Along the Murray River

With the temperatures again soaring in South Australia, we are having to be very careful in planning our day-to-day travel. There are currently a number of wild fires in the State and while not too close, we are acutely aware at the speed at which they can travel.

On our departure from Port Parham on Saturday morning, we were advised that there were a number of fires just 10 km north of us. While the intention was to spend a bit of time at Port Wakefield, because the fire were so close it was a quick lunch then onto Clare some 70km further west.

We made Clare our Saturday overnight stop and selected the greenest and most open piece of land we could find – the Clare Racecourse.  After setting ourselves up, we went out and took in the sights of the town. Again it is a very old town with some stunning 1800’s building. The standout for us was our visit to the Sevenhill Jesuit Winery in the Clare Valley. Established in 1851 Sevenhill cellar is the oldest winery in South Australia and the only remaining Jesuit owned winery in Australia. It was originally set up to produce alter wine.

We felt quite safe at the Racecourse, however it was a very uncomfortable night. Temperatures throughout the night remained at 40 – 42C and a hot northerly wind blew continuously.

After a sleepless Saturday night we woke to an entirely different day. The wind had changed to a southerly overnight and the morning temperature was around 25C. Ecstasy!!! We celebrated the change by treating ourselves to a breakfast in the village of Clare. What a difference a night makes!

Murray Ferry

Our Murray River barge crossing

After breakfast we continued in a northeasterly direction towards the township of Burra. We have been having a bit of a struggle in this part of the journey being able to get fresh clean water. We were hoping Burra would be our savior. As luck would have it, the town receives piped filtered water from the Murray River. Our problem was partly solved because the motorhome was on a slant and we could not get a good fill. We were still on half a tank.

On leaving Burra we continued 80km east to our next overnight stop at the Graham Claxton Reserve near Cadell in the Cadell Valley. The Reserve was another free camp (are we good at that or what!) but the catch was we had to access the site by loading the motorhome and the jeep onto a barge, which was then pulled across the Murray River by cable. Both the driver and navigator were a little nervous about the crossing as we both had visions of the motorhome ending up at on the bottom of the river. However all went well and the Reserve was a lovely grass area directly beside the Murray.

Dusk at Cadell

Dusk on the Murray River at Cadell

On Monday we did a wee walk from the Reserve to the metropolis of Cadell. The town consists of a General Store/Mail Centre, a hardware store and a Sports Club. Our social life around Cadell was spent around the motorhome!  As the temperatures stayed around 20 to 30C at the Reserve, we ended up by staying for two nights with temperatures remaining at 25 – 28C for both days.

It was with great sadness yesterday that we were advised of the passing of an ex work colleague of our EAP Services days. Gabrielle Kearney epitomized the true professional and always placed her clients needs first. Rest in peace Gabrielle – you have left us far too soon.

Sunrise at Cadell2

Sunrise over the Murray River at Cadell

This morning it was up anchor and on with the journey. We were now in urgent need of fresh water so we drove into town in search of a ‘spare’ tap. While there, we got into a discussion with a lovely gentleman who allowed us to fill our fresh water tank from his house tap. He also sent us on our way with a dozen duck eggs. A great gesture from a local.

Temperatures over the next three days are going to be around the 40 to 45C so we will not be moving too far away from any water. The water breezes seem to cool the air just a bit along the foreshores. Today’s plan is to go as far as Barmera and stay on the foreshore of Lake Bonney. Apparently there are a few free spots around the Lake but there is also excellent parking on the foreshore in the town itself. We shall see.

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