Day 3rd April/ Up and at it early in the day as we were disembarking the cruise ship at the historic port/city of Jingzhou. We had a tour of this historic place that has 6000 years of history and gave birth to the culture of “Chu”. An interesting fact is that the population of Jingzhou was only 6 million so it didn’t warrant an airport. We had to bus it for 3 hours to our next hotel in Wuhan. This bus trip was a bit eventful and encountered heavy rain. Wuhan was a very interesting place and it was disappointing that we didn’t get any real opportunity to see it in depth other than a city tour on the bus. There was one highlight of this visit though at the Han Show Theatre. We didn’t know what to expect here. On arrival we found a pretty standard theatre with tiered seating in an arch and very high walls covered by fabric. When it all started the centre section of the crowd moved back about thirty to forty metres and the sides turned out by about 45 degrees and the curtains were removed. This revealed an enormous area of stage for the various activities to take place. The biggest surprise was that the floor disappeared down to reveal a pool area that was equal to four olympic pools in capacity and was eight metres deep. This show was spectacular involving jet skis, hydro jets attached to big hoses, extremely high diving and acrobatics. The stage returned numerous times and disappeared just as quick when more water activities were happening. It was the most spectacular performance that we had ever seen. The engineering feats, personal abilities and sheer risk was amazing. The performers didn’t just have six packs of muscle but full slabs.
The view of our ship after disembarking.
We even got a welcome to the show.
The stage that is also a pool.
Day 4th April/ Another early start and off to the airport for a flight from Wuhan to Shanghai. When we arrived we had a tour of some of the most notable city spot and then we had an opportunity to do shopping at Nanjing Road where there are many large stores, boutiques and department stores. The shopping was bit high end and was busy as. Following dinner we went to an Acrobatic Show.
A little bit of window shopping in Shanghai.
Day 5th April/ First up was a visit to the Shanghai Museum. They do everything in style and certainly don’t scrimp on anything. It is interesting that almost where ever you go there is some kind of security check/xray etc. Next thing was a cruise of the Huangpu River which certainly showed up the city skyline. We had dinner at a restaurant on the bank of this river and we were able to see the city by night which was quite spectacular. The custom here is for for brides to have pre-wedding photos and we sited a bride in red here.
Faye was hanging out waiting to do Tai Chi in China and this was the only opportunity.
The Shanghai museum.
We visited the Shanghai Silk Museum where Faye and some others helped make a silk doona. We did make a purchase here so we have a real silk doona, cover and pillows slips as a result.
Before dinner we had a look around the old Shanghai area.
The local meat vendors.
The night life after our show.
Cigarettes at 8 yuan (about $1.70)
Day 6th April/ We had breakfast in Shanghai and headed for the airport so we could fly to Guilin. We have become quite efficient at this airport thing in bulk. Our tour guide Tina is like a terrier dog when it comes to getting her family (as she calls us) all checked in with plenty of time. Sometime the locals are bit miffed with us. Although we flew to Guilin we boarded a bus and headed into the country for a visit to Yangshuo. Yangshuo is a famous village in China and it took us to a more basic existence of the Chinese people on the River Li. We arrived in the mid afternoon, which gave us an opportunity to relax, enjoy the local people, scenery and the more down to earth way of existence for the people. We went for a walk close to the hotel and checked out a supermarket. The cost of the articles were very reasonable. I had started to measure the cheapness of an area by the price of beer. And here I could get a six pack of local beer for 18 Yuan which is about $4. When we first arrived in Beijing our first beer purchased was 18 Yuan each can.
These appeared in most hotel rooms so the air quality must get bad or they are expecting a fire.
Can you spot the excavator up there? Vendors everywhere.
This night we went to the water show of “Impression Liu San Jie”. It involved some 600 local people on stage each time (three shows a night) and was quite spectacular although very hard to get any quality photos or video. This was a great show but due to language it was a bit hard to follow.
