Lambert Geographical Centre: smack bang

Heading north from Coober Pedy towards Alice Springs we found ourselves back on corrugation. The flat and rocky terrain was devoid of trees, grass and pretty much anything between us and the horizon. After a few hours we came upon Arckaringa Station and an outcrop of mountains known as the Painted Desert. Under vast blue skies we were stoked to be able to take a walk through this beautiful place with Ned by our sides.

A welcome respite from the flats

Little Jono, little Ned, big mountain

Big Ned, little mountain

Tiny jumping Laura

So many cool rocks!

We spent that night in the small town of Oodnadatta. Although the town provides a great little free camp near its iconic pink Oodnadatta Roadhouse, we couldn’t sleep for the howling and barking and woofing and screeching of what sounded like hundreds of dogs. While Ned was unperturbed by the cacophony, to our human ears it was almost unbearable – we’ve never heard anything like it and hope never to again!

Next day, the plan was to tackle the western section of the Oodnadatta Track. However, at a crossroads we made the spontaneous decision to turn right instead of heading straight. This changed our route all together, taking us through Witjira National Park and condemning Ned to a long and boring day in the car. Happily, he’d already had fun that morning chasing his ball on a clay pan and then a ginger cat up a tree. We’ve encountered so many wild cats in South Australia and can only imagine the devastating effects they’re having on the native wildlife 🙁

Ned’s clay pan

While in Witjira we spotted a sign for Dalhousie Springs and stopped expecting to find a little puddle. Instead, we were amazed by huge, lush oasis. At a balmy 38-ish degrees it was more refreshing getting out of the water than in but an awesome experience all the same. We would have loved to camp there for a few days if only Ned was allowed.

Dalhouse Springs: more than a puddle

As it was, we continued north-west to Mount Dare Hotel, a common endpoint for travellers who’ve completed or are about to start the Simpson Desert. Boasting the distinction of being South Australia’s most isolated pub, we were pleasantly pleased to find Coopers Reds set us back just $7.50 a pop – cheaper than most Sydney pubs. We felt a real sense of accomplishment getting to Mount Dare Hotel and look forward to visiting again one day, hopefully after a successful Simpson Desert crossing.

Better beer prices than Sydney

… but fuel was a little more expensive!

The road west from Mount Dare was the bumpiest and rockiest of our trip so far and chewed up our tyres good and proper. We were happy to make camp that night just because it meant the jolting would end. Setting up and watching the sun fade across the plains we were shocked to discover we were inside the Northern Territory border and had made the crossing without realising.

The next morning, keen to make the most of our first few days in the Northern Territory, we set course for the Lambert Geographical Centre of Australia. As the name suggests, Lambert’s is the smack bang centre of the country (we’ve written a post about Lambert’s for Outdoria which you can check out if so inclined). We enjoyed a fun few days camping here with the experience marred only by a gust of wind slamming our car door on one of Jono’s thumbs.

Had the door caught his poor digit on the joint instead of the nail, our trip would probably be in tatters right now while Jono recovered from surgery. It was a scary moment followed by a very uncomfortable day for Jono and reminded us just how fragile plans are. Unshowered, dusty and dirty as we are, we’re so grateful and happy to be on this trip and we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Lambert geographical centre point

Smack bang

Lambert geographical centre camping

A hot day

Lambert geographical centre camp fire


Coober Pedy: an opal in the rough

From Kingoonya we headed east to the Stuart Highway and then a couple of hours north to Coober Pedy. We were happy enough to be driving on smooth dust-free bitumen until a road train blew past and threw up a rock which cracked our windscreen. We knew it had to happen at some point!

Cooper Pedy sign

Welcome to Coober Pedy

Neither of us really knew what to expect from Coober Pedy. As it turned out, it is one of the most weird and wonderful places we’ve visited. The town shimmers with the vibrancy of its weird and wonderful characters and of course the opals which have made it famous.

Coober Pedy birds eye

The sun beats down, a spaceship lies abandoned in the main street, caravans clog the road and dust swirls all around. On one occasion we watched open-mouthed as a whirly wind lifted a sheet of corrugated iron from the roof of a building and crashed it into the street, missing a parked car by an inch. No one batted an eyelid, so we guess it must happen regularly.

