Another country, another tour

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Nov 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Coodlie Park Farm Retreat Port Kenny
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 1 of the tour! After living in Brisbane for a while, it felt eerily reminiscent of the beginning of my trip in the States. Found Simmo in the bus outside the train station and watched the group gradually arrive, 11 in all. Couple of Aussies but mostly European, some Brits this time!

First chance to grab the camera was a place called Alligator Gorge right at the southern-most end of the Flinders Range. We all dutifully trooped down the steps and had a little explore up and down the gorge, absolutely stunning place. We stopped for lunch further up the road, felt just like being back on the US tour, chopping up all the veg and cheese, crafting our sandwiches, mmm so much better than endless loaves of jam or peanut butter on bread! We made another stop for beers and finally carried onto our campsite in Warren Gorge.

  A great little place, maintained as a reserve for indigenous flora and fauna so we were lucky to see Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies all over even though they're highly endangered. The younger group of us went for a scramble up a nearby peak (I managed some climbing :-D Little more vertical than I was expecting...) before the first of many fantastic dinners. Turns out our tour guide, Simmo, happened to be a fully qualified chef! Score. We all sat round the campfire chatting, then it was time to make use of our swags! I'm assuming most people, like me, will have no idea what a swag is...imagine a big heavy duty material bag with a thin mattress in, then dumping a sleeping bag in and calling it home for the night, sleeping under the stars. Amazing. (I know I need some more words for 'amazing', 'beautiful', if anybody has any suggestions please suggest them!)

Up pretty early for breakfast, doesn't matter so much when you've gone to bed at 10pm the night before and you're woken up by the sun rising though. And what a breakfast! Cereal. I miss cereal. When you move every couple of nights, it's just too much hassle to sort cereal and milk so whenever I get the chance, mmmm.

The old bus didn't feel like waking up (in all fairness it had done around 850k km with the one engine!) so we had to push it around a bit first...took just long enough to get a bead of sweat on Simmo's brow then it fired up. We had a break in a small town called Port Augusta, I jumped at the chance to buy myself a hoody! What can I say, I've gone soft in this Aussie climate. From there we set off towards Coodlie Farm, the home of the owners and base of the tour company, Nullarbor Traveller (yes I did enjoy it, yes I am selling it to you all!)

We went for a walk around a nearby headland and spied a few dolphins playing around at the mouth of the harbour, then dropped back to the homestead to pick up sandboards. En route to the dunes we had a walk around some beautiful coastal 'caves', before setting off across the sand once more! Again, waxing the boards and throwing yourself down a huge sanddune face first...brilliant! We even had a snowboard style board this time...

There was another tour group doing the reverse trip stopping at the farm, so we had a big crowd for dinner which was great, then off on a 4wd safari of the farm to spot some wildlife. Seeing the other car chasing off across the scrub chasing kangaroo's, just hilarious, it looked like some oversized childish predator bouncing around looking for it's toys! Even got to see a wombat which was great, even if the poor thing was legging it across in front of our car.

Another early morning, pancakes for breakfast though so well worth getting up! Of course that wasn't the only reason...we set off for Sceale Bay for a surfing lesson :-D I actually got standing up which was fantastic and, even though the waves weren't even a metre, felt so awesome when you caught one! I don't like to hold back so I did wipe out my fair share...sliding face first off the front of the board happened more than once!

After lunch we set off again to go swimming with the fishies (actually mammals to be honest...sea lions and dolphins :-D). After getting kitted out in some seriously sexy wetsuits we caught the boat out into the bay, within a few minutes we'd found some playful dolphins which was amazing! We all dived in and just watched these huge dolphins come flying past us a few times. Started diving down among them when they swam past us, one actually watched me then copied my movements one time, sounds so small but it felt so special. You could feel that they were watching you and trying to work you out every time though!

We set off for the sea lion spot next, first time we saw them 5 were surfing side by side in a big wave! Such playful animals, they seemed to keep playing with and chasing pebbles on the sea floor. Their favourite game, though, was to try and steal the shark shield! An electronic device which emitted signals supposedly as a deterrent to sharks, it was attached to a life jacket by rope and the sea lions kept swimming off with it. Absolutely fantastic creatures, I just wish I'd been able to swim under water better to interact with them more.

Hot shower when we got back, what a luxury! Then played Caz's card game after dinner, I don't know what it was called and don't want to...I was terrible at it! Good banter though, thanks Clara! Sat outside with Ueli and a couple of girls from the other tour by the fire, Mel thankyou for the introduction to 'Newark speak', I've forgotten it already..."Your obnoxious comments are far too sarcastic to be appreciated", I hope you somehow read that, I'm very proud of myself.
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