird Bay, a long, narrow inlet. In a few parts, the road was almost in the water of Baird Bay!

Sceale Bay and Cape Blanche

The attraction at Point Labatt was, of course, the sea lion colony there – the only such colony on mainland Australia.

Sea lions sunbaking – and their ponderous flipper prints.

A platform has been built at the top of the cliffs, so one can watch the creatures going about their normal lives – which are lived at a pretty slow pace. There are little coves below, where they sleep and sunbake, on the sand and rocks. Some of them were really big, and so ungainly out of the water. The big old males could be pretty bad-tempered too. It occurred to me to wonder if that’s a mammalian characteristic that is common across different species? Decided it might be politic to keep that thought to myself, though.

When we’d watched our fill of sea lions, drove back to Sceale Bay road, then east to Calca, then took a minor road back down the eastern side of Baird Bay, to the township of that name. It resembled Yanerbie, too, only somewhat larger.

We sat in our vehicles, looking across Baird Bay to the far side, where we’d driven earlier, and ate lunch.

Retraced our way, stopping briefly to have a browse around in the Old Calca Cemetery, a small collection of old graves sitting in the middle of a harvested paddock. Bleak, lonely, sad.

Thence to Murphys Haystacks. This stop was more interesting than I’d expected. Like Pildappa Rock, these are inselbergs, but not as big.

Murphys Haystacks

There’s a number of them, in clusters, quite close together, with a path that wanders around and through them.

They are a strange and unexpected occurrence in the flat farming land.

Eroded into strange shapes…

Apparently, the original Murphy, who had the farm around these formations, was buried in the Old Calca cemetery.

The head of a sea lion?

Arrived back in town mid-afternoon. Checked out a hardware shop and an electrical store – in order to buy M a heater! Suddenly, she’d gone from scoffing at the creature comforts we carry, to being a convert…

I had a quick browse in a craft store. Didn’t see anything I couldn’t resist.

The mousey resident was still keeping M awake at nights, and she had been finding the odd chewed-through items in her stores. But there was a mouse plague in these parts, and not a mouse trap to be had in town!

From camp, we went walking along the track that follows the western shoreline of Blanche Port, out and back. We probably walked about 3kms in all. The flies were really sticky and annoying, and we had a couple of short spells of light rain drizzle, so it wasn’t the best of conditions. Watched a couple of nankeen kestrels hunting and hovering, looking for their dinner, admiring how they could hover in one spot for some time, despite the breeze.

Streaky Bay beach

Tea was ham steaks and pineapple, mash, and John had a couple of eggs with that.

This was another chilly night. M christened her new heater.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

2010 Travels May 3


We had a fine day, blue sky for most of it, very pleasant.

Set out to drive the Cape Bauer Loop tourist drive. This would not be too onerous for John, but would give a good sampling of the spectacular coastal scenery to be found around here.

First stop was Hallys Beach. A long but well graduated boardwalk took us down to the beach, which stretched into the distance.

The way down to Hallys Beach

We walked for some distance along the beach, and back.

The long expanse of Hallys Beach

John was standing near the water’s edge and wave watching, when a big one suddenly reared up and “chased” him. His efforts to get going in the sand were hilarious – cartoon worthy. The waves were certainly impressive.

Northern end of Hallys Beach

Back up the boardwalk, which didn’t seem nearly such an easy gradient going uphill.

Drove on to Whistling Rocks and the Blowholes.

Wave platform at Whistling Rocks

The Whistling Rocks were great. Waves forced air and water through fissures in the rocks and this made an impressively loud noise. There were steps built to these and to lookout platforms.

We spent some time at each platform, trying to get good photos of waves crashing onto the rocks, blowholes blowing, and rainbows in the sea spray.

Then more driving – on to Cape Bauer itself. This was the southern head of the Streaky Bay, so named by explorer Matthew Flinders, because the water surface in the bay was – streaky! As it still is.

The rugged Cape scenery was impressive. We watched a pod of dolphins playing about in the surf.

At Cape Bauer

Continued on the loop road, following the coastline around, back towards town. We stopped at the boat ramp area – inside the small Blanche Port inlet bay at the head of which the town is built. Ate lunch there, watching two dolphins swimming around just in front of us.

