Day 12 – Still at Port Augusta

Morning tea

Before breakfast Bruce drove his car to a local mechanic who promised to look at it today. If it is an LPG problem he will need to take it elsewhere but this mechanic will see first if it is something a little less complicated. Let’s hope we can sort the trouble out soon!

Bruce and Ian make a point in going and talking to those in the vans nearby and much to everyone’s surprise in the van right next door to the Weatherhead’s was Janice and Ian Baulch — Janice is the daughter of Andy and Beryl Robertson of Bunyip (near Longwarry for those who do not know) and both Ian and Bruce have known her and her family for most of their lives. What a small world. They are travelling to Darwin (her sister Dianne is there) and then across to Queensland. You can see from the photo we had a lovely morning tea at the Van Park. There was a cool breeze blowing, but the sunshine was very nice. With such lovely weather both Linda and I took the opportunity to do our washing.

Arid Gardens walk

After lunch we drove out of town to a spot called the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden — about 5kms out of town. It was quite a large area where all types of Australian Flora were planted. There was a beautiful restaurant/souvenir shop/display building on site. There were also three different walks (45mins; 1 hour and 2 hour) which could be chosen. We chose the middle walk and thoroughly enjoyed how well it was all set out. Being such a widespread area of Australian flora meant there was a wide range of Australian birds too and although we could hear them we only managed to spot a few — a beautiful ‘white-winged fairy wren and the more plain brown female and juniors; a ‘red-capped robin; many ‘singing honeyeaters’ and the quite common ‘crested pigeon’. There were ‘hides’ for quiet bird observation and a good viewing platform.

From Matthew Flinders Lookout

Before entering the Botanic Garden we diverted a little way to the ‘Matthew Flinders Lookout’. This was an amazing area sitting on the cliff side of the northern most part of the Spencer Gulf and was where, in 1802, Matthew Flinders and Robert Brown (a botanist) sailed into the Spencer Gulf in the Investigator, and then in a small cutter landed at this spot. The purpose of this voyage was to chart the coast and to determine whether or not New South Wales was connected to this part of New Holland. Brown collected over 3,000 samples of plant specimens of which more than 2,000 were new discoveries. His method of classifying plants became the accepted standard throughout the world. Another interesting fact was that the map which Matthew Flinders drew on this voyage was so accurate and detailed it was still in use until after the end of World War 2. We all remarked on how the scenery was just so lovely — so unexpected to our pre-conceived ideas of this part of South Australia.

Before returning to the Van Park we called in at a local chemist and bought up on medication required for the next month and Linda did some grocery shopping. Bruce checked up on his car – the mechanic was puzzled as to what could be the trouble because, as is always the case, it was not playing up as Bruce had described it, but he said he had his suspicions as to what the trouble might be and was keeping it overnight. Bruce will ring again in the morning. We do not intend to leave Port Augusta until it is fixed, so maybe another night here.

The Flinders Ranges

We continue to be amazed at the way this Park empties in the morning and then slowly over the day (from 10.00am onwards) refills again. There are 100 powered sites and 50 unpowered sites and nearly all are full by dusk. There are also 12 units and 10 cabins, and they manage to get occupied as well. We are not alone on our ‘adventure’, that’s for sure! We have been advised to book ahead once we start our trip inland and we intend to do this. We believe it will be necessary to be well prepared this way right through until after Broome. We keep asking fellow travellers for advice and so will take it all on board and make our decisions accordingly.

It’s been nice to have a lovely warm day (18C) with no rain. Hope everyone is having better weather too. It has been a coooooold winter — thank goodness for ‘global warming’ . Imagine how cold it would be without it!!!!!

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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