A Travellerspoint blog

March 2013

Coffin Bay National Park

Easter weekend hideaway

semi-overcast 22 °C

We left Memory Cove one day earlier than planned to secure a campsite in Coffin Bay National Park over the Easter weekend. We stopped in the Coffin Bay village to buy some of the famous Coffin Bay oysters and they are delicious for less than a dollar an oyster!

In the Coffin Bay National Park the 13 km 4WD track from Yangie Bay to the Black Springs campsite is extremely rough and very sandy in places. Although we deflated all six tyres we still got bogged down in soft sand on the track next to Lake Jessie. The set of MaxTrax that I bought in Tasmania came in handy and after a few attempts we got ourselves unbogged and managed to get over the sand dune without getting stuck again. It took us an hour and a half to complete the 13 kilometers.

We found a marvelous, secluded campsite in Black Springs on top of a limestone cliff with spectacular views of the tranquil waters of Port Douglas and Coffin Bay. Coffin Bay National Park offers some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in South Australia, ranging from high windswept cliffs, massive sand dunes, limestone pavements with sheoaks and black tea trees to long white beaches and sheltered waters. The bay is home to many dolphins and seabirds and the campsite was visited by Gallahs (Rose-breasted Cockatoos), Australian Ringnecks and a curious wallaby.

Coffin Bay was discovered by Lieutenant Matthew Flinders and his crew in the HMS Investigator on the 6th February 1802, a few weeks before the disaster at Memory Cove. Flinders, after his return to England in 1810, named the Bay after a friend Sir Isaac Coffin.

This is certainly one of the best campsites we have stayed in on our Big Lap. It only offers a pit toilet in terms of facilities but the remoteness and the stunning views made it a very special place to spend a few days.

We explored the rest of the Coffin Bay National Park during our stay of four days. The rough and sandy 4WD track north of Black Springs includes a nice drive on 7 Mile Beach and then 5 kilometers to get to the southern side of the peninsula to Sensation Beach. We saw young guys who crashed into rocks whilst driving on the beach at night, clearly at speed and probably under the influence. Their 4WD was wrecked with all four tyres slashed, two rims mangled badly and the steering busted. An expensive lesson!

From Coffin Bay we will start our 1,800 kilometer journey around the Great Australian Bight to get back to Western Australia.

Bogged again!

Bogged again!

Black Springs campsite

Black Springs campsite

Views from our Black Springs campsite

Views from our Black Springs campsite

Moonrise over Port Douglas, Coffin Bay

Moonrise over Port Douglas, Coffin Bay

Gallah

Gallah

Sunset

Sunset

Tranquil Port Douglas waters

Tranquil Port Douglas waters

Visiting Skippy

Visiting Skippy

Australian Ringneck

Australian Ringneck

Sensation Beach

Sensation Beach

Track from Sensation Beach

Track from Sensation Beach

7 Mile Beach

7 Mile Beach

7 Mile Beach lunch

7 Mile Beach lunch

Why you should not drive on a beach at night

Why you should not drive on a beach at night

Trying to fish

Trying to fish

Posted by KobusM 21:58 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Memory Cove

Lincoln National Park

all seasons in one day 33 °C

Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area is situated inside the Lincoln National Park in the southernmost point on the Eyre Peninsula. Memory Cove is an isolated, tranquil bay just north of Cape Catastrophe, bordered by vast expanses of mallee, and granite outcrops. The white sandy beach between the park's densely vegetated headlands provides shelter and makes Memory Cove an ideal camping site. To maintain the special wilderness qualities of this area, access to Memory Cove is limited to 15 vehicles a day (although we only saw less than 5) and a gate key is required to access the area and camp in one of the five campsites. We had to pick up the permit and the key from Port Lincoln Information Center and took the opportuinty to have lunch there and to buy some seafood in the seafood capital of Australia.

The 30 kilometer 4WD track to Memory cove was rough but rewarded us with sweeping views of Cape Catastrophe, Curta Rocks and the offshore islands. We saw kangaroos and emus on the way.

Memory Cove was named by Matthew Flinders in memory of eight of his sailors that drowned here after their small boat capsized here in 1802. The wreck of the boat was found but their bodies were never recovered. Matthew Flinders commanded the HMS Investigator while surveying the rugged coastline of the southern Eyre Peninsula. He anchored here on 22 February 1802 and sent two of his senior men, John Thistle and William Taylor, with six other crew members in a small cutter to look for water on the peninsula when disaster struck. Flinders named the offshore islands after these sailors and Cape Catastrophe after the disaster.

We saw many birds that we have not seen before and pelicans also liked to feed in the protected bay. Approximately 30 meters along the rocky shoreline at the right hand of the beach is an engraving 4ft^ in the granite that marks the spot which was the Whalers Post Office where messages where left by crew of early whalers for other boats to collect.

