Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Safari 2019 July 31st

Wednesday, July 31st

The morning dawned fine and sunnt so off we went for a walk along the bush coast line to Spalding Cove which was 2.5km away. It was a lovely walk apart from the coastal mist which came across. I could see the fishermen in their boats would get quite damp. 
Green hood Orchid found in coastal bush.
 The highlight of the walk was finding quite a number of orchids.There were 2 varieties and both were Nodding Greenhoods. I have not been able to identify them specifically but will ask at the NP Information Centre tomorrow. Pictured, is the 1st type that I found and the 2nd type was totally green and much smaller. The bigger one was very similar to the Ruddy Green hood we find in the hills at home.
On our return from our morning walk we took our lunch and drove out to the Donnington Lighthouse and also explored quite a number of beaches along the way. Luckily we were able to sit in the sun for lunch but by the time we reached home misty rain has set in. Our first really wet time when we have had to be in the van in daylight hours. 
Two orchids amongst damp leaf litter


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Safari 2019 July 30th

Tuesday 30th 
Beach at Memory Cove

We have had a great day and a long trip to Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area. The area is gated and locked. We were able to arrange for a key from the Information Centre in Port Lincoln. The road was very rocky and slow taking 1.5 hours to do the last 20 km. However the view at memory Cove and the camping areas were well worth seeing. We were both weary of the rough road by the time we returned to our van which we had left at Surfleet Cove Camp. The road our to Memory Cove was far too rough to take a caravan on.

This Cove was named by Mathew Flinders in 1802. He anchored his ship in the cove and sent 8 of his men in search of fresh water. The sea was treacherous and sadly the men perished so the cove has been named in memory of this tragic incident. Flinders named the nearby small islands in  memory of these sailors. There is Owen, Taylor, Lewis, Williams, Little, Grendal, Smith and Hopkins Islands.

 Driving through the bush was delightful as there were so many plants in bloom including 3 different Wattles, Goodenia bushes in flower, Sarsaparilla, Rice flowers, Correa, Cocky's Tongue, Clematis, yellow daisy flowers as well as some small white, pink and yellow flowers on bushes I could not identify. In fact the bush was quite alive with colour. Birds were interesting as well we saw a pair of Hooded Plovers on the beach as well as an Oyster Catcher, a Pacific Gull and a Sea Eagle in the air.

Cocky's Tongue
As we left the Surfeet Camping Area this morning we saw a pair of Cape Barren Geese feeding on the open grass land..and yes, at their feet were 4 young goslings. What a delight!

Cape Barren goose with several chicks

Monday, July 29, 2019

Safari 2019 July 29th

July 29th
Rain fell overnight but the sky was blue when we looked out this morning and..the sea was blue as well, all replacing the shades of grey from yesterday. It was lovely drive into Port Lincoln through rolling hills of green crops.
Coastal Eucalypt in bloom
Port Lincoln was convenient as we visited the Info Centre, Coles Supermarket etc and finished the morning at the Fresh Fish Place where we enjoyed a fishy lunch and bought enough fish for the 3 nights out in Lincoln National Park
John has booked us a camp site at Surfleet Cove. It is a really attractive park with lovely native bushes, lawns and marked camp sites. Bright Jonquil flowers tell me that there must have been early settlement in this area. Other than these blooms there are eucalypts in flower and a variety of other native bushes.
We walked for 40 minutes through the bush. A shower of rain followed us most of the way.
Unfortunately the beach is rocky and covered with seaweed detritus which is not easy to walk through. Soon after arriving I saw tiny jenny Wren near our van, presumably a Superb Blue Wren as they are found in this area.

John selected some nuts buds and leaves from one of the coastal eucalypt trees...I await the correct name.
The leaves are quite tough and leathery.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Safari 2019 July 28th

After a great sleep with the ocean in our ears, we headed south to Tumby Bay. We found a small sleepy town on this Sunday morning.

