Sun 16 Apr … Norseman to home

We are getting earlier as we near home.  6.15am today.

That was some old hotel … a rabbit warren to say the least.  Many a story it could tell I’m sure in it’s heyday.  Although through the years it has served many a gold miner as there has been gold mined in the area since gold was first discovered in 1892 and still today there are active mines.

Great time in the morning to catch the sun rising over the dry lakes around Norseman.  My mind goes back to the lovely sunrises on the South Australian penninsulas over the last 6 weeks.

We have been lucky with the weather … shorts and tees for the whole trip.  Only one wet pack up … 3 nights of accommodation all the rest in our tents. We have driven approximately 7900 kilometres.

We left the tent poles in Moonta on our wet pack up which was a blessing as the new telescopic ones are much better positioned for any rain runoff.

John left is electric toothbrush behind. We had 2 punctures in the car.

John still struggles with his glasses around his neck … he refuses to buy good quality glasses chains from specsavers … rubbish from ebay is cheaper … his complaints are only white noise to my ears.

I always maintain that March/April is the best time to travel in the southern parts of Australia.

So that is the end of this adventure … stay tuned … we’ll be setting off on our bikes from Venice to Athens on 23 July … it will probably be a new blog address … I’ll let you know.


Sat 15 Apr … Penong to Norseman

Chasing rainbows …

No tent to pack up makes an early start. We have the sun behind us at 7am as we head off. A couple of small scattered showers around as we watch rainbows coming in and out of formation.

‘There’s always something to do’, I say as I’m vying for the best pic of a rainbow, ‘Yes, when I’m driving!’, says John.

Although there is no internet connection, I have off-line Wikicamps and always on the lookout for points of interest; the sock tree, the teddy bear tree … great for kids (and adults)

No stopping at coastal lookouts today … we have a 40km headwind. A road cyclist heading east … no panniers? Maybe he has a car companion? He has an amazing tail wind but not escaped by the intermittent showers.

We skirted in and out of showers all day lovely views of the coast and the looong straight road of the Nullarbor.

No pics or commentary as I was the pilot for a 5hr stint … I love driving but can’t relay on my co-pilot for the admin duties.

After 1127km, an overnight stop at a very old hotel in Norseman … ummm … most times, I prefer my tent. This was no exemption … however, the room was clean and shower hot.

Fri 14 Apr … Ikara to Penong

We will drive through the rain …

Sadly we leave the Flinders Ranges, leaving the amazing scenery that stands before us as we drive. I’m looking at the progress of the Ultra runners on their way to Quorn … they are out there somewhere parallel to us as I follow them on my phone.

We reflect on the hike of yesterday and compare with the mountains we are passing, feeling confident that we could climb them also.

We pass through Port Augusta and then Ceduna … the Penninsulas now behind us for our memories and great experiences.

The band of rain comes and keeps with us to Penong where we stay at the old hotel rooms. Our last hurrah, flake and salt and pepper squid. Nice chatting with a teacher who has chosen to go remote from Adelaide to a 2 classroom school; the truck driver, a bit anxious delivering a truck to Victoria from Perth and having no phone connection. I just love travelling!

Thu 13 Apr … Ikara

Last chance for an echidna …

I’m so glad the lady at reception suggested the Mount Ohlssen Bagge hike. 2.7km at the turn off … 5.4km return … umm … what will we do this afternoon this is just a bit more than a morning walk at home.

‘Okay John, we are on the lookout again for’ … I spread my fingers out wide, my sign for echidna. It’s a clear morning beautiful blue sky, a lovely contrast with the red rocky mountains before us.

Today we are more exposed as we pass low shrubs, small grass trees thankful its not windy. The red dusty track turns into rocky steps as we start climbing; following the yellow markers.

The gradient increases and at times, we shimmy up the rock face. We reach the first ridge … I’m thinking ‘are we there’ but a sign points ahead with a 1.6km to go. I look up at the top of a mountain ahead and laugh, ‘that is where we are headed!’ it seems funny … no way would we be climbing up there!

We have found a couple to climb with, they are about similar ages and fitness … the time goes by much quicker when you are talking to new acquaintances.

Look!!! Wow …. I’m excited to see a cute little echidna, not bothered at all by us, he’s more interested in the tiny ants he’s sniffing out with his long pointy nose and giving the ground a dig.

That has made my day!! I’ve had a joke that I’m not leaving here until I’ve seen an echidna.

The climbing continues and ends at the top of the mountain that I had laughed about. There is nothing higher around. The 360° views are breathtaking … photos would never capture this view. It’s a great little gathering at the top, lots of oh and ah’s, snack breaks for personal achievements. Lots of little kids looking quite refreshed.

What a hike … capturing the views as we descend. A few on their way up asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ … ‘Just keep going … it’s worth it,’ I say.

