Saturday, September 30, 2017

Great Places To Visit - Quorn, Melrose, Port Germein, Port Perie, South Australia

South Australia is filled with beautiful scenery, and interesting towns. Some we have visited lately are: Quorn-Historic Old Ghan Rail Line,  Port Augusta-larger town for shopping,Port Germein-longest peir, Melrose-quaint shops-Mt. Remarkable, Port Perie-Industrial town, larger town for shopping also.

We are staying at Beautiful Valley Caravan Park in Wilmington whilst visiting this area.  Older caravan park with only 3 1/2 star rating, but don't be put off by that. Whilst the amenities are old, they are clean and tidy and functional. We are enjoying this cute little park with it's resident  "lawn mowers", a small mob of very friendly sheep and a miniature pony called Snowy. Great place to stay for families, animal lovers, peace and quiet, central location to the above towns, etc, etc. We have a caravan so a powered site was all we required. Cheap at $25/night for 2 adults. Would recommend this park if you don't mind older facilities as we don't so long as they are functional and clean.

I like horses so am enjoying "Snowy" the creamy miniature pony. He enjoys the back scratches and apple cores I give him. We are friends already.

From here its only a 20minute drive to Melrose. It was the annual Melrose Show today: 30th September 2017. Great country show complete with side show alley, horse riding events, car display, cattle judging, sheep dog trials, various food stalls, a band, assorted sheds with arts and crafts etc, and amusements such as "The Sheep Races." This consisted of metal sheep attached to a long rope. The object being to pull your sheep over the finish line first. Funny to watch. There were several heats for both female and male "racers", and a Grand Final Event. Most entertaining day. If you've never been to a country show, then you are missing out on a fun and entertaining day filled with plenty to see and do and lots of food!

Melrose main street
Melrose main street
Melrose main street

Melrose main street
Melrose main street

Melrose Show Entertainment.
Country Farm supplies
Side Show Alley
Side Show Alley
Rides and smiles
Sheep Dog Trials
Cattle Judging
The winner is..
Plenty to crow about!
Ducks 'aint just ducks, Ducky.
The "Sheep" Races - Men

And the winner is......
First sheep to finish in the men's race.

Nice and green around Melrose
Old ruins along the road.

Port Perie
Port Perie

Quorn Service Station
Quorn Railway Yard.

Quorn Railway Station from the railway yards.
Quorn Railway Yards
Historic buildings in Quorn
Information on the Old Ghan Line.
Quorn Railway Station from the street
Quorn Historic building. 
Port Augusta
Port Augusta
Salt Lake Port Augusta
Port Germein History
Port Germein Wharf
What is it?
Historic water depth metre
Why So Long?
Port Germein Peir 
Half way out looking back to town.

Half way out looking towards the end!
Port Germein Wharf

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Great Places To Visit - Wilpena Pound - Ikara - Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia.

If you like me have not been to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, then you are missing out.....big time! I had seen photos etc of the area, but not actually been here. So glad we put it on our "to do" list!

We are staying at Wilpena Pound Caravan/camping/resort. There are limited powered sites here. We have a 24ft caravan, even more limited sites. So a word of warning: If you plan to bring your over 20ft caravan/motorhome etc here, ring first and check availability. If you don't want a powered site, or you are camping, then it's not so hard to get in, except perhaps for school holidays.  You decide. Worse comes to worse you can try Rawnsley Park Station or one of the other stations in the area that take caravans and travellers. Or you can go to Hawker Caravan Park. It's very nice and you could visit the Jeff Morgan Art Gallery while you are there. That's a definite must do by the way even if you're not staying there. Anyway I digress.

Wilpena Pound Caravan/Camping Park is in the National Park. The grounds are lovely. It's very dry here at the moment so a bit of dust. What else could you expect when there's been no rain. The trees and shrubs and the creek bed are beautiful, as is the wildlife that wanders, flys, hops, struts, creeps through.

Warning!  Do NOT feed or approach the wildlife. They are wild, and that's the way they should stay. The kangaroos in particular are great to watch as they graze and gaze at you. They are cautions and keep their distance, as it should be. If they had been fed by people then, they become aggressive demanding/taking food. Dangerous animals then. It's so nice to be able to walk near them here and observe them in their natural state.  We had a mother and her joey right at the back of our caravan a number of times, grazing and resting in the shade. She kept a respectable distance away and no one bothered her, so she stayed for quiet some time. Mind you they do have some fencing around some of the areas with tracks winding through them for the humans to walk on to go to the amenities etc. The wildlife go where ever they like!

An emu with chicks casually walked straight through the fence and then strolled of down "the road" yesterday. They have right of way of coarse. Lovely green ring necked parrots fly in late in the afternoon and much, much more. So much to see and do here. LOTS of walks. Do check the weather, etc before you go for one of the many walks. Only go on a trek to suit your fitness level. There are a variety of walks, of varying lengths and difficulty here.

We choose the homestead/Wangara walk/trek. The easiest of the bunch to do. Suited us beginners well.
Emu and chicks wandering through our camp!

Massive Red Gums - burnt out by still alive and growing

Wilpena Creek Bed - dry.

One of the easier treks.

Views from some of the many lovely walks/treks available within Wilpena Pound. I'm not going to name them all. You'll have to come and visit and work them out for yourself!

Some of the wildlife you might see on a walk.

We also took our 4 x 4 on some of the sightseeing tracks.

The dirt roads are well maintained withing the area, we found and easy to navigate with a 4 x 4. They are not especially made for other vehicles though. Even though the road in the above picture looks great, and it is, it is still a bit corrugated at times so not good for regular vehicles.

Below are some of the magnificent views we visited in our 4 x 4 to various lookouts in the region. Gorgeous scenery even in dry conditions as they are now.

The township of Blinman is not far away. We went for a drive for lunch at the pub. Highly recommend it. Nice town. There is a mine here that takes tours as well, which is interesting. You'll have to come and see that yourself.

Do pay attention and read the bushwalking signs you will see around. They are very informative and helpful. Just might save your life or at least save you some distress. They are very accurate with their walking/trek times we found. We are beginners at trekking so paid close attention to the information here and followed it. Enjoyed our walks immensely.

Australia is a very hot, dry country. DO heed the temperature warnings. It's VERY easy to dehydrate out here when walking/trekking. Pay attention to these signs and take note of the information. It's for your safety.

Alright I'll tell you where this trek was. It's the Wangara Lookout trek. There are 2 lookouts on this one. We checked them both out. Well worth the effort.  As it was going to get to 32C on the day we wanted to walk this trek we left at 8.00am and were back home by 11.30am. The temperature had reached about 26C by then. So it was a good time to be finished, home safe and rest and hydrate for the afternoon when it got hotter.

Were is the start of the track? Oh thank you. That way!

The homestead.

There is still water here. It is not for us tourists to swim in as this would pollute it for the animals who need the water to survive.

This is the easy part of the trek. You can cheat a bit if you want and catch the tour bus to near the homestead from Wilpena and this will take about 3-4 kms off your walk. So instead of walking about 9kms you only walk about 6kms. This is the easiest and shortest of the walks from Wilpena Pound.

Naturally if you are not a walker/trekker than don't worry, as I said earlier there are heaps of lookouts accessible by 4 x 4 so you will still be able to see a great deal of the area. We did the lot! Stayed 7 nights in Wilpena Pound so we could do something different each day. Really enjoyed our stay and would certainly come back for another visit.

Great Places To Visit - Doncaster East, Melbourne, Mullum Mullum Walking Track

Just because I'm currently in the city for awhile doesn't mean I have to "miss out" on my daily bush walks. Nearby to us i...