Coober Pedy spaceship

Are we on a Star Wars set?

Highlights included finding an opal in the public “noodling” area in Jewellers Shop Road (bonus points because Neddy Noodle felt so at home here), the Coober Pedy drive-in cinema (Laura had never been to a drive-in), and the underground Umoona Opal Mine and Museum which was a cool insight into the history of the area and a welcome respite from the sun.

Coober Pedy noodleing

Laura and the Noodle go noodling

Coober Pedy Opal

Our opal! Photos do not do it justice

We also really enjoyed heading out of the main drag and driving around the residential area. It’s hard to imagine that the little houses (and their inhabitants) can withstand the unrelenting sun and dust day in, day out, year after year. Given the caves remain a comfy 23 degrees no matter the outside temperature we can see why many prefer to live underground.

Coober Pedy Abodes

Underground abodes

More than any other place we’ve visited, the harsh climate really made us reflect on the traditional owners of the area and to contemplate the connection and kinship the Aboriginal people must have had with the land to allow them to flourish here. Take away the cushiony comfort of our troopy and we know we’d struggle to last a day.

One afternoon we took a short drive north to the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park where we enjoyed the most breathtaking sunset of our trip. We made the very most of it, throwing open our rear door and cooking dinner on our little stove as we watched the daylight slip away.

Coober Pedy Breakaways

Family portrait at the Breakaways

Coober Pedy Breakaways

The land before time

Coober Pedy breakaways

Enjoying the last rays of light

We also had to allocate a portion of our time in Coober Pedy to figuring out what to do about our dead-as-a-doornail inverter, which had given up the ghost on Goog’s Track. After chats with our auto-electrician and the company the inverter was purchased from, it was decided that a new inverter would be posted to Alice Springs. In the meantime, laptop and camera charging wouldn’t be happening unless we stayed at caravan parks. Ahhhh damn.

Coober Pedy Camping

Camping in Coober Pedy


Goog’s Track: a good day to have a Goog day

We were doing so well at posting our blogs on time until we got to Goog’s Track. Then it all kind of fell off the rails, partly because we’ve been moving around so much we’ve barely had time to scratch ourselves. It’s a full-on gig, this travelling life – we need a holiday! *SWISH* [the sound of us ducking to avoid the abuse you’re now hurling our way].

In the interim between finishing the track and being late in posting this blog, we’ve written a Goog’s Track how-to guide for Outdoria which covers the ins, outs and all abouts of the track as well as the route we travelled, so if you’re interested in reading it we’ll let that tell part of the story along with our photos below.

Goog's Track entry

The very start

Goog's Track salt lake

Salt lake vista

Goog's Track salt lake crystal

Up close and personal with salt crystals

Goog's Track campsite one

Night one campsite

Not much beats a campsite with a fire

Goog's Track downhill dune

A lot of day two looked very much like this

Goog's Track Mount Finke

Mount Finke in the background

Up the goat’s track on Mount Finke

Goog's Track clay pan

Day three clay pan

A few personalised notes left out of the Outdoria article include just how much we loved the little gecko who visited our campsite on the first night. So inquisitive and so entirely unafraid of us, we couldn’t get enough of watching him lick his own eyeball (who needs TV, right?).

Goog's Track beaded gecko

Our gecko mate. Funny little fella

We also probably didn’t emphasise just how much rain we received, despite a promised clear forecast on the morning we left Ceduna. It was so heavy that we had to end our second day of driving early. Whatever our expectations of Goog’s Track, they certainly did not involve rain to the point we could barely see through our windscreen.

Contemplating a downhill dune on day two, rain clouds looming

Another fun little thing that happened was our inverter battery going “pop” and not recovering, even though we’d only had it put in just before the trip. For the uninitiated, an inverter converts our car’s 12-volt power supply into 240 volt, which allows us to charge appliances such as laptops. You don’t realise until it’s no longer an option what a luxury it is to have constant power from the “grid”.

The morning of our inverter breaking also marked another milestone of the trip – our first proper fight. As fights usually are, this was a ridiculous one involving a suspected tripped fuse which ended up not being tripped at all and exacerbated by a lack of spare fuses we didn’t actually need. We’ll leave it at that except to say it was ridiculous and strops were had.