 Tumby Bay Silo Art of boys jumping from the local pier
The town has a lot of street art or murals along the streets on many different sites. The prize one, of course, was the Silo Art. The artist was inspired by the boys jumping from the Pier into the water during summer holidays.
We drove further south until we found a suitable camping spot. The site we chose is the Church of Christ Redbank Camping area. It has a few more facilities than most of the spots we choose. It is a dull day so there is very little power going into our batteries via our Solar panels so Mains Electricity is most helpful.

Beautiful Grey Seas
 The beach has attracted us again. We walked for about 45 minutes. For the second time now we watched a Hooded Plover. They are beautiful little birds that runs so quickly along the  sand on the edge of the waves. They nest in the dunes but have a very poor record of chick survival. Warnings are along the beach asking people to avoid the dunes during the months of August to October in an effort to help the hatchlings. 

Hooded Plover & chick- photo taken from Warning notice

Safari 2019 July 27th

July 27th 2019 

A varied day began with a short walk from our camp at the Yeldulknie Dam. Our plan was to find another beach camp but on the way we headed for the Wharminda Soaks Picnic Area and Lookout. We knew we had to travel on minor roads. The gravel became less wide as we travelled until we came to a forested area which we presumed was the advertised Wilderness Area. There were no signs, but we had followed the map and hoped for the best. However we gave up at this stage because the area felt more and more remote and no sign of a Lookout although the view across the farmland to the sea was wide and interesting. The roads had led us through cropping farmland. Apart from recognising the canola crops we could not identify any others, but certainly thinking they would most likely be grain, considering the Grain silos throughout this part of the country.

John on Cowley's Beach near a very rusty post and 'attachment'

Eventually we returned to the coast at Port Neill where we enjoyed our lunch sitting in semi-sun and a light wind. From here we travelled down the coast looking for a suitable campsite close to the beach. We have settled at Cowley’s Beach where the waves are roaring in our ears this evening….music to sleep to. Cropping and farmland come down to the sand, including a small mob of sheep grazing contentedly. The country is quite rocky, and the crops are planted around the stony areas. Some patches are quite small and a wonder to me that the farmer would be bothered planting such a small area of crop.

We have walked on the beach and this evening, Peter, the landowner, came down for a chat. He is an interesting old guy who enjoys meeting visitors who wish to camp on his land.
A tiny bird came several times to perch on the bushes outside our van. It had a very melodious whistle. Finally we have identified it as a Singing Honeyeater. There was a pair of them guarding their spot I think.
There was no internet connection at Cowley's Beach so we have moved on to post this diary record the next day.

Singing Honeyeater

Friday, July 26, 2019

Safari 2019 July 26th

Wattle with very large blooms
100 year old dam wall
A cloudy sky to greet us this morning --grey sea and grey sky. This was not so encouraging but we have had an excellent day touring a little way inland. We set up camp mid morning at the Yeldulknie Weir and Reservoir. The construction of the dam wall was completed in 1912..over 100 years ago. Sadly at the present the Reservoir is completely dry. The picnic and camping areas were most inviting with several marked walks through the bush. The Reservoir Walk took us over 4km through the bushland along the water line and up the Yeldulknie Creek. Spring is beginning to show in the area with flowers in bloom..Wattle, Hop Bush, Tobacco Bush, and even one example of a Harbenger of Spring which does not bloom at home till September.

Empty reservoir basin

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Safari 2019 July 25th

Thursday July 25th

Today has been a short journey of 38kms from Cowell to Port Gibbon where we are camped among the sand dunes. There is plenty of sand on the floor of the rig tonight as we have had a couple of walks along the beach amongst the sea weed. There were only a few shells but
Discarded shark egg
we found a number of these strange 
pieces of beach detritus. John knew they were shark eggs. After research we found that they come from the Port Jackson shark. They are laid and wedged in a crevice where they remain for 10 -12 months before hatching. There were quite a number on the beach so my guess is there must be a few sharks in the nearby waters. 
Further along the beach, lying on the piles of seaweed were a number of Bull Seals. They were not disturbed by us, but certainly had their eye on us. We stayed in the area for some time watching them sleep and move about a little. They were more interested in dozing in the warmth of the sea weed.

