Monday, 21 October 2013

Once we reached Port Augusta we certainly had a change of scenery, and weather.   It got cool while we were still in Port Augusta but then as we left and came up through the Clare Valley it got colder.  It was down to 2 degrees the first morning we were there.  Heater time - but two days later we had the air conditioner on again.
This is on the way down from Port Augusta to Port Pirie - it was very pretty.  Paddocks of wheat or barley either ready to be harvested or very close to it.  Some going almost down to the water's edge of the Spencer Gulf.

The Jetty at Port Germain.  One of the longest wooden bridges in the southern hemisphere at 1,550 metres long.
Port Pirie. 
Even though Port Pirie is an industrial city they have lots of parks and gardens and a really nice area along the foreshore.  They also have nice gardens down the main street with lots of roses.  Roses seem to grow really well in all these areas down here.

Some art work in Port Pirie - they must have known cold weather was on the way!

The Smelter at Port Pirie

Wheat Silos at Port Pirie.

Southern Flinders Ranges. 
It was so green once we crossed the Southern Flinders Ranges the wheat and barley had not yet ripened and it was so green.  Everywhere as far as you could see was green.  It certainly was a nice change.

Enjoying an ice cream, locally made, at Laura in the Southern Flinders Ranges.  Very yummy!

From a lookout looking back towards Spencer Gulf.

A statue of CJ Dennis who lived in Laura for part of his childhood erected in the main street of Laura

Along the wharf area of Port Augusta.

The main street of Port Augusta.
After leaving Port Augusta we went up into the Clare Valley where we stayed for two nights at Clare.  It is a very pretty area - all wheat and barley paddocks or vineyards.  All the grape vines were starting to shoot and it was very green in every direction.  We were talking to one of the  small winemakers who said that their season maybe wrecked as the grapes were shooting too early and the morning the temperature dropped to 2 degrees they had some big frosts in parts of the valley which will have destroyed the buds on the vines.  They normally get temperatures equal to our winter temperatures up until about the end of October so the warm weather came about three to four weeks early but then it got cold again, but has warmed up again now.
Crystal Brook. 
 Another little town we passed  through that had some old stone buildings, and a very nice little bakery. 

St Aloyuis Church at Sevenhill Winery just outside Clare. 
 Sevenhill Winery was started in 1851 by the Jesuit Priests and is still run by them.  It is a very peaceful and scenic place.  As well as the church and winery they have another beautiful stone building where they have meetings and retreats.
These very fat cattle were in a paddock opposite the Sevenhill Winery. 

A heritage listed town near Clare.  It did have some nice old buildings and pub but it looked a bit run down.
Just outside Mintaro is Martindale Hall.  It was used in the movie 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' as the boarding school.

Martindale Hall.
You can go through it but it is also let out as an upmarket B&B and you cannot go through those rooms.  We didn't bother going into it.

Some of the countryside around Clare.

A winery we went to.  It was just down the road from the caravan park where we were staying and was run by a very down-to-earth, friendly bloke.  He had some very nice wines too.

Vineyards around Clare.

A tribute to 'Curio' a famous buckjumper at Marrabel.
Curio was a brumby captured when she was about 3 years old and it was about eight years before she was ridden for 10 seconds.

The main street of Marrabel - not a very big town but they obviously have some community spirit.  They had a lovely area with barbecues and shelters which all had murals on them depicting the pioneering era of the area.  These murals were all done in black on white titles.  They also had two tennis courts which looked like they were being used for junior tournaments the morning we passed through.

Another wheat paddock.

A park in Eundunda where they had a statue of Colin Thiele.

Colin Thiele.
One of his books was "Pelican Boy".  In 1993 he retired to Dayboro where he passed away in 2006.
They were lovely gardens where they also had a lot of murals made out of the black and white tiles and also a lot of lavender which was flowering.


The ferry across the Murray at Morgan.
I couldn't believe all the house boats on the Murray at Morgan.  Looking along the river from the ferry crossing the banks of the river were just lined with house boats.

Camping beside the Murray River at Herron Bend.
It was a free camp right on the banks of the river.  I thought it would be crowded but in the area where we were there were two other caravanners and a house boat. Down the other end of the area there was one house boat and it looked liked two campers. 

Looking back down on the free camp area.
Since leaving the Clare Valley the countryside has been quite dry in areas but in other areas closer to the river there have been vineyards and citrus orchards which have been really green.

Lock Number 3 on the Murray River.
This was just up the road from where we had camped.

A group of canoeists came through while we were there so it was interesting to see how the lock worked.

We happen to pass through Renmark during their Rose Festival.  Just outside Renmark is Rushtons Roses - they had acres and acres of roses - all in bloom.

They obviously had a scarecrow competition as part of their festival as all these scary crows were lined up in the park in the main town area.  I liked Renmark - it was a very pretty town and had lots of roses and big trees (mostly jacarandas) down the main streets.  They also had a nice picnic area along the river bank but that seems to be the done thing for all the towns along the Murray.

More roses in Renmark.

Leaving South Australia and entering Victoria.  Actually I was a bit confused if this was the actual border or the fruit fly check point.  The arch over the road did say you were leaving South Australia and entering Victoria but about four or five kilometres further down the road were small, insignificant signs saying farewell to South Australia and Welcome to Victoria.

We are presently in Mildura staying at the Apex Riverbeach Caravan Park which is right on the Murray River.  This Paddle steamer went past the caravan park this afternoon.

There is a weir on the Murray here with another lock so we went down to see the Paddle Steamer going through the lock.

Mildura is quite a bit town (city) with all the usual shops and shopping centres.  It seems quite nice but not a lot to see or do.  They have a huge aquatic centre with indoor and outdoor pools and a wave pool which is at the same place as the information centre.  It was very popular when we arrived yesterday afternoon when the temperature was about 35. They also must play a lot of tennis here as they have a large grass tennis court complex.

These sculptures are in a park here in Mildura - don't ask me what they represent - I couldn't quite figure them out.  
We leave here tomorrow and will be making our way over to Echua having a look at the towns along the way. We will probably have two or three days in Ecuha before moving on.

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