Ceduna – The SA Quarantine Inspection Station and the end of the Nullarbor Links Golf Course
So after finishing our journey across the Nullarbor, we arrived in Ceduna – but not before being stopped at the quarantine inspection station. The officer who checked out our van and car was very pleasant and we were soon on our way into town. We were very aware of the restrictions on bringing fruit and vegetables into South Australia, and ensured our compliance with the rules, especially as SA now has a zero tolerance approach (and hefty fines). (What we didn’t realise was that SA also has an additional internal fruit fly exclusion zone that starts west of Blanchtown in the Riverland district – and if you want to take your freshly purchased fruit and veg into that district, you have to keep your itemised receipts as proof of your purchases in SA. Otherwise, in the bin it goes, and the whole saga starts again! But, more on that in the next blog. 😢)
We took the opportunity to stock up on fruit and veg in Ceduna, as well as complete the final two holes of the Nullarbor Links course (see previous blog) at the Ceduna Golf Course. After that, we did a bit of sightseeing around the town before continuing on to a beachside camp a little further along the Eyre Peninsula coast.
Our chosen campsite was at Perlubie Beach, approximately 120km south east of Ceduna, near Streaky Bay. This was a fabulous location with the option of having the van on the beach, or snuggled in behind the sand dunes to avoid the strong, cold onshore wind. Needless to say, we snuggled in behind the dunes with a couple of other vans. With a white beach and few people around this was a great find, complete with flushing toilets.
Not long after leaving Streaky Bay, we visited Murphy’s Haystacks, a natural rocky outcrop amongst farm paddocks. The name comes from stories told by coach drivers that they were haystacks, and as the farmer’s name was Murphy, they became known as Murphy’s Haystacks. They are in fact ‘inselbergs’, visible as the outcrops of the larger granite deposits below the ground. The underlying pink Hiltaba granite was formed around 1,500 million years ago, and the ‘haystacks’ are believed to have formed their shapes some 100,000 years ago. Fascinating to be up close to, and well worth the visit.
Elliston, a seaside beauty – Further down the coast we visited Elliston, a small community with a rugged, scenic coastline overlooking Waterloo Bay. We headed for their clifftop drive, a winding dirt road on Cape Finniss that showcased spectacular views, with plenty of opportunities to stop and absorb the beauty of the bays and cliffs (and try not to be blown away in the 50 km/h winds!).
Rolling green hills (what drought?) and striking old stone buildings – As we progressed further south and then east across to Tumby Bay, we were surprised at how green the fields were, and the number of old stone cottages that dotted the countryside (some beautifully maintained, and many in ruins or states of disrepair). The one below is the old Lake Hamilton Eating House, near Lake Hamilton SA. The house was built in the late 1850s as a rest stop for the coaches that carried travelers passing through the area. It is currently open for travelers to view and leave a donation towards its upkeep – just let yourself in, and close the door behind you when you leave.
Tumby Bay – Colour and hospitality
Our next stop was Tumby Bay, a delightful small town on the Eyre Peninsula’s east coast. Famed for its fishing, it is also becoming known for its annual street art festival, which started in 2018 when ten street artists were invited to paint murals on various buildings in the town. The festival was so successful that it was run again this year with another ten or so walls painted (see selected images below).
Tumby Bay also has a stunning example of silo art, depicting two boys jumping off the town jetty into the bay. The mural covers an area of approximately 2,200 square metres, and took 430 litres of paint, and 28 days to complete.
We used Tumby Bay – an RV friendly town – as a hub for a few days to explore southern parts of the Eyre Peninsula. We visited Port Lincoln and, when in Rome, exploited the opportunity to pick up some quality prawns, as well as take in the sights from the town lookouts. There is a great bronze statue on the town foreshore depicting a tuna poler, recognising the importance of the area’s commercial tuna fishing. The town is also the gateway to Lincoln National Park.
Coffin Bay and the Coffin Bay National Park – The small town of Coffin Bay has some great scenic spots and a pleasant walk along the shore of the bay. Oh, and did we mention the oysters? … Coffin Bay oysters are fabulous and John enjoyed a dozen for lunch while overlooking the bay.
Coffin Bay National Park – Coffin Bay NP has some great beaches, cliffs and many fishing opportunities, but beware the treacherous waves on the southern ocean side of the park. We really enjoyed the location, scenery and the camping facilities that are provided in the national park. There is also plenty of wildlife in the park, including goannas, kangaroos and emus, the latter of which seemed to take great delight in stepping into the road just in front of the car, so driving at the 40km/h speed limit makes good sense. We were privileged to see a mob of more than 30 emus foraging through the low scrub.
Cowell was a must visit for us on this trip as it has been a favourite destination for our friends, Trish and Richard, over a number of years. We set up in the town’s RV rest stop before heading into town for some supplies and a look around. Situated on a calm harbour, it is a great location for fishing from shore, jetty or boat. Interestingly, the local council now charges fees for the use of the town’s boat ramp ($8 per day) – the first time we have ever come across charges to use a boat ramp in all our travels.
The timing of our visit was perfect as the painting of the town’s silos had been completed just days before our arrival, and the colours were still vibrant and fresh. The town has around 50 historic buildings, many of which are so beautiful, in good repair and still in use.
Our next stop was the town of Kimba, which prides itself on being halfway across Australia (as the crow flies), when driving between the east and west coasts. It is a service town for the region, with a rail line and large wheat silos.
Kimba also has a great example of silo art, depicting a young girl in a wheatfield. It covers five and a half silos and is over 60m wide and 25m high, and took 26 days and 200 litres of paint to complete. The art on the silo is also permanently lit up at night. This has become an attraction for those driving past, and is encouraging more travelers to stay on their way through. Kimba is an RV friendly town and we stayed a couple of nights in their RV campground, which easily accommodated 30+ vans. The local pub operates a pickup and return bus service each night for visitors in the RV park (for a gold coin donation), which was a nice touch.
Leaving Kimba we headed to Port Augusta for a couple of days and enjoyed our time there. We took to opportunity to swap yet another empty gas bottle (courtesy of all the unpowered camping we’ve been doing over the last month) as well as getting the car serviced (the third service so far on this trip). We stayed at the RV campground on the southern edge of town, which was close to the local football club and facilities. Port Augusta has a very pleasant foreshore area just behind the main shopping area.
There are a number of great examples of street art around the town, including some large examples at the train station. Just outside of Port Augusta is the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, and the Red Cliffs lookout, both of which were worth the visit.
On leaving Port Augusta we headed toward the Barossa Valley, travelling through the Clare Valley on the way. While John has enjoyed driving the SA roads, the Clare valley let the side down somewhat with well sealed but bumpy roads for much of the trip. That said, what really impressed us were the green fields, with healthy crops as far as the eye could see. This was a big change from the dry paddocks we had passed by near Kimba and Port Augusta.
We were headed for Greenock RV Camp, in the small village of Greenock in the Barossa. We stayed there in the early days of our trip, and were looking forward to spending more time there on our way back east. Ideally situated between Nuriootpa, Kapunda and Tanunda, we took some time to visit a number of wineries, but also to revisit the great local Greenock Brewery.
After enjoying a few days in the Barossa, we will set off east towards Waikerie to begin our meander through the Murray region (and into the fruit fly exclusion zone!), with perhaps a few deviations to check out more silo art. More on that in our next blog (which could take a while, as we plan to slow down the pace, kick back and chillax by the mighty Murray for a while).