South Australia Day 11

Day 11

After getting up later than usual, today will be a tourist day as we head out on a 4×4 search. We motor to the other side of Coffin Bay where there there are all manner of different road surfaces. To show we mean business and pretend we know what we are doing we drop the type pressures on the Cruiser to just over half what was in them to start with, so from 50 to about 20. As we travel deeper in to no mans land looking for some amazing little coves and beaches we are glad to have dropped the tyre pressures as there are some heavy corrugated bit’s, some sand and a bit of rock climbing to finish off. We are rewarded though with some amazing sites and seat of the pants driving.
We drive down one road for about 10k’s right to the end and we are met with a little motor home but no one around.
We then walk over to the sheer drop down to the beach and see a girl walking along with her two dogs in tow and we wonder how the hell if this is her van, how she managed to get down there.
We have a look around and spot what we think is the only way down. This is a crazy steep hillside of rocks and sand, not a path exactly but a way down. We traverse the sheer drop slipping and sliding till the final part which is a rope attached to a metal post which we have to grab on to and abseil down and finally get on to the beach. Kaz decides she will jump on to the beach and not use said rope and makes it safely down.
I however grab the rope and attempt to abseil down which doesn’t go well as I smash my right arm on the jagged rocks which has a nice effect on my arm like grating skin. Blooded and and battered I finally make it and wow, it’s worth the effort. Kaz is already sunbathing and I go and wash my arm in the salt water, yep kin sore that.
Adding insult to injury are the van girls two dogs running over to finish me off whilst barking their version of a welcome.
The larger of the two I would get to know well later called Mason has had his bark and wonders off again happy that he has given me my warning while the little dog decides that he would add to my Zen time by following me everywhere I go on the beach. There are tremendous rock pools up and down the beach and we both have a good time exploring what lurks in these as they wait for the tide to come in and free them.
Some time later van girl who we now know Is a local person decides she is going and starts to make her way back up to her van. This however is easier said than done as my pal Mason who is a huge fat headed bull mastiff of a hound is suddenly not so brave and won’t have a bar of jumping of the beach to start the climb up and in fact is having a wee panic as the smaller dog jumps up on several occasions as if showing big boy how easy it is. I then figure the only way this dog is going to make the effort is if the owner starts to leave and I can then grab him by the collar and push his big ass up and off the beach. This plan works a treat and van girl is relieved and thankful that we were there as she wouldn’t have known how to get fat head back up off the beach.
We hang around and before too long decide to make our own trek up Hamburger Hill. It’s hard to put in to words the sheer effort required to get back up and we now sympathise with Mason. Climbing up on the slipping, sliding and burning rocks and sand is not good for a couple of old folks like us. Thankfully we get to the top and are relieved to make it to the car.
We head out the road we came in and seek out some much tamer sites along the little peninsula where the water colour is just magic and why the oysters grow so well here.

Before we know it the day is flying past and we hatch a plan to go to the local hotel which is named the pub in the scrub. The camp managers have told us that they will pick us up and drop us back off again when we are ready. Within no time Dave collects us and within minutes we have a beer in one hand a menu in the other.
Oysters and a bit of fried Camembert to start then garlic prawns for me and fish and chips for Kaz and bloody beautiful everything was. A couple of beers and a game of pool and Dave is driving us back again ready for the next episode of Survivor Australia.
Knackered and lights out what a full and busy day.

South Australia Day 10

Day 10

Lights out and sleeping until old boy next door is yapping his nut off about how his fridge is not working. Time, 3:30 am never mind the fridge idiot, your brain is not working, fkin 3:30 am mate. Call the fkin RACV see if they can help you but engage brain and shut the **** up. Back to sleep and yep 7:00 am soft head is up again, yapping again, the fridge again ffs. The village had definitely lost it’s idiot. We ignore said fool who is just looking for any hint of an excuse to engage in fridge talk. We get packed up and minutes later are on the road and heading for what we hope is a highlight, Coffin Bay
My turn to drive and looks like an easy drive with great fast roads. The trip should take about three hours.
We decide to take a detour and cut in to the small town of Tumby. There’s not much to it but is definitely much better than yesterday’s overnight hole. We basically do a drive through and it’s a typical costal town with the usual stuff going on. We head back towards what is refereed to as the highway but stop to take in some silo art.

