As expected, Charlie the Chook woke us bright and early this morning, even before the sun came up. Suddenly we were surrounded with noise – the chap in the caravan next door started his 4WD and drove off, a couple of trucks roared down the road, and other unidentified noises. Then just as suddenly things went quiet again. We were awake so we got up, showered, breakfasted and got Bertha ready for an early start.
On the way out of Lock we saw a side of the town that we hadn’t noticed yesterday, and it is quite a nice little town, with sports fields, community park, bowling club, churches, and a magnificent sculpture celebrating the town’s farming heritage and its centenary in 2014.
Morning tea was at Kyancutta, which is at the junction of the Tod Highway and the Eyre Highway. We parked Bertha in Polkdinney Park, which features examples of equipment used in the development of the area along with plenty of parking, seats and tables, etc. Going for a walk we were immediately taken by the Kyancutta Store, which is quite amazing. There is a large café area, an area set aside for local artefacts and memorabilia, souvenirs and merchandise, and it is great. We stopped for coffee and delicious jelly cakes in the window, enjoying the sun. Kyancutta bills itself as “the centre of the universe” and is apparently the hottest and coldest place in SA. What’s more, you can free camp around the back. What a great find. From Kyancutta we turned onto the Eyre Highway (A1) towards Port Augusta.
We stopped for lunch at the Rotary Park at Kimba, which describes itself as “the centre of the continent” and as being “half way across Australia”. We went for a cruise around town and a walk up the main street. Kimba is a very nice town which is very supportive of free camping, and has at least 3 free camps close to the centre of town. There appear to be some very nice bakeries and cafes, and all the facilities a traveller might need. On the way out of town we stopped for a photo opportunity at the Giant Galah, before returning to the highway towards Port Augusta.
Along the way we were passed by several wide loads, and each time we were able to pull off the road safely – the UHF/CB radio comes in handy at times. One of the wide loads had a warning vehicle and then two Police Escorts, followed by two huge trucks.
We also passed the Arrium mine that we commented on when we went passed on the other side near Whyalla.
Afternoon coffee was at Iron Knob. We were here several years ago and it was totally dead – a victim of the end of the mining boom. This time, however, some changes had been made and the town was a bit more active and attractive. The free camp had about six vans in residence and the camp kitchen is of a standard that many caravan parks would be proud of. We would certainly consider staying here next time.
Last time we were in this area we stayed at a place called Nuttbush Retreat, which was basically a small caravan park situated in the front paddock of a working sheep farm. It isn’t listed in Camps 8 so we were interested to see that Nutbush is still operating and in fact looks better than ever.
Once through Port Augusta, our next challenge was Horrocks Pass. We have been down twice now but this was our first time in the reverse direction. It was quite a lot easier going up than down.
Rather than go back through Peterborough we decided to head down the Horrocks Highway through Wilmington towards Clare. Our plan was to stop for the night at the Melrose Showgrounds but just before we got there we saw a caravan in the Goyders Line Memorial rest area (SA303) and decided to stop there. We found a nice flat spot to park and I set up the BBQ to cook steaks for dinner before it got too dark. By the time I finished tidying things up outside there were about half a dozen groups staying here. We’ve got great TV reception here and good internet access, which is a bonus.
Still living the dream …..