23 April 2019 | Coober Pedy
22 April 2019 | Port Augusta
19 April 2019 | Tooleybuc
18 April 2019 | Wagga Wagga
15 April 2019 | Sydney NSW, Australia
14 April 2019 | Sydney NSW, Australia
11 April 2019 | Hawks Nest
08 April 2019 | Elvina Bay
07 April 2019 | Elvina Bay
06 April 2019 | Raymond Terrace
05 April 2019 | Raymond Terrace
24 April 2019 | Erldunda
Woke up with our alarm at 6:10 am. I kept waking up thru the night. They did supply breakfast, but we stuck to our own food. Mark had cereal and I had a protein shake. Showered and got ready. Packed things up and were in the car and driving by 7:15. Temperature was only 12C when we left. The sun was shining. Not too many drivers on the road early, but then it picked up. We could see opal mining everywhere on both sides of the hiway. It lasted for a very long distance from Coober Pedy. The terrain was very flat and at times we could see some scrub brush only on top of orange sandy ground. Then there were areas with bigger bushes and some trees. We saw three emus, two on one side of the road and one on the other. We saw a few carcasses. Mark said he saw a huge eagle which was sitting on a kangaroo carcass on the side of the road. We saw a fair number of birds along the way too. Not sure how they survive in the middle of no where without water sources. We kept seeing the Cattle signs and could see some water tanks in places just off the hiway. We did not see any cattle. There were plenty of Grid signs with cattle crossing grids across the hiway. There were not that many rest areas on our morning drive. One area had a gas station with restrooms. We stopped and topped up our fuel. Along with all the other vehicles on the road. Busy place. Fuel prices were again $1.79/litre but we only needed less than half a tank. We continued on our way. This was an easy place for me to take over the driving. The sun was beating down thru my window. I put my visor over on that side and used Mark's big hat to keep the sun off me. I drove for around 1 ½ hours. Speed limit was 110 kilometers. I only had to pass two or three vehicles in that time frame. Lots of cars came from the other direction. I stopped at one of the rest stops to let Mark take over driving and almost missed the turn off. It was one area with no paved road, just a dirt strip. There was at least one or two caravans that had stayed overnight. However, there were no toilets there. I am not sure why they have these areas and do not provide restrooms. We crossed into the Northern Territory. Our speed limit went up to 130 Kilometers. We were moving. There were more hills in this area. Still very outback looking. Mark drove the rest of the way to Erldunda. This was only the second place with a gas station. There was a hotel, cafe and small grocery store. The store did not have much food. We didn't even buy anything. We had booked a room at the Erldunda Roadhouse motel but we were a little early. We headed to the cafe and had lunch. Mark ordered a pizza but they used bbq sauce instead of tomato sauce and it was not that tasty. I had a bowl of seasonal cooked vegetables which included carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli.
Then we killed some time checking out their Emu Zoo. Lots of emus there. We took a walk behind the hotel where there was a penned in area with kangaroos, camels and birds. They also have a raised area that we will head to for sunset tonight. At least we got some exercise. The flies were outrageous. We sprayed bug spray on both of us. We also found our fly nets and put them on. The many flies land on the outside of the net, or on the back of our shirts. The very dry conditions must have contributed to this. I do not like these flies. By this time our room was ready and we got a break from dealing with the flies. At least the head nets work. We unloaded the car and checked out our room. It's a good size and has everything except Kleenex. We enjoyed a short nap. Catching up on things. Our hotel internet does not work today. Or at least neither of us can see it listed on our wifi choices. Thankfully, our cell coverage is working some. We had no coverage on our drive this morning. There must not be any cell towers around. Thanks for the emails and messages received today. Great to hear from you. Our plans are to drive several hours and get to Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock. Tomorrow is the Australian holiday called Anzac which is similar to Veterans' Day in the US. We will stay overnight in a camp ground tomorrow. Then get up and do the sunrise walk before coming back here to Erldunda that night.
