Travels with the Winnie: Day 12

Kimba, South Australia

Tonight we have a different sort of camping setup. We are at a recreation area, with no electrical hookup, but fresh water tap, flushing toilets and one shower ($1 for 2 minutes) for about 20 caravans and motorhomes. The site is free, though they ask for donations.

I remember Kimba the White Lion. From the Japanese cartoon series.

We arrived at about 4.20 p.m., in time to find a good spot upwind of the septic tank smell. The whole area is on blue metal so we don’t have to worry about dust and mud. We feel a bit overwhelmed with people so close, but they are friendly. We are still 460 kms from Adelaide, at our travel speed, especially if we want to do a little sightseeing in the morning, it looks like we have about 3 more days before we get there.

I’ve been carrying this small, cheap washing machine in our passenger side locker for a few months now, this morning is the first time I have used it. I had to carry water to fill it, so was glad to do the washing with fabric softener only so it did not have to be rinsed. The spin cycle is very good. I’ve done two loads of washing previously, the one we were able to line dry at Fraser Range, a quick early morning wash at Madura which we dried in the bathroom, making it difficult to do anything in there, and this one. The spin dryer works just as well or better than the big washing machines. I’ve hung the washing around the room tonight, hoping it will dry overnight with our wonderful heating system.

Travels with the Winnie (2 of 4)
Public toilets in SA are often round, like this one. Actually very nice flushing toilets.
Travels with the Winnie (3 of 4)
Our campsite, ignoring all the other caravans and motorhomes
Travels with the Winnie (4 of 4)-2
Stephen on the ukulele

 

Travels with the Winnie: Day 11

Wirrulla Caravan Park

It’s fairly basic, but we have taken advantage of the cement pad and electricity. We have paid $10 for access to the showers, toilets are free. This was not our intended destination.

We left our camping area quite late this morning, about 10.30 a.m. The trip into Ceduna was uneventful and we surrended a couple of potatoes and pieces of fruit at the checkpoint. Then we went to the service station to feed the Winnie and dump the toilet. They had a tap and hose for the dump, but also another one labelled ‘drinking water’, so we took advantage of it, thinking we would find another free campsite tonight.

We then went into the town and parked exactly where we parked two years ago. Our goal was some shopping, to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables especially. We were both sort of seduced by the idea of going to a cafe, and noticed it was lunchtime and they had beautiful salads. So that was that.

Then to the Foodland Store, which is a big supermarket, where we found everything we needed. An afternoon rest called, so we went out to a nearby beachfront. Before we left Perth we spoke to a couple who said that they have crossed the Nullabour 22 times. We are only on our second trip – maybe there will be more. We already feel that we know Ceduna quite well.

We were heading for a rest area beyond Wirrulla, but pulled in here a bit after 4.00 p.m., both feeling quite weary. The promise of cheap camping, with showers and toilets was too much for us. So, here we are. Telstra sent me a text to warn me that this is a 4G only area, which suits me. Then we were able to tune in some digital TV so we can watch the ABC news tonight. Not that the news is good, but the ritual is pleasant.

In this tiny, not very exciting town, we have everything we could want or need. There is even a jetty…

Wirrulla Caravan Park (1 of 1)
See the Red Capped Wanderer beside the van
Wirrulla circling the wagon (1 of 1)
Circling the Wagon – concrete attracts kids on bikes
Wirrulla granaries (1 of 1)
Featuring the grain silos
Wirrulla hotel (1 of 1)
a nice old pub
Wirrulla General Store (1 of 1)
A General Store
Wirrulla Jetty (1 of 1)
And a jetty. Not that there is any water here, but they want to be able to compete with Streaky Bay. Note the metal sailing boat.
Wirrulla Jetty2 (1 of 1)
Another view of the jetty, with the golf course in the background. You may spot the Red Capped Wanderer near a white post in the background as well.

Now, have I corrected all my spelling mistakes and faulty grammar? Sometimes I post, then discover the errors. The notification my readers get then has all the errors, they can only get the corrected post by clicking on the link.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 10

Head of Bight Whalewatching

Enjoying a Jack Daniels and coke, will it improve my writing or ruin it.

We are now waking up about half an hour before sunrise. We were keen to get to the whale watching centre when it opened at 8.30 a.m. Fortunately we had a really good night’s sleep and were ready in good time.

We saw whales, only one at a time, so it could have been the same whale in different places. She didn’t do any of the interesting whale behaviours, but it was so lovely that she was there that we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

It was a beautiful morning, quite cold, but we rugged up.

Head of Bight cliffs (1 of 1)
A view of the bluff
Stephen whale spotting (1 of 1)
Stephen had some binoculors borrowed from the kiosk
whale crop (1 of 1)
The whale was a fair way away, and this is a crop of the image I took with my long lens
whale watch kiosk (1 of 1)
Whale watching kiosk, it was lovely going back into the warmth
whale context photo (1 of 1)
This shows the context, the whale was a long way away from where we were standing

We are finding one of the great things about this van is the diesel heater. It makes all the difference for free camping. There is one outlet into the main area and one in the bathroom. We feel very spoilt to have such a warm bathroom, better than at home.

