13th August, 2011
14th August, 2011
15th August, 2011

Saturday, 13th August, 2011

Cowell photograph

Hotel at Cowell

Drop Cap e got away from Tumby Bay at 9 am and started heading for Port Augusta. We bypassed Port Neill and a couple of smaller hamlets then decided to look for morning tea at a place called Cowell, main town of Franklin Harbour Shire. This turned out to be a lovely little historic port and fishing centre with many old sandstone buildings with iron lace around the balconies. We had a little walk around the town and coffee at a bakery where Geoff got a sausage roll and sauce for morning tea. Then we headed off again.

Cliffs photograph

Wild Dog Hill, near Whyalla

Drop Cap ext stop, Whyalla, large steel milling town, where we bought some diet coke for lunch, then drove through what looks like a thriving, modern town (despite Redgum), till, out the other side, we were looking for somewhere to have our picnic. We found a turnoff for Whyalla Conservation Park, whose sign offered picnic tables, toilets and photo ops. So we went in, drove 8 kms on a fairly rough dirt road and found ourselves at Wild Dog Hill Picnic Area. This was quite spectacular, a rugged escarpment or extrusion from the flat land around us. It was named Wild Dog Hill from the local aboriginal legend which tells of how wild dogs killed some children (shades of Azaria Chamberlain!) The witch doctor of the tribe threw the dogs off the cliff and their scrabbling claws trying to save themselves caused the rough striations on the rocks. (There was an info sign there. ) We had our picnic lunch, used the toilets and took photos of the scenic view. All good.

Drop Cap ack down the 8 km of dirt we hit the highway again for the 50 or so kms to Port Augusta. This is a very substantial town, geared to tourism in a big way as well as its raison d'etre which is shipping and rail freight. Port Augusta is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges which is a tourist mecca for the 4WD types but it also has boat cruises and lots of other touristy stuff.

Drop Cap e found our accommodation, the unpretentious Highway One Motel, where we got a great family room, two bedrooms, lots of space and free WiFi to Geoff's delight. They have a restaurant which looks good - remains to be seen, of course - but we have booked in for 7 p.m. More later.


Drop Cap e went out to find a supermarket, which was easy, and a coffee shop, but all we saw were closed from 1 p.m. How old-fashioned! The view of the ranges from the highway is amazing with a lake reflecting the hills and the blue and white cloudy sky. It was beautiful, but I couldn't get near enough to photograph.

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Sunday 14th August, 2011

Mountains photograph

Foothills of the Stirling Ranges, South Australia

Drop Cap e left Port Augusta at about 8:30 and, after filling up with petrol, we hit the road south. The Flinders Ranges were clear and beautiful in the morning light, it seems so long since we have seen hills of any kind! We stopped to take a photo of their rumpled green slopes.

Pass photograph

At Horrocks Pass

Drop Cap bit further on we were climbing about the first hill since Perth and we stopped at an historic marker of Horrocks Pass. We later saw several other Horrocks sites - a cottage, mountain and road so felt he must have been important, whoever he was.

View photograph

View fom Hancock's Lookout

Drop Cap ur next stop was at Hancock's Lookout, near Wilmington. This was a 7 km drive over a dirt road to a wonderful view point overlooking Spencer Gulf, the foothills of the ranges, over to Whyalla and as far as Iron Knob (not that I recognised it). But the view was sensational, well worth the drive.

Blacksmith photograph

The Old Blacksmith's Shop, Melrose, SA

Drop Cap ack on the road we went through Wilmington and on to Melrose where we stopped for morning tea in the most amazing coffee shop situated in the Old Blacksmith's Shop. It was a low, stone-built house with the smithy out the front with all the old artefacts.

kitchen photograph

The Kitchen of the Old Blacksmith's Shop, Melrose, SA

Drop Cap hen you went inside there were two rooms full of memorabilia, both with open fires and lovely coffee. Geoff had rum and raisin scones with jam and cream. We made do with coffee. Melrose had some lovely old stone buildings like Cowell yesterday, this area is really quite historic.

