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Travel Australia with Kids

Thursday 24th March 2011

Parmiss Keyhani - Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reluctantly bid farewell to beautiful Surfleet Cove - the rest of the Eyre Peninsula (not to mention the country) beckons after all - and off in search of our next camp spot.  We first stopped off at Coffin Bay (around the point of the Eyre Peninsula on the western side) - Michael's "research" had led him to declare that once we set eyes on this location, we wouldn't want to leave.  Lesson learnt - don't believe everything you read:  one person's paradise is another's "what's the big deal?". We were quite underwhelmed with Yangie Bay Campgrounds, which really are built for smaller camper trailers and tents.  There is an area for the Big Rigs further away from the water, but it is quite unsheltered and completely unscenic.  And in all honesty we are getting rather spoilt by the choices of magnificent camp areas, so we decided not to compromise our ideals and headed off (I think it took Michael a couple of days to fully accept the reality of his disappointment).

The next 2 potential campsites also proved unworthy:  heading further north along the western coast of the Eyre Peninsula we tried Mount Dutton Bay and Farm Beach campgrounds.  The first was tiny (more a rest area than a camp spot), next to the local boat ramp with no easy or safe access to the lake.  The latter was much larger but extremely packed.  There were a couple of potential spots we could have maneuvered into, but there was a 400m walk to the beach and more than a few flies around as well. So although it was getting late in the afternoon, we decided to try one last stop - Sheringa Beach (a bit further north).  Sheringa boasts only a roadhouse which is basically a jack-of-all-trades establishment, including where we pay for the campspots near the beach.  This was the first place so far that I had seen a shark warning on the beach notice board, so I wasn't too keen for the kids to make full use of the beach!

Sheringa Beach is also where our mouse saga took place....the kids and Mike were already asleep when around 11:30 I heard what I thought sounded like bird wings flapping over the roof.  I made a mental note to tell Mike to check the roof in the morning to make sure they hadn't damaged the solar panels and was just packing up for bed when I heard "Honey, we have a mouse in here!".  That had me sitting on the dining table looking around frantically - apparently the cheeky little bugger had run down Michael's arm while he was asleep! There then followed a complete emptying out of the bed area (which contains a lot of boxes, pillows, blankets etc) while I kept watch from my perch to make sure it didn't escape.  No luck and Mike confidently declared that he had scared him off for good - but where had he gone????

I reluctantly believed him and was getting ready for bed when the mystery was solved as the mouse peeked out and looked at Mike from the hidden lighting edging along the nose cone directly above our beds!  So we set up the dining area bed, but I was too freaked out to sleep and Mike was now wide awake from his hunting, so we sat up to observe and plan our next attack.  That's when we heard the bird flapping noise again which was actually the mouse running up from the boot, up the vertical inside compartment and into the roof space of the caravan! A few kill and capture ideas were discarded before Mike finally set a well devised trap using one of the boys' toolboxes (emptied out of course), a stick, some rope and some cheese.  It took until 3am but we finally trapped the monster in the box!  After ensuring that there were no further telltale "bird flapping" noises we went to sleep - on the dining room bed!  The kids had of course slept through the whole thing - but the next day we drove the box to the enormous sand dunes about 2km from camp and opened it to let the mouse go (we hoped that was far enough away to keep him out of our house).

We had a quick look around Elliston and the Sculptures by the Sea - a very nice way to dress up the cliffs and coastline. The next day we were up very early (before 8am!!) to head down to Locks Well Beach to catch the salmon run at low tide.  It's a very isolated beach, accessed via 273 beautifully built stairs down (which you have to of course scale to get back up).  But true to its tagline ("most consistent catch of Salmon in SA") Michael did indeed catch a decent sized Australian Salmon with Tiran helping out with the net!  Kia and I were warmly sheltered from the rainy day in the caravan.  Then on to Talia Caves which are limestone caves with a granite formations hollowed out by the action of the sea.  Quite lovely colours!

Heading towards Streaky Bay, we stopped off at Murphy's Haystacks, huge outcrops of pink granite boulders, which look so out of place in the middle of a farm. The kids had a great time climbing on them.  We then headed off into very remote country - the peninsula off Baird Bay.  All 41km of the road to Point Labatt (where the road ends) is dirt road and extremely corrugated in spots (the old bones were hurting).  But Baird Bay is fabulously beautiful and the fur seal colony at Point Labatt didn't disappoint - although the platform was 50m above the colony, the views were great with plenty of action (it was freezing though so Mike and I only lasted about 10 minutes).

We then drove along even more dirt roads in search of our next camp spot - but the ones we saw were fairly inhospitable as they looked out over the Southern Ocean and it was still very cold and windy.  We ended up at Perlubie Beach about 20km north of Streaky Bay.  It was very crowded when we arrived but we squeezed in next to some lovely people who didn't mind close neighbours.  The camp area is much reduced in size since it was listed in Camps 5 - mainly because a local landowner, whose application to turn the area into a caravan park had been denied by council, had closed off a lot of the access points that were on his land.  The area emptied out the next day and stayed fairly quiet over the 4 days we spent there.  Streaky Bay was quite a nice little town with all the necessary amenities - the kids were duly impressed with the replica model of the 5 metre great white shark that was caught off the jetty (I was less impressed with what could be lurking under the water as we walked along the jetty)!  This was also the first place I saw where you were charged for filling up your water tanks (only 1 cent per litre mind you, but still).

The kids had some playmates at last - family with 3 children (J, K, M) who were camped next to us - which was good for them and for us as it allowed us to get a lot of work done, like blogging (yes it has been that long since the last blog, stop hassling me people, I'm on a holiday!!) and Michael even got all the taxes done). And the fishing proved successful for Kiavash who landed a huge flathead for our dinner! It was quite a social camp area as well, with people gathered around campfires most nights.  The variety of people you meet along the way is quite remarkable - we even met an octagenerian couple (85 and 83 year old) still caravaning around (gave me some hope for the rest of us!).

 

Sheringa Beach noticeboard - first mention of shark warning we've seen (bottom line) - Sheringa Beach, SA (18Mar11)Massive sand dunes behind the beach - Sheringa Beach, SA (19Mar11)Sand boarding was a bit difficult on the very hard sand, but they gave it a try anyway - Sheringa Beach, SA (19Mar11)Tiran giving sand boarding a try - Sheringa Beach, SA (19Mar11)
Lovely Sheringa Beach (19Mar11)The release portion of operation Fishing off the jetty at Elliston, SA (19Mar11)Sculptures by the Sea - Elliston, WA (19Mar11)
Sculptures by the Sea - Elliston, WA (19Mar11)The most appropriate one and my favourite! - Elliston, SA (19Mar11)Beautiful night around the campfire - Sheringa Beach, SA (19Mar11)Successful fishing expedition! - Locks Well Beach, SA (20Mar11)
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