In all, the 154-kilometre Goog’s Track took us three days and two nights, and we were stoked to complete it without a single bogging, despite the sandy road and the 360+ dune climbs. There were big pats on the bonnet for Tennyson at the end, followed by a delicious and well-earned drink of diesel (for Tennyson, that is. We stuck with regular human drinks).

Goog's Track end point

The Trans-Continental Railway line marks the end of the track

On our first night out of the track, we found ourselves well and truly in the desert. It was with pleasure we came across a town called Kingoonya, which is maybe a settlement more than a town as there’s pretty much just a pub there. That said, Kingoonya is a great little place which offers cold drinks, meals, a fire and an awesome free campsite with an actual flushing toilet. Bit of a novelty these days, the old toilet – let alone one that flushes!

Next up, Coober Pedy and beyond.

An all-too-common sight in the outback


Eyre Peninsula AGAIN: big barrels in a dust bowl

After crawling out of Eyre Peninsula dunes a few days ago, we were both well and truly desert hacked. Dusty beyond belief, neither of us had any clean clothes, Jono was surfed out, sore and limping from ulcerated flipper sores, reef cuts and unexplained foot rashes, Laura was sporting unevenly tanned hands from long shifts of filming, and Tennyson and Ned were as dirty as they’ve ever been.

That said, the recent days have been an epic time with a truly epic crew and we can’t believe how lucky we are that the stars aligned to make it all so. Even better, we are writing this fresh and clean after recently enjoying our first hot shower in more than 30 days. We imagine the shower drain feels less fresh and clean and will probably remain clogged for some time.

Anyway, back to where we left off on our last post. After leaving Port Lincoln, we headed back in the direction we’d come, stopping in Streaky Bay overnight where we enjoyed a pub feed with Callum, Sam and Cohen. While the town is picturesque and probably has many things to recommend it, Jono’s biggest thumbs up go to the public toilet which he gives a solid 5-star rating.

A photo on the Streaky Bay pub wall: a constant reminder of what lurks beneath.

Who cares about sharks when there’s waves like this breaking?! The cold alone would keep most people away.

The next day, we had a bit of a scare after greedy guts Ned scoffed some of Callum’s out-of-date mince and managed to inhale everything in the packet, which we thought might include an absorption sachet. After Googling the possible ramifications of this and calling the closest vet (located a four-hour drive away), Callum then had the genius idea to call Coles and ask what they put in their mince packets.

Luckily for Ned, and for us, it was just some kind of wax paper. So, rather than taking an extremely long drive in the wrong direction, we were advised to keep our eye on him for any signs of ill health, none of which ever appeared. As Jono always says about Ned, “if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough”.

We also actually thought about taking Callum to a health and/or psychiatric specialist after he knowingly ate mince patties bought four days previously and left unrefrigerated in his car thereafter. He claims to have guts of steel and we guess he proved the truth of this since no ill effects appeared for him either. Perhaps the Ned saying applies to both parties.

Not a bad spot.

The how-to of wood hooking. Thanks Callum for the photo.

From Streaky, we headed into the dunes where we spent eight amazing days chasing swell, meeting awesome people, listening to Callum rap by firelight, marvelling at Sam’s battered old Camry as it slithered around putting 4WDs to shame (and only getting bogged twice), pissing ourselves at Cohen when a mistimed breeze and broken tent flap caused him to wee all over his sleeping bag, spotting dune cats, shnacking, day trips, stargazing and so much more.

Wake up and check the surf.

Photo of a photo.

Laura on the job. She is wearing five layers and three hoods.

Desert tracks.

Jono on one of the bigger waves he has ever caught.

Ned had an excellent time making friends with other crews and would routinely disappear to their campsites for pats and treats (he ate better than we did!). He did, unfortunately, disgrace himself on one occasion when hatred for his nemesis, the drone, whipped him into such a frenzy that he gave Laura a fat lip.

The lads.

Waves for days.

On Sunday, after the boys had one final surf in a continuously barrelling 4-6 foot lefthander, our time together was up. After a quick photo and footage swap, we all said our farewells and we beelined for a dog-friendly cabin in a Ceduna caravan park where we’ve spent the last couple of days showering, cleaning, doing laundry, washing our car etc. etc. Next up, the Googs Track and beyond!