Day 7th April/ This was a slower start to the day as we went on a river cruise of the River Li. The scenery was fantastic but the early rain and fog/mist did make it appear a bit drab. When we left the cruise there were plenty of market stalls and foods places set up and preparing food.
The chicken pluckers. The pork preparation. Just burning off some hairs.
A visit to the tea farm where they showed traditional methods of tea growing, processing and making.
Helen at work.
And Faye at work.
Next stop was the part of town where the markets were. In China the knock off of brands has been outlawed to an extent and you can be reasonable sure that if it has a shop front then it is the real deal. But in this market if you try to bargain very hard then you may get invited through the back door where the knock offs are available. We had quite a few shoppers on the tour that went crazy at every opportunity. Would you believe that one women had acquired 14 handbags? All knock offs though.
After the market some of the crew had a traditional massage for about 90 minutes and the rest had a better look around the central area. Unfortunately the weather was a bit wet which made it a bit difficult.
Again we were back on the bus and headed for Guilin where we checked in at the Grand Link Hotel.
Day 8th April/ Up at a more leisurely pace and on the bus to catch the High Speed Train. The train station was just like an airport check in with security and crowds. We arrived a bit early for our trip so we got the crowd for the previous few trains as well. Most travellers didn’t have the amount of luggage that we were travelling with so, our tour guide got us preferential treatment so we could get on with our luggage. The train wouldn’t wait for anybody so it was a bit stressful to get the luggage on and get to your allocated seat. I was expecting to travel at about 350 kmh but our train only maxed out at 248kmh. When compared to Bendigo to Melbourne it is still very fast and it felt like we were standing still. We got a bit spoiled in China, as when ever we flew, we had a meal, and on the train we still had the opportunity if we chose. We had a packaged meal provided by our hotel for the trip. I think we are a little backward in the land of Aus.
A big road but only one scooter in sight.
Own arrival in Guangzhou we boarded a bus and visited the Ancestral Temple of Chen family.
Our bus driver did U turns anywhere and didn’t worry about traffic jams that he caused.
Parking is a premium.
It is amazing what they can grow is such very small areas.
It is very industrial.
After this we again boarded the bus and headed for the Sheraton Hotel in Zhongshan city. The meal this night was in the hotel and took the form of a seafood banquet. We thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese food but this was a variation that we all enjoyed. There were some quite strange articles available but we could all find something that we liked. Good red wine is quite hard to find in China with one previous experience proving to be both expensive and not good. This particular dinner had very good and economical Chile origin red wine available and it was certainly welcomed as Bruce was celebrating his seventieth birthday that day. Some of our crew were paying 360 yuan on the boat for red wine which is about $80 Aud so we certainly enjoyed this night.
Day 9th April/ This proved to be a big day! After breakfast we boarded the bus and took a tour along the coastal region stopping of at a few places that appeared to be the Gold Coast of China passing the Zhuhai Railway station.
We arrived at Hengqin Port which is the boarder point between Mainland China and Macao.
We had to go through security on the mainland side and then walk to another part of the same building and go through the Macau security as we are entering another country . This whole thing was bit stressful for all of us. We had a city tour of Macau visiting the most notable sites.An interesting fact was that driving changed from left hand drive to right hand drive, they started to adhere to road rules more and be more considerate of other drivers and pedestrians.
The cross over bridges
Gino with a friend.
We had been told to try the Portuguese custard tarts and they proved to be quite nice. As we were only in Macau for a short time the currency situation was interesting. We visited the MGM Casino. There is more than 30 casinos in Macau and is a gambling destination for the Mainland Chinese people who are not able to gamble there. The MGM casino was quite impressive but apparently not up to the current standards of the newest casinos.
Another temple to visit and there was even a Chinese Dragon exhibition.
We headed for the ferry terminal where we were to catch a ferry to Hong Kong at 5.45. Again major security and procedures like an airport and we boarded the ferry. It was just on dark when we left and Hong Kong was lit up in lights by the time we arrived a bit over an hour later. This was an enormous day and we were particularly impressed by Tina when we arrived at the L’hotel to find she had the room keys already so we could go straight to the room for a moment. We didn’t venture far that night and a group of us had a leisurely night with a few drinks and a casual meal in the hotel bar/cafe.
