A Travellerspoint blog

February 2017

Elliston

Cliffs, Surf and Sculptures

sunny 26 °C

While we were at Coffin Bay National Park we noticed a clunking noise in the front of the patrol which became worse so we decided to visit the local mechanic to get it checked out. He thought it sounded like the wheel bearings again and as it was late in the day he suggested we set up camp at the Coffin Bay Caravan Park and bring the car back in the morning to sort out the problem.

The caravan park is quite nice with clean modern amenities, camp kitchen, laundry etc and was good value at $24 a night for an unpowered site on a grassed area beneath trees. At the park we met two nice couples living the dream and travelling the country. There was a young couple from Victoria heading to Broome to take up a job offer working on a station mustering cattle to finance further travel. They had travelled to the Kimberley two years previous and had lots of good information on free camps in the area. The other couple were Marilyn and Greg from Perth who began their trip in October and were heading east. They have a fantastic blog with the most stunning photos and we are looking forward to following their travels as we continue ours.

Chris the mechanic checked the wheel bearings and found they weren’t the problem but couldn’t find the cause of the noise so rang and made a booking at Mortlock Motors in Port Lincoln for us for the following morning. After spending another night in Coffin Bay and sampling the local oysters we travelled back to Port Lincoln to have the car fixed. John the owner of the workshop found the problem, which was thankfully just a loose bolt in the suspension and we were on our way west again. Thanks to John and the friendly staff at Mortlock Motors for fitting us in to their busy schedule and for their expert knowledge of 4wd vehicles. We recommend them highly if you need any mechanical work done in Port Lincoln.

Our next stop was going to be Sheringa Beach however when we arrived the wind was strong again as seems to be a constant theme so far in South Australia. There was little protection from the wind here and the toilets were disgusting so we decided to continue on to the Walkers Rock campground which is about 10km past Elliston. The place was popular but we found a space with wind protection and set up camp for 2 nights. The camp ground has a toilet, cold shower and rubbish bins and costs $10 a night.

The next day we visited Elliston and did the cliff top drive which features various sculptures along the way. The drive gives views of the rugged coastline and includes the Black Fellows surf break which is a challenging left hand break that pitches out over a shallow reef. This spot was the scene of the tragic death of young surfer Jevan Wright in 2000 when he was taken by a great white shark. As we watched the handful of surfers in action a sea lion appeared amongst them which would have made them nervous as great whites like to feed on them.

Unfortunately the jetty at Elliston was closed, not sure why, so we had a drive around the town and had lunch down at the foreshore which had a new picnic area with barbeques and amenities. It seems like the town has had a major upgrade as the jetty area and other places around town all had brand new facilities.

In the afternoon we tried fishing back at Walkers Rock but the wind was horrendous and made fishing impossible. We ended up having dinner and going to bed early due to the relentless wind. Tomorrow we head to Streaky Bay for a few days.
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Posted by OzJourney 03:06 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Coffin Bay National Park

Untamed

overcast 23 °C

Before we left home we had the front wheel bearings replaced as a preventative maintenance measure due to the fact that they hadn’t been replaced for a long time. As it turns out the job wasn’t done properly and both front wheel bearings had a lot of free play with the left side particularly bad. After having the bearings adjusted and regreased we headed out to the Black Springs camp area in Coffin Bay National Park. You can’t pre book camp sites in the park (however from 27-02-17 it is changing to online booking) and when we arrived all sites were taken. However there is an overflow area a little further away from the toilets which has much more room, is flat and overlooks the bay, so we set up camp here with no other campers nearby.

The track into the park is bitumen up to Yangie Bay and is then a mixture of sandy and rocky single lane track into Black Springs. The first part of the track after Yangie Bay has some soft sandy sections where you need to keep up momentum or risk getting bogged but we had no trouble towing the camper in there. Low range and low tyre pressures are required though.

We met three groups of very friendly fellow campers at Memory Cove which were also staying at Black Springs so it was good to catch up again. Windy weather has been a constant in South Australia and here was no exception, with one of our three days here being jumper weather and the nights being cold, which had us in bed before dark. The fishing here was unproductive with only very small salmon being caught and released.

On our second day here we went exploring the 4wd tracks and other beaches and camping areas in the park. To access these other areas you have to drive along Seven Mile Beach which is a nice drive with the bay on one side and large sand dunes on the other. You need to time the drive to avoid high tide as the beach would be very hard to negotiate if you timed it wrong.

Sensation Beach is on the open ocean side of the park and requires a steep climb up a sand dune and down the other side to access the beach. This is a long white sand beach which you can drive on and is quite picturesque. Mullalong Beach (another open ocean beach) was our favourite. It has high rocky headlands at each end, with a very high sand dune in between, and a white sand crescent shaped beach. The view of the beach from the first car park high above the beach was absolutely stunning.