A short time later we drive past Port Lincoln which we did have thoughts about spending some time but we really need to find some quality and sped past on our way to Coffin Bay. As usual we have nothing booked and rock up at the Coffin Bay Caravan Park which to our surprise is a Top Tourist Park, result as we are members and cop a decent discount. We also cop a decent site and get set up in no time. This place is ticking boxes already with amazing views and a discount ticket for the oyster restaurant across the road, yep it’s tiff being us.
We are desperate for a swim and we are told by the woman at reception to head for the national park where we will find a stunning beach which we can at last have a dip. Lucky for us the national park is just round the corner from the caravan park and we enter the park and pay our entry fee on line. The place really is stunning and we drive around checking out various look outs and viewing areas before heading along a 4×4 only track then walking over the dunes and down to our advised swimming beach.
Well I have to say we didn’t recognise the woman at the desk but she obviously has to have been on stage at the comedy festival coz there is no anyone is swimming here. For one the water temperature is freezing and the ocean will swallow you up and might spit you out and might not. It is a stunning spot though and we grab some pic’s and hike back up the dunes and return to the camp to get ready for what promises to be oyster heaven just across the road.
We were not disappointed, see pic’s and we will definitely go back there.

After we spend some time chilling outside and people watching and then watch the latest episode of Survivor before turning in. On a footnote the park here has it’s share of Kangaroos and also Emu’s.

South Australia Day 9

Day 9

After a silent night, cockatiels are doing what they do best, screaming like banshees and ensuring everyone is awake.
Kaz goes for an early walk and returns with a coffee and minutes later a fab bacon sandwich. We start to pack up and chew the fat with Peter park manager who arrives for a visit. We did say to him we might stay for a second night but have decided to make tracks which he is not happy about “were the scones that bad”, he says. We say our goodbyes and start our next leg of the trip.
As we head out of town we visit some interesting landmarks which are worth a stop.

We motor on with Kaz at the wheel on our way to the town of Cowell which is a good rest stop before we drive to Port Lincoln and the lovely named Coffin Bay
We luck on to Trax FM 105.10 Vicki is funny DJ and really delivers the news and weather like a normal person and at one point makes us laugh by telling the listeners that she needs to go for a “comfort break” lol.
We drive on and make good time as the temperature climbs to 32 degrees and we enjoy the bright sunshine. We arrive at Cowell and head for the Cowell RV Park which has had good reports on Wikicamps. It’s a low cost camp on the edge of town which we will again have only a one night stop at.
As we drive through the town we are a bit disappointed as this place looks like it’s location should be spectacular but certainly isn’t. You could argue it’s a bit unfair. As it is Sunday but the ocean and beaches are just not what we hoped for.
Due to the RV Park having limited space we head straight there to secure a spot. Luck is on our side as a couple of vans are leaving giving us a bit of a choice. The camp is nothing special and is run by the local Lions Club and only costs $5.00 which sounds like a bargain and in reality is a dust bowl that we are glad to be moving from tomorrow. Some folks we are told will stay here for over a week due to the fact it is cheap and is really a decent spot for fishing and catching crabs to eat.

There is another caravan site closer to town and we drive up and have a look and really it is packed like sardines and we are glad to be in the dust bowl. We make the decision that as we will eventually come back through here to head north again we will speed straight past this location.

South Australia Day 8

Leaving the Barossa today but before we do we head off to the Barossa market. Pretty good wee market all of it food based and of course locally grown. We grab some sour dough bread and a bag of 12 limes for $4.00 bloody $2.00 each in the stupid markets. We do a Brian and get in to the tastings and there are lot’s of them.
We then loop back round and select some fudge we liked and with clock ticking head back to collect the van and hit the road north again. Pretty lucky coz we get a group next to us who have a bunch of young kids in tow and most of them seem to be deaf going by the way they are shouting every time they open their mouths.
having got everything packed up ready to go the day before we are hooked up and I will be today’s driver. The drive is an easy one of about three and a half hours. On the way up we stop at a little town called Clare and have a walk about grab some beers and steaks then a short time later roll in to our overnight stop of the town of Laura. This place was highly recommended on WikiCamps and it doesn’t disappoint.

