The storm continued overnight. We put the TV aerial up for a short while but soon wound it down again as it was so windy. We did put the slide-out out as it is difficult to sleep with it in – that’s an adventure of its own for another day. I actually slept very well once my head hit the pillow, as it had been a hard day driving, but Ann stayed awake listening to the sounds of ripping awnings and tent pegs being hammered in.
By morning the storm had calmed down and there was blue sky. We decided to stay put in Renmark and have a look around town rather than venture potentially back into the storm. It does seem that the worst of the storm has passed us now – we saw some photos from the SA coast, where we are heading, and we are happy that our decision to detour north has been worthwhile.
The caravan park this morning looked quite different. The Avanners had their AGM somewhere in town so we were surrounded by Avans but no tow vehicles. Just looked a bit strange.
After a bit of a late start, we headed up the walking path from the caravan park into town. This is a proper bitumen path away from the roadway, but this morning was showing signs of the storm. The path followed the river and it was interesting to see several house-boats moored along the path.
The Renmark Paringa district is renowned as a state gateway to South Australia. Founded in 1887, Renmark is Australia’s oldest irrigation settlement, thanks to a joint agreement between the State Government at the time and Canadian engineers, George and Ben Chaffey. The brothers were instrumental is establishing the system of irrigation much of which is still in use today supporting the abundant horticulture and viticulture industries.
Renmark has a great many beautiful old buildings, including the historic Irrigation House and the Renmark Hotel. There are also some very nice modern buildings, and a significant amount of new housing development.
One of the features of the main street in Renmark is the very wide median strip dividing traffic and the inclusion of lawns, gardens, tourist facilities etc within that median strip, much like we found in Nhill.
Although Renmark is quite a busy town, all is perhaps not as rosy as it may seem as there are quite a few empty shops around town and there are some signs of hardship. This is a real pity and hopefully the town can halt the decline and return to the status it clearly deserves.
After a good walk around town, we stopped for a light lunch at the Renmark Patisserie. The range of cakes and buns was enormous, but we both remained strong willed and opted for a healthy lunch. The place was packed with all the tables full and a lot of take-away traffic. We obviously chose a good place for lunch!
After a quick trip to the supermarket for supplies of fresh fruit and veggies, we returned along the path to the caravan park. We hadn’t taken too much attention when we arrived yesterday, but right next the entrance to the Big 4 is a decent looking boat ramp and a Lions Park with picnic and bbq facilities and childrens’ play equipment.
As we walked passed the caravan park swimming pool a fellow guest told us that the water was cold but it was more than compensated by the warmth of the spa. What a pity we forgot to pack our bathers. We’ll leave the pool to the intrepid Avanners.
Returning to Bertha we spent a bit of time catching up with some reading, emails, etc and generally taking it easy. We then went for another good walk around this caravan park and realised just how big it really is, and they are about to open a new area that will cater for a heap more vans and motorhomes.
As dusk settled in I headed off to the camp kitchen to cook some lamb steaks for dinner, which was accompanied by a delicious fresh salad and a nice glass of red.
We really needed a bit of a quiet day today after several challenging driving days. The weather forecast for the next week or so looks very promising so we look forward to seeing the sunny side of South Australia.