Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pandurra Station to Mildura

On the road again...

An easier day's driving today with lots of interesting scenery through SA farmland, a ferry ride over the Murray and catch up coffee with good friend Paula (Portia's breeder). We had originally thought perhaps we'd stay the night at Paula's but as there was still several hours of daylight left thought it was better we should press on a bit further. As it turns out it was a good move and enabled us to get into Canberra a day earlier than anticipated.

Farmland and future power? I think the large structures on each hill were wind turbines under construction

Derelict farmhouse with turbine tower in the background.

So many derelict farmhouses... made for some great photo ops :)
More blue sky grazing, being late summer the fields were so golden and just stunning against the blue sky. Quite a lot of areas were drought affected with dusty paddocks filled with poo but no feed. Others had obviously had quite a good year with well kept paddocks and sheds chock full of good looking hay. Weird thing was the areas were often within kilometres of each other.

How excited were we to turn a corner and be faced with this! I'm sure the guy thought we were quite insane, grinning like idiots and taking piccies of our big boat trip!! If we weren't on a bit of a tight schedule I would have been tempted to turn around and do it again!

The mighty Murray River! - at this point it still looks like a river but it is not actually flowing at the moment - just a series of pools :(

Murray river salt flats near Waikerie, SA - on the Sturt Hwy in Waikerie we bought the BEST pies ever!! OMG I wish we could go past there on the way home!

Hello Victoria! - Except for our first days travel we have entered a new state each day!

We had nothing booked for the nights stay in Mildura but just happened to stumble upon this fantastic little Caravan Park. Extremely pet friendly the owner went out of his way to find us a nice spot away from other campers (the park was pretty full due to a lot of fruit pickers being in town). He was also very helpful with information on shops and where to find the best food etc. The showers were clean and the water hot! If you're ever in Mildura looking for a place to stay with your pooch I can highly recommend River Road Caravan Park!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 3 - Somewhere on the bight to Pandurra Station

After a somewhat windy night day 3 again dawned somewhat cool and cloudy but unlike the previous day whilst the clouds did clear it stayed reasonably cool which we were grateful for.

The tent stood up brilliantly to the weather, but unfortunately the cover hadn't fared so well with the traveling. It was pretty well shredded! Duct tape again to the rescue! *lol*

The third day really was a "hump" day-the halfway point of our journey, we got a lot of kms under our belt but it did feel like a bit of a slog.

We had some interesting sights tho... a real live dingo spotted from the road about 2kms from our overnight camp site! A lot of departed Wombats in about a 10 km stretch of road close to Ceduna now nicknamed "Wombat Alley" Don't know if there are just lots there or if they are all just not very bright and wander out in front of passing traffic?

The dogs enjoyed a travel break paddling in the ocean at Ceduna, we saw "Iron Knob" and sniggered about it *lol* And met the goats at our waypoint - Pandurra Station.

Dawn day 3 - packed and ready to go!

Bight camp - the reason we didnt go wandering around after dark! (note dingo proof bins!)

SA roads are as long, straight (and boring!) as WA ones!

Nullarbor landscape SA style

Big sky country

Ceduna fun!

Big sky grazing

Iron Knob (tho not quite what we were expecting!)

Our overnight destination - great pet friendly spot. We only had a powered site but the amenities were great. Clean and with lovely hot showers. The dogs were well on the way to being true "poo connoisseurs" by this point and the goat offerings were much appreciated by them (not that I was all that pleased!)

The goats...

Dinnertime at camp Pandurra

Mia hadn't quite worked out the intricacies of tethering - or maybe she is just into bondage!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 2 - Norseman to somewhere on the bight... !

After a warm night day 2 dawned cloudy and cooler. We were hoping it would last for the whole day but it cleared to a fine, warm day by lunchtime.

Despite the lack of a pillow the tent was really quite comfortable and I was glad to be far away from those enormous ants!

The dogs were very good overnight and refrained from barking at anyone walking past - really good considering we left the solid doors open on the trailer due to the heat and lack of breeze.

Anyway enough typing... enjoy the pics :)

Dawn day two

Its a loong road!

Heat mirage

Plenty of trucks

Uh oh... !

Airstrip (aka Highway 1!)

Nullarbor Dunny

Dropping from one plain to another

Eucla sand dunes

Eucla flasher (Gave the boys sitting at the pub quite a show - of course Glenn had to take a pic for posterity, tho sadly the wind wouldn't blow whilst the camera was out!)

The bight at sunset

Day 1 - Perth to Norseman

No photos for this post as the camera was a little too well packed and impossible to get out without unpacking the whole car.

We left about 6.30am on 21st of February and stopped in at Maccas in Canning Vale for brekky. The sun was shining and all was going well. Until we stopped at Merredin for a wee break... a cursory check of the roof tent and roof rack found that the roof racks were held on by two little metal pins at each fixing point. The front was intact but the rear racks were missing 3 out of 4 pins!! Everything was very loose and how the whole thing hadn't flown off I have no idea!

A bit of duct tape to ensure the front rack didn't lose its pins sorted them. The rear was more of an issue... thanks to the kind staff at the roadhouse we scored a coat hanger and whilst not perfect managed to cut a couple of bits off to use as temporary pins.

Crossing our fingers we made it to the Norseman turnoff, not happy to risk another two full days travel with the coat hanger pins we took the chance we might find help in Kalgoorlie even though it was now late on Saturday afternoon. An 80km detour we hoped would pay off.

Thankfully not only was there a SuperCheap Auto (same place we bought the racks from) it was open and staffed by a very friendly and helpful guy who allowed us to exchange the faulty components of the rear rack :D A bit of sweat and swearing in the carpark - replacing the struts without actually removing the rest of the rack and roof tent was much quicker but somewhat awkward!

With all struts back in one piece and duct taped just incase any of the pins should try and work loose again we were set to go. A quick stop at a lovely fenced oval to let the dogs wear off some steam and toilet properly and we were back on the road. To keep it interesting we took the road via Kambalda to Norseman.

Spotted our first live "wildlife" in the form of feral goats - and very healthy they looked too! There is also an interesting collection of teddies nailed to trees along this road... weird?! but entertaining! :p

We arrived in Norseman about 6pm and booked into the Caravan park. A lovely hot shower and some dinner and we were feeling almost human again. With the roofrack dramas and delays it had been a bit of a stressful first day!

The caravan park was nice tho the flies were extremely friendly and when they went to bed the mozzies came out to keep us company. There were also lots of the biggest ants I had ever seen... until the next day... and the next day! *lol*

Finally got to bed around 10pm and realised I had forgotten to pack my pillow! Had to sleep with a rolled up towel as a pillow but when your tired you really don't notice!

Chronic lack of WiFi

yes I know we have been suffering from a blogging drought... I just had no idea how difficult it was to find decent (free/cheap) internet! or even a phone signal! (fricken Vodafone >:( ) We now have a Next G card so can get internet but uploading is a bit costly so have to wait until we go to Maccas to upload piccies.

Anyway we are now visiting with Ros and Peter in Melbourne so will hopefully get caught up with the blog :D