Bull seal looking out to sea
We met a couple from Tocumwal who were travelling in an Australian Adventure Vehicle (AAV) The vehicle was made by the same company that has produced our Earth Cruiser. There were many similarities but some very big differences. It was pleasant to enjoy the company of like minded people for a couple of hours.

Fish for dinner tonight. We purchased Yellow Fin Whiting which we have not heard of before and certainly have not tasted.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Safari 2019 July 24th

Beach Detritus of seaweed and shells.
Wednesday July 24th

It is easy to fill a day with activities or non activities! John went off to the Steel works and really enjoyed the 1.5 hour tour of the plant with viewing and info. I finished the laundry process, did some stitching and walked on the beach. The beach had quite a wide area of clean sand as well as a line of seaweed detritus. 
After yet another visit to a Super Market, we have come further south to Cowell. We visited here several years ago when we came across Spencer Gulf on the Vehicle Ferry. The recommended campsite at Lucky Bay was not appealing to us so we have come on south of Cowell to this much more inviting RV site. It is quite open and clean with young eucalypts planted around it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Safari 2019 July 23rd

July 23rd 2019

We have decided to stay at least one more day in this area and have our 'Travelling Home' set up in the Discovery Camping Park. This has allowed me to do a couple of loads of washing by machine. The wind is blowing constantly so much of the drying maybe done by this evening. As I was in the laundry I suddenly thought about the water I was filling the machine with. Maybe it has actually fallen in the Ovens or King Valley in Victoria...Our run off water eventually goes into the Murray River..from the Murray in South Australia there is a pipe line to Port Lincoln which surely goes through Whyalla on its way south.

 This morning we drove out toward Iron Knob and then along a gravel road with the idea to find a couple of the newer mines. Unfortunately this mission was not successful because we had a nasty flat tyre which changed our plans. After changing the damaged tyre we came back into Whyalla to have it repaired. To cut a long story short John decided to buy 2 new tyres. Our afternoon has been  occupied with repairs and housekeeping. It all takes time!
  John has booked to join a tour of the Steel Works for 1.5 hours tomorrow morning. We have not finalised our plans for tomorrow afternoon.....'Watch This Space'

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Safari 2019 July 21st & 22nd

July 21st 2019

Where did our day go? The first part of the morning was spent driving to Port Augusta through wonderful green undulating pastures then through the Mt Remarkable Range. We enjoyed, once again, visiting the Wadlata Centre. There always seems to be some updates available. Lunch was enjoyed in the simple cafe there.
Mangrove tree

Now we are camped on Fitzgerald Bay which is a little way north of Whyalla. All going well we intend staying 2 nights here. Interestingly there are mangrove trees lining the pebbled shore. They are said to be the closest Mangrove trees to the South Pole.

The Stranded Shingle Dune along the edge of the Gulf is a geological feature which was formed from a beach deposit of sediment high above sea level. It is thought that this shingle sediment was deposited about 30,000 year ago.

Stranded Shingle Dune
July 22nd.

We are still camped on Fitzgerald Bay and explored Wyalla this morning. The area was first found by Mathew Flinders in 1802, then soon after this Louis- Claude Freycenet arrived. We found two wonderful sculptures of these great explorers at the 'Flinders - Freycenet' Lookout in Whyalla.

Louis-Claude Freycinet

Mathew Flinders looking out to sea

 Yesterday evening we spoke to a young lady on the beach here. She was keen to go diving to find a cuttlefish. Today we have learned of the significance of this. 
The Australian Giant Cuttlefish breed in huge numbers in this bay, between May and August, every year. It is thought to be the largest known concentration of the specie...thus making Whyalla a 'Cuttlefish Capital' of the world.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Safari 2019 July 20th

Saturday July 20th, 

We went for a 5km walk this morning around the park, up on the range and returned via the waterway. The recommended time was 2 hours so I was pleased that we took 15 minutes less time than this. I am slow though. John would have taken much less time again. Walking made us quite hot so this was a pleasant change. The small shrubs are not so attractive but this succulent plant appealed to me as I had not seen it before.