There is also the ease of set up when we free camp. I wasn’t sure that Stephen was really into this, but he chose to free camp tonight, and the only problem is having enough water if we want to free camp for a third night in a row tomorrow night. We are about 70 kms from Ceduna and will check out the possibilities there. We have extra water bottles for drinking water as I am wary of drinking from the van’s tank.

We have 4G internet, but no TV here. Even though we have a 40gig per month internet plan, with an additional 15gig on my phone, we can’t really watch TV via the internet – unless we want to use of a lot of our bandwidth. Apart from using gas for cooking and the fridge, we have two house batteries and solar power. I’ve bought a 150 watt pure sine wave inverter that powers a lamp (we have 12volt lighting, but the lamp makes prettier light) and charges all of our devices.

We can also run the TV with the inverter. Our TV is new, I did not buy a 12volt TV because they are expensive for what you are getting and tend to include a DVD player which we don’t use. Far more important is the HDMI port which allows me to attach the iPad. The old TV that came with the van had two HDMI ports which weren’t working reliably.

So, here is our camp site for tonight at the Cohen Rest Area just west of Penong, SA. We seemed to hit normal bushland fairly quickly after we left Head of Bight, and then were in farming country for the rest of the journey today.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 9

Head of Bight Free Camping Area, South Australia

Soon after leaving our campsite at Eucla we arrived at Border Village. We fed the Winnie, did a little shopping and used dump point. Today we have been driving through a coastal heathland, with some small trees. We had the sea beside us, sometimes visible, sometimes not. The earth has gone from red to chalky white.

We are feeling a bit confused by the time changes and probably had lunch quite early compared with breakfast, but we wanted to make our destination at 4.00 p.m. South Australian time to give us time before sunset. It’s very easy to set up when we are free camping, we just turn on the gas, put on the kettle, light the fridge and push the slide out button.

We pulled in at the Nullabour Roadhouse where we stayed on our previous trip to phone Matthew.  We remembered that when we came here in 2015 a light aircraft pulled in for get fuel in front of us, meaning we had to back the caravan out.

Matthew wasn’t home, so we left a message to say that we weren’t sure if we would have a phone signal at our overnight stop, if not, we would phone him tomorrow. In fact, we have quite a good 3g signal here and he will contact us later to ‘Facetime’ if possible, or just have a voice conversation if not.

We made sure we had plenty of water this morning so that we could free camp tonight. We are now camped in a designated campsite on the Head of Bight road, ready to go to the Whale Watching Centre in the morning. If there are no whales we will continue on our way.

We are not sure where we will go tomorrow night as it depends on how long we spend here tomorrow. We are only about 260kms from Ceduna.

Head of Bight free camping area (1 of 1)
The camping area is like a big parking lot, fenced on 3 sides.
Head of Bight free camping area2 (1 of 1)
A selfie, sort of

 

Travels with the Winnie: Day 8

Our overnight at Madura was quite pleasant, despite the fact that we were close to the generator running all night. We got away just after 9.00 a.m. according to my watch, but 45 minutes later according to Stephen’s. Oddly, our watches are now in sync. Mine, of course, gets it’s setting from my iPhone which automatically takes into account time zone changes. This is a bit puzzling.

We decided to have a short day of driving and go to Eucla 180 kms away. The caravan park overlooks the plain leading out to the sea. As well, it has excellent showers and toilets.

We had a stop at Mundrabilla, then through to Eucla, arriving around 1.30 p.m. As we were quite early we were able to secure one of the places with the best view. Slightly unnerving as we are facing the ocean and not that far from the cliff. We’ve put the brake on very strongly and Stephen put out the chocks. We seem to be on a slight downward slope, but have avoided a side to side imbalance.

Before we left Madura it began to rain slightly. After our stop at Mundrabilla the rain became pretty heavy, and it confirmed our idea of aiming for a closer destination and having the afternoon to rest. It has been quite lovely here. Other vans came in, but no one has camped next to us.

sunlight at Eucla (1 of 1)
Our view at Eucla
Evening (1 of 1)
Around 4.15. The sun is setting behind us.

As the best view is from the cab we had our drinks and nibbles sitting there instead of at the dinette. It was too cold to sit outside.

Geowiki said there was a dump point here, but the staff have confirmed that the nearest dump point is at Border Village. I’m going to have to correct Geowiki once again! Since our free overnight camping site, I’ve gone off the idea of using dump points at free camping sites where there is no water to wash things down. Nuff said about that, I hope.

I had a call from Regis yesterday about Mum smoking where she shouldn’t. Basically I told them it was their problem and we would support whatever plan they come up with (though we want to know what the plan is). No phone calls for me today, but Marie has also been contacted about a financial issue, at least they are sharing the worry around. We think the financial issue is resolved, but the first payment has not yet come from her account, so we may hear from them again.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 7 Madura Pass Lookout

Just a quick post on my iPad from the Madura Pass Lookout. We are spending tonight at the Madura Roadhouse which may not have a phone signal. This morning we said goodbye to the only caravanners left at Baxter Rest Area who happpened to be our nearest neighbours. Stephen befriended them when we arrived there yesterday. We had lunch at Cocklebiddy, for old times sake, and noted the sign to the Eyre Bird Observatory on our way past.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 6

Baxter Rest Area

The featured image above is a view from the Summit walk.