23 April 2019 | Coober Pedy
We watched the movie, Jumanji, which was a newer version than we had seen before. It was action packed. Mark was not feeling well with his sinuses bothering him so we retired by 10 pm. Slept well. The temperature this morning was 17C which was cool and breezy. We saw a high of 24C this afternoon which felt more than hot. After breakfast and a shower, we packed up the car and headed north. Just as we were leaving town, I noticed an emu standing at the side of a golf course! We drove around 600 kilometers today, so it was good that we left by 7 am. It was a drive through very flat lands for almost the whole time. Lots of miles of nothing but a few tumbleweeds. We saw a huge amount of kangaroos and other animals that were road kill. There were several vulture type birds feasting as we drove along. Not too many vehicles on the road. At one point, two sheep wandered across the hiway in front of us, causing us to slow down. Today was the first day that we saw a truck road train with four trailers in back. I have never seen a truck that long before. It would not be something I would want to drive. We saw a few hills out in the middle of no where. It looked like a huge mound of sand on the flat terrain. We stopped along the way at the only gas station we saw, even though we weren't out of fuel. The cost was $1.79/litre! I guess the sky is the limit when you are out in the middle of no where. Mark let me drive for about 1 ½ hours. I have not been driving much since we arrived in Australia. Then we tried changing drivers but there really was no place to pull off. That is why I drove for so long. We had to wait for the next rest stop. We saw many derelict cars abandoned on the side of the road, but most of them were overturned, for some reason. It would not be a good place to be, if you had car problems. We saw the sign for Heart Lake and did not have enough notice to stop. Apparently, it was a salt flat that looks like water from a distance. It went back as far as we could see. Our internet wasn't working for most of our ride as there were no cell towers around. They did a few pull off areas. Most of them had a picnic table with a screen over it. However, they did not have a toilet. Thankfully, we were okay until we got to Coober Pedy just after lunch. We, again, filled up, but this time the fuel was $1.57/litre, which was a much better price that earlier. We had burgers at the Outback cafe next door. We took a tour of an Opal Mine and Museum. We got to climb thru their mine shaft. Some of the walls had shiny pieces within the walls. We also checked out some local opals. We stopped to check out opals at Opalios. Loved all of Stella's creations. We enjoyed meeting her and her son. All of them are so beautiful. Not very many people live here. They did have several opal shops. One grocery store and a gas station. Many opal mines can be seen from small town. Then it was tricky finding our underground motel. There was a caravan at street level and then we drove down a steep hill to our room. It is completely surrounded by rock. They also including some foods and drinks in our fridge, which was nice. I have to tell you that there are a bunch of flies here that like to crawl on our faces. It's so creepy. We did find the netting to wear over our hats. I wish we would have put them on as the flies are horrible. We have been told that it's only been bad for the past couple of weeks. Also, they have not had rain here in more than a year! We got settled into our room around 4 pm. We are happy to be inside and away from the flies. Thanks to everyone who sent emails and messages today. We are using our wifi connection tonight as there was none included with our room. Our plans are to leave early tomorrow and stay overnight in Erldunda.
On the Road
22 April 2019 | Port Augusta
Mark woke up around 7. I did too, but fell back asleep. Finally woke up around 8. We were both getting a bit more rest. Had breakfast in our room and showered. Got dressed and packed up our bags. Mark took some of them down to the car while I packed up our fridge things in our cooler bag. As we drove out of Adelaide, Mark stopped at a gas station to get ice, since our fridge did not have a freezer section. The BP gas station filled his zip lock bag with some ice for no charge! It was quite a number of miles as we made our way north from Adelaide. The land was very flat. Lots of green house type buildings on both sides. We saw rows of grapes and other types of fruit trees and plants. There were several farms with cattle and sheep. Then the houses disappeared and there was open lands for many miles. The soil turned a few shades of orange as we drove towards Port Augusta. Our drive today was around 350 kilometers. The speeds were up and down from 50 to 110. We had two lanes on each side, until we were well out of Adelaide. Then we had one lane, but every so many miles, we had a passing lane. The traffic tended to bunch up and some drivers would have enough time to pass. We stopped just before Port Augusta in a tiny place called Port Germein. From the hiway, we could see a railroad beside us and then some distance before water, with hills in the distance. We decided to take a drive down to the water. Port Germein built a very long pier out from shore. There was no water depth at shore. A local man told us that it was low tide with no water for a very long distance away from shore. High tide would be close to 6 feet, so that would have made a difference. The breeze was quite cold as today's temperature was around 18C. The wind over the water was chilling. I had a sweater on but I was cold. Mark didn't take his jacket or hat, so he was definitely cold. We walked about half way to a set of steps going down and walked out on the sandy bottom below the pier. Only us and the birds and a few other tourists were around the pier. Since we were so cold, we decided not to walk out to the end. We could see green, deeper water beyond the end. We walked back to shore and our car beyond. Then we drove the rest of the way to Port Augusta. We stopped and did a search of restaurants and decided to stop at the Ians Western Cellars. We enjoyed our lunch. Then tried our luck in their pokey room. Neither of us won anything today. We decided to check out the waterfront of Port Augusta before checking into our hotel. Our waitress suggested climbing up the old water tower. Yes, it was a long climb but we both made it. Took some pictures. It was really breezy up high. Other tourists also climbed up. Beautiful views from there. My phone camera was objecting, saying that the memory was full. Mark will have to offload my pictures. I was able to delete a number of duplicates and then I was able to take a few more pictures. We stopped at the downtown pier and walked around. There were several kids fishing on the pier. The breeze was pretty cool. At this point I added a jacket and Mark did too. There was an outdoor mall and we could see several cars outside Woolworths. So, we picked up a few things for dinner and the next few days. We boughtThen Mark decided that we should take a look at BigW to see if they sold any sleeping bags. Yes, they did. So, we bought a couple. We are planning to camp one night, but just in our vehicle, after watching the sunset over Uluru.