Statue photograph

Statue, Map Kernow, Kapunda

Drop Cap e went on from there to Clare, centre of the Clare Valley Vineyards where we had a chicken burger for lunch then drove on to Kapunda, a copper mining centre which was largely colonised by Cornish miners in the 1800s. They have celebrated this connection by setting up a huge statue of a Cornish miner, known as "Map Kernow", Cornish for "Son of Cornwall). A rather spectacular entrance to the town.

Sign photograph

Information Board about Cornish Heritage, Kapunda

Drop Cap oon after this we drove into Tanunda in the Barossa Valley. We tried to get accommodation at the Barossa Junction Motel in their old converted railway carriages but there was no room at the inn. They had been having a major rally of vintage Jaguars and the place was full of them. So we went on and got two rooms at the Golden Chain Barossa Motor Lodge. They didn't have family suites like last night's so Geoff opted for a double by himself. We had a drive around the area, basically looking for food but, being Sunday, many places aren't open, so we opted for the motel restaurant.

Drop Cap e have some plans for tomorrow and, having booked in for two nights, will be able to tour around. We have decided to give Victor Harbor a miss and head directly to Robe, being a bit flexible for once. See what happens.

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Monday 15th August, 2011

Winery photograph

Historic Building, Seppeltsfield Winery

Drop Cap ot a good night, unfortunately, and it was raining this morning, but we set off (quite late) to get some bread etc in the shopping centre. Then we headed for Seppeltsfield. This is the place the Seppelt family first settled in the Barossa and where the first wine was made.

Winery photograph

Historic Building, Seppeltsfield Winery

Drop Cap t is a lovely old place with historic buildings and we had a very interesting tour with a lovely girl named Kirsty who was so enthusiastic and interested. We tasted a few of the wines but didn't like any of them enough to buy them.

Lake photograph

Looking out over the Lake, Maggie Beer's Farmshop

Drop Cap t was approaching 1 p.m so we set off again to find Maggie Beer's Farmshop. We are all fans of Maggie and her shop offered lots of tasting of her products, then, when you knew what you liked, you could order a "picnic basket" containing bread, your chosen pate or spread, gherkins and salad and you took it to your table overlooking her lake, and ate it. We chose chicken and rosemary pate with quince jelly, and another one of chicken rillettes, which were both delicious. Geoff had a game terrine wrapped in sourdough and an apple pie.

Kitchen photograph

Maggie Beer's Studio Kitchen

Drop Cap t 2 p.m there was a cooking demo in Maggie's studio kitchen, the one used in her TV show "The Cook and the Chef". The ABC built it at the farm shop because Maggie didn't want the cameras in her own kitchen,and who can blame her. Maggie wasn't there, of course (pity) but her demonstrator showed us pictures of Maggie's own kitchen and it was very like. The girl demonstrated the use of Maggie's trademark verjuice and we all had a taste. I was quite surprised. It was not like vinegar, more like grape juice, which it is of course. The demonstration and just being in the studio was a very good way to spend some of the day.

Drop Cap fter this we went to Angaston to Angas Park dried fruit company shop, where we wandered among lots of things we weren't allowed to eat, so came away empty handed.

Sculpture photograph

Sculpture Park Exhibit, Barossa Valley

Drop Cap e then decided to go to Mengele Hill Lookout, where the Sculpture Garden is. The view over the Barossa is spectacular and the sun seemed to be trying to come out and spotlighting areas of the valley. The sculptures, more numerous than on our last visit - were weird and wonderful. Mostly incomprehensible to us mere mortals but obviously having taken a good deal of time and effort. I liked a couple of them but generally not.

Sculpture photograph

Sculpture Park Exhibit, Barossa Valley

Drop Cap e then returned to the motel and I had a bit of a nap, then we went to find a place for dinner. The Asian we had planned on was not open so we returned to the motel and had another meal in their restaurant. I had a lamb shank cooked in red wine and tomatoes, delicious with mash and lots of veges. Mac and Geoff both had the beef and shiraz pie which they said was delicious too. So that was good. Back to the unit to organise ourselves for tomorrow. We go to Robe but we have all completely forgotten what comes next. Better check our route on Geoff's computer.

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