We want to know …


Eyre Peninsula continued: more is not enough

Our fourth week on the road – also our third on the Eyre Peninsula – has been one of bad weather, epic sunny days, catching up with old friends, boggings and chasing waves. Yep, pretty much all the usual ups and downs of life on the road.

After the most amazing sunset on Thursday night, we spent Friday hiding in the car at Drummond Point while wind and rain gusted. Thankfully Ned was worn out after a few days of full-on activity and so he was fairly content to chill. In fact, every time we let him out of the car he’d cower so pathetically (he hates wind) that we’d take pity and let him back inside.

One day in the car was more than enough and we were stoked to wake on Saturday to amazing warm sunshine. We made the most of it by airing our bedding over bushes and enjoying pancakes at the ‘brekky bar’ which we give a five-star rating. Right around the time of the full moon, Jono also gave an unsuspecting ute-full of guys more than they bargained for when they drove past our campsite that morning just as he was standing butt naked in the sun. To Jono’s credit, he didn’t run for cover when he realised what was happening but instead stood frozen (he prefers the term “dignified”) until the ute disappeared from sight.

After Jono was finished flashing strangers and we had packed up our camp, we headed north to Elliston to catch up with a couple of mates. First up was Neil, an Elliston local who we bonded with on our last trip over our similar vintage Olympic caravans. Then we watched Callum – one of the three Tassie boys who we know and love for their fondness for frothing, frothies and schnacks – play in a local AFL game. It was cool to see such a big turnout in such a small place.

That night, Callum took us to a local roadhouse which is a real icon in the area. A fire took the edge out the freezing chill in the air, the owner kept us entertained with a running commentary and we all marvelled at Heidi, a rescued baby wombat whose mother had been killed by a car. Hats off to Bel who is doing an amazing job of looking after her around the clock. Fun fact: in the absence of their mother’s milk, a baby wombat’s beverage of choice is reduced-fat soy milk. How hipster.

Heidi the wombat

Shout out to @barbershopmedia for letting us stay on his land one night

Eyre Peninsula dune hangs

After nooking into a good camp spot in the dunes, the next few days were a blur of surfing, or, in Laura’s case, taking photos and filming, chores (there’s always so much that needs doing when you’re camping!), and freezing evenings spent sitting around a campfire. Crews came and left, but there was always plenty of legends to have a chat with.

In there somewhere…

On one day, after we’d fed a few of the boys some leftover pancakes (yes, we eat a lot of pancakes!), Callum told us we were the “mum and dad of the campsite”. It was a bit of a slap in the face to realise we are the oldies but we take heart from the fact that he at least didn’t call us “grandma and grandpa”. Maybe we’ll graduate to that by next trip?

We spent one arvo on the beach with Callum, Sam and Ollie who fished while we walked Ned in the dunes. We were pleased it only took us ten minutes to lure Ned away from racing between them, chasing their lures. Unfortunately, Ned’s fishing skills and etiquette have not improved since our first trip.

Twilight fishing – pre-bogging

Eyre Peninsula sand dunes

While trying to drive off the beach, Callum’s ute got bogged in the sand and it took a bit of digging and the use of our MaxTrax to get him out again. We thought we might get bogged ourselves, and so were happy when trusty Tennyson managed to get out of there on the first go.

 

With the forecast looking distinctly average for the next couple of days, we’ve made the call to backtrack to Port Lincoln to wait it out and replenish our supplies. Laura took the chance to get a filling because dental care is always important whether you’re on holidays or not. And we spent tonight at a local pub showing the Tassie boys just how good we are at pool (read: not good at all).

No Jonoisms to report this week, although he did get very excited about a “shooting star” which he watched for 30 seconds, and then a minute, and then longer before conceding that, yes, it may have been a satellite.

Laura’s wallet almost came to a nasty end after it fell out of her pocket and into a deep hole which she had filled with something we won’t talk too much about. Barely able to bring herself to view the carnage, she clamped her nostrils firmly closed and peeked in with just one eye – and could scarcely believe the wallet had somehow lodged in the corner of the hole, just one centimetre above the steaming contents. Pockets are now always zipped closed.

