We are onto another one of those Plan B’s. When we commenced our drive along the Eyre Highway on Tuesday, we had every intention of arriving at Port Augusta around the 27 April. However we received a call from a friend in Alice Springs to advise us that the Ulysses Motorcycle Club are having their annual AGM and Rally in Alice at the same time we will be in the area. Accommodation and parkup opportunities will be at the premium. Consequently we are now in Port Augusta where we find it much easier to get ourselves organised rather than trying to do it on the road where reception is not always good.
Our journey from Smoky Bay to Port Augusta was a relaxed. While we could have done a long drive and made it in a day, there were a couple of things we wanted to see on the way.
The first stop on Tuesday was at the township of Ceduna to replenish the groceries. Ceduna is known as the business hub of the area and has a history in agriculture, salt and gypsum mining and of course seafood. The town has strong Aboriginal cultural ties that can be seen in its population. We had a wander around the town, partook in a ‘long’ lunch, then headed eastward along the Eyre Highway.
We spent Tuesday night in the tiny grain village of Wirrulla. Wirrulla is the service centre for the surrounding farming community and for some reason it has an inland jetty almost in the centre of town. The town is nowhere near the ocean or a river and no one could explain to us why the jetty was there. We parked up for what we thought was going to be a nice quiet night on the old school tennis courts (the school was closed some 15 years ago).
What we didn’t know was that Wirrulla was the converging point for road trains coming from three different directions – from Ceduna and the Nullaboor, from Port Augusta and Adelaide and from Coober Pedy and Alice Springs. They all arrived together at about 2am on Wednesday morning, unloaded their forkhoists from the rear of the trucks and commencing shifting their loads between one truck and another? This went on for about 2hours. You can only imagine the noise. Then, as if by signal, the forkhoists were reloaded and the trucks departed. Wonderful silence! We were well and truly awake by that time and had no chance of getting back to sleep.
Wednesday morning (early!!) it was back on the Eyre Highway and making our way east toward our next overnight stop of Kimba. Kimba a geographically half way across Australia and is well known as the eastern gateway to the Gawler Ranges. The district is one of South Australia’s major grain belts. Kimba is also famous for another one of Australia’s ‘big things’ – an eight metre tall ‘big Galah’.
The town is another of Australia’s RV friendly towns and provides free camping near the centre of town at their Lions Project Park. It was a stunning little site and not a noise was heard all night.
We had a slow start this morning but were in no hurry. It was only 150km to Port Augusta and we really had nothing to do today once we arrived there. We drove into town at about 1pm this afternoon and took the opportunity to take the motorhome and the jeep to a carwash to give them a good clean. Both were looking a little sad after our three or so weeks on the Eyre Peninsula. It was a very dusty place.
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day and we plan show our respect and appreciation by attending the local RSL’s commemoration ceremony. We have been told there are no retail shops open tomorrow so we will leave our stock up until Saturday.
Our plan is to leave Port Augusta for Coober Pedy on Tuesday 29 April.