Aus Update 24 - Eyre Peninsula, Port Elliot


<Paula> 6-Nov I am picking up where I left off from driving across the Nullarbor.  After making some inquiries about tyres, stocking up on fresh produce at the local supermarket and having a drive around town to look at the area, we headed south to follow the coastline around Eyre Peninsula.  Unfortunately a  lot of the photos I took on this day are a little blurry.  We got to Streaky Bay and followed the tourist route around Westall Way.  There was some beautiful coast line, a Southern Right Whale jumped out of the water as we were driving along too.  It was a quite an awesome surprise, he was right near the coast so clear.  We found a camp ground along this road, we had read that there were a number of campgrounds along this road but everything had been rezoned and there were a number of housing developments along the coast.  There was a bush camping area  right on the coast though.  It was really good because there was also a shelter  that was a welcome relief from the incessantly strong winds.  We we joined a little later by another couple looking for relief from the wind.  They were one of the few young couples we have meet along the way.  Most people traveling around are older.  We ended up staying up till 12.30am talking around the campfire.  Both of us had come from WA and were unsure of what the local time was anyway.  It was a good night.

The wind shelter where we camped on Westall Way

7-Nov We continued around the coastline. Stopping at Point Labatt Conservation Park.  It has the only permanent seal colony in Australia. A note here on the wind, they even have a wind shelter on the lookout.  We stopped at a few coastal towns and lookouts and spent the night at the Elliston caravan park.  I did some washing here and it was so windy that the when I had finished hanging the washing I could start taking it off again because it was dry.  By this stage we had discovered that the Eyre Peninsula consisted of 2 main things, amazingly stunning coastline and golden fields awaiting the harvest, both which look amazing against the clear blue sky.

You're not allowed to get anywhere near the seals, so the shot is from the top of the cliff

8-Nov  Again more beautiful coastline and golden fields. Port Lincoln was also on the stop list for the day, it is the major town of the Peninsula.  Matthew Flinders was the explorer that discovered the region and therefore there are a lot of lookouts and plaques stating just that.  I seemed to forget the camera on this day, but I did get a picture of this monument to the local horse, Makyve Diva (from memory I think that is it's name), it is a three time Melbourne Cup winner but didn't do so well this year.  Of course we happened to miss the Cup, firstly not really knowing what day of the week it was and secondly not having a clue what the time was. 

We stayed the night at Lipson Cove. It was a really nice camping spot. There was also Lipson Conservation Park which was just 100m from the beach and seemed to be a bird sanctuary.  It was a tiny island and there seemed to be hundreds of birds.  It was nice to lie in bed and watch the waves crashing on the shore.

I know very little about birds, I liked these guys though, they look like seagulls with wigs, they had heaps of attitude.

This is the conservation park from our campsite.

View from my bed. It was a really nice place.

We spent a lot of the day walking around Lipson cove apart from that nothing really sticks in my mind.  I seemed to forget the camera too.  We did take a picture of this.  It is Whyalla, and this is the HMAS Whyalla, which looks very out of place a long way from the water, but makes a good tourist attraction. The boat was originally built in shipyards here.

 We stayed at a place called. Fitzgerald Bay.  It is coastal but so far from  the open sea it looks like it is a lake, it is surprising to see the huge tidal flow.  It was such a tranquil place.  It had an unusual placement of rock, unfortunately no photos of this local natural phenomenon.  It looked like it had been placed for a railroad but it was completely naturally occurring.

Tide out

Tide in!

10-Nov The first port of call for the day was Port Augusta.  It was a rather profound moment because three months ago Port Augusta was the first place we stopped at to get on line and the first information center we visited (we have visited many since), and we have now completed a circuit. The last three months have been eye opening to the environment, Australian culture and ourselves.  We have learnt heaps, relaxed and enjoyed life.  We have thoroughly enjoyed it.  We had decided at this point though that we would like a break from being tourists just for a short while.  Those of you that have taken extended holidays will understand the feeling.  

The afternoon was spent driving to Adelaide, where we booked into the Levi Caravan Park.  This park is in a very prestigious part of Adelaide and in fact on the grounds of one of the first homes built in Adelaide.  The home still stands in the middle of the park and so too does a 100 year old Morten Bay fig tree, both heritage listed.  

11-Nov  Having a huge choice of churches is a different thing.  We ended up at City Church where we were surprised to find Stuart Clark had the service, those of you from Papatoetoe will know him well. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the Botanic Park and then a very brisk walk around the Botanic Gardens.  Brisk due to the thunderstorm that was starting.  I really enjoyed the gardens and I would have to say it was the best Botanic Gardens I have visited, even amid the large rain drops.  Later in the afternoon we drove an hour and half south to the coastal town of Port Elliot where we had booked a holiday rental apartment for a week.  

Even though we really enjoyed Adelaide and found it's English heritage quite charming we decided that we really didn't want to do another tourist thing for at least a few days.  Unfortunately we forgot to take any photos of anything that we saw in Adelaide, but decided that it was definitely a city that deserves a revisit at a later date.

12-Nov to 18-Nov  We spent the week in the tiny town of Port Elliot.  It is a very historic town that seems to now have a main industry of holiday rental homes.  Our apartment was over the road from a park that you would walk through to get to the beach and numerous walks around the point.  Because it is the low season the local shops are only open Thursday to Sunday.  There is a larger town 8 kms down the road that operated on normal days. We enjoyed our time walking around the area a little, poking around in the historic buildings that now house the boutique shops, and watching some TV (which we haven't seen in quite some time, rather novel experience).  Chris took the photos of the area and read all the plaques so I will hand the computer over to him to tell you about it because I found it very interesting and a town of huge importance in the late 1800's.


This is where we stayed

The view across the road

Another view of our unit

Port Elliot was proclaimed a port in 1851 with the first railway in Australasia. The first ship visited the same year, the railway was completed by 18th May 1854, and by 1855, 85 ships a year were visiting. The big problem was that they had also had 7 shipwrecks and although they had built a breakwater (by the then environmentally accepted process of blasting the cliff face so it fell in the sea), it was decided to shift the harbour a little further to the west and the railway was extended to Victor Harbor in 1864.

This is the very peaceful looking Horseshoe Bay.

Looks can be deceiving though and the coast is surrounded with rocks and heaving seas coming straight off the Southern Ocean

The location of the original railway terminus

The photos of Port Elliot here were taken on the Thursday.We were there from the Saturday. Those first 5 days gave us plenty of opportunity to see what it was like in windy and rainy conditions, and you can easily understand how ships were wrecked here.

One of the original buildings (it says 1853 above the door)

This is the center of town showing the war memorial, railway station, park and the council CHAMBER. Many councils could learn from this austere model, chamber, not chambers!