Wed 12 Apr … Wilpena Pound/Ikara

On the search for an echidna …

What a campsite!!! Gums and cypress pines, a great bush setting, we are in the Flinders Ranges National Park.  Camping is definitely in vogue, lots of camper trailers and tents in the non powered section.

The gloomy wet, windy weather has abated and a clear day with winds dropping in the afternoon.

Several walks on offer today, we choose the Wangarra Lookout. ‘How old must some of these trees be?’ The riverbed is abundant with river gums … they have been through a lot and some lucky to have survived drought and fire over their life time.

The tracks today attract a variety of ages, so many young families with little tackers in tow. We start climbing to the lookout, that’s not windy it’s extreme!!! The view are amazing.

After a couple of hours … still no sign of an echidna. Sad face!!

Lying on your back and pedalling is supposed to attract emus. Well John gave it a go today as we were riding on a track … 4 emus walking away from us. He put it to the test and sure enough they turned around and walked towards him. I wonder if he can do his magic with echidnas.

We have the Ultra runners passing through tonight … I think I’ll be zzzz.

Tue 11 Apr … Wilpena Pound

Great wild camping night … up to climb the hill above us with magnificent views.  Meandering through the Flinders Ranges ‘will this be like the Dolomites?’, we stop and do a bit of the Blinman Pools Walk along the dry river bed adorned with very old river gums and cypress pines. What would it be like after some rain?

Great underground mine tour and pub lunch speciality of Pie, chips, salad and Pegleg Pint.

The population of 26 has increased here in Blinman, people bustling around and huge greetings, a merchandise area at the pub … tomorrow is the Irrational South 200 & 100 Miler … a running event.

All eyes on the road from Blinman to Wilpena Pound; we have come across a shower of rain and the kangaroos are out enjoying the water collection on the road 13 in the space of 10 minutes. Thankfully there was no carnage. Wilpena Pound camping amongst the trees a beautiful setting.

Mon 10 Apr … Jamestown to Parachilna Gorge free camp

I’m feeling anxious … I’m too far from the coast …

After a sultry weekend, the sun is beaming with vivid blue skies as we go towards the Flinders Ranges.  Great little towns bursting with Easter getawayers, tents, caravans.  Lovely little towns offering walking and bike trails along gorges, through forests and up mountains. Something for everyone out for a bit of adventure. A wonderful painted silo at Wirrabar. Too early for the brewery, but a Brewery Tree red gum tree approx 300yo at Melrose. Kate from Rustikate’s Feedlot in Wilmington trying to perfect her pumpkin and feta triangles … I tell her she has nailed it as I take a bite. The outstanding art by Jeff Morgan in Hawker.

A show stopper as we approach Woodshed Flats, cars parked on the roadside. Just when I thought the world stopped to watch dolphins in the river or ocean, or ducks crossing the road.  But no!!! Today it is the Pichi Richi Steam train, we stop along with many others to watch the engine change on its way back to Quorn with a hiss and a puff.

Parachilna was closed so onwards towards Blinman at Parachilna Gorge (dry) … wild camping at its best … no phone coverage, the hiking tent and no electricity … bliss. Walks and hills to climb. We are surrounded by very old river gums.

Easter break … tennis in Jamestown

Next set … John and Sue Urb… ??? … the WA couple …

We were welcomed by the Jamestown folk at the tennis.  The majority of players were from Adelaide clubs.  We won a couple and lost a couple which meant we had an opportunity to see some local sights. 

Interesting meal at the pub the owner called us over as he sat on his throne by the cashier … ‘always live where your money is’, was his words of wisdom. He lives there and hangs out on his throne … I call that micro management!!! He is aided by a walking stick and told us he was 71yrs … he looked an unhealthy 91yrs.  My observation  …  don’t own a pub, don’t have too much money and quit the alcohol.

Thu 6 Apr … Ardrossan to Jamestown

A very different landscape as we head north. The coast is mangroves and mud flats as we pass through Price.

A few scattered mountains in the distance as we leave the penninsula behind.  Storms are brewing around us. 

A stop to Crystal Brook for yet another infamous Bakery.

Jamestown is home now for 4 nights, we are in an Easter Tennis Tournament for a bit of fun. 

Wed 5 Apr … Ardrossan

‘Tiddy Widdy Beach’ … really!!!! I couldn’t live there just because of the name

A lovely drive north to Ardrossan calling into all the seaside towns. All the towns are as neat as a pin; a lot of work by the communities to keep the heritage flavour of the local businesses.

Two big grain silos in Port Giles and Ardrossan with long jetties to load ships.

Local jetties are among the attractions today, the water glistens with a clear sky this morning. The painted water tower trail continues as we find them at Stansbury and Port Vincent.

Wandering into shops and eavesdropping … ‘Are you ready for the unslaught?’ shopowners are at the ready for the Easter trade, probably the last opportunity before these towns slow down with the approach of winter.

The red cliffs near the Ardrossan jetty makes a great pic.