The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

17 November, 2016

Back in SA

Sunrise @ Burra Gorge

Departed 8.15am from Broken Hill so the workers could set up for the Rock Concert.  Travelled down the Barrier Highway with a very strong side/tail wind, calling into Terowie where we did a drive around the town.  Had a look at the free camp but it was a bit hot and way too early to set up so continued on.

Drove onto Burra Gorge (Worlds End) where we found a nice spot, but my hay fever was causing me grief and camping in an area of crops and dry grasses did not help.  Went for a walk down to the water hole where I went for a very refreshing swim - Helen wimped out saying it was too cold!!

Our camp site @ Burra Gorge

Refreshing swim at water hole in Burra Gorge
 Only stayed one night - drove back into Burra then onto Clare where we stocked up with supplies before staying at Auburn in the Caravan Park looked after by Eric and Helen.  We have stayed here before and found it a nice spot with very friendly hosts - great Happy Hour every night!! Was able to get the bike out and go for rides in the morning along the Riesling Trail and the Rattler Trail. The Riesling Trail goes from Auburn to Barinia (33kms) and has storyboards with information on the local history, the landscape, the Ngadjuri people, the communities and local heros. The scenery includes views of vineyards, bushland, farms, historical buildings and tree lined lanes. The Rattler Trail goes from Auburn to Riverton (19kms) - the trail takes its name from the rattling old train that used to work the route.  Thoroughly enjoyed my rides although only rode for an hour return so did not complete the full trails.  We also caught up with Rosemary, who Helen grew up with and now owns the local Coffee Shop - Mellers (great coffee & scones!!).  Also visited property we will be house sitting early next year and are looking forward to returning to Auburn.

Some of the Art sculptures on the Nuriootpa to Anguston bike track

Whilst staying at Auburn we had a trip to Adelaide to deliver boxes to Briony who is living in North Adelaide.  Had a great catch up which included lunch and a grocery shop - she was able to stock up as we had the car.  After delivering her and her groceries home we drove back to Auburn where we spent a couple more days before heading to the Barossa for the 4WD Club 30 year reunion.  Had a wonderful week end meeting new members and reminiscing memorable trips with 'old' members!

Upon leaving Nuriootpa we went to Inglewood to pick up bed base for Briony, delivered bed to Briony's place in North Adelaide, then off to Mount Compass to spend a couple of days with Helen's sister Glenda (all this done dragging the Whale behind the car!!).  Having a good catch up with Glenda and some of her family, we travelled to Pt Willunga where we stayed for 3 nights - just having a few rest days.  Celebrated our 42nd Wedding Anniversary with lunch at Star of Greece, having a lovely meal and glass of wine.

Departed Pt Willunga ((needed to drag jumpers and jeans out due to cold weather!!) and drove to Brownhill Creek Caravan Park where we stayed another 3 days.  To our surprise we were camped next to our old Parado which we sold approx 11 years ago!  The owners had just sold it and were waiting for new owners to pick up. Had a great catch up with close friends Mike & Joy @ Coromandel Valley before travelling onto Levi Caravan Park where we stayed until Boxing Day.
Brownhill Creek Tourist Park - one of the local Koalas

Port Willunga

15 November, 2016

Wilcannia, White Cliffs to Broken Hill

View from Wilcannia Caravan Park down Darling River to town bridge

Continued travelling on the Barrier Highway and endured quite a strong head wind - not good fuel economy!  Stayed at Wilcannia Camp Ground which great right by the Darling River and with recent rains the River was quite high.  In the 1980s Wilcannia was Australia's third-largest inland port town. From 1859, the river was plied by paddle steamers, which travelled as far up as Bourke. In the past we have only fuelled up in Wilcannia and got out quick however now they are trying to encourage travellers to stop and experience the history of the town including the architecturally impressive buildings made of local sandstone.  There is a great coffee shop called Miss Barretts which is worth a visit and we also had an enjoyable Chinese meal at the Golf Club. The Caravan Park is clean and tidy and looked after well by new onsite Caretakers.

Wilcania Caravan Park on the banks of the Darling, which was flooding into the camp area.

Watched the super moon come up over the trees from the camp ground.

The Darling River - highest we have ever seen

Great Coffee Shop @ Wilcannia - well worth calling in

Drove out to White Cliffs which is a pioneering town born through the discovery of opal in the 1890s and whilst the days of great prosperity have passed, there are quite a few people who still live there. There are approx  135 dugout homes in White Cliffs - with summer temperatures soaring to more than 50 degrees Celsius, underground homes experience a constant 23 degrees Celsius.  We picked up a Heritage Map and drove around the town, which did not take long!  Stopped at the Underground Motel which has been in operation for more than 20 years and took a look at their Historical Museum which is worth a visit.  Wanted to see some opals however many of the larger tourist centres had closed for the season, Found Aussie Southern Cross Opals was open and we were entertained by Richard in his dugout.  His presentation included a video and his passion for the area was evident in his stories.  Sighted a few opals - one of which he let us hold to view the colours however when he told us the value, we put it back in the box quick - it was worth over $30,000!!!  Back in Wilcannia we joined Jim (whom we met in Cobar) and shared a Chinese meal at the Golf Club which was delicious, then retired back to the Park to sit and watch the rising of a Super Moon.   We persevered even though the mozzies were very aggressive that night, and saw a magnificent moon.

General Store in White Cliffs

White Cliffs from the look out

Sunning on the main street - we had to drive around as he was not going to move!

On our drive around town tour

History and Culture Centre in White Cliffs Underground Motel

From Wilcannia we travelled to Broken Hill where we stayed at the Racecourse, which is a great spot with green lawn!!  Were able to stay for 2 nights as they were setting up for a Rock Concert on the weekend and the camping area would be closed so they could set up.  Did a bit of shopping however did not buy too much as we were going into SA and had to go through Quarantine checks. Had a day in town with first stop the Visitors Centre where we got a town map which helped us on the Heritage walk.  We found this walk really interesting with so many buildings still standing strong - some being built in 1800s.  Also visited the Art Gallery however they were in between exhibits so not a lot of paintings to look at.  As we have visited Broken Hill before we have seen many of the highlights, so was happy to move on after a couple of days.  Also said goodbye to Jim as he was going in a different direction to us.

On our walking Town Tour of Broken Hill - The Palace Hotel in background

Trades Hall, Broken Hill

Second night viewing of Super Moon