Rather than go back to camp, took the track to Back Beach. The tide was in, and there was no beach to speak of, so we didn’t try to walk down onto it.

Back in town, refuelled Truck. Went to the seafood outlet shop and bought six large whiting fillets. These cost $25 but would do us for two meals.

Tea was whiting, fries and salad.

John phoned one of his bowls acquaintances at home. Ever since our time with the dingoes at Pungalina in 2005, we had kept revisiting the idea of getting a dog. Now, we were to get a cattle dog pup from this bowls family. The news was that the pups had been born: four females amongst them, which was good, because that was what we wanted. The mother dog was part stumpy-tail cattle dog (yes, it is a distinct breed), part blue heeler, and it appeared that only one of the pups had a proper tail. We might have to get used to having a “tail-less” dog. All very exciting – but an event that would certainly cause change to how and where we travelled in the future.

For once, a reason to look forward to going home!

Leave a comment

2010 Travels May 2


M and I both hit the park laundry in the morning. I did two loads. It looked at first like it might rain, but then cleared to some sun. It was a nice breezy morning then and our clothes were dry by early afternoon.

John had been able to have a bit of a sleep in, but late in the morning we all walked up to the shops. Got papers. Had coffee – a nice treat – at a slightly trendy coffee shop. M had scones and jam and cream too.

Went to the IGA for some oddments, including a china coffee mug to replace my old enamel one, which had become quite badly chipped. It was time I drank my coffee with a little more style!

We also bought a bottle of Grey Nomad wine. Brilliant labelling – with a retro caravan on it. Hard to resist, not for the wine but so we could keep the bottle. M also bought some to give to friends at home.

That constituted a reasonable walk for us. Later in the afternoon, M and John went off to watch the bowls in progress.

M’s site behind ours at Streaky Bay

Quite obviously, this park catered for a number of fishing people, as well as bowlers. There was a fish cleaning station by the beach. It attracted some hopeful pelicans, whose antics were amusing to watch.

All things come to ……

We decided to extend our stay here by two more days, making five in all.

Tea was pork belly strips, and rice.

1 Comment

2010 Travels May 1


In the morning, M’s outfit took forever to pack up. The “tent” contents had to be taken down and packed into the Troopy, then the tent itself cleaned out, dismantled, folded up and also packed away in its allocated space. It provided space, shelter and comfort when camped in one place for a few days or more – but the downside was the time taken to put up and down. M had been trying for the past six years to find the optimum balance between comfortable camping and the ability to travel tracks like the Canning Stock Route. She was yet to find it……

There was also a big tarp that covered the otherwise leaky roof, to be dealt with.

There was a dead “mouse” under the tent’s waterproof floor. We presumed it had hidden under there and been walked on. Poor little thing. Now we were hoping it was a house mouse and not a native critter!

When we eventually departed, drove west, to the corner with the Kingoonya road, then turned SW through Yardea Station and the western section of the Gawler Ranges National Park. Signage wasn’t great, so we had a couple of missed turns. One of these resulted in a multi-point turn with our rig, on a narrow track – not fun with the van on!

It was hot enough travelling on this day, without getting all hot and bothered by such mishaps as well.

The tracks were mostly reasonable, with the exception of the section through the National Park, which was sandy in some parts and very lumpy and bumpy in others.

Decided we would detour a few kms to the east, to Pildappa Rock, so M could see this feature.

Pildappa Rock is a granite inselberg – think of a rock “island”. Millions of years ago it was underground, but erosion had exposed it. We had never been to Wave Rock in WA, but thought Pildappa Rock must be rather like it.

Pildappa Rock

In one section at the base, gutters had been constructed to collect and channel water, in earlier pastoral times.

Gutters were built at the base of the rock to trap water and direct it to a storage well

We walked/climbed up to the top of the Rock, relatively easily.

There were great long-distance from the top, including to the distant Gawler Ranges.

Distant Gawler Ranges

On the top were lots of small pools in dips in the granite surface – gnamma holes.

Gnamma holes

We spent about an hour wandering about on the top, then came down and had lunch at one of the BBQ shelters provided. There was also a toilet.