Also, no Eyre Peninsula shark stories to relate (hurrah!) although there have been a couple of heart-in-mouth moments which ended up being dolphins, seals or things which remain unidentified but at least didn’t bite anyone.

The locals dropping in

Nervous moments

Hot showers have still not been had. Send help. Or Gernis.

 


Port Lincoln and beyond: beauty EYREwhere

Our last post finished up at Moonlight Bay on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula, just north of Port Lincoln. We stayed there a couple more nights, enjoying all it had to offer – which was plenty.

Moonlight Bay

Ned enjoying Moonlight Bay

As well as ocean views, dolphins and seals, on the Friday night, we also spotted what we – applying our extensive knowledge of the universe and interplanetary behaviours – can only describe as a meteor.

A fiercely bright, orange light whizzed across the night sky before flaring brightly, breaking in two and fading away. It was spectacular, and we can’t help but wonder if our star-gazing has peaked very early on in the trip.

Staring at each other in silent amazement in the seconds following, we were very quickly brought down to earth again, when, out of the corner of her eye, Laura spotted another movement.

Somewhat smaller in scale than the intergalactic pyrotechnics just witnessed, this action turned out to be a scurrying mouse heading directly for the troopy. Tiny and cute as it was, Laura had little desire to have it move in with us. After she warded it off in an extremely graceful manoeuvre which didn’t involve knocking over camp chairs, we thought it best to set Ned on guard.

It took about 10 minutes of us pointing and shoving Ned in the direction of the mouse before he finally caught a scent and sat dutifully at the wrong bush until bedtime. We don’t think he would survive in the wild.

The meteor and the mouse also coincided with a rather momentous occasion in our own puny existences in that Laura awoke on Friday to her final uni assignment results. They were on the positive side of a pass and she is officially going to graduate. Woo. Hoo.

A cheers to graduating and the newly-born Forrest Hollonds

On Saturday evening with the wind picking up and major storm clouds brewing, we made the call to pack up before going to bed so we wouldn’t have to deal with wet stuff in the morning. We were running out of food and water, and so a trip into Port Lincoln (the Eyre’s largest town) was required.

Port Lincoln

In Port Lincoln we achieved many of the fails we always manage in towns: getting lost, turning up at places before they’re open, after they’re closed, or on the wrong day all together, going shopping and forgetting what we need only to remember after we’ve left that we wrote a list etc. etc.

However, we did also wash our car, get it serviced and its windscreen checked for leaks, launder our clothes, and from Vinnies purchase a mixing bowl to replace the one we recently broke and buy Laura an awesomely bright shirt. Win.

Oh, and we can’t neglect to mention Jono’s overly enthusiastic purchase of a bargain-priced but family-sized custard tart (“it’s only $4!”). It took just one slice for Jono to realise just how much tart he was in for. To his credit, he did get through it (Laura helped out with a couple of pieces). So far on this trip we’ve not wasted or thrown out one skerrick of food, which is something we want to continue.

Port Lincoln custard tart

Before Jono realised the level of tart ahead

A big night in Port Lincoln with our big screen

It was also while in Port Lincoln, wandering the streets with Ned waiting for our car to be serviced, that we finally christened our troop with a name. Everyone, meet Tennyson. Troopys have their own kind of poetry.

Tennyson, son of Russell

Drummond Point

From Port Lincoln we headed north-west to Drummond Point where we overnighted on cliffs overlooking a wonderful sunset.

Drummond Point

We also just about wet our pants laughing on the way in, when, in his haste to be first out of the car, Ned vaulted into the front and somehow landed face-first between the two seats and got stuck. We really can’t do the scene justice but suffice to say we’ll never forget the sight of his wriggling bum sticking up in the air.

Waking with the sun at Drummond Point the next morning was our first proper realisation that we are camping in South Australia in winter. Yes, Laura has already been wearing about five layers a day plus a blanket as a skirt over jeans, but this was the first morning the cold really slapped us around.

Hard to leave a warm bed

The wind stung our eyes and burned our faces and made our hands so cold they hurt. Getting dressed hurt, packing up hurt, jamming our fingers hurt much more than usual. And when things wouldn’t fit in their places, Jono snided Laura’s shoes, and then his ears hurt because she got the strops at him. But all was ok once we’d defrosted. Then it was time to find Jono some surf.

