Nelson Bay is 150 Kms north of Sydney and we pay a visit to Tom and Julie, long time friends. Tom is recovering (very well) from a double knee replacement so we thought it unfair to play our normal state of origin golf game.
Next stop – Sydney, at the Lane Cove National Park. Siobhan catches up with her best friend, Sheila, and Sheila’s sister and brother-in-law who are visiting from Ireland. We have a lovely meal on the harbour and have a very enjoyable game of golf at Moore Park which was in very good condition considering it is a public golf course in the middle of Sydney. Note the strange collection of Ronald MacDonalds in North Sydney – must have been a convention.
We take our time heading east along the Murray, bush camping mainly right on the river but we also stay in a couple of nicer caravan parks. We play a couple of games of golf – at Barham and Cobram / Barooga. There is another task we are undertaking on this part of the trip – to recce the journey for my sister and brother-in-law when they visit the Murray for a wedding in April.
Now starts the long trek home. We head away from the madding crowds. First stop is a lovely bush camp on the Murray River, at Berri. We stay for 3 nights to see in the New Year. Our first game of golf since Kalgoorlie is at the nearby Renmark golf course.
Stansbury is a small town (pop 543) located in the southern Yorke Peninsula of South Australia. It faces the Gulf St Vincent across Oyster Bay, where shellfish were originally harvested in the 19th century. The town has also been a port used in the export of wheat and barley to Adelaide. It is a great place to harvest some of our favourite seafood, namely squid, whiting, razor fish and blue swimmer crabs. All of the above were consumed on Christmas Day.
We are joined in Stansbury by another couple from Pelican Waters, Jeff and Faye Chapple. The day was most enjoyable spent browsing on fresh seafood all day and sipping various types of cooling beverages.
Our next week is spent travelling to Stansbury on the Yorke Peninsula, our base for Christmas. We stop at some of our favourite and typically quaint small fishing villages on the way, including Arno Bay, Port Germein, Port Hughes and Port Victoria. Most of these villages have their own jetty allowing the hunt for squid, whiting, herring and blue swimmer crabs to continue. There are also many examples of the attractive local architecture, especially the many stone buildings.
Port Germein is the home of the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, at 1.5 kilometres. Whilst the best Cornish Pasties can be fount at Moonta / Port Hughes, due to the history of Cornish tin miners who came to the area in the 1800’s.
Occasionally, the crab net turns up with a surprise – take a look at what turned up in ours, below. Turns out they are fiddler rays.
Port Lincoln is well known for its windy weather and it certainly lives up to its name. After 2 days of gale force winds we decide to head north for some shelter so Arno Bay is the target, half way up the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula. Just as we were packing up a groan from Siobhan got my attention as she sees a flat tyre on the caravan, our second this trip. So the spare is fitted and we head to Beaurepaire in town and get the bad news that the tyre was not reapairable. So, 4 new tyres later …
We arrive in Arno Bay and find a free camp in the pub carpark !
Heading down the Eyre Peninsula towards Port Lincoln, we take in the towns of Smoky Bay, Streaky Bay and also a couple of nights free camping. For us, South Australia has great memories of blue swimmer crabs, razor fish, whiting and squid. Most of the small towns on the coast have their own jetties which offer fun fishing opportunities. We stay in Port Lincoln for a few days and also celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary.
As an aside, heading into Port Lincoln we complete our circumnavigation of Australia (more of that later).
Since this was our first visit to Western Australia we thought we would just focus a moment on some amazing facts and figures.
The United Kingdom is 244,820 square kilometres, Western Australia (just one of the 8 states and territories of Australia) is 2,529,875 square kilometres. The UK would fit into WA just over 10 times and it is bigger than Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada all added together.
Between entering WA from the Northern Territory on June 16 and exiting on December 2, we drove 18,246 kilometres. Just for comparison, the distance between Sydney and Dublin is 17,204 kilometres.
If Western Australia was a country, it would be the 10th largest by size in the world.
WA contains the world’s straightest railway line and one of the world’s longest roads (see previous blog).
Whilst in WA, we were physically nearer to the South Pole than to our home in Pelican Waters.
In WA, we had our first ever puncture on the car (in over 180,000 Kms) and also the first puncture on the caravan (in 58,000 Kms).
Cheapest diesel $1.45 per litre, most expensive, $1.84 per litre.
Highlights of WA – first fish species caught : blue salmon, wolf herring, chinaman, coral trout, WA snapper – free / bush camping for 38 % of trip through the state – played 16 different golf courses.
Half way across the Nullarbor, we reach the Western Australia / South Australia border. Looking at the photo of the car and caravan at the border, it is unique to note that the time in the caravan is 11:30 am whilst the time in the car is 02:00 pm !!