Then Mark said his sinuses were bothering him. We found some nasal spray in Woolworths. We drove to our hotel called, Augusta Courtyard motel. Our room is much bigger than last night's motel. We have a couch and table and chairs. It is nice enough for our stay. Thanks to all for the emails and messages. Hope everyone had a great Easter holiday. Today, was a national holiday. The school kids will be off thru the end of next week as they celebrate ANZ Day. We are taking it easy for the rest of today!
21 April 2019 | Adelaide
We slept thru until 8 am. Both of us were tired out from all the traveling. It was good to get a few minutes longer in bed. Mark checked the balcony and it was wet from rain. The breeze was cold to me, and the high for today was only around 23 C. Watched some news on the tv. Had breakfast and showered. Mark was trying to set our room safe and set off an alarm. It eventually stopped. We decided to head out and do some exploring here in Adelaide. Our first stop was downtown to the Adelaide Casino. Our gps could not find its location when some of the streets were shut down with all the construction that was going on. There is a river that passes thru the downtown. We walked over one of the bridges. There was an arts center, several sports centers too. We attempted to park in the lot close by but they were set up for today's Footy game and told us that it would be cheaper for us to park on the street. Mark attempted to get a parking ticket out of their different machines, until we figured out that no one needed a street parking ticket because today was a holiday. We walked around the War Memorial and the original South Australia state capital building as well as the current state capital. Lots of beautiful buildings. We walked thru the train station, which actually reminded me of Toronto's Union Station. We found an entrance to the casino, but there was a sign instructing us to go around to another entrance. So, that is what we did. The entrance was lined with cafes and restaurants. There was construction ongoing to expand it. We headed to the roulette wheel. This time we found a table with $2.50 chips and we needed to play at least two each time on the number of 1-36 plus 0. So, we both bought some chips and watched the dealer work for double wages on this holiday. Mark was the lucky one as two of his numbers were chosen by the time I lost my chips. Mark more than tripled his starting bid! Then we found the automated roulette wheels connected to a live dealer with $1 chips. We put out our chips but they disappeared as we didn't know we had to put out 5 chips each time. My number came up and I didn't get to play that round, so I was not happy. However, I had hits on several of the numbers I played so I cashed out up. If I would have stayed longer, my numbers would have repeated. However, I was happy to be up! We headed back to the car walking along the river known as the Karrawirra Parri, meaning Red Gum Forest River. The Aussie name was the Torrens River. The breeze was cool but the sun was shining. There were lots of people in the parks on this holiday. We stopped for lunch at the Lounders Boatshed Cafe that was right on the water. It was one of the best lunches we have had in Australia! Then we walked back to our car and headed towards the port area of Victor Harbor. They have a huge port area. Apparently, some lady informed us that the waterfront was on the St. Vincent Gulf over top of the Great Australian Bight in the Southern Ocean. We stopped at the Outer Harbor Viewing Platform in Flinders Ports where the sea wall was lined with a rock wall. There were several fishermen on the small pier. They had a small park overlooking the water with several people enjoying an Easter bbq. We drove further around the waterfront. We stopped at Taperoo and walked out the long sandy path to the ocean. There was plenty of sea weed on the beach and no one but the birds. Then we drove further around the coast. We could see what looked like kites flying in the distance. It was all part of a 3-day Kite Festival over this holiday weekend. We tried to find a parking spot but it was completely full. We finally stopped in a parking lot and just parked on the side. It was a holiday, so we figured no one would be checking for parking tags. We walked towards the kite area and there was a really long pier out in the water at Semaphore. We walked out the pier which was called Semaphore Jetty and we could see the ocean waves were crashing into shore and all the beautifully shaped kites. There were a few people on the beach and some kids were running thru the shallow water. The steady breeze cooled me off. Thankfully, Mark took his jacket too. It was already after 4 pm so we drove back to the hotel, stopping at the local IGA to pick up a few things for our drive tomorrow. One of the perks of this hotel is that they have a washer and dryer downstairs. We packed up our laundry and headed back down. They provided laundry soap too! So, we were able to get some laundry done. We had a light dinner in our room. We have free wifi and watched some old episodes of Fazier. We are now watching the movie, The Ten Commandments. Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter Sunday! Thanks for the many emails and messages. We plan to leave early tomorrow for Port Augusta.