Point Sir Isaac has a great clifftop drive with elevated views of the rugged coastline here. The camp ground near Point Sir Isaac called The Pool is well protected with trees and has large sites. Next time we visit we would stay here as other than the nice wind protected sites you have access to the far end of the park without having to worry about the tides on Seven Mile Beach except on entering and leaving.

The other stunning beach to see in the park is Almonta Beach which is accessed via the bitumen before you get to Yangie Bay. This is a long white sandy beach with high sand dunes disappearing off into the distance. Near Almonta Beach there are lookouts at Point Avoid with views to Golden Island.

We stayed at Black Springs for 3 nights at $12 a night plus $10 park entry. Coffin Bay National Park is a remote wilderness with very few visitors during our stay, it was a pity we were plagued by the wind and cool conditions but we enjoyed it despite the weather.

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Posted by OzJourney 03:57 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Lincoln National Park

Unspoilt Coastline

semi-overcast 25 °C

After leaving Innes National Park we headed back to Parham for the night before the long journey to Lipson Cove which is close to Port Lincoln. We backtracked to Parham as we had to go back to Adelaide to get a new UHF radio because the old one was no longer transmitting. This time Parham was free of flies and mosquitoes due to the fact that the wind was gale force on shore and they would have been blown away. After a sleepless night with the camper trailer flapping and creaking under the absolute pounding of the relentless wind we didn’t even entertain the idea of making breakfast and hit the road early, stopping at the Port Wakefield roadhouse for breakfast.

We arrived at our overnight stop at Lipson Cove mid afternoon and pulled in to camp beside a nice couple in a caravan who were from NSW. Lipson Cove used to be a free camp but like a lot of these sites local councils can see a dollar to be made and they have installed toilets and provided rubbish bins and now it is $10 a night. It is worth the cost to stay here though as the cove is quite beautiful with a headland protecting a white sandy beach and the campsites are open with an elevated view of the cove.

Leaving Lipson Cove we stopped at Port Lincoln to restock food supplies and have a shower at the Boston Hotel for $5 as we were due for one. We also called in to the information centre to book into Memory Cove in the Lincoln National Park. Our first camp in Lincoln National Park was September Beach. After checking out all the campgrounds in the park (and there are quite a few) we chose September Beach for a number of reasons. The campsites are protected behind the dunes and on the ocean side of the park, with large sites surrounded by trees with picnic tables and a fire pit. There are toilets and tank water and the beach is white sand, clear water with a rocky headland at each end. We only had 2 nights here but could have stayed longer.

While at September Beach we drove to Mclaren Point down a rocky track and were rewarded with part of that night’s dinner with a couple of squid caught off the rocks in quick time. It was then on to Spalding Cove where we procured a good number of Razor Fish, a mollusc with a round flesh similar to a scallop. The fishing was less impressive with nothing to show for after an hour or so using the squid tentacles for bait.

After September Beach we had our booking at Memory Cove which has a 3 night maximum and you have to pick up the key for the locked gate at the Information Centre in Port Lincoln. The track out to Memory Cove is 4WD only not because you need to engage 4WD (as we didn’t need to) but because the track is rocky in places and you need the ground clearance to negotiate some rough sections. From the locked gate it takes about 1 hour to cover the further 19km to the camp ground. The campsites aren’t very big and bollarded off, only suitable for tents and camper trailers. We got lucky and were given site 5 which is the only site with ocean views and is a bit larger. Avoid site 4 if you can as it is small and requires a lot of backing and manoeuvering to get into due to a hairpin bend you have to negotiate.

Memory Cove is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to. It is a protected cove with rocky headlands either side and a fine white sandy beach with crystal clear water. The whole area including the campsites is wooded and bird life is abundant. Dolphins and pelicans are common visitors. There are only 5 camp sites and it feels very secluded and untouched. There are toilets and tank water and it costs $20/night plus $11 entry fee to Lincoln National Park, worth every cent. The fishing here is good and we managed to catch squid, mullet, salmon, tommy ruff and some small flathead, so dinner was seafood every night.

On our third day here the weather was overcast and windy so we decided to do the Wanna to Sleaford 4WD track. This track takes you through and over huge sand dunes and rocky limestone clifftops with spectacular views of the ocean all the way. It took us 1.5 hours to navigate the track with marker posts to show you the way. You need to air down, use low range, and it helps to have a sand flag to alert other 4wds coming the other way (although we never saw anyone else) when cresting the dunes on the single lane track. This was lots of fun, with great ocean views all the way and highly recommended if you have the time.

