A Travellerspoint blog

March 2012

Border crossing

With two full tanks of fuel, plenty of drinking water and most importantly an iPad loaded with podcasts & audio books the Nullarbor begins, all 2700 kms of it, the same distance from London to Moscow! 
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Bunda cliffs was our first overnight stop which is literally a parking bay just off the highway. Unbeknownst to the many passers by the cliff is a sheer 60 metre drop to the pounding surf.  Magnificent. 
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We made tracks at sunrise towards border town and Eucla having eaten all remaining fruit and veg the night before (veggie pizzas, yum!)... Despite stringent searching and a little sweet talking from Jen we cleared the heavy boarder security into WA.
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Crossing the border meant that we passed a few time zones and found an extra 3 hours. On day two of the Nullarbor we drove almost 10 hours (13 including stops).
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On the home straight, or so we throught..
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...not before spotting the largest limestone cave system which breathes in and out with changing air pressure.
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Some would say Fraser station ends the Nullarbor, its distinct change in fauna certainly made it feel  like the end for us. As the sun sets we say goodbye to a unique "stretch".
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Norseman peak hour, on our way back to civilization, Esperance.
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Posted by Jenandbrad 23:33 Archived in Australia Tagged wa Comments (1)

Eyre Penisula continued...

We took our time heading out of Port Lincoln along Flinders Hwy and stopped for lunch with a view at Elliston a few hundred kms past Coffin Bay.
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On the way was an amazing ocean cave in the middle of nowhere called the Woolshed, lucky to have it to ourselves.
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Another gem was discovered near Streaky Bay, a campsite literally on Perlubie Beach. This picture perfect setting resembled a secluded Balinese hideaway, it was complete with its own private thatched roof shelter...
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...with a slight twist. The locals offshore boat ramp!
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Neither of us will forget our time spent here, not only was the scenery to die for but with the help of two crab nets (thanks Pykey!) and another lovely couple from home, Rob and Rhonda, we managed to catch more than 20 blue swimmer crabs.
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With a little preparation we shared a memorable dinner together.

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Cactus Beach near Penong, home to a few famous surf breaks was our next port of call. The onshore wind messed up the surf but was a kitesurfing and cliff-walk opportunity not to be missed.
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After checking out the jaw dropping coastline, dining on our kangaroo steaks (Jens first)...
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...and mingling with the locals...
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...we spent the evening with another young couple 'coasting around', Steph and Guy from Singleton.

Before edging onto the Nullabor we spent one more night beachside. Our new besties Steph and Guy left camp a little earlier and after a successful 'reckie' found the beautiful and remote Scott's Bay.
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We spent the afternoon fishing and munching popcorn (thanks Steph) then bunkered down together for the windy, rainy night ahead.
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Armed with beer and board games (awesome combo) and sheltered by the sand dunes, we survived the storm and were excited to see the sunshine the following morning. "oh what a feeling"
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The peninsula has been incredible, we now prepare for the Nullarbor.

Posted by Jenandbrad 22:00 Archived in Australia Tagged Comments (0)

Eyre Peninsula...

Point Lowly was our first stop on the Peninsula. Another free camp recommendation and known for its fishing, diving and wind, all ticks in our boxes.
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Here we learnt how to catch blue swimmer crabs after meeting a Thelma and Louise type couple who were good enough to give us 6 cooked crabs and fish for dinner - I think they felt sorry for us having seen our morning fishing skills. 
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Skip to Port Lincoln to meet up with an old mate from high school, Christian Pyke (Pykey), Kelly his lovely wife and their two kids. It was nice to see Pykeys mum whom I havent seen in 20 years.

The weather was again turned on for everything outdoors. Pykey taught me the finer techniques of catching lobster (with your hands!) and we finally had luck with the fish, this time spear fishing.. Ok so we thought we did well enough for a feed (with the help of a few extra side serves) but I'm not sure it was enough to impress the ladies - tough critics!
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We took the prado through its paces 4WDing to some very remote beaches and bays around Coffin Bay. We took a day trip up to Mullalong beach and were spoilt to the best surfing conditions I have ever seen, Pykey was fairly chuffed as well...  
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A sea lion dropped in on Pykeys wave and some choice words were exchanged but thankfully it was left at that. The dolphins did the same throughout the day. 
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Will never forget riding a 6-8 foot swell with the beach almost to ourselves...
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...and the remoteness of the national park. I Can see why the Pykes love it here. 
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Our time here has been awesome and as only locals can do we saw and did some amazing things. It was nice to share a bit of family time; Jen's instant connection with Kel & the kids and Brads blokey time with Pikey was what we needed being far from home.
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Leaving was tough as we were made to feel so welcome. Our promise to you is to send photos of the first blue swimmer crabs we catch in your pots, hopefully somewhere near Streaky Bay. Thanks for everything guys :)