The scenic lookout at Cape Catastrophe is locally known as ‘Ivy’s Leap’ after a local tour operator which parked his vehicle here but the handbrake failed and it rolled forward plunging over the cliff. Luckily no one was in the vehicle at the time.

From here we travelled to the western side of the Eyre Pensinsula to camp in the Coffin Bay National Park.

Port Lincoln foreshore

Port Lincoln foreshore

Lookout at Curta Rocks

Lookout at Curta Rocks

Cape Catastrophe

Cape Catastrophe

[Track to Memory Cove

Track to Memory Cove

Memory Cove

Memory Cove

Memory Cove campsite

Memory Cove campsite

Memory Cove

Memory Cove

Painted Button-quail

Painted Button-quail

Pelican

Pelican

Silvereye

Silvereye

Whalers Post Office

Whalers Post Office

On the way back at Cape Catastrophe

On the way back at Cape Catastrophe

Posted by KobusM 23:09 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Port Augusta

The crossroads of Australia

sunny 33 °C

Port Augusta is located at the crossroads of Australia. Its unique geographic position makes it a major service centre for travellers and freight trucks crossing the Nullarbor. In many respects Port Augusta is also the southern gateway to the Northern Territory via the Stuart Highway.

Although we did not plan to stay here according to my original plan, we had to change the plan to stay over to get the Land Cruiser serviced. We have already done 40,000 kilometers!

Located on the western side of Spencer Gulf is the Water Tower Lookout. Port Augusta's Water Tower Lookout offers sweeping views to the east, overlooking Spencer Gulf and the town centre. Originally built in 1882, the water tower provided Port Augusta's residents with a gravity fed water supply.

From Port Augusta we will travel to the southern part of the Eyre Peninsula to camp at Lincoln and Coffin Bay National Parks.

Crossroads

Crossroads

Port Augusta Water Tower

Port Augusta Water Tower

Port Augusta

Port Augusta

Posted by KobusM 00:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Flinders Ranges

South Australia's premier outback mountain destination

sunny 27 °C

Rugged mountain ranges, spectacular gorges, sheltered creeks lined with river red gums and abundant wildlife are just some of the attractions that make up the Flinders Ranges. Our first stay was at Mount Remarkable in the Southern Flinders Ranges and we camped at Mambray Creek that has very good facilities for a park campground. However, swarms of flies spoiled our stay and we left after two nights after spending the whole day behind fly screens or inside the Quantum. We then travelled north to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park and camped there for three days. There were almost no flies but lots of birds and kangaroos. One kangaroo is clearly spoilt by campers and has lost its natural fear of humans. Last night he grabbed our recycling bag and I had to rescue it in a tug of war which left the bag torn and the contents spilled. I also had to chase it away from the kitchen almost every night.

Wilpena Pound is a natural amphitheater of mountains which is actually a remnant valley floor from an ancient range of mountains that have been eroding away over millions of years. The higher walls of the pound are quartzite, a rock which is very resistant to weathering. Wilpena Pound, including the ranges, is approximately 17km long by 8km wide.

We did two hikes, one to the Aboriginal rock carvings at Sacred Canyon and the other to Arkaroo Rock with its fascinating Aboriginal rock paintings. Aboriginal people have lived in the Flinders Ranges for tens of thousands of years. For the Adnyamathanha - the hills or rock people, the ranges are still of immense cultural significance.

The highlight of our stay was a 30 minute scenic flight over Wilpena Pound. The flight completed a circuit of Wilpena Pound where our pilot pointed out the Heysen Range, Elder Range, Edeowie Gorge, Lake Torrens, Bunyeroo Gorge, Brachina Gorge, St Mary Peak and the Pound Gap. We clearly saw how the Flinders Ranges appear to be a backbone on the landscape.

Tomorrow we will travel back south to Port Augusta to start our tour of the Eyre Peninsula and to get the Land Cruiser serviced.

Isolated mangroves in the Spencer Gulf at low tide with the Southern Flinders in the distance

Isolated mangroves in the Spencer Gulf at low tide with the Southern Flinders in the distance

Grazing kangaroo

Grazing kangaroo

Arkaroo Rock Aboriginal paintings

Arkaroo Rock Aboriginal paintings

Eroded rocks at Sacred Canyon

Eroded rocks at Sacred Canyon

Sacred Canyon Aboriginal rock carvings

Sacred Canyon Aboriginal rock carvings

Sacred Canyon

Sacred Canyon

Wilpena Pound

Wilpena Pound

St Mary Peak in the Heysen Range

St Mary Peak in the Heysen Range

Heysen Range

Heysen Range

ABC Range

ABC Range

Yellow-throated Miner

Yellow-throated Miner

Posted by KobusM 00:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Innes National Park

Southern tip of Yorke Peninsula

sunny 25 °C

From Adelaide we travelled around the St Vincent Gulf and down the Yorke Peninsula (that has the shape of a leg and a big foot) to camp at Cable Bay in the Innes National Park on the southern tip of the peninsula.