Succulent leaves formed into flower shapes
We left the Redbanks Park and headed for Burra which is about 12 or 15 km away. A small amount of shopping was necessary.
This afternoon we driven north to Wirrabara  where we have camped in the nearby Wirrabara Forest. It is a 'clean and green' forest of eucalypts, maybe young Red Gums and Red Iron Bark trees which have very dark bark on the trunks.
In the town of Wirrabara, which is about 50 km north of Crystal Brook, there is some very attractive silo art. Presumably the farmer pictured is a local chap. on one silo there is a wonderful red capped robin. These tiny bright birds must be common in the area.
Wirrabara Silo Art featuring a farmer and a Red-capped Robin

Friday, July 19, 2019

Safari 2019 July 19th

Friday, July 19th

Another short walk before we left Momoman Creek in Chowilla Conservation Park. Today we have travelled north of the Murray River in South Australia and even remembered to put our watches back one half hour. We did a small Super Market shop in Renmark then followed the river to Morgan where we had our lunch. It was a pretty 'lookout' picnic spot overlooking the water. The bird life was very busy. We had parked under a Leucoxylon eucalypt tree. There were several types of honey-eaters as well as a number of Rainbow Lorrikeets very busily enjoying the available lunchtime nectar. All birds were quite noisy compared with the silent flight of pelicans and hawks over the river. 
From Morgan the road took us away from the river and across green undulating hills. We have camped in Riverbanks National Park about 10 or 12 km from Burra. We expect the night and morning to be cold..maybe frosty. Whenever we have stayed at Burra it has been freezing cold...especially when we have slept in one of the Miner's Cottages.
This Gumtree Park is typical Mallee bush land  so we are very much at home. There are only 2 other camps set up so I am sure our night will be peaceful.

Typical Mallee Bush

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Safari 2019 July 18th

July 18th 2019

Another great day of holiday...with a walk in the morning and again at sunset. Our camp on the banks of the Mighty Murray River was peaceful apart from a few vehicles going along the bush tracks. Our van was very close to the water and we could see across the river to beaches on the other side. My first view outside this morning was rather extraordinary. What do you think of it..just trick photography?

Early morning on the Murray
 We have driven in a westerly direction today and enjoyed lunch in the park at Wentworth where the Darling River runs into the Murray River. It is a wide stretch of water.
Tonight we are camped in the Chowilla Nature Park which gives us a grey view of very dry land. We are on the wide and clean Monoman Creek  which we have been told is good for catching fish in.
The weather to-day has been comparatively warm. However the new diesel heater is doing a great job every morning.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Safari 2019 July 17th

July 17th 2019

After a very long time lying down and some long hours of sleep we have awoken with more energy. We have walked twice today so that, at the very least has kept us warm. Our bush camp was a little way west of the Pretty Pines Hotel among old old Red Gums and Black Box trees and quite close to the Moulamein Road but we could not hear the traffic until early this morning.
The Red Gums provide many holes for birds and other creatures to sleep and nest in. We have seen thousands of Cockatoos today on pasture and cropping lands. No wonder famers become frustrated with this intrusion.
We enjoyed lunch on the Edward River in the Yango NP, not far out of Balranald. After lunch we visited the local Art Gallery in the township. It had a lovely display with many attractive paintings.
Tonight we are camped on the Murray River in the Euston State Park. We have camped here before with Yvonne and Clive Voss and Susan and David Mathews. The surrounds of the Murray River here are grey and generally without colour however the day has been fine and warmer than at Milawa.
Now for some sausages from the BBQ.

On the banks of the Murray River

Safari 2019 July 16th

July 16th 2019

Cyclamens in bloom in our Glass House

Our first day, the day we have been looking forward to. After speaking to, Brendan, one of the guys who is going to keep an eye on our home and garden, we finally completed packing and drove out our gate soon after 10.30am. I was sorry to leave my two cyclamen plants which have grown from seedlings and have flowered for the very first time this year. The weather has warmed a little as we have travelled in a northerly direction-even some blue sky and sun. After crossing the Murray River at Tocumwal we lunched on the bank of this famous and well known river. We have settled for the night in bush land along a Stock Route  near the Edward River. Local tracks have only taken us on a short walk this evening. However 2 km of walking is better than none.