Posted by Jenandbrad 00:03 Archived in Australia Tagged Comments (2)

Taking on the Great "Bight"

Using our much loved, 'Camps 6' book as well as a recommendation from fellow travellers we headed into Lower Glenelg National Park. Pritchards campground, a beautiful spot right on the Fitzroy River was our home for the night with a fish smorgasbord awaiting us; Well so we thought... It was cheese on toast for dinner; still a nice way to see out the day and made our last night in VIC a memorable one.
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With mother natures help again we crossed into SA with a 25 knot tail wind.
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Our first stop across the border was Mount Gambier. The Blue Lake is an intense, deep turquoise blue in summertime. Down the road was Umpherston Sinkhole, a fallen in limestone cave which has created the perfect environment for its "sunken garden". 
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We are finding our plans need to change regularly. We intended to stop at Robe but when the wind was still up around 40 knots a very exposed beach camping site meant that we had to move on. We picked up our essentials in town and headed onto Wrights Bay. Next stop, Victor Harbor which was such a magic spot we decided to stay for an extra night. Plenty to do here including bike riding (we headed to Port Elliot), surfing and fishing (off Granite Island).
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Onto the wine regions of SA, first into McLaren Vale to check out Wirra Wirra, Chapel Hill and dArenberg. 
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Hanhdorf was a slight detour (thanks Lesley) via the Adelaide Hills. It is a well preserved small town with strong German origins. Beautifully shady, tree-lined streets, lots of boutique shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
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The Barossa, we hit on our bikes - the highlight was Rockford wines, the only vineyard to hand shovel and it happened to be harvesting whilst we were there.
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A little heavier with wines onboard and sore heads we headed towards Southern Flinders Ranges, to a place called Melrose, great for mountain bike riding... 
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...well not great for everyone. This was reasonably difficult terrain and Jen found herself falling off a steep part of the track with her bike landing on top of her. Plenty of cuts, bruises and sprained ankle to show for it. 
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This changed our plan a little from heading further into the ranges and we drove instead through Port Augusta, the scenery around was beautifully rugged with views of the ranges as we headed onto the Eyre Peninsula, our next stop...
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Some of you may have noticed photos with the toy Prado in previous blog entries... I wonder if anyone can see the Prado in this one :)

Posted by Jenandbrad 21:02 Archived in Australia Tagged Comments (1)

The Great Ocean Road

The pictures tell most of the story...
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Ok, you get the idea, there are more in the photo gallery...

We've covered alot of ground this week but the road has been spectacular and mother nature extreme. We landed at a free camp in Johanna and the temperature reached 40 degrees. By the time we hit Killarney the wind pushed 35 knots and the temperature dropped to under 20 degrees! The surf along the Great Ocean Road is huge due to the continental shelf and there have been a few occasions a freshly waxed surfboard has stayed dry (other than a few tear drops)...

Port Campbell is the closest town to the 12 Apostles heading south. We spent a few days here which was enough time to chill, have a paddle and take the kayak for a spin...
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As we were leaving Port Campbell we met a spaniard who had been cycling from Darwin through central Australia. In the 6 months he had gone through 5 inner tubes and countless punctures. Johns (Juan) english was good enough to work out that he went through one more tube than planned and needed to get to a large town. We were happy to take him to Warnambool which was only 40kms away but meant the world to John. We stopped in at London Bridge on the way - you can see what a staple of rice and pasta and cycling 100 miles per day will do; John was lean when he started and he's lost another 8kgs!
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Time for a wildlife theme... Endangered plovers have been spotted on a few of the beaches which is pleasing to see. The first shot shows how well camouflaged they are amongst the seaweed. Can you see them?
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We have never seen so many finches and wrens, especially Blue wrens. I couldn't resist adding one for my Nan, her favorite bird :)
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We have learnt so much about traveling Australia in such a short period of time, thanks mostly to all the grey nomads who are willing to share their stories (whether you ask or not). We have really enjoyed their company.

We next hit the limestone coast bound for South Australia.

Posted by Jenandbrad 02:43 Archived in Australia Tagged vic Comments (9)

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