The view from there 51st floor was quite impressive!
They appear to be big with glass between the bathroom and bedroom over here and the L’hotel was no exception although it was in the shape of a glass cylinder for a shower.
Day 10th April/ This day was one for our own choice. Chris, Helen, Faye and I decided as the weather was a little damp we would stay local and explore the shopping, culture and people close by the hotel. There were plenty of options for us to explore from fruit, veggies, meat and more shopping centre type environment. Some of the group took in the ladies market and central Hong Kong but in general they were a tad disappointed with the day due to weather and no real bargains as expected.
It was raining for most of the day so the shopping centres provides plastic covers for your umbrella at the entrance.
Helen found her shop.
Ginger on steroids?
Our days on the tour was quickly coming to an end!
We had met some great people on this trip. Michelle and her children Alana and Evan (Dad was unwell and couldn’t come) were from Seaford. Alana was to soon celebrate her 21st birthday so that was a great excuse for a nice meal and celebration with them, Ross and Kerry, Helen and Chris and Faye and me. Our last meal on this trip was at an Italian restaurant would you believe? And it was great.
Day 11th April/ Today we were up and organised quite early as our flight was scheduled to leave at 10.35am. Unfortunately for us an on board medical emergency resulted in a passenger being ambulanced off along with baggage which saw us depart two hours later.
Tina had a few sayings that she used all the time: Don’t rush but hurry!
China does not have rush hour but rush hours!
When she wanted us to stay close it was: Now be like sticky rice!
The conveniences were dubbed the happy room early in the trip. Some were happy and even five stars, but some were quite sad.
As we got on the bus each time she always said: Now check you ears, eyes, passport, pockets and teeth. Have you left anything behind or in the room safe? Do you have your I Phone, your I Pie (we think she means pad) and do you have the right partner?
Tomorrow mystery, yesterday history and today present.
What a great experience this whole trip has been for all of us.
We arrived home totally exhausted. Tina did warn us that we would need an Aussie holiday (Panda Holiday) when we got home and she is certainly correct. If we arrived home rested then the trip would have been light on content, but this trip was packed with activity and things to see.
We came up with a saying as well: Yesterday history made today.
Where to next?
China wasn’t on our radar originally. We were looking at going to Vietnam but following a phone call from our friend Helen and twenty minutes to make our mind up it all happened. The planning seemed to just fall into place. Chris, Helen, Faye and I had committed to undertaking a nineteen day fully escorted trip to China with Sinorama Holidays taking in most areas of the large country. The only things we needed to do was apply for our own visa as everything else was taken care of. We knew a bit about China but now realised just how little we did actually know. I believe that a lot of people have a belief that China is cheap and full of sub standard things. Believe me we can learn a lot from China. It is mind boggling to see the development, technological advancement and the creativity of this nation. The building of high rise apartments, roads that go everywhere, fly overs that are seven levels high on the freeways, incredible bridges being made even though the road doesn’t yet exist, but will. They seem to demonstrate a very strong sense of future, where they are going, needs and develop and build accordingly.
It blows your mind to realise that the population of China is more than 1.3 billion people. After being there we certainly now appreciate our own space and freedom that we enjoy here in Australia.
We met Helen and Chris at Tullamarine Airport a little prior to our scheduled flight of 12.45am on Good Friday morning 25/3. We flew with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong for a one hour stop over before heading on to Beijing with Dragon Air arriving in Beijing at 11.15am. After recovering the luggage and meeting our travel guide Tina we were bussed to our Hotel. We were able to relax for a while and have a bit of a walk around and having dinner at the Joy restaurant precinct. An escalator here went express for five storeys, the longest I have ever seen. We certainly found that the traffic was not quite what we were used to. Green walk doesn’t mean go, and red light doesn’t seem to mean that the cars stop. Cars have only become common place in the last 20 or 30 years.