Innes National Park surprised us with its spectacular coastal landscapes, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. We drove through the park and enjoyed the sweeping views of the offshore islands and Kangaroo Island from Cape Spencer, views of the wreck of the Ethel, 360 degree views of Pondalowie Bay with South Island from West Cape and the beautiful Dolphin Bay and Browns Beach.

We also visited Inneston, once a booming gypsum-mining town but now abandoned except for some houses that are renovated as guest houses.

From Innes National Park we travelled north up the Yorke Peninsula to visit the Flinders Ranges in the South Australian outback.

Cable Bay

Cable Bay

Cable Bay camp

Cable Bay camp

Chinamans Hat

Chinamans Hat

Inneston ruins

Inneston ruins

Inneston Lake

Inneston Lake

Inneston Cricket Ground

Inneston Cricket Ground

Cape Spencer

Cape Spencer

Cape Spencer Lighthouse

Cape Spencer Lighthouse

Pomdalowie Bay

Pomdalowie Bay

South Island and Middle Island in Pondalowie Bay

South Island and Middle Island in Pondalowie Bay

Dolphin Beach

Dolphin Beach

Wreck of the Ethel

Wreck of the Ethel

West Cape

West Cape

Posted by KobusM 20:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Adelaide

Australia's city of churches

sunny 27 °C

From Kangaroo Island we took the ferry from Penneshaw back to Cape Jervis and travelled to Adelaide where we stayed in the Adelaide Shores Caravan Park on West Beach. We also had to get the Quantum's brake linings replaced whilst in Adelaide. They took a beating on the steep, winding roads in the Australian Alps and in Tasmania.

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is also known as the "city of churches". There are many churches in the city and a number of them have been incorporated into the campus of the Adelaide University. Rundle Street has many buildings with interesting architecture and lots of restaurants and bars. We also visited the seaside suburb of Glenelg which is the site of South Australia's original mainland settlement in 1836. The very first settlement in South Australia was in Kingscote, Kangaroo Island.

We did a day trip to Barossa Valley to sample some of the best wines in the world. There are so many vineyards to choose from but we settled for the famous Jacob's Creek and three others, Grant Burge, Two Hands and Hentley Farm. Most specialise in Shiraz and the absolute best was 'The Beast' Shiraz at Hentley Farms.

From Adelaide we will travel around the St Vincent Gulf and down to the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula to camp at Cable Beach in the Innes National Park.

Adelaide

Adelaide

Rundle Street architecture

Rundle Street architecture

Adelaide University campus

Adelaide University campus

WWI Memorial

WWI Memorial

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

St Francis Xavier Cathedral

St Peter's Cathedral

St Peter's Cathedral

Glenelg

Glenelg

Pioneer settlers memorial in Glenelg

Pioneer settlers memorial in Glenelg

Immigrant statue

Immigrant statue

Jacob's Creek visitor center

Jacob's Creek visitor center

Jacob's Creek

Jacob's Creek

Barossa Valley

Barossa Valley

Hentley Farm Wines

Hentley Farm Wines

Posted by KobusM 14:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Kangaroo Island

Australia's third-largest island

sunny 32 °C

From the Coorong we travelled over the Murray River by vehicle ferry (free service) to Wellington and on to Victor Harbour and Cape Jervis to take the Sealink vehicle ferry over to Kangaroo Island, which is Australia's third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island.

Our first stop was at the Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park which covers the wild windswept Cape Gantheaume Peninsula on the southernmost point of Kangaroo Island. It stretches from D’Estrees Bay in the east to Seal Bay in the west, and inland to Murray Lagoon. We camped at the peaceful, unspoiled and remote D’Estrees Bay on Wreckers Beach, which is home to a few endangered hooded plovers.

From D'Estrees Bay we travelled north to Kingscote, which is the largest town on the island, albeit with a population of only 1,700. Kingscote is South Australia's oldest European settlement and is a lovely little town these days with lots of pelicans close to the jetty and in the bay. The main reason for staying in Kingscote was to dive with leafy sea dragons and this is covered by a separate entry to this blog.

