View From The Eyre
Trip Start Oct 31, 2013
14Trip End May 01, 2014
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Our van is called Yogi. It was sort of called Yogi to start with so we stayed with it (despite Sarah's interesting suggestion of Blottie!) and a grand little van it is. Very Yogi bear-like; rather butch and growly, but really quite friendly. Lack of power steering is building the old shoulder muscles a bit but you don’t notice it on the open road – and most of the roads are very open! Cupboards, cooker, sink and fridge are in the back, seats in the front which turn into a bed. If we’re staying somewhere more than one night we consider the tent but sometimes it’s too public or not practical. It’s easy to live in most of the time – provided the weather is OK.
However, when we left Kalgoorlie and headed south to Norseman (a beautiful drive through Salmon Gum country) and turned east to cross the Nullabor we suffered a temperature drop of 15 degrees in a day (35 to 20 degrees)
The Nullabor was fine, despite the weather – it gave us a different perspective from last year when we did the journey in the heat. Fortunately, when we got to the Eyre Peninsular it got a bit warmer and the sun came out. We stopped at Ceduna again – that’s where we spent Christmas last year. Last year we travelled down the west coast as far as Streaky Bay where we celebrated our wedding anniversary at M’Ocean – a seafood speciality café - then cut back up to the Highway and across the top. We went back to Streaky Bay and also went back to the same café to have our Anniversary meal, albeit a bit late this year! Very yummy…… We decided to go right round the Eyre Peninsular along the coast. And a very beautiful coast it is. We have been guilty of taking some of the beaches for granted but sometimes you just run out of superlatives for the fabulous views and scenery
The Eyre Peninsular is named after Edward John Eyre, an Englishman who made the first European crossing of the Nullabor from Streaky to Albany in WA. He is one of several Europeans who came here and did treks so amazing that you conclude that they were not only infinitely brave, but totally bonkers. As with most explorers he owed much of his success to his Aboriginal guide, Wylie.
The South Australians here on the Eyre do love their heritage – unfortunately their version appears to start with the 'discovery’ of SA and refers almost solely to geological history, ‘colonialism’ and pioneers. After the inclusive history of WA it’s a bit galling; the original inhabitants get barely a mention. The peninsular is given over to wheat and sheep. Up and down the coast all the little sea towns have, or had, jetties to load the grain or the sheep onto boats. Port Gibbon was more inventive and had a shute from the cliff top to the waiting (small) boat below. Down went the bags of grain, which were rowed out to the waiting ship! (No mention of sheep!) The scenery is actually very varied – from Derbyshire Peak District (complete with dry stone walls, but they weren’t lasting quite so well here) to Bodmin Moor. It’s all a bit brown as the crops are cut and they’ve had a very hot summer
Which seems to have ended with some very chilly and strong south winds, which feel as though they’ve come straight from the Antarctic. It’s curtailed our sightseeing a bit and we’ve been looking for sheltered spots to stay. We went to a bush camp one night – it was sheltered but the facilities were interesting! Coffin Bay NP was also sheltered and a wonderful visit. We saw lots of Emus and big Western Grey kangaroos, Wrens and odd insects. The camp spot we found was idyllic – in fact Coffin Bay was gorgeous. We had a couple of good walks – one advantage of the cooler weather.
Port Augusta is the end of the Eyre Highway and the beginning of the Stuart Highway – our next step. An oil change and check-up for Yogi and we’ll be off; back to the heat……..