Desert style

We headed into some sand dunes and in our enthusiasm to reach the waves, immediately got bogged like the city gronks we are. Then followed laughing, digging and tyre deflating which, happily, didn’t take too long.

Pulling up at the water’s edge where Jono wanted to paddle out, no one else was there. The combination of freezing water, stabby rocks and lack of people to share in the white pointer lottery (no way was Laura joining him on that shallow reef break) meant that some amping was required before he felt ready to go in.

So, while Jono watched the waves, Laura took advantage of the sunny weather and made French toast, a batch of burger patties, and chia pudding. She also made a huge mess. Getting used to our kitchen layout is definitely a work in progress.

By the time she was finished, Jono was suited up and jittering about. After being shown the ins and outs of the camera set-up and listening seriously to her instructions (scan water constantly, double-arm wave signals “get the hell out of there”), she and Ned watched nervously as Jono paddled out.

Thankfully, no sharks were spotted, although an enormous pod of dolphins swam past, some of which came right into where Jono was and jumped out of the water just metres from him.

Laura and Ned were very glad when Jono returned unscathed. The next morning, they were confused as to why he would go in on his own again (in a wet wetsuit, no less), on an overcast, even sharkier looking day with much less favourable wind.

As the not-so-favourable wind was set to continue, we decided to pack up and head back to Drummond Point for a few days, which is where we are now, bellies full of burgers and having witnessed a gorgeous sunset.

Spot the tiny Laura

No Jonoisms to report this week, probably because he’s been too full of tart. Laura has made peace with the fridge and is happy to say they’re getting along quite well. As for showers, our last hot ones took place in Melbourne and are but a distant memory. Two weeks and counting, folks.


eyre peninsula whyalla

Into camp mode: RAdelaide and the start of the Eyre Peninsula

We are writing this perched on the edge of an Eyre Peninsula sand dune overlooking a calm, clear ocean without another human in sight. The sun is shining, the wind is gentle, and we are relishing these moments because this is 4WD travel at its best.

For those overcome with envy, take heart from the fact that we’re surrounded by storm cells looming closer with each passing moment, we’ve got sand in our bed, our car and every crevice, Neddy has rolled in something we’re pretty sure is poo, and we haven’t showered in eight days. Ahhhhh, life on the road.

Anyway, back to where we left off … Driving out of Melbourne we could see a huge cloud front gathering force and knew we were in for some rain. It sure delivered and at one point we had to pull over because we couldn’t see through the waterfall to steer safely.

We stopped that night at a rest stop we didn’t fully appreciate until the morning when we awoke to see a picturesque little lake complete with a working windmill. After taking Ned for a quick walk, we continued to Adelaide.

windmill outside adelaide

The windmill is very, very hard to see. Actually, it may not even be in this photo!

We were driving into the city, listening to the Presets, when, in one of those serendipitous life moments, Jono made an offhand remark about how good it would be to see their new album played live.

Employing the marvel of mobile technology, Laura discerned they were playing in Adelaide that night. Nek minit, we’re in a crowd of heaving bodies at the Thebarton Theatre. This was an experience we hadn’t been anticipating!

Presets in Adelaide

We spent one more night in Adelaide and completed a few little shopping forays including buying a second set of MaxTrax, visiting Snowy’s because it’s awesome and we could, looking in op shops for a steamer basket to fit our saucepan and, when that failed, braving Ikea.

Into the Ikea vortex

We also treated ourselves to banana and salted caramel crepes from a cute little café in Mile End and watched the World Cup Australia v. France match in a little sports bar with an excellent array of craft beer.

At the end of our last day, after doing an Aldi shop, we were on our way out of Adelaide when streets started looking familiar and we realised it was near here that we’d had the best burgers in Australia (yep, we’re calling it).

We agreed that if the Hema took us past Barry’s in Semaphore, it was fate and we’d have to have a burger. However, on reaching a turn where the Hema said to take a right, Jono went left. And then straight when it again said to turn right. Lo and behold, we were outside Barry’s.