We get a great welcome from Peter the manager who outlines a heap of stuff and let’s us choose from several sites available. He then leaves us to select our favourite and informs us that later he will be over with free freshly baked scones, jam and fresh whipped cream for us.
Having chosen our favourite spot I get the van reversed in and we are set up in no time with the awning out as well. The place seems quite quiet until a group of about 6 four wheels drives come in and break the silence.

It’s a great camp this one and Peter and his wife have been given a caretaker/Managers roll and will stay here for the next two years and slowly improve the place.
Sitting having a beer and as I look to my left I see Peter walking towards us with a plate of the promised scones, jam and cream. These get devoured in no time and bloody delicious they were.

Later we head to the local pub for a laugh and as we walk in we expect the usual country town pub silence but we get a very big welcome from the bar staff who end up entertaining us the entire time we were there.

Also in the bar were a couple of young girls who were drinking shot’s but not the usual small shot glasses instead these were like quarter pints and fair play to both girls who inhale the drinks and are ready for more. We reckon this is going to get messy and make a sharp exit back to camp and another fast day has flown by.

We will leave here tomorrow, head north and south and this time stop at the town of Cowell on our way south to Port Lincoln and then Coffin Bay.

South Australia Day 7

Day 7

After a well earned lie in we jump in the car and head off to what should be a highlight. In no time we arrive at the famous farmhouse of Maggie Beer. This place is fantastic, is where Maggie filmed her tv series and runs cooking workshops.
There is also a thriving shop and a restaurant on site which has a fantastic setting with river views and finally there is accomodation on site. We are lucky to spot a turtle as it swims past lucky not ro be added to today’s soup no doubt.

We get straight in to it and start sampling jams, chutney, olive oils and some fantastic pate. These are quickly followed up with tastings of the Heritage Apple Cider and some the Gin.

Can’t say we are big Gin drinkers but the mixer that is used instead of the usual tonic makes this a really fresh and less perfumed drink. The mixer is called Verjuce and is made using unfermented grapes.
We bag Gin, Verjuce, Cider and Pate then have a look at the restaurant then have a look round the farm gardens and aviary which has several Pheasant and Geese.

Next up we head towards the van and make a detour to visit the Barossa Cheese Company where we sample various flavours but to be honest none of them float our boat and we head out for a coffee and custard slice across the road.
Tourist stuff ticked it’s back to base and before we left Kaz had made a chicken curry and left it in our little slow cooker for the day. We bbq some bread on the Webber and bloody delicious dinner is served.
Since we will leave here tomorrow we spend some time putting what we don’t need away ready for a sharp exit in the morning.

South Australia Day 6

Day 6

Today we have a buy day ahead and we are on it early. We are in the car and qUickly make light work of the drive to Gawler station, about 25-30 min’s in traffic. We park up and 10 min’s later we are on the train where Kaz does a balancing act of buying tickets on the machine whilst we are in motion. It’s after the morning rush if this place actually has one so not too busy and the trip in to Adelaide is easy and uneventful. Strolling out of the station in to bright sunlight and a cross the road where free shuttle buses are running to take us to the Adelaide Superloop 500 which is the opening round of the V8 Supercars championship of Australia.
Tickets purchased for general access and hairpin loop stand access which is up on high and Guarantees us a reserved seat and their are heaps of tables and chairs to avoid the crowds and take a rest.
I am of course loving it and Kaz is to a lesser degree with her ear plugs in as the noise is off the charts. Not sure which is the most impressive, the way the cars accelerate or the way they are able to wipe of that amount of speed and stay under control. We see the Porsche cup cars practising, crazy v8 truck racing then my favourite which is the Classic Muscle car series, running Mustangs, Camaro’s, Chargers and of course Holden Torana. These guys are mental and the speeds are incredible as they hit hundreds of kilometres an hour as they shatter the air on the way past about 3 meters from where we are standing.

