A drear looking day – no rain, but it looked threatening. The caravan park caretaker came by, and amongst other advice suggested a place near Adelaide where we might get the (very needed) van wheel alignment done. A quick phone call later and we’re booked in for tomorrow morning, which tells us we’re now heading towards Adelaide for an easy start next day.
Ardrossan is our first stop, via a lookout that gives a panoramic view over the coastline and backwards to the Arrium dolomite mine, which is hardly visible from the road.
Ardrossan is a pleasant, neat town, but seemingly without the attractions which might attract visitors to stay (T remarked that it didn’t have a frock shop for a certain type of visitor).
The little café where we had our morning coffee was delightful, and had made very clever use of wooden pallets to create a pleasant courtyard effect.
Port Clinton was next, for a wander through the samphire and mangroves in a conservation area, looking for the birds that wouldn’t sit still to let us focus the binos. But we did see New Holland Honeyeaters and the Spiny Cheeked Honeyeater. The tidalflats are marvelous in the very shallow gulf water, leaving boats marooned for long periods.
Decided to check out a free campground at Port Parham, which turned out to be quite adequate, although it became busier as the day wore on. We were intrigued by what appears to be a local invention used by the commercial fishermen to recover their boats over the very shallow sand flats. Basically, the towing vehicle is a chassis, using just ordinary car wheels, with the differential pointing upwards into a raised framework with a second differential connected to a small engine. The sand is apparently quite hard, so the unit doesn’t sink, and the raised framework means that it can operate almost submerged. They look slightly weird – and very Mad Maxish!
T chatted to a local resident, busily engaged in trying to eradicate onion weed from the coastal verge. He would attend tonight’s ratepayers’ meeting to hear the latest on the proposed campground regulations. He is opposed to any moves to limit the campers to a 3-night stay. He said the campground is full every night in the warmer months with family groups who come for the crabs and ‘you need to stay for 14 nights to make that worthwhile’ and it should remain a free camp (there is only water and a single flushing (M&F sides) toilet) as campers spend their money in the local shops and at the social club and this generates significant income. There would be less income for Council if campers were charged the proposed $10 per night and could only stay for shorter periods.
Again, the tidal flat is broad, giving the impression of the sea being far away on the distant horizon, but come high tide, there will be water on our doorstep.