Beijing has a population of about 18 million.
We jokingly said that we would need to learn how to follow the flag and pee on command, fast eating etc but it was pretty true.
This is Tina our tour guide.
The area near our first hotel.
Day 26th March/ Up early for breakfast. Meeting the other twenty seven people on the bus (some we had met on the plane) and then on to Tiananmen Square where we first experienced how the government controls things here. The square wasn’t quite what we expected. Unfortunately we have short movies of the square and very few photos. It is very much controlled and guarded. Then on to the imperial-red walls of the Forbidden City and the Emperor’s Palace. We took in the Temple of Heaven. We had a long walk back to our bus before heading off for dinner at a city restaurant.
The weather was exceptional with what they refer to as Beijing Blue sky for the first two days and then the smog came on the third day.
A highlight of our tour I thought would be the Beijing Opera at the Liyuan Theatre. Our expectation was that it would sound like a few cats in a hessian bag. To be honest it was a bit of a disappointment with a lot of stage play activity that we found very hard to comprehend given the language barrier. We returned back to our hotel late with the news that we were due up early the next day. This was something that we would need to get used too.
Day 27th March/ This day we set off early heading toward the ancient Great Wall seeing many sights on the way. This place just blew your mind with sheer size covering thousand of kilometres. We visited the Ming Tombs where there are 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty buried from 1368-1644. It was a big day again and we arrived at the restaurant for a special Beijing Roast Duck dinner.
Selection of a jade bangle.
The Roast Peking Duck banquet.
Day 28th March/ First point of call was the Summer Palace, the Imperial Garden in the Qing Dynasty. We took a rickshaw to visit the old Beijing Hutong and lunch in a more traditional family home atmosphere. In the afternoon we flew to Xi’an (sounds like ce-an) with in flight dinner.
A view from our hotel room in Xi’an The electrical supply.
Day 29th March/ This was the day we went to the Xi’an famous Terra-Cotta Army where the excavation site holds and estimated 8000 soldiers. Like anywhere in China this was also very busy. We have always referred to them as warriors but the tour guides refer to them as soldiers. Each soldier appears to have his own individual personality and features and many equiped with chariots and horses. There is plenty of areas that they haven’t yet explored so it could be a significantly bigger discovery. The town area where the site is didn’t exist thirty years ago and has gown and developed as a result of the find. The soldiers were accidentally discovered when a farmer was digging for a well. Dinner at night was a special Dumpling Banquet where we enjoyed fifteen different dumplings at the Tang Dynasty Dancing Show. Looking out of the hotel window I counted 30 buses and more than 32 taxis at one point. We wished we could have spent more time in Xi’an with a population of about 10 million people as it looked very interesting and different.
Did you guess that these dumpling were pork?
Day 30th March/ Breakfast took the form of a breakfast pack from the hotel as we headed toward the airport at about 5am to catch a flight to Chongqing. ( sounds like Ching Ching). About 30 million people. Another breakfast supplied in flight. We did a quick visit to the Panda Zoo where we were able to see the famous China Panda. There were quite a few on display but we were disappointed with the conditions in which they lived and that they looked dirty and coughing etc. It was here that one of our group realised that her passport was not returned to her at the Xi’an airport. This proved to be a time consuming thing for them and the tour guide to obtain travel documents. You can’t get around in China without a local identification or a passport unlike Australia.
This is Sinorama Gold 8 ship which we cruised on.
We boarded our cruise ship Sinorama Gold 8 late in the afternoon. We left the port at sun down and headed down the mighty Yangtze River. The boat had about 300 visitors and 180 staff on board.
Day 31st March/ This day we went on an excursion to the Shibaozhai, literally “Precious Stone Fortress” in a hill along the Yangtze River. On the river side of the hill is a 500 year old red pavilion (Pagoda) of nine floors which leans against the side of the hill providing a walkway to the temple at the top of the hill. It was a big climb up. With the changing levels of the Yangtze it was necessary to create protection barriers.
Need a lift.