Later it’s the turn of the big boys who are for me a bit more sanitised but never the less frighteningly quick. I grab a pit pass whilst Kaz has a break in the stands. Pit pass is a bit of false advertising really as the pass is for the back of the pit’s and not the front where you would really want to be. Still spotted a few drivers in there but overall not worth the coin.
Then suddenly the day is gone and we do the reverse trip back to the train on the free bus and where the only entertainment was a group of kids who obviously have not purchased tickets playing cat and mouse with the inspectors.
Having got back to the car we are then back at base in no time and we reckon a reward is due so we head up the street in to the first pub which is a bit of an old man’s shop, although there are a couple of girls and a guy in there who are younger. Strangely one of the girls seems he’ll bent on twisting the head of the young dude who has no defence. Before she starts on us or particularly me we make a sharp exit and move on to the next pub, the Vine Inn which is way better and we stay here for a while and get some chicken wings to scoff before making our exit as the day catches up with us and it’s lights out time.

South Australia Day 5

Day 5

After a very quiet night in the Big 4 Barossa we get all our devices charged up and have the usual outdoor breakfast, the camp is not busy with no families staying, it seems to be all couples and friends travelling together. The site we get is a drive through with plenty of room next to the huge footy oval.

We take a wee walk round the corner to the Barossa village to take a look at the various shops and restaurants. Most of them are the usual butcher, baker and fast food outlets like pizza, a chicken shop and an Indian. Pretty unremarkable really.
We head back to base and change clothes and head out to visit some Barossa wineries. First on the list is the fantastic and arguably one of the best called Rockford.

This one has been around for a long time and produces again arguably some of the best wines out there. They do a sparkling red which ain’t cheap but it is so good. We are given a roadmap of today’s available tasting and go straight for the reds. To demonstrate how good this winery is, we have grapes to eat in front of us and freshly baked bread to eat whilst listening to the sort of each splash we are provided. The building itself is a restored small both looking thing with original stone and a pretty low roof. Liam or Seamus, point is the guy is Irish and is a font of knowledge and helps us try and pick out the blends within each drop which for me is difficult as I am today’s driver. So painful that I actually throw wine away instead of inhaling it as I would normally. Kaz has the luxury of enjoying every drop and that she does happily. We don’t spend too long here and having bought quite a few bottles we leave the order to be shipped in a few weeks time.
Next up and not far is the Langmeil winery which is a much different place compared to Rockford. Very much larger and grander in scale. The tasting cellar door is also huge and there are several groups knocking wines back and having a laugh. The tastings today are being done by a couple of ladies and there are a lot to go through if you choose to but again we try and keep it to a minimum.

One of the ladies actually helps us out in regards to the. Motor racing for tomorrow, she tells us where to get the train and draws us a map on how to get to the track.
With enough tastings for today done and only a couple purchased here we head of in search of food and we have given the name Pindaric to go to for lunch and in no time arrive at a huge farmstead property obviously restored and reminds me of Braye in Burraguerra with it’s wrap around verandah.

The views are magnificent and we step inside the restaurant and it’s a stunner, nothing opulent or fancy but nice decor and a real open feeling. We are a bit late getting here so not many tables eating but we jump in to the menu which we have been told to read then go straight for one of the gourmet pies on offer.

I go for the lemon chicken and Kaz has the lamb both homemade and just fantastic although they come with olives which I try as usual and as usual I don’t like. The rest of the plate is made up of leaves with a dressing on. Strangely no one offers us dessert and as the table is cleared doesn’t ask us if we enjoyed what we have paid for. Oh and no offer of coffee. Anyhow it was a nice dish and time to go back to the house on wheels and plan for tomorrow.