Today we travelled from Fraser Range Station to Baxter Rest Area. This is a free 24hr camping area. We’ve driven in far enough to be well off the road. There are lots of caravans here, but mostly not too far off the road. There is one caravan out further than us with a generator running, it’s very quiet from here fortunately. We arrived at about 4.00 p.m. and it was easy to set up – no hookups to worry about.

We are fairly close to a repeater station and have better internet than at Fraser Range, if not quite the facilities.

We rang Matt at lunchtime and talked with Scott as well as Matt. It was the OT Scott who Matt was with yesterday. They are still working on his new chair. We were able to get Matt to talk a bit, mainly to the ‘robot’ (Stephen pretends to be a robot, which Matt finds funny). Then Scott and Matt shared a joke and we could hear Matt cracking up with laughter.

Red and Yellow Way (1 of 1)
Fraser Range Station – signs to Summit Walk
at lunchtime rest area (1 of 1)
lunchtime rest area
at lunchtime rest area2 (1 of 1)
lunchtime rest area
Baxter Rest Area (1 of 1)
First things first – drinks and nibbles at Baxter Rest Area

I did a bit of hand washing at Fraser Range this morning. I thought the dripping would be annoying in the shower recess, but we couldn’t hear it with the bathroom door shut. It was hung out on a tree for a while after we arrived.

Baxter Rest Area2 (1 of 1)
Evening light at Baxter Rest Area

Although we like being able to take a leisurely pace crossing the Nullabour we do miss chasing down the little gold Honda. We stopped briefly at Balladonia today and remembered catching up with Eversley.

Travels with the Winnie: Day 5

Today has been a day of enjoying being in this location. I took some photos soon after sunrise, even before my cup of tea!

Glorious (1 of 1)
Glorious

 

Then I did all of our washing in one load and hung it on the line. Check.

Washing (1 of 1)

 

We did a few things, for example, we had found when having our showers last night that the Winnie was tilted so much that the water was banking up on the opposite side to the plug hole. This morning we unplugged everything and moved it slightly to make things more level and checked that water would go out of the plug hole. Check. Then I emptied the toilet cassette. I had been worried as it was an odd looking dump point, but it was actually quite easy. Check.

By then Stephen was ready for a walk and I was ready for a rest. So, we did that. When he came back we made an easy lunch, slices of cheese between bread (no butter) and muesli bars and did the Summit Walk. We spent quite some time there as it was lovely. We saw lots of kangaroos, and they saw us as well. If we felt we were being watched, we were. However, we didn’t mean each other any harm.

 

 

We tried phoning Matt as we had a good signal at that height, but he was out with Scott. Scott said that he wanted to take Matt shopping for clothes, so I imagine that that is what they might have been doing. We had another try at reaching him after 3.00 p.m., but there was only one staff member on and she was new, so we gave up and left a message that we would ring him tomorrow.

We had a rest after our walk to the Summit, then a cup of tea, then brought in the washing. It seemed to be completely dry. Stephen went for another walk, but I felt reluctant as it was cloudy and windy. When the wind died down about 4.30 I went out along one of the other walks until sunset.

 

watching you (1 of 1)
Watching you

We’ve had drinks and nibbles whilst I’ve been processing photos from the day. I was trying to come up with a definitive photo for the day, I miss being able to upload quite a few. I’m preparing this blog in Word because WordPress did not seem to be working. I’m guessing the signal isn’t strong enough.

We’ve booked in for a meal tonight for a treat.

As we half expected, the meal serving were huge. Quite good, simple food. We were sitting in a barn like place with long trestle tables. We had an enjoyable time talking caravan/motorhome travels with our neighbours, then staggered back to the van.

I attempted to upload quite a few photos, but have decided to go with these three, it was taking a long time and I often had error messages.

 

 

Travels with the Winnie: Day Four

Fraser Range Station

We made it to Norseman by about 11.15 a.m. First we fed the Winnie her daily diesel. Then we went shopping at the IGA. Then we drove out to the first parking spot beyond Norseman for our lunch and rest.

Then we drove here to the Fraser Range Station. In 2015 when we were passing through it happened twice that staying here just did not fit in with our schedule. So, this time we are making up for it by booking in for two nights. We are feeling like we need a rest day. There are some walks that we can take and we are really feeling in need of exercise and having a chance to enjoy the Great Western Woodlands landscape. Except that we are on a working station, and the area has been cleared. There is the promise of woodlands when we take a walk.

The station has been here for a long time, as some of the building show. We have power and fresh water, and at $30 per night that feels pretty good. Of course, they have to compete with a couple of excellent 24hr stopping places within 25 kms. One has a view of the salt lakes. They offer cooked two course meals for $30 each, plus tours in a vehicle which cost $40 per person. Our plan is to eat in the van and take free walks!

Bay 2, before Bay 1 filled (1 of 1)
View from our windows before we had a neighbour
And that might be it for photos. We have internet, but very slow.