During the sand dune fun we noticed a clunking noise coming from the driver side front wheel and on closer analysis on the way back to Memory Cove we thought the problem may be a front wheel bearing, so we are booked in to have it seen to tomorrow morning when we leave this paradise and head back to Port Lincoln on our way to Coffin Bay National Park.

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Posted by OzJourney 15:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Innes National Park

Spectacular Coastline

sunny 25 °C

After a quick breakfast at Parham we left early and headed to Innes National Park. If we thought the flies were bad the previous night we were wrong, trying to have breakfast was horrendous. The drive through Innes National Park to our campsite in Pondalowie Bay was stunning, with scenic views of the coastline which varies from sweeping bays to rugged cliffs to sandy beaches and jutting headlands.

Pondalowie Bay is a beautiful circular bay with a sandy beach and clear, calm water. Nearby to the campground there is a small fishing village with beach shacks that must have been there before the area was declared a national park. It is also has a great surfing break which unfortunately did not break at all the whole time we were there. But the positive to come from no swell was very clear calm water to snorkel in and to search for crayfish. The first snorkelling trip into a protected bay near Pondalowie Bay resulted in sighting five good sized crays that were well protected in a deep ledge out of reach. The second trip to the same spot on the following day resulted in the successful capture of a small crayfish just over the legal size which became entree for that nights meal.

We had planned to stay 4 nights but changed that to 6 nights as there is so much to see and do here and there are very few people around. We arrived on a Sunday and there was only one other camper in the entire campground. The park was virtually empty all week until friday night when quite a few caravans and some camper trailers arrived. The cost of camping here was $12 night plus $10 entry fee for the park. The campsites vary in size with some just large enough for a camper trailer or caravan.

The highlights of Innes National Park (and there were lots of them) were the Stenhouse Bay Clifftop Trail – great coastal views, Dolphin Bay – beautiful protected bay with crystal clear water and white sand, Pondalowie Bay – pristine, picturesque bay and a pod of around twenty dolphins playing in the clear shallow water very close to the waters edge. The wildlife here was plentiful with kangaroos coming right in close to our campsite, emus wandering down the middle of the road and through the scrub, a pair of young magpies who visited frequently that were very friendly, and a wide variety of birds. West Cape – has a 360 degree lookout which overlooks Pondalowie Bay and all the other bays , headlands and islands.

The weather during our stay was quite windy on 4 of the 6 days but not cold. The daytime temperatures varied between 25C and 32C with humid conditions on most days. Innes National Park was a fantastic place to visit and we would highly recommend it for its diversity and pristine landscape.

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Posted by OzJourney 15:26 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Southend (S.A)

First border crossing

sunny 24 °C

Well we finally hit the road on Thursday 2nd Feb after a stressful couple of weeks leading up to the beginning of our journey. This was 3 days later than planned due to not getting the car back until Friday 27th Jan. Anyway the car is running like a dream with the rebuilt engine and we drove 5.5 hours to our first destination over the border in South Australia at a small seaside town called Southend, which is situated about 70km north west of Mount Gambier not far south of Beachport.

We are camping in the Bushland Camping Reserve which is managed by the Southend Caravan Park. This is a great spot with large grassy campsites situated behind the sand dunes adjacent to the beach giving protection from the wind. The cost is $8 per person/night and there are toilets and drinking water. If you want a shower it will cost you $4 at the caravan park.

Southend is at the northern end of Canunda National Park which has some great 4wd tracks winding through the dunes leading to cliff top lookouts and sandy beaches. We had fun driving some of these tracks. Low range and airing down was required. We had heard about the Seaview Walking Trail in Canunda National Park which follows the cliffs around the coast. This was a great walk with spectacular views of the rugged coastline, cliffs, coves and sandy beaches. We spent 2 nights here but could have stayed longer, it was very peaceful with very few people around. We never saw another person on the Seaview Trail walk and the campground had very few campers.

Our next stop was Parham on the coast north of Adelaide for one night before heading to Innes National Park. We got away from Southend by 9am and stopped in Kingston for morning tea. Kingston has a great RV Park which is beside the beach and jetty. It has grass, toilets, water and best of all it is free. After negotiating our way through Adelaide we arrived in Parham around 3:30pm, another 5.5 hour drive, and were very lucky to secure the last available space in the small free camping area beside the beach. The place was wall to wall with caravans packed into a small gravelled area which was quite wet after rain that afternoon. There are toilets, drinking water and free barbeques under cover. It rained lightly, on and off till around 7:30pm and the flies and then mosquito's were quite bad.
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Posted by OzJourney 13:38 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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