Big Trip 2023 - Blog 2

Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 17:25

Member - Matwil

Big Trip 2023 Blog 2.

We got away from Kimba at quite a respectable time for us, and decided to head down through Cleves before proceeding off to Ceduna. The weather was very overcast for most of the time we spent at Kimba, so our batteries were a little on the low side. As we drove through undulating grain country we were looking at the forecast for the next day or two. We were looking at stopping at a bush camp for a couple of days which is not very far from Elliston on the coast, but the state of our batteries would make that a problem. WE got to Cleves which is a very small service town that sits inland halfway between Cowell and Kimba. The Agricultural Society has a donation campground there with powered sites at $15 a night. We drove past and had a look and it was a great little park with plenty of spots, although smaller then Kimba. All the facilities were new except for the toilet and shower block. Looking at the incoming weather and the state of our batteries and the alternatives we decided this would be a good place to ride out the worst of the weather. If we went further on we would be more exposed so Cleves it was going to be. WE parked up in a great little spot with a patch of very well-manicured lawn at our door and hooked up the power.
We checked the facilities out and found a great brand-new camp kitchen. As I went to check out the ablution block a local fella turned up to clear the donation box, and I got talking to him. He explained the upgrade was the result of a gov’t grant but was not quite finished as they still had to do a new ablution block which they hoped would begin in a couple of months. He then proceeded to apologise for the state of the block as the health department had turned up the week before and condemned the building because it had some suspected asbestos sheeting inside. So, in their wisdom they immediately removed the lot leaving no ceiling or walls other than the outside concrete block walls. Good on you health department. The locals complained so they came back next day and put-up plastic sheeting where the internal walls should be. Wow how good of them. The local then told me that if I was worried about the lack of privacy then if I ducked behind the camp kitchen there was a brand-new toilet block that no one knew about and we would be able to use that as it was not locked and cleaned every day, despite the lack of usage.

I went to pay for our stay and found that I could do a bank transfer of the funds direct to their bank account. AS we only had $50 notes between us, I decided to do that. I did the transfer, and it was immediately reversed and suddenly I was locked out of my internet banking account. I rang the bank, its call centre is in Sydney, and found it was closed as it works on Sydney time. This is where you realise what country people have to put up with when they deal with city centric companies who forget that there is a large population outside our big cities. Next morning, I was on the phone to sort it all out. I later learnt that the Agricultural Society had been scammed about a month ago to the tune of $10,000. They had lock their account for several days but some banks, including mine had not updated their systems until the scamming matter is fully resolved. The good thing in my mind is once the bank is aware that an account a payment is going to is compromised then the lock down all payments to it to protect their customers. I just wish that their call centres that cover such events were open longer than normal Sydney business hours.

We were up early next morning and set of for the next leg which is the be to Ceduna. From Cleves we took a road to Elliston which is a small village on the ocean. It was in the news recently with the tragic fatal shark attack. The country you travel though is all crop country and mainly wheat with large silos dotting the landscape. Elliston is indeed a small town but a beautiful setting and with islands off the coast having some great surfing breaks, so I can see why boarders like it. We quickly moved on and drove through Streaky Bay to Ceduna. We didn’t stop at Streaky Bay as we had been there for a few days back in 2017 but drove down the main street to see what has changed. Not much really so we pushed on. On the way we came across a small stall on the side of the road selling fresh bread that had been made in a wood oven. WE stopped and managed to get the last high-top loaf. Its nice but not up to our home-made bread standards. Louise makes a much better loaf.

One of the tyres on our van was showing serious wear issues so I wanted to change it over with the brand-new spare we have. I preferred a garage to do this as I don’t want to be lifting 50kg weights…. Those days are over as you get older. We looked up tyre places to find what was available in Ceduna to find they all closed Friday afternoon at 5pm and don’t open Saturdays, so making Ceduna by about 4pm became our priority. We got there in time and had the tyre changed and then took off to find a caravan park. The ones in town were very exposed and crowded and not our cup of tea. We found a place just out of town (2.5KLMS) at Shelly Beach.
We are in a lovely, secluded drive through spot just behind huge sand dunes that protect you from the full force of the westerly winds.
Despite occasional showers it is a great spot, quiet and all the comforts. WE have decided to stay for two nights because of the weather. The only issue is that TV reception is no good, so we missed the Swans Carlton game last night which the Swannies won. Watching the scores change on the AFL app is not the same as watching it live.

This morning (Saturday)we did a tour of the town and I thought we would look for somewhere nice to eat out at. Well there are a couple of places that do good food in Ceduna but they only open Tuesday to Friday, (including the famous oyster shack) so that put paid to that idea. All the stores that are open, except the supermarket and pub, close at 12noon and the town becomes a ghost town except for all the visitors wandering around looking for something to do. We went out to a headland to a memorial for a ship that sunk off here back in the sixties. There is quite a story to the sinking. It originally a liberty ship built during the second world war. Some 2700 liberty ships were built between 1941 to 1945 in the USA to replace the huge tonnages being sunk by German U Boats. The one that sunk off Ceduna in 1966 had been converted to a grain carrier after many reincarnations after the war. They loaded the front holds and the rear holds with grain in Ceduna and left the middle holds empty as they were going to pick up grain in Port Lincoln. Well that never happened as within 90 minutes of leaving port the ship hit the first swell and literally broke in two and sunk, with no loss of life, but the loss of a lot of grain. I might add that the total construction time for a liberty ship was just over 60 days. Just shows what can be done when you have to do it. These ships were 134.6 metres long, 17.4 metres wide, and had a displacement of 14,257 tons. Australian ship builders (submarines) take note.

From the Point back to town there is a walk along the foreshore called the “Encounter Coastal Trail”. It celebrates the meeting of Matthew Finders with the French Explorer in Nicolas Baudin in 1802. They were wary of each other playing a dodgem game as they were not sure whether or not their countries were at war. However, the first European to visit this area, and map the islands off Ceduna was in 1627 by explorer Francois Thijssen and Pieter Nuyts. They chartered 1800 kilometres of the southern Australian coastline from Cape Leeuwin to Nuyts Archipelago which is near here.

We also visited some old ruins near Denial Bay. Denial Bay was so named by Flinders as he went ashore there to look for water but could not find any. He reckoned he was denied. The ruins were part of a homestead built by a fellow called McKenzie who was granted about 16000 hectares and set up in the early 1800’s. He was the first white settler in the area. He was the cause of this area opening up and being developed.

Tonight we will have a quiet night and head off tomorrow just down the road to Penong to do a bit of exploring.


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Wanting to explore our vast wide land
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