It was freezing cold last night so we needed to put on the electric heater and throw another blanket on the bed. We slept snug as a bug!
We woke to slightly overcast skies, cold, but not much wind, so not a bad start to the day. We weren’t travelling too far today so we got off to a lazy start (again).
Leaving Peterborough a fine but steady drizzle started, but the road was in good condition and the driving was pretty comfortable. The first small town we went through was Orroroo, which was a quaint town with a stereotype country pub and a decent looking caravan park.
Just past Orroroo we stopped at the Giant Gum Tree. This tree is estimated to be 500 years old, and the circumference is 10.89 metres just 0.61 metres above the ground. Unfortunately there is no information as to how high it is, but it is certainly a giant tree.
Until now the roadsides had mainly been cultivated red soil, with some stubble and a few sheep here and there munching on stubble. After Orroroo the scenery changed and changed to low scrub.
Morning coffee was at Centenary Park in Wilmington. This was a great stop with tables and chairs, shelter, toilets, a dump point, drinking water, and some play equipment. Unfortunately camping wasn’t allowed here. There was an interesting hand-painted map inside one of the shelters. Wilmington looks like a nice little town with an interesting Toy Museum and a Puppet Museum.
As we have been along this road before, we knew that we would soon encounter Horrocks Pass, which is a long and winding, steep downhill adventure. Still being new to the motorhome we were a bit apprehensive, but somewhat relieved to remember that we had survived in the Ute with the Trailblazer behind. At this point the full concrete mixer we had happily been following decided to pull over and let a ute and ourselves overtake him. I don’t know how any of you readers might feel, but going down a steep hill I would prefer to behind a concrete mixer rather than in front of it! So I politely declined the offer to overtake and copped a real mouthful of abuse as thanks.
Obviously we survived Horrocks Pass again, and the first thing that struck us was that the ground was actually green, not just red dirt.
Soon we found ourselves heading through Port Augusta. Again, we’ve been here before so didn’t go overboard on the photos, but Ann did take a few from the bridge into town. One thing of interest was the piles of coloured gravel along the water pipeline, presumably there to protect the pipe from over-zealous motorists.
Leaving Port Augusta we again encountered good roads, with a mixture of red dirt and low scrub.
We stopped for lunch at the Lincoln Eyre Highway Junction rest-stop (Camps 8 S550) before tackling the remaining 50 K or so into Whyalla.
Even several kilometres away it was obvious that we were entering an industrial town, with chimneys tacks, huge sheds, and so on.
First stop on the way into town was at the Whyalla Visitor Centre and Maritime Museum, which is located right next to the warship Whyalla. This was the first ship built at the Whyalla shipyard and served during the Second World War undertaking mine-sweeping, escort, troop transport and other duties. The Whyalla covered over 110,000 miles on active duty before transferring to Victoria where she patrolled The Rip. Unfortunately we missed today’s tours of the Whyalla and the tours of the Metal Works weren’t on today either. We may come back tomorrow and do both tours as they look very interesting.
From the Whyalla Visitor Information Centre we went directly to the Whyalla Foreshore Holiday Park where we secured a great site right on the foreshore.
After setting up Bertha we headed off into town to keep our steps up, and to replenish some supplies. Two observations when tackling Whyalla on foot – it is very hilly, and there are no street signs. It took us a fair bit longer than expected to accomplish our task but we definitely did the steps. Whyalla is an interesting town, from what we have seen. Clearly things are difficult from an industry perspective, but the place looks “tired”. The red dust, and perhaps the emissions from the chimneys, just seem to stain everything a pale red colour so nothing really seems to look neat and clean. Having said that there are some beautiful houses around and some development happening. Let’s hope that the steel manufacturing situation and other industrial worries are resolved soon and stability returns to town.
Whyalla is the start of our planned 2016 Short Adventure. Getting here has been only part of the adventure but we are looking forward to now spending time in the small fishing villages on the Eyre Peninsula before heading back home to Melbourne. It looks as though the weather is going to cooperate as well!