After a very cold, windy and showery night we rose early and left around 7.30am in order to get to Quorn in time to catch the weekly Pichi Richi rail trip which leaves at 10.30am. The scenery was amazing – we entered the southern part of the Flinders Ranges and the country on the east side was bare and unproductive. Once over a few hills, the scenery changed to cropping/grazing land and it was magnificent. Just as pretty as the trip to Port Pirie yesterday. Bruce and Linda sidetracked a bit and went to see how true the story was that at a certain spot out from Peterborough there is a magnetic hill where your car appears to be drawn uphill by itself (it is believed water will also run uphill) – it is actually an optical illusion and the locals call it ‘bulldust hill’, but it is a popular tourist attraction. Linda says it certainly seemed like their car was being pulled uphill. Hmmmm! In the meantime Ian and I drove straight to Quorn to ensure we could get tickets for the rail trip.
Unfortunately, Bruce’s car has begun to play up again and they stalled quite a few times on their way to Quorn and only arrived about 10 minutes before the train left. I did not go on the trip (been there once before in 2002 and that was enough for me), but Ian and Bruce and Linda were very keen. The trip took 2-1/2 hours all up. The steam train stopped at a place called Woolshed Flat where food could be purchased while the engine was turned around for the return trip. There would have been around 100 people on the trip and Ian and Bruce and Linda enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The weather was rather cold and very windy but that did not stop their enthusiasm.
We then had a quick lunch and drove the 42kms to Port Augusta and booked into a nice caravan park right on the shoreline of Spencer Gulf. It is quite a nice spot and we had a nice long walk along the beach where we met a family from Germany and had a lovely long chat with them. The view was amazing but both Linda and I forgot to take our cameras. Will do so tomorrow. There was the most amazing rainbow while we were on the beach as a slight shower passed over us. We really regretted not having our cameras! We have booked in for at least 2 nights because once again Bruce will need to get some work done on his car. We hope it will not be as long or as expensive as the job done in Broken Hill. We suspect they have some troubles in this town as our caravan park has top security — gates are closed from 9.30pm until 7.00a.m and the whole park is fenced off with high fencing. Each vehicle has to have a ticket on the dashboard as proof as having paid to park here. This is the first time we have had this sort of security. However, it is a nice looking Park – all the facilities are clean and in good condition, so we will presume these measures are precautionary only. The Park appears to be close to full as at least 20 or so vans pulled in after us.
Port Augusta is a transport crossroad, for both rail and road — the Indian Pacific passes through to Perth. The Adelaide – Darwin rail link also passes through here. Some of the ‘goods’ trains are huge — Linda counted over 92 carriages on one. We are not sure what freight these large trains carry – mined coal and lead maybe. Bruce is in his element!! Port Augusta is also a coal power generation site, providing a large portion of South Australia’s power requirements. The coal comes from Leigh Creek which is about 250 kms north).
I am recovering nicely after the tooth extraction yesterday. Still only on soft foods, but doing well.
Love to all. Janese and Ian