From Kingscote we travelled across the island to the west to camp in the famous Flinders Chase National Park for four nights. We camped at West Bay which is on the far western side of the park and we had to travel 22 kilometers of a severely corrugated road from the visitors center to get there. This secluded campground is set within a stunning coastal landscape, a short walk from the tranquil West Bay. The presence of resident kangaroos, wallabies and annoying possums makes it a real bush camping experience. We did a day trip down to Remarkable Rocks (which are really remarkable) and to Cape du Couedic with its large colony of New Zealand fur seals and the amazing Admirals Arch.

From Flinders Chase we travelled across the island to the eastern side to camp at Antechamber Bay in the Lashmar Conservation Park. On the way we stopped for lunch at the stunning Vivonne Bay with its crystal clear waters. The campground at Antechamber Bay is next to the tranquil Chapman River which attracks many birds including black swans, pelicans and Australian white ibis.

We also took the opportunity to taste some Dudley Wines whilst in the area and visited their celllar door which has magnificent views of the Backstairs Passage and the mainland. Their wines are delicious and we decided to stay for a bucket of prawns and a couple of glasses of white wine.

Our final night on Kangaroo Island will be spent in the small seaside town of Penneshaw. Tomorrow morning we will take the 05:30 ferry from Penneshaw across the Backstairs Passage to the mainland and travel from Cape Jervis to Adelaide. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Kangaroo Island.

SeaLink ferry to Kangaroo Island

SeaLink ferry to Kangaroo Island

Wreckers Beach

Wreckers Beach

Hooded plovers

Hooded plovers

D'Estrees Bay

D'Estrees Bay

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park

West Bay, Flinders Chase National Park

West Bay, Flinders Chase National Park

West Bay rock

West Bay rock

West Bay campsite

West Bay campsite

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

New Zealand fur seals

New Zealand fur seals

Shortnose Echidna

Shortnose Echidna

KI Kangaroo

KI Kangaroo

Flinders Chase National Park

Flinders Chase National Park

Admirals Arch

Admirals Arch

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay Jetty

Vivonne Bay Jetty

Antechamber Bay

Antechamber Bay

Chapman River

Chapman River


Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Antechamber Bay

Antechamber Bay

Backstairs Passage view from Dudley Wines

Backstairs Passage view from Dudley Wines

Dudley wine and prawns

Dudley wine and prawns

Posted by KobusM 23:07 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Leafy Sea Dragons

Kangaroo Island Diving

sunny 32 °C

We are on Kangaroo Island and I took the opportunity to do two dives from Kingscote. The first was at Western River Cove about an hour drive from Kingscote. The underwater scenery was quite different from the tropical waters that I normally dive in. The water temperature was not too cold (22oC) and I saw several fish that I have not seen before.

The second dive was under the Kingscote jetty, looking for Leafy Sea Dragons. We found three, one adult and two juveniles. They are my favourite small underwater creatures and the first time I saw them in the wild. The name is derived from the appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions coming from all over the body. These protrusions are not used for propulsion; they serve only as camouflage. As with seahorses, the male leafy seadragon cares for the eggs. The female produces up to 250 bright pink eggs, then deposits them on to the male's tail via a long tube.

Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon

Juvenile Leafy Sea Dragon

Juvenile Leafy Sea Dragon

Surgeon fish

Surgeon fish

Nudibrach

Nudibrach

Yellowtail Leatherjack

Yellowtail Leatherjack

Horseshoe Leatherjacket

Horseshoe Leatherjacket

Cuttle fish

Cuttle fish

Posted by KobusM 23:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Coorong National Park

Salwater lagoon park

sunny 28 °C

From Mount Gambier we travelled north-west with a short detour to see the jetty at the picturesque town of Seaport and stopped at Kingston SE to take a photograph of Larry the Big Lobster, before we travelled north to the Coorong National Park.

Stretching more than 130 kilometres, Coorong National Park protects a string of saltwater lagoons which are protected from the Southern Ocean by the sweeping sand dunes of the Younghusband Peninsula. The 110 kilometer stretch of salwater lakes and lagoons is an important breeding area for the Australian pelican and is a refuge for ducks, swans, cormorants, terns, emus and numerous species of migratory birds.

We camped at Parnka Point on the shores of one of the Coorong lagoons. It was a nice campsite but the flies spoiled our fun during the day. We were also swamped by bees trying to drink water from our external taps, an indication that there were no fresh water available in the area.

Tomorrow we will travel to Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island, which we plan to explore for 10 days.

Kingston Big Lobster

Kingston Big Lobster

Beachport Jetty

Beachport Jetty

The Coorong

The Coorong

Parnka Point campsite

Parnka Point campsite

Coorong salt lakes

Coorong salt lakes

Coorong sunset

Coorong sunset

Pelicans on the Coorong

Pelicans on the Coorong

Emu

Emu

Pelicans

Pelicans

Posted by KobusM 01:18 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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