Pildappa Rock was a known bush camp area. There was one Bushtracker van camped there when we arrived, but no vehicle. It returned while we were eating lunch.

We rejoined the “proper” road system at Minnipa, followed Highway 1 west to Poochera, then cut across on a good back road to Streaky Bay. Reached there mid-afternoon.

The Streaky Bay Caravan Park was much busier than I’d anticipated, for this time of the year. Then it was explained – a week-long major bowls tournament started in the town, today!

We were able to get adjacent powered sites for $27 a night, after Seniors discount. We booked in for three nights, with a possible extension flagged.

The park seemed much improved over what I remembered from our last time here, in 2004.

After setting up, drove to the shops. We needed some fresh produce from the IGA supermarket, and to restock the beer supplies.

Back in the land of TV and phone coverage and internet…….There were several messages to be dealt with, and news that the Bendigo grandson had caught some contagious virus, from a swimming pool.

I roasted a chicken, with vegies, for the three of us, for tea.

No more campfire! John watched AFL football, on TV, after tea. M retreated to her tent, to read and do crosswords. I read.

Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 5


It was a very hot day.

Having yesterday made a gesture towards my wish to do some “tourist stuff”, John spent yet another day on the phone/internet hook up problem. This involved phone calls to Telstra – long ones!

I walked up to the shops and posted a card to grand daughter, and paid the Telstra bill at the Post Office.

Resize of 04-02-2004 Streaky Bay Beach.jpg

Beach in front of the caravan park

I went for a short walk in the other direction, away from the town, along a rather interesting-looking cycle/walk path that follows the southern shore of the bay around. It was too hot to walk far along here, though part of me was wishing we’d bought the bikes on this trip.

We had a talk with two Trakmaster owners we found in the park. Both had Nullarbor models. One of these had a number plate only three digits “younger”  than ours – from 1997. It was the first full van Trakmaster had built, and was much more travelled than ours, being on the road most of the time. I was envious – not of the van, but of the almost full time travel!.

The guy from the van behind us caught lots of salmon today, out at Hallys Beach, reached from the Cape Bauer loop drive.

Leave a comment

2004 Travels April 1


It was a pleasant drive west, to reach Streaky Bay, through grain farming country and several small towns. The early part of the journey, on the Eyre Highway, was broken up by the Iron Knob hill area in the distance, gradually becoming larger, until we were past it.

We stopped for a break and leg stretch at Kimba, where I took the photo that most travellers  must take – of John with the Big Galah, and one of the sign that says “Half way across Australia”. I was rather tempted to label one photo “Big and small galahs”! The galah photo should amuse the grand children, at least.

Resize of 04-01-2004 02 Kimba big bird.jpg


At Poochera, we turned off the Eyre Highway, onto a local road that would take us across to the coast and our destination.

Booked into the Foreshore Caravan Park, for a week. We wanted to explore the area, where we’d only previously passed through. Also, we were able to slow down now, because of being booked at Ceduna for Easter. The park was a FPA one, so we joined that association on the spot. After the resultant discount, our site was $18 a night, with the 7th night free. We thought this very reasonable for an excellent location, and a very pleasant and clean park.

Their site layout, though, did not allow much room for maneuvering when parking the van – and ours was only a small van! We were one row back from the beach front, so had glimpses of the sea from our outside area, through the gaps between the opposite vans.

There were fish cleaning tables set up by the beach – a really good idea that saves a lot of mess. There were lots of pelicans hanging about these tables – easy meals for them!

Seems that Streaky Bay was so named by explorer  Matthew Flinders because he saw great streaks in the water – perhaps an effect of the light, perhaps masses of seaweed? Did not look streaky to us, now.

After setting up camp, John went off to suss out bowls. He came back saying we could hurry up and get to play this afternoon. Bad luck about lunch! The people we met there were very pleasant. There was one almost blind lady, who was a deadly bowler. We met a Qld couple there, who were also going on to Ceduna for Easter. They told him there was a bowls tournament happening there, and John arranged to pair up with them for some events.

The park had good TV reception, so John was happy. The mobile phone signal was also good, so I was able to text our location to the offspring.

It had not even occurred to me, this morning, that it was April Fools Day!