Saturday, 22 January 2011

Port Lincoln.Kimba.Iron Knob.

The last place visited on my epic tour of  South Australia was Port Lincoln.A sea port town on the green but rugged Eyre Peninsula.Its mainly known for its Tuna fishing industry,its massive grain silos......
and its Great White Shark teasing exploits.For a fee you can be lowered down underwater off the coast in sturdy cages to let these bad boys of the ocean nibble and chew the bars.All perfectly safe of course.This area has a lot of small islands perfect for seals and sea lions,the sharks main food.Maybe that's why they have an outdoor swimming pool attached to the Pier.Aussie,s aren't scared of much but even they take sensible precautions.
Port Lincoln has more than its share of millionaires but unlike more refined Victor Harbor this is primarily a working town where the folk have made a good living from farming,fishing,processing and the like.At night it has a different feel to Victor and has more of a wild west atmosphere about it.
Outside of the cities unless they are going out some place special I don't think  most Australians are night folk.There are a number of reasons for this but one of the main ones must be the snakes, bugs and other native wildlife which like to prowl around during the hours of darkness.I went a walk a few times at night in smaller towns but I was always the only one on foot I noticed.Everybody else went to club or restaurant by car or taxi.I must admit it was a bit scary wondering if that was a twig or a snake being stepped on.

Once again my sister was the driver and guide on our journey.And I couldn't leave without visiting this place .I,d heard so much about it over the years.The community of Iron Knob used to be the pulsing heart of the mining industry in the middleback ranges but it is now in decline sadly,the mines played out and Iron Duke and Iron Baron,not that far away,claiming its crown.You can still go on mining tours here though.
Next up was Kimba,halfway across Australia as the sign said.

This fact deserved a big creature,a cherished tradition in Australia to mark something of importance or just for the hell of it.Kimba also had a fine selection of murals dotted around town.

It was a nice wee place surrounded by green rolling fields but this was also on the edge of the settled zone.North from here the real outback started,a place of few reliable roads,where,if your car broke down you might walk for a week off road and not see a living person.That's why you should always stay with your vehicle even if it means a long wait.We had lunch here and I zoomed off for a swift walk in the bush while my sister explored the local area :o) i.e. The shops and the pokie machines.
I couldn't believe the number of sleepy lizards here.Ten within 20 yards.Nice walk though with loads of wildlife and thousands of ants not gobbled up yet by these wee guys.
I gobbled up my lunch as a takeaway.Very nice it was too!  This is a picture Sid and Ann took of their travels outside the main population areas.You can see why a 4 by 4 here is not a luxury but gives you a better chance of getting around the place.Mind you it also pays to know what you are about as it can also get you into unbelievably remote areas as novice tourists hiring one sometimes find out.
Took this one in Port Neill where my sister and her late husband spent many seaside holidays together.It looked amazing with carpets of wild flowers growing after all the recent rains.
Next up was Port Lincoln where for a second time  we stayed in a top hotel instead of camping in the bush with a sleepy lizard as a pillow.(Ah My wallet! Quick medic,its taken a bad turn again!!!)

As usual I was up and off at first light to walk this trail I,d discovered just outside the hotel under some massive fig  trees.What a morning.After 3 hours suberb walking I returned content to join my sister exploring the shops and seafront,happy to do what she fancied.(Hope I wasnt too much of a hyper active pest.)
The next day we drove here.Lincoln National Park where I went for a memorable walk.This is a fantastic place but its also the most remote feeling area I,ve ever been.My sister stayed in the locked car reading a book.No one else around in a vast landscape,200 foot sand dunes above the bay,limestones cliffs plunging into a restless ocean filled with heaving monster waves.And this was a day without much wind.On a wild day......
The map tells its own story around this coast.Anxious Bay,Coffin Bay,Avoid Bay and finally very near here Cape Catastrophe.A special area for those who like nature on a grand scale.Just dont expect company.We seemed to have an area not much smaller than that of Greater Glasgow to ourselfs.All to soon it was time to return home and leave Oz for my own small, cold country floating just south of  the icebergs.This winter it seems to have drifted a bit too far north for me.
A smashing holiday and great company thoughout.Thanks everyone.
One last mention must go to Changi airport.Compared to Heathrow or any other airport I,ve been in this place is a Jewel.So clean you could actually eat your dinner off any floor and filled with amazing features like butterfly gardens with waterfalls and Koi ponds.It made the 30 hours of travel and waiting pass much quicker but its still a long,long haul when you stay awake all that time.Thankfully the entertainment on planes has improved since the old days.
A few birds that I couldnt miss out.
The end..........


Anonymous said...

The pictures of Australia are great, Bob. - Especially the birds. I've never been especially interested in birds [apart from all the good looking ones who never fancied me] but these pictures are wonderful.
Your last article about Adelaide has brought to mind a fellow from Adelaide I spent a lot of time with for a year in the early
1980s.I was teaching in a school in Cumbernauld and he came over with his family to teach for a year in the school. These pictures make me realise why he was not all that impressed with Cumbernauld!
On a hillwalikg note, this fellow had been taught at school that Ben Nevis was the highest mountain in Britain. - So one of the aims of his trip was to walk up the Ben. My wife, my pal and I went with him, up the tourist path. It was in early June but there was a lot of snow about near the top. The Australian was super fit and romped to the top wearing a pair of desert boots. You article has made me want to try to get back in touch with him. - Nostalgia starts to take over as you get older!

The Glebe Blog said...

Australia is beautiful Bob,but i know quite a few folks who've been put off by it's natural dangers.You've mentioned a few.
There's the Taipan,the most toxic terrestrial snake,the funnel web spider,the crocs,the bush fires and the floods.I've just heard on the news about a giant lake forming as the Murray river overflows.
I loved my trip though, Australia's plus points outweigh it's dangers I think.(Unless these current disasters are set to continue)

Russell Campbell said...

Sorry, Bob. Meant to put my name to comment I made. - The one with the [boring] story about the fellow from Adelaide. I know it doesn't matter, but anonymous letters to my local newspaper really annoy me. - If people have an opinion they should be prepared to put their name to it. All the best, Russell Campbell

blueskyscotland said...

Russell,Hi I loved my trip to Australia,my first proper extended holiday for many years not just a day away here and there.What it made me realise though is how diverse and special the UK really is and how many varied landscapes it packs into one small area.The uplands above Cumbernald is one of my favorite cycle areas and( Small world indeed)thats where my sister lived before moving to Australia.

Hi Jim .Yeah its a country of real extremes as you know.The Aussies are certainly making a comeback at one day cricket though.Cant keep em down for long.
The only positive thing I can think about all the flooding in Queensland is that houses over there will dry out a lot faster than ours do.I got flooded 20 years ago and my underfloor area still shows signs of dampness from that time.

Anonymous said...

hahaha! the reason Australians don't go out much at night must be the fear of stepping on a snake or spider! yeah that must be it.  or maybe the fact that there are so many awesome things to do during the day (national parks, fishing, beer drinking), why waste time wondering about at looking for a “night life” ... go to a bit city for that one mate

sorry but that was a bit funny. nice photos and good on you for checking out Port Lincoln, one of my fave places in Aus too. enjoy!
Cheers, Aus lass

blueskyscotland said...

Thanks for the comments.I,ll bear that in mind next time I,m in a big city:0)