South Australia Day 4

Day 4

Longer drive today rolled the dice and changed plan, we were going to head from Penola to Gawler but thought we would instead head for Narioopta which is right in the heart of the Barossa wine region. Last night after a really sunny day we had some rain but we had planned to leave sharp this morning and we had everything packed up and was just a matter of dropping the roof, hooking up the van and job done.
We actually managed to leave by 8:00 which is pretty good.
Today all going to plan should get us north by quite a way. Today starts pretty overcast which of course is perfect for driving. I will be today’s pilot for this one and we are gone and in no time eating up the miles.
We make so much time up that we stop for breakfast at Keith at a cracker of a little cafe. We don’t bother filling up with fuel as we figure plenty in the tank so press on.
Of course which sort of leads into what you might guess that as we have maybe an hour and a half to go we will grab diesel when we get the chance. Well bloody hell, we drive for a further hour and as you would be aware Adelaide is either uphill or downhill and the fuel load is disappearing fast without even a sign of a fuel station. Panic, not us, well maybe and then we drop down from another massive climb in to a tiny one street town and an oasis of a fuel pump appears at the side of the road. Now do not picture Caltex, BP or any normal station, this is a pump in a corner just out side on the pavement it is so stuck in a corner that I can’t even get the car close to it and of course the fuel filler is on the other side of the car, FFS. So we have to pull out drive up the street and manoeuvre our way back downhill and we manage this feet just before another caravan comes to take the spot. Thankfully we get in and get the deed done before our vapours ran out. Strangely as we leave this place a woman comes round the bend in front of us and is just about completely on our side of the road and we have absolutely no where to go!! Amazingly and not sure how but she seems to re awake and hauls her car back on to the correct side and we live to tell the tale.
Having survived, we have a short drive now up and over a few climbs before we arrive at our next home. The Big 4 Nuriootpa have a deal stay four nights and pay for three for members, tick and tick.

This will be an ideal base to travel around short distances but get a lot in return. We will visit a few wineries for tastings and lunch and will drive to Gawler before catching the train in to Adelaide for the start of the V8 Supercars weekend which we will go to on the opening day on Thursday. The weather is set to be perfect for it.

South Australia Day 3

Day 3

Today arrives and the sun is in full bloom and we are up and in it, sitting outside thinking yep Monday and no work today.
Only thing bugging us is that the van is in the shade and a heavy morning dew is hanging on the van and car. Yesterday as we drove we seemed to hit a cloud of like dirty air which stuck to everything not wet but just very dirty. So we move the van to a better spot that we had seen a couple of wise grey nomads choosing yesterday and we grab it just as another van arrives scoping out a spot we then wash the solar panel which was covered in dirt and not not charging at it’s best. Today will be 32 and sun all day so we should be at maximum charge levels easy.
During the day a few others arrive and before we know it we are up to six, strangely yesterday was more motorhomes than caravans but today is the complete opposite, I know boring fact. Lol.
Today’s trip will be to the Naracoorte caves and Fossil centre.

We are lucky as it’s only a 30 minute drive, helped by 110K speed limit and we are happy we have everything locked up including the van. Seems a bit strange to be leaving our van in the middle of a paddock with not many people around but it should be fine.
We arrive at the centre which is pretty amazing with multiple caves spread over a pretty large area. As usual it’s in to the visitor centre to get the good word on how we can best see as much as possible with the least amount of walking and gaps in time. The ranger dude talks us through the possibilities and best plan and off we go following different tracks to different caves. Some you are free to enter others are filled with bat’s and must be left alone. You can wait until sunset then watch as the bat’s head out on their night time hunting trips.
With a bit of time on our hands before we join an actual cave tour we get our nose bag on with a home made sausage roll and a plate of chips with salt sauce and vinegar provided. We sit outside on a lovely big covered deck and lap up the peace and quiet whilst stuffing our faces.

