WINTER BEACHES, ABANDONED TOWNS.
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
STENHOUSE BAY CAMP GROUND
SATURDAY MAY 28 2011
WEATHER: Sunny, 15 degrees at 10.45am
JOURNEY: Adelaide, Ardrossan, Stenhouse Bay – 300kms
CAMPED: Stenhouse Bay Campground; $6pn per site. (We have a SA Parks Holiday Pass- $46)
On Friday night, we enjoyed a catch up dinner with the Thompsons at Nell's house- we baked a roast chicken and the kids had pizza. They are on their way to a ski resort for winter where John has a job and the kids will attend school; they were all very excited and we had a great night. We love this family!
With a 2 week spell between our dental appointments in Adelaide, the great outdoors was beckoning to us again. After some research, the Innes National Park at the southern tip of Yorke Peninsula seemed a good choice and indeed turned out to be an excellent camping spot.
We had vague recollections of exploring the Yorke Peninsula, 20 years ago, nothing specific so we set off with a blank canvas. The drive to Port Wakefield is fairly boring but there are some excellent bakeries in this town of service stations and old buildings.
Ardrossan, a busy little country town, 148 kms from Adelaide was our lunch stop and we parked above the jetty and impressive red cliffs; the day was now overcast with regular showers confining us to the van. So it was pretty much full speed ahead to Stenhouse Bay under cloudy skies, interrupted by bursts of sunshine and light showers. This area produces the world’s finest barley and we visited Harvest Corner at Minlaton to chat with the volunteer about the peninsula’s attractions and produce.
Stenhouse Bay! Wow we were impressed! A large, spacious well- kept camp ground right on the beach and just 3 other campers. Kath had wondered about arriving late on a Saturday- perhaps we would struggle to find a site; no worries here! The camp has 2 pit toilets and a very small rain water tank that would be mostly empty so it’s bring your own water.
Sometimes it is hard to choose a spot when there are so many choices but our beach front spot beckoned, flat, a little protection and no interference with sunshine on the solar panels. We found it amazing that "the Rhinos Tavern and trading Post" is situated at the entrance to Innes National Park, selling hot meals, groceries with a fully functioning bar; we had stocked up with all requirements in Adelaide.
With so few campers we wondered how the business survived, but we did notice cars pulling in and out of the car park and the National Park has 6 camp grounds.
The only thing we bought from here was a bag of excellent firewood – at $15 per bag it was expensive but we did get 3 camp fires from the one bag; it is illegal to collect wood on the peninsula so it’s bring your own wood or pay for it on site. The nights were cold so we relished the joy of the little fire beneath a black starry sky.
Camping in winter has a few challenges but apart from late Sunday afternoon we were rain –free and on several occasions we sat outside in shorts and singlets to absorb the midday sun. The doona is now on the bed and the thermometer showed 4-5 degrees a few times at sun up and hot stews and soups were our regular meals and warmed us!
Sunrise and sunset presented us with stunning shows of colour:
Our regular visitors included some Western grey kangaroos and families of strikingly elegant emus- we never got tired of watching them scour the camp ground for food twice daily.
We had some good chats with fellow campers, Meg and Keith from Buderim, QLD who were true off roaders in their 4x4 vehicle and sturdy camper trailer, just returned from Kangaroo Island to celebrate Keith’s...0 birthday. They favoured the back tracks of Oz and told us their stories of isolation and remote locations. Meg shared some delicious sheep’s milk haloumi from KI and lightly grilled on her BBQ- yum!!!!
Stenhouse Bay was once a thriving port shipping out gypsum, mined in the nearby town of Inneston, now just ruins and heritage buildings and equipment. The Stenhouse Bay jetty is impressive and attacts fishermen and sight seers daily.
the Lookout Walk above is a spectacular trail with many lookouts and informative signs tracing the history of this special place; we noted that there had been many tragic ship wrecks here and the story of the sailor from Vietnam and his grave site was very moving.
We were fortunate to take the walk on a gorgeous sunny morning and Kath was busy on her new camera recording the vistas.
The 8km return trail: Thompson-Pfitzner Plaster Hike to the historic ruins of Inneston was a good one and again the signs telling the history of the place and events was really well done. We thought that Innes NP including the visitor Centre was very impressive- well planned trails, great signs and information and beautifully maintained ruins, mines and buildings.
We happily filled 10 days here in this quiet, peaceful place. We did pack up the van one day to tour the whole national park andto check out the other camps but happily returned to Stenhouse Bay, claiming it to be the best of all! We explored this spectacular coast of the Southern Ocean as far as Pandalowie Bay and even though it was windy and cool the sun kept up and enhanced the lovely vistas.
Strangely, with full internet access, Sheila was able to finalise our round-the-world air tickets using FF points during our stay here; she tried about 20 times and kept getting bombed out as she changed destinations and flights to get the tickets and finally success!
We were so excited but got a bit disheartened when we investigated Caracas, Venezuela as a stop over but got positive again when we did further research.
So November 2011 will see us heading overseas for 6 months.
Anyway, back on track we did the big tour of the Yorke Peninsula before heading back to Adelaide; we admitted that the Spencer Gulf side was a little disappointing. We did however enjoy the antics of a kite surfer at Dunn Point and spent breakfast time there mesmerised by his amazing ability. then it was on to Point Turton and through Yorketown to Edithburg and we really liked this coast with its little towns and great history. We camped overnight at Port Julia for $6 and Graham the caretaker was lovely and told us all about the area.
the weather was kind to us although the early morning temperatures were very chilly.