Laura felt some cheating had gone on but apparently Jono’s understanding of the arrangement had been that we could have a burger if we reached the shop without any wrong turns. As we were there, we decided it was pointless to piddle over technicalities.

Seriously though, if anyone reading this ever goes anywhere near Semaphore, go to Barry’s! The burger ingredients are locally sourced with vegan options available, and both times we’ve been there our meals have blown us out of the water.

Barry's in Semaphore

Greedy Laura had already taken a bite of her burger before the photo got taken, which is why one burger looks a little squished

After Barry’s, it was well and truly goodbye Adelaide. We pointed our bonnet to the Eyre Peninsula which had been one of our favourite places from the last trip. We were excited to see it again.

While driving through Port Augusta we stopped in at a carwash place to spray off the small amount of mud we’d accumulated on the troopy. This turned out to have been a waste of time as the drive into our campsite on Whyalla’s Spencer Gulf (made in the dark and rain) was a sketchy, slippery, sliding affair that left our poor troops with an inch of mud on his tyres and his body well and truly splattered.

Mud aside, we were stoked to awake the next morning at an amazing new campsite. We could see the southern Flinders Ranges across the water and dolphins cruising past, which turned out to be a regular occurrence during our time there.

Highlights of this stop included our ever-burning masterpiece of a campfire which kept us toasty warm, Neddy going nuts off lead absolutely loving life, nudey splashes in the freezing water, and Jono stepping on a huge stingray (no injuries were sustained, except maybe to Jono’s voice box which emitted a very high-pitched noise).

A rare moment of Neddy not going nuts

Some curious local emus also came a-visiting. A stroke of good luck saw Neddy tied to the car when they arrived as Jono had the drone in the air. We’re not sure what emus would make of a barking Ned.

Eyre peninsula Spencer Gulf

Spot the emus

There they are

We did have one day of whoopsies when we broke our favourite bowl, cracked a rotten egg into our pancakes, dropped a bag of rice and burnt the bottom of our pressure cooker. We took it in our stride though. Hard not to, with views like these.

After three nights it was time to move onwards and downwards along the Eyre. We decided to visit a place we’d previously stayed and loved called Moonlight Bay because we remembered it had some neat little camp spots accessible only by 4WD.

And that’s where we are now (sun shining, gentle wind blah blah blah).

We’ve only been here one night but we’re pretty stoked on life, especially because we’ve successfully set up our RV tent which has turned out to be much more rainproof than we anticipated (it rained overnight) and provided good wind protection for our little stove while we cooked dinner.

Moonlight Bay

So ugly

Aerial of Moonlight Bay on the Eyre Peninsula

Some classic Jonoisms this week include him not knowing where he was “in the scheme of the [bed] sheet,” which was also apparently “tight like a screw”.

For her part, Laura has been hating on the fridge, the lid of which doesn’t stay up and is like a Tetris puzzle to get anything in and out of. Jono says soothing things like, “imagine how lucky you would feel to have this technology if it were 100 years ago,” and Laura wants to kill him.

Our home


The Nullarbor: crossing the big paddock

On leaving the desert we backtracked to the nearest decent-sized town, checked into Ceduna Foreshore Caravan Park, collapsed in two heaps and slept for about fifty hours. Then, upon re-entering the land of the conscious, we fully indulged in the luxurious comforts of caravan park life (Showers! Electricity! Toilets!).

In the interests of allowing our desert-addled brains sufficient time to recuperate, the next couple of days were also pretty low key, mostly involving gentle strolls (us) and frenzied runs (Neddy) along the Ceduna foreshore. And lots of food. On our fourth and final night in town we purchased a dozen locally caught oysters for the bargain price of $7, sat on the grass near the jetty and ate them as we watched the sun go down. The colours were spectacular. (more…)


Eyre Peninsula: west coast (part 2) Surf, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

During our final days in Elliston reports began to filter through that a mammoth storm cell was brewing off the coast of Madagascar. If things unfolded as predicted this storm would create a swell so large that it would affect up to 70% of the world’s oceans, generating surf conditions that dreams are made of. Well accustomed to Mother Nature’s tempestuousness, we barely dared to hope that it would pan out. However, this didn’t stop Jono from checking the swell charts so often it looked like he had a nervous tick. (more…)