That night was the Captain’s Welcome Party on board. The staff put on a show.
Day 1st April/Early in the morning we embarked on smaller boats to enjoy a closer encounter with the beauty of the Three Gorges, Gorge Wu and the Gorge Qutang.
Later in the day we had a further excursion to The Three gorges Dam which is is the worlds largest hydroelectric project. It is enormous with 34 turbines each delivering 740 megawatts of power. To put this in context the 29 turbines in Tasmania deliver a total of about 13o megawatts of power. The dam has a five stage Ship Lock system which steps down the river levels by about 180 metres. It was dark when we went through the locks and took about three hours. They have also completed a shipping elevator where ships of up to 3000 tons can float into an area and be lifted up or down the 180 meters. This is now in the testing stage and will be in full operations within a few months. The Dam has taken about thirty years to complete and a new town was built to accommodate about 30000 people during the construction.The construction required the removal of a mountain to obtain materials. It now only has 100o residents while the final stages of the ship lift are completed. Mind boggling.
Day 2nd April.We took in an optional tour of the Water Village Tribes of the the Three Gorges early in the day.
This is part of the crying wedding ceremony.
After cruising on further down the Yangtze we passed through another ship lock at the Ge Zhouba Damsite with the water level dropping some 26 metres in about half an hour. It took quite a while waiting for own turn. It was well worth the time to see it actually happen and be able to look back on other vessels coming out of the lock.
The two ships that were in the lock with us. It gives a good idea of how far the water drops.
Part 2 to follow:
Mid February we decided that a short break down the Ocean Road would be a good opportunity to get some sea air and to finally drive the whole road. We have previously only been part way down the iconic road.
We headed off for Portarlington for a four day stay. We took the opportunity to catch up with family and friends while in the area. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that kind to us as it rained a good part of the time and the wind blew strongly. The Portarlington caravan park had plenty of vans in but many were not being used through the week, but come weekend the place would have been busy as.
After our four day stay, we headed off and thought that we would stay at Big 4 Wye River. After continual rain we arrived just when the weather became fine. The park here is wonderfull and although very close to the road and beach it is very quiet and spacious. It is hard to believe that the fires caused so much devastation with over 200 houses lost here only a few weeks ago. The fire burnt to the water line in some places and evidence of destruction can be seen from the beach and pub although the fire was very selective leaving houses untouched amongst others totally destroyed.
The Great Ocean Road is a very busy place and with many drivers having littles driving abilities, heaps of coaches, international drivers with no knowledge and generally stupidity it makes it an interesting place to drive and tow a caravan. We didn’t come across anybody driving on the wrong side but came close, with many instances of being stopped on the road, parking on the wrong side and U turns anywhere and anytime.
The area can do with the return of tourist.
After leaving Wye River we headed for Port Campbell. The driving was interesting, very steep in places but well worth the effort.
The Port Campbell Hotel is a great place to have a meal and a cold beer. The rain continued while we were here and when we eventually got to Warrnambool the following day it rained for four days while it was 37c in Bendigo. We caught up with family and friends while we were here.
We left Warrnambool after our four days and headed north to home where the temperature was in the mid 30s.
Here are a few photos of some of the scenery.
is apparently a practise that is done following on from disaster.Apollo Bay had a seafood festival on so it was particularly busy with tourist and locals.
Destruction was selective.
had to fight for a position at the twelve apostles. We need to sharpen up our elbows and get a selfie stick to poke at people I think.
Next trip is China but the van stays home. Blog to follow.
After leaving Nuriootpa we headed toward Mannum.
Mannum has always been a place of interest for me as I am intrigued by the Murray River and the history that it has with the river boats.
We arrived about noon and were amazed by the views of the river from our site. The photos tell it all.
The park is inside a bird sanctuary so there were birds of all kinds in abundance and levels of annoyance.
The Murray Princess is based at Mannum and continually cruises the Murray with passengers living in luxury while on board. It passed by us a few times over the four days we were here.
Mannum has the only ferry service with two operating vessels. The service runs 24/7 but only one ferry at night. It is a great service and waiting times are minimal.
