Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DAY 162 & 163 - PORT AUGUSTA

Ian and Kathy’s last day with us today, so we have decided to have a pretty chilled out sort of day as they have a big week ahead of them heading back to Queensland. 

We spent most of the morning cleaning, packing and repacking our vehicles and Steve got our weber out so that I could bake them a cake to take on the road with them and also something for us for morning tea…

We had a pretty chilled out morning just sitting around and chatting about our trip,  the highlights,  places we loved, places we wanted to come back too and places we wouldn’t care if we missed next time round….  It was a lovely relaxed morning…

Around lunch time, Ian and Kathy went for a drive to Woolworths to stock up before they hit the road in the morning… Steve and I had decided we would stay an extra day in Port Augusta and we could do ours then.  Instead we decided to go for a drive out to the Port Augusta Arid Botanical Gardens, mainly to check out the cliff tops from the Matthew Flinder’s Lookout. 
It was extremely hot, and they were arid gardens, not a shade tree anywhere so with temperatures in the high 30s we weren’t going walking through them. 

The gardens were quite busy,  lots of cars around but we didn’t see any people. 

Steve had also heard that there was good fishing out at the railway bridge so that became our next little adventure…. 
Finding that perfect fishing spot
Finding a track that led into the bridge.  We eventually found it.  You had to go out of town a bit and then it was a pretty rough dirt track down alongside the railway line itself.   He enjoys this sort of exploring and was keen to come out the following day to drop in a line or two….

I don’t have much faith in the fish of SA… Everywhere we go, we get told about these great fishing spots, but no one seems to be catching too much there…

We arrived home early afternoon, and all had a bit of a nap…
Ian and Kathy
Steve and I
Our last night and meal together
 We had decided that we were going to go out for dinner tonight as it was our last night together… We have done a little bit of early out on the Eyre Peninsula.  The hotel down from where we were staying was called the “Ian’s Western Hotel” so we thought that it was only right that for their last night with us we should eat out at an establishment that was named after Ian…
We went to Ian's Western Hotel for dinner.. Seemed fitting.
Garlic Prawns... another great meal for Steve
Roast Lamb and vegetables for Ian..
Seafood Baskets for Kathy and I.

Again, we had a delicious meal,  slightly more expensive than in Cowell, but still very good value, and the meals were really quite large.

It was a bitter sweet evening,  sad to be departing but exciting for them to be heading home to see all their grandchildren in time for Christmas… 

What an amazing 5 and a half months it has been,  what memories we have created together, how blessed are we to have such good friends.  It has been an absolute privilege for me to spend this holiday with both Ian and Kathy and also John and Barb.  This is the stuff that dreams are made of, and we have been living the dream…  it is so hard to believe that we are on the tail end of it now, as we  had been planning and looking forward to it for three years….

Bring on 2020 when we can take off and hit the road again… time to start dreaming again…

We thought that Ian and Kathy would be up and ready to leave around 7am on Monday morning, but they weren’t.  Kathy had been up since the crows were awake but Ian slept in a little.. why wouldn’t you when you have a big drive ahead of you.
Guiding Ian onto the caravan
Hitching up ready to leave...
Hooking up the car...
Hatching down the roof...
I'm going to miss these guys so blesses to have their friendship
And they are off.... on their way home to Queensland..

Still it didn’t take them long to get ready, as most of the packing and sorting had been done the previous day, and it was just after 8am when they finally drove out of the caravan park.  It seemed a little strange with them gone…

Steve took off about 8.30am to head back down to the river near the railway bridge to do a spot of fishing.   Apparently, that is where the locals go, but he didn’t come home with any fish.  He was home by 10am and by 10.30 we were in the car heading for a drive out along Shacks Road.  

Life looks pretty relaxed for the 400  or more shack owners that live along this stretch of road,  as they sit and enjoy  the soft Spencer Gulf waves which gently lap their shore.

The smattering of mostly simple, traditional fibro shacks has been haphazardly yet lovingly erected either right on the shore or on dirt roads just a few streets back with names such as Snapper Rd, Whiting Rd and Garfish Rd.

Some of these shacks date back to the 1930s and are so close to the water’s edge that king tides can flow through their doors.

Well-worn lounges, and mismatched and second hand furniture sit under verandas and their yards are often filled with all sorts of fishing gear, boats included.  Some  of these shacks even had their own jetties. 

There were lots of unusual homes and everything seems to be accepted – the good, the bad and the ugly.  There are also very few fences... they all seem to live in each other’s pockets but it seems like a great community out there. 

This road and shacks follows the gulf south for a little over 20kms.  We thought it might have been a clifftop drive but it wasn’t, it was as the name of the road implies,  lots and lots of fishing shacks all the way down the coast.  

Still it was a pleasant drive,  the water was beautiful and on a couple of occasions we even saw some dolphins playing in the water.  A bit of a treat…

We explored lots of the dirt roads in and out of the little bays.  Sometimes they would take you directly to someone’s shack or down to the water, but rarely did they go from one group of shacks to the next.  We checked out quite a few jetties as well, some were in great conditions, others falling apart.   It is just the sort of coastline that Steve would love to be holidaying at.   It was a good morning…
The Water Tower Lookout - Port Augusta
Views from the Lookout.
Heading back into town, we thought we would visit the other two lookouts in Port Augusta,  the first one we went too was The Water Tower Lookout.  It is surrounded by lovely gardens. This tower was built in 1882 to provide a pressure water supply for the residents of Port Augusta West. From the balcony at the top of this tower you had  excellent views of the town, the Spencer Gulf, the Flinders Ranges and the outback.

The other lookout we went too gave us a good lookout over the saltpan flats of Spencer Gulf.
Lunch time had us heading out to the Puma Roadhouse, as the managers at the caravan park had recommended this as a place to eat out.  The food was OK, but the blessing there was that they gave us a PUMA Fuel Card which means that anytime we refuel with PUMA anywhere in Australia, we get 5c a litre discount…. Bonus….

After lunch we headed back into Port Augusta to the Visitors Information Centre which also houses the award winning tourist attraction of the Wadlata’s “Tunnel of Time”.   We tossed up whether to pay the admission and go in, but even with a concession it would have cost us $20 each and the lady at the desk told us that we would need a good three hours to see it all.  In fact she offered to extend out ticket so we could visit the following day.   That didn’t suit as we we were leaving first thing in the morning….
Wadlata's "Tunnel of Time  
We decided that it wouldn’t be worth paying that much when we really didn’t have time to enjoy the whole experience.  We have to leave some things to do when we return in a couple of years time.    I did take some photos of the giant lizard head though..

As we were now in town, we went to the post office to pick up more stamps and post some more postcards home to our grandchildren, and then we ducked across the road to the bank to fill our piggy bank with $1 coins for washing..

Port Augusta has quite a few good pieces of public art, so that was our next mission.  To drive around town and check them all out. 

They have street art, sculptures, murals and a life size bronze sculpture of the late Mayor Joy Baluch AM, plus some lovely mosaic tiles on one of the walls coming into town…  
Skate bowl on the water front
Just before we headed back to our van, we stopped off on the foreshore where the Supermarkets are.  We enjoyed a stroll along the old wharf, before buying the few groceries we needed before leaving the following morning.

We were home by 4.30pm.  Steve fished out on the beach area in front of the van for an hour or two… Still no success, not even a bite, although we did see dolphins out there so maybe they had chased all the fish away.  It was then time to start packing ready for our trip in the morning…

The awning came in, tables and chairs were packed away, and the hose was even disconnected in preparation for an early start. 


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