Tour time arrives and we drive out the centre and down the road a bit to join our cave tour bunch of about eight. This cave is one of the most guarded due to a massive fossil discovery which is still being examined and catalogued.
Our wee guide is a but of a fossil nerd and seems to enjoy throwing out questions to the group with some funny answers and retorts being traded. The air quality is not the best , very dusty and drying our throats out a bit. We reach the lowest point on the tour and it’s quiz time again “how deep are we from the surface” bang we are correct at just under 20 metres, sadly no prizes but bragging wrights all the same. Our guide is getting a bit excited now and as we descend in to a pretty dark area she lights the place up and there it is, the massive fossil area. Ok, honestly it’s a pile of bones washed in to a pile and needs someone from Disney to add something to it just to give it a bit more sparkle. All the same our guide does her best to make it interesting. Later we head back up to the surface and get smashed by sunlight as the final door is opened to ground level and we can breathe the very welcome fresh air.
Tomorrow we leave to head north. Plan is to stop at Gawler where we can explore the Barrosa wine area and also hop on a train in to Adelaide for a walk around. This is a good stop getting us north of Adelaide and ready to drop round the bay down in to Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay before that we will have another overnight in Whyalla.

South Australia Day 2

Day 2

Even without Shana wanting out we are awake at 6:45am and have certainly topped up our sleep overnight. There was a local road that had a bit of traffic noise but really didn’t disturb us. Although we were allowed to stay at this camp for another day we decide to move on and get hooked up and were on the road by 8:30am.
In our quest follow the sun and having done some searching last night we decide to head for the little town of Penola which a pretty short drive and from there it is a short distance to the many Coonawarra wineries. On the way we make a detour to Mount Gambier to have a look at the local swap meet and car show.

In actual fact looking around you would be forgiven for thinking that the mullet convention was about to begin, some absolute beauties walking around. We walked about for a bit and grabbed a bit of breakfast before getting back on the road.
This stint will get us to the north again as we follow the elusive sunshine. Looking at the forecast it seems the best spot for a couple of days with Monday putting on 31 degrees. Tonight will be in another free camp called Greenrise Lake just south of the town of of Penola a really clean and looked after area with free bbq and bins. This is another beauty brought to us with our WikiCamps app. The drive is uneventful except for a stupid Gala flying directly in front of the car and at 90 k’s an our one thud, a firework of feathers and Gala is no more. Not very nice and poor Kaz got a bit teary eyed about, I was thinking “hope there is no damage or blood on the car or van”.

The signs on the road are giving us the warnings around bringing fruit and veg in to South Australia from Victoria along with the severe fines if caught and telling us to get rid of any we may have before it is too late. Strangely as we cross in to SA there is none around, no inspectors, no checks and we drive through without a problem and now have to find a fruit and veg shop pronto.

As we near our destination following the sat nav for some reason we end up again at a dead end and again poor Kaz has the job of reversing quite a way back to get us back on course. Expertly done with my assistance of course and we go the long way round as as we wait to turn in a motor home converted van thing drives in in front of us and we follow along in to the campground where we find not one other person, the place is deserted and as far as we can see has nothing wrong with it. We each find our respective spots at opposite ends Of the park and begin setting up camp. Ours is a beaut spot next a cracker of a big tree with a view of all who come and go for entertainment.

Job done and it’s off to to sample some wine at the many cellar doors in the Coonawarra area which is a 10 minute drive.
I am still feeling like crap but am such a trooper that once again in Adelaide I am holding car keys and let Kaz get her wine head on.
First up is the Di Georgio vineyard, very nice but relatively small. Kaz dives in to a sparkling white and does not even need the spitoon. Red next Cab Sav gets the thumbs up and straight on to a cracker sparkling red Merlot. One of each to go thank you and on to Majela wines recommended by Di Georgeo. Again a bit boutique size and Kaz is straight in to a nice Shiraz, followed by another Sparkling red all bottoms up style. Mixed dozen and free shipping? That will do nicely.

Time has flown and we head back to the van but stop off at IGA to get some supplies, bloody hell convenience costs has never been more apt a phrase. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. Chicken kebabs are on the Webber with salad, coleslaw and chopped tom’s. All washed down with some cold water……yeh right.
People watch is then the order of the evening and we have a late one this time, 9:30 lights out.