The information centre houses the towns maritime museum. The museum incorporates the PS Marion which was re-commissioned in 1994 after a full restoration to operational condition.
Mannum is well worth a visit!
The weather hadn’t been all that good for the last few weeks so today we left Mannum and decided to head home. After leaving SA we realised how poor the roads are in Victoria as the Western Highway was like a roller coaster.
We have had a great time on this trip and look forward to our next trip away.
Wayne & Faye
We stayed a night at Port Broughton which is about 100km south of Port Pirie. This is a very nice little coastal town with great facilities and a feeling of community.
The next day we packed up and headed south to Moonta Bay. We were quite surprised that the towns of Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo are only about twenty km apart. We had a stop off at Wallaroo for a few hours although didn’t really get a chance to look around all that much. This is where the ferry docks(when running) from the Eyre Peninsula.
In a short time we arrived at Moonta and the neighbouring Moonta Bay and set up. Our site was right on the waters edge with only the path in front of us. We stayed here for four days and just used the time to look around and relax.
The new water splash park has been set up near the jetty area which is right beside the caravan park. This is a lovely place to come for a family holiday. Being school holidays there were plenty of children with there parents here and the splash park was extremely busy each day despite the cooler days.
Moonta has a Cornish influence due to the mining history. It was suggested that we try the cornish pasty at the cornish bakery. Certainly the best example we have ever had.
The water was so clear from the jetty you could see to the bottom which at this time was about three metres deep.
Moonta was a copper mining town in the past and has some buildings still there.
One day we took a drive to the bottom of the York Peninsula via the west coast and returned via the east coast. There were some really nice small towns to visit and lunch at Marion Bay was very nice. The peninsula has some good farming land.
We left Moonta and travelled through Snow Town on the way to Clare. Snow Town unfortunately had a bad wrap from the bodies found in barrels in a bank building from a number of years ago. They made a movie about it as well.
Clare Valley is known for the wine they produce. When in Rome do as the romans do, so we sampled quite a few wineries while we were here. The Clare Valley seems to have more smaller wineries and less tourist focused than the Barossa.
Martindale Hall is a magnificent building owned now by the SA Government and situated at Mintaro a short distance from Clare. It was donated about 1960 by the then owners and prices of today would make it a donation of about thirty five million dollars. This is magnificent!!!
On Sunday 19th April there was a very big garden and craft festival over the road.
We had met Mike and Tina firstly at Coffin Bay then Port Lincoln and we again crossed paths here at Clare. We had a great time here over the four days.
A prominent town in the Barossa wine region. The wineries here are quite large and very tourist orientated. We certainly visited a number of wineries and visited Maggie Beer’s kitchen. Linke’s german butchery proved to be a real education. We were treated to samples of all the small good produce and explanations of how each is made. We have now been spoiled by this quality of produce but they assured us they will post to anywhere in Australia. It was truly magnificent and very interesting.
The lookout overlooking Nuriootpa.
The weather has been a bit cooler so we took a drive to Adelaide on Tuesday. I hadn’t been there for about thirty years and was expecting it to be a different. From memory it just seems to have got busier but still easy to get about.
Today we took a drive to Gumeracha which is home of the Big Rocking Horse. It is still looking good and was very busy as it is a popular destination for families with children. The small rocking horse at the base is more my size.
Birdwood is the home of the National Motor Museum. This is well worth a visit if you are in the area. We were fortunate to pick the once a year day that they have some of the old cars available for rides in the compound. Cars of all kinds and origin are housed here.
An interesting Goggomobile!
A Chrysler Royale, MGB and a Model A Ford to be driven around in.
This little fellow came a few times to the caravan park very near our van.
The Barossa has so much to offer and well worth a visit.
Wayne & Faye
After leaving Port Lincoln we drove north on the east side of the Eyre having a look at various places en route.