koalas, Kangaroos & Lookout
20 April 2019 | Adelaide
After posting the blog last evening, we drove over to the Tooleybuc Sports Club around 6 pm. There was a huge flock of white birds that were swirling around the trees near the sports club. They were quite noisy as they took their perch in the high tree branches as we walked in. Dinner had just started. Mark had the fish and chips while I had some baked cauliflower and rice. Not the best meal. Mark said his meal was okay. There were quite a few people in their dining room. We each played some pokey machine, but did not have any luck. I started playing their roulette machine and my stomach started to hurt. It may have been from the green grapes I ate before discarding them at the quarantine bin. Also, I only ate cooked veggies & rice for dinner. Not sure what that was about, but Mark played my numbers and they did not come in. So, we both gave up. We decided to take a walk around the area. Nothing else was open. There was some noise at the house next to our hotel. We walked over to the bridge at the edge of Tooleybuc. Someone told us earlier that the bridge went over the famous Murray river. It was a one lane bridge. There must never have been a time when they had a huge rush hour and needed to wait on the bridge, or they would have doubled it by now. It was not that far across to the other side. We got to see the beautiful full moon on our walk! At least we felt like we got some exercise after sitting in the car most of the day. We walked back to the hotel. Watched some tv. One movie was Evan Almighty and another was Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise. Not sure if we watched the whole movie. Mark set the alarm for 7 and we got to bed by 11 pm. We had to add some heat when we got back to the room. It made a very loud noise each time it started up. It was not easy to sleep as it kept up the racket all night long. Our alarm woke us at 7. Had breakfast, showered and got dressed. Carried out our bags and packed them in the car. Mark checked us out. We left around 8. We first drove over the one-lane Murray River Bridge as we headed further west from Tooleybuc. We crossed into the state of Victoria. The roads were less busy today. We would go many kilometers before seeing any traffic on the other side of our two-lane hiway. We didn't have to pass very many other cars along the road. The towns were few and far between on our drive. We saw several crops, including grains and fruit. Some vineyards along the way and other fruits, but we didn't know what they were. We saw more cattle and sheep farms, too. The land was very flat, but as we traveled we saw more hills. It was around 32C today. We stopped for a break at a gas station. Our fuel cost $1.43/litre in Aussie dollars. Mark got a coffee. At least they had nice clean toilets. I cannot believe all the rest stops that don't have any. Then the rest of the small stops that only have two port-o-potty type toilets. It doesn't make me want to stop. So, much better to find a cafe. We actually had to stop at some road bumps on the hiway at a Quarantine Station. Both sides of the road had to stop and get checked out. They took a look in our trunk and cooler bag. We didn't have any fruits or vegetables. If we did have any, they would have fined us. This may have been the border to South Australia. At least, we did not remember seeing a Welcome sign! At one point we could see quite a wide Murray River as we followed it around and eventually crossed over it on a huge bridge. We drove to a lookout and we could see the river in the distance, but not much more. Shortly, after, we stopped for a late lunch at Sazon Expresso Cafe in Mt. Barker. We both enjoyed our selections. Then we took a walk around the town. Mark bought us another usb cable for the car as one of the two others was not charging our phones. Then we drove the rest of the way to Adelaide. We checked into the Majestic Minima motel. We parked in their underground area and took our bags to our room. Our room is quite lovely and looks brand new. Then all of a sudden, I remembered that I took my sweater off at the restaurant. Mark said that I should just buy another one, but this particular sweater has been part of our adventure and not something I wanted to lose. Mark called the restaurant and they had my sweater so we drove back there to get it. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the lookout area of Mt. Lofty Summit. It was a beautiful spot. We could see across to downtown Adelaide and the ocean beyond. We walked down one of the trails leading to the waterfalls. However, it was 4:30 and we didn't have enough time before the park closed, so we walked back up and decided to drive around there. On our walk to the car, we passed two trees with koala bears high up. One was pretty young and wide away eating. The other one was sleeping. We drove down and around to the waterfalls, but the parking lot was still 2K from the falls and they had a nature park, but again, we didn't have enough time. On the walk back to the car, we spotted two kangaroos, feeding off to the side of the trees. Someone had left the park and dumped the food pellets on the ground and they were happily eating it. I didn't want to go close to them, but the next group out surely did. They still have some food for them. What a sight! We returned to our hotel. Then decided to ask the hotel staff for a suggestion for dinner. They recommended the pub at the corner. Mark's chicken burger and fries were pretty spicy. I just had some cooked vegetables for my dinner. We did spend a few minutes in their pokey room afterwards. Mark cashed out $20 up while I gave them a few dollars. We took a lovely walk around our hotel area, stretching our legs with some more exercise. Lots of shops close by, but only a few open with the holiday. However, most of the restaurants and cafes were open. We came upon another pub with a pokey machine. I was able to recoup my previous losses as my machine paid out. It's so much nicer when we win! Walked back to the hotel. We started watching a movie we had seen a long time ago, called, Dolphin Tail. I think we were both exhausted from our long drive today. We will stay here for two nights. That will give us time to do some touring in Adelaide. We have noticed that the gas stations have fuel prices equal to Sydney on this holiday spike. Thanks for all the Easter wishes in emails and messages. Enjoy the holiday weekend!
Wagga Wagga to Tooleybuc
19 April 2019 | Tooleybuc
Watched two movies last night as the hotel tv had a movie channel. So, we didn't get to bed until almost midnight. Lots of noise from fellow guests, with kids screaming and running in the hallway, woke me up. Could not fall back asleep so I caught up on wifi. Mark slept a bit longer. Got up and showered and had breakfast. Then got ready and packed things and carried them out to the car. Mark used a small roller cart to help. Checked out of the hotel around 9:30. There were a lot less cars on the road. Lots of open farm lands. Some had animals, mostly sheep. Plus we saw some crops. We think one of the popular crops was cotton. We also saw one grape farm, some sugar cane and some sort of small fruit trees. We traveled on the Sturt Hiway for most of today. It was only a two lane road with speeds up to 110K. They didn't really have many areas with an extra lane for passing, so everyone was just passing. Mark tried to stay at the speed limit as they like to add cameras for ticketing and for the holiday the fines are doubled. We stopped for fuel in a tiny town but we passed on the food sold in their small restaurant. Mark found a cafe a little further into the town of Hay. They posted a sign saying 'where the hell is Hay?'. It was pretty busy and the food was good at the Aussie & Thai Take Away cafe. We didn't see as many dead roos on the side. However, a few of them had some vulture like birds feeding on their carcasses. The sky was full of a white layer for most of the day. It was plenty hot. Our high temperature reached 29C today. We did see some blue sky at times. Their cloud formations are really different here. Then each time we stopped, I noticed the small flies would rush over and try to land on my face. I really didn't like that too much. We should have used some bug spray. We followed the Yanga Way, which is the name of another small highway, about 40 kilometers before Tooeybuc. They had a small rest stop without any toilets that stated that we had to trash any fruit we were carrying or be charged. I just bought some grapes and they were on the list. We also had an orange in our cooler bag. So, we stopped our car and ate our fruit. If anyone would have told me they had a law banning fruit being brought into this area, I would not have bought any yesterday. They said the farmers were not using any pesticides and they didn't want any fruit flies coming in on fruit. It really made no sense to me. It doesn't look like there is much of anything here. We did drive by their local sports club and saw some caravans parked around there as they offered free parking. However, with Good Friday, the club was closed thru the day and will open for dinner. We plan to head over shortly. We noticed a river close by and there were several tents of campers on the banks. It turned out that was the Murray River and we are very close to the next state of Victoria. The Murray River is the border between New South Wales and Victoria. We checked into the Tooeybuc Country Roads motor inn around 4 pm. We are watching a couple of Aussie trivia shows. Thanks for all the emails and messages received today. Hope everyone enjoys this holiday weekend. Just wanted to end today's blog wishing my sister, Chris, a special happy birthday!!