Whyalla is an industrial place and it looks like it. The township is rather disjointed with various developments in rather strange places. There is the original town centre near the port area and new shopping centres on the south end of town. The population has shrunk quite a bit over the last thirty or so years with the demise of the ship building industry and reduction in steel making. There were two places we wanted to see here during our two days.
Squid was the catch on the jetty over the two nights. It is a popular past time as you almost have to muscle your way in for a position. We came across this dolphin just lazing around the jetty only about two metres below.
Views of the steel works from the lookout.
This is the site of mountains of iron ore piles on the way into town.
The Corvette ship HMAS Whyalla was the first ship built here when the ship building industry started in 1941. She has had various duties and was returned to Whyalla at a cost of $5000 from the Port of Melbourne but the relocation expenses were extremely high. She is now about 2.5km from the sea and the tourist information centre is situated below it.
We also did the One Steel works tour. This was inside a bus as it is a heavy industry site and quite dangerous.The works are very old and antiquated.
After the tour finished we hitched up and headed off going through Port Augusta and then Port Pirie with the final destination being Port Broughton for an overnight stop on our quest of the York Peninsula.
Wayne & Faye
After a very short forty five km drive to Port Lincoln we arrived for our nine day stay. We had chosen a caravan park in town and situated on the water. We were in the concrete area which put us up quite high but the views were exceptional and we didn’t have anybody close. We met some great people while here, Rob and Lexie from Geraldton and Mike and Tina from Perth.
This place is extremely reliant on the fishing industry and neighbouring agriculture. They farm almost all kinds of sea food but are more known for their tuna.
We took a drive back to Coffin Bay for the easter markets and came across these emus just wondering around town.
We visited the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum
This is part of the port in town where the grain is handled and the occasional cruise ship is now visiting.
We spent a bit of time fishing here where we had some success with the squid.
We spent our time relaxing while the weather was good. Unfortunately the weather turned a bit sour after a few days and the wind almost blew us away. We had a great time here and have some great memories.
From here we go north to Whyalla on Wednesday 8th.
Wayne & Faye
We left Elliston on Saturday 28th March for a short trip of 164km to Coffin Bay. This place is renown for its oysters world wide due to the pureness of the water and rich nutrients in the water. We arrived about noon and set up in the caravan park. The first thing to do is to source some local oysters. We drove to the industrial zone in town where some forty oyster farmers have their operational sheds. We came across Pure Coffin Bay Oysters who were open for business.
I must admit I am not a real big oyster lover but quite happy to have them as kilpatrick. Chris and Linda operate this business with staff and on arrival Chris was conducting a tour. We were surprised to find that the original native oyster Angasi which was almost fished to extinction is making a come back and Chris is working on building up his stock of this variety. They take about three years to maturity where the Pacific Oyster takes about eighteen months to mature. We purchased shucked Angasi and Pacific oysters.
We tried our luck on the jetty with the fishing rods without success. Two fishing charters arrived back laden with their catch though.
Coffin Bay is only a small place with a few shops, general store, pub, sports club, pizza place etc. We were expecting to see lavish houses due to fishing wealth but this wasn’t the case. We had a very enjoyable time here for the two nights we were here. The van beside us was a young family doing the big lap from Bunbury in WA. We had come across them before at Streaky Bay where Kelly did some impromptu singing in the park which was fantastic.
We made arrangements to purchase a few dozen oyster again from the shed on the Monday. Chris and Linda told us they were busy tidying up as the Channel 7 Sunrise weather team were coming to visit. Watched the next day but they didn’t get much coverage.
Sunrise was amazing with fog coverage.
We tried an oyster pie from the pizza place which was interesting and quite salty. They also made homemade hot cross buns which were divine.
Monday we were making a short trip to Port Lincoln for nine days.
Life is tough!
Wayne & Faye
We left Streaky Bay on Wednesday 18th for the huge trip of about sixty km to Venus Bay. On arrival I thought what did we do by booking here for a week. Venus Bay has a caravan park and a general store, a few houses and a usual population of twenty. The park fronts the bay so and is very picturesque. After a very short time we realised that the week will be very well spent here.
The park is predominantly occupied by regulars who are all fishing mad. The park was very friendly and people were only to keen to talk to you on any subject. We purchased a small boat rod from the park shop which Faye has now adopted.
It is frustrating to be able to see fish like this and not get them.
Prawn trawlers visit regularly.
Our first success with the fishing was a trevally and a tommy ruff (Australian Herring). We were told by many that the tommy ruff is not very good eating. But we were surprised to find it was very enjoyable. This was only a little bit of success, but it is a big improvement on what I normally have.
We decided to swim with the dolphins and sea lions at Baird Bay. What a great day we had. The dolphins weren’t as playful as usual and they quickly swam past and underneath you while in the water a few times and then just left the area. This is done in the bay but only about a hundred meters from the breakers of the open southern ocean. The young fellow in the water with us had an electronic trailing device to ward off the sharks.” Thank goodness” The sea lions just wanted to play for ages. If you rolled over or dive down they would replicate what ever you did. They caught the waves from the breakers and surfed until the waves faded.
Murphy’s Haystack is a series of rock formation in rural agricultural land. It got the name from a person seeing them in the distance thinking that they were haystacks in error and they turned out to be on land owned at the time by Murphy.
Success at last. Faye and I went fishing on the jetty. Would you believe eight casts and eight fish but only landed seven. All very good sizes. Success was mainly Faye’s as I was too busy helping her with the catch to get my rod in for any length of time. They were all Australian Salmon and were obviously schooling as they would have even taken an empty hook. Some people use salmon as bait or apparently make good fish cakes. We tried some in bread crumbs and it was lovely. We had to stop fishing because we couldn’t fit any more in the bucket.
We originally booked here for a week but word from others said it was a bit too long, so we reduced it to three days. This is a nice little town with a few things to see and do.
We went out to the Elliston Roosters ( local football club ) schnitzel night on Thursday which was an experience and real country hospitality. Its their weekly fundraiser. The town is quite creative with many murals and statues around town. Statues even on the scenic drive.
The garden in the pre-school. Beats weeding!
This is the Elliston historic jetty which is 424meters long. Sadly we weren’t successful with the fishing here.
The Elliston Pharmacy
The town hall.
The public conveniences.
This has been a great three days here. Tomorrow is Saturday 28th and we pack up and head to Coffin Bay for a few days before we go to Port Lincoln for Easter.
We usually wouldn’t pre book accommodation but we have found that on the Eyre peninsula park accommodation is in hot demand with many people turned away every day due to full parks.
This is really a beautiful part of Australia although it is a bit remote.
Wayne & Faye
After only a short trip from Poochera we arrived quite early at the picturesque Streaky Bay.
The first day we got into the local fish supply and later purchased some local oysters. We had a site booked and on arrival they offered us a better site which had recently had some trees lopped so it was a bit rough in places but we received a separate site for our car. We were able to position in a position that gave us great protection from wind and sun. The caravan park is always full, mainly with people who come here each year for fishing. Fortunately we were able to extend our stay a bit. We usually don’t like to book but just wing it, but in this area that is impossible. The people here are very easy to get on with and we have made some good friends while here.
Where there is pelicans there is fish and these did quite well from the fishing fraternity.
We found out about Razor Fish. They are a shell fish that are growing in the mud flats only about 400m from the waters edge. They are very much like a scallop and can be harvested at low tide by pulling them out, breaking the pointy end of the shell with hard object and then using a long handled knife to open it like you open an oyster. Limits are 25 per person per day and a maximum of 100 in hand.
Perlube Beach is about 20km north of Streaky Bay and is a picture postcard. There is a free camp there where you can camp on the beach but making sure that you are above the high tide mark or you swim in the van.
The park has a lot of people here from WA here. We socialised quite a bit and in this photo is Brian, Mick, Mary, Kevin, Donna and Marg.
This has been a great place to kick back and enjoy the serenity.
Tomorrow we are heading to Venus Bay for a week.
Life’s really tough here!
Wayne & Faye