Today we set off on our 6 week trip to South Australia. Our very rough plan was to head to the Eyre Peninsula and the rest we would work out along the way.
The only place we had booked prior to leaving was Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park as we were to be there over the Christmas period and wanted to make sure we had somewhere to go. Being this time of year, we were unsure how busy the Eyre Peninsula would be!
So we were packed, ready as ever and started our trip just after lunch on Friday afternoon. We didn’t have a big afternoon in the car, we just needed to get through Sydney to pull up for the night.
We stopped in Belanglo State Forest at Dalys Clearing which is only 4kms off the Hume Highway and is a beautiful free camp amongst the pine trees.
Today we continued west through Goulburn and Wagga Wagga and made our way to Darlington Point where we free camped at a beautiful spot on the Murrumbidgee River.
With no one else around we enjoyed a very peaceful stay. Darlington Point is a really nice little town and by the looks of it has had some money thrown around recently with some new parks, playgrounds and a very good looking boat ramp!
Click here for more information on this beautiful camp!
Darlington Point was definitely a spot we could have spent a few days and put the boat in the river but we decided with the spike in COVID cases in NSW over the last day, it was best to get a move on to South Australia. So, with that in mind, we hit the road towards the Victorian border.
We followed the Sturt Highway through to Balranald and then skipped over the border into Victoria at Mildura.
Border restrictions were coming into place at midnight and they were just setting up for this when we went through.
After a quick lunch stop in Mildura on the banks of the Murray, we continued on towards South Australia. It was only another 100kms to the border and we were keen to make that border today too as we knew once we were in, we were fine to stay, before they changed the rules!!
We were stopped at the Fruit Fly Quarantine Checkpoint and they were more worried about checking the car and van for fruit than asking to see our border passes so we sailed on through without any problems.
Finally, it was time to take a breath and relax – we were in South Australia!!!
After a quick stop at the supermarket in Renmark, we drove 15 minutes south and found a campsite in Murray River National Park on the river.
Lyrup Flats section of the National Park has 30 campsites to choose from. Some suitable for all size rigs, some only suitable for smaller campers or tents. The campsites are all on the river and most are fifty metres or so in so you can’t see them from the road which means you really have to drive into them to see if they are suitable. This is a little tricky towing a van, particularly if it is only a tent site as there isn’t much room to turn around – we suggest you walk into a few if you haven’t been there before!
Anyway, we found a nice site with a beautiful outlook over the Murray and settled in for another peaceful night on the river.
Check out this link for further details, maps and pictures on this camping area.
We continued on further west today with our first stop being Monash where the kids ran free at the Adventure Playground… well deserved after a couple of big days in the car!!
From here we drove through Berri and then stopped for a delicious pub lunch at Waikerie.
We then jumped aboard the ferry at Morgan and continued on to Worlds End Camping Area near Burra for an overnight stop.
Today our first stop wasn’t too far along at the small township of Burra. Burra is an old Copper mining town and has some interesting history to wander around and explore.
We were edging closer and closer to Ceduna and stopped “halfway across Australia” at Kimba for the night.
Kimba has a few attractions worth seeing whilst you visit.
We pulled up at Kimba Recreation Reserve for the night and this would have to be up there with one of the best free (donation) camps we have stayed at in the middle of a town.
This Recreation Reserve is a huge area, it is in quiet location, has toilets and showers ($$), a great playground for the kids and the grounds are extremely well maintained!
Click here for more info!
On our way out of Kimba we stopped off at the Apex/Lions Park and this got a big thumbs up from the kids!!! Such an awesome playground!!
WikiCamps is a great tool while travelling, it helps us find so many great campsites and points of interest. We had noted our next stop as a favourite prior to coming away and it didn’t disappoint.
We stopped off to have a look at PILDAPPA ROCK and TCHARKULDU ROCK, near the small township of Minnipa.
PILDAPPA ROCK is an impressive granite outcrop with wave like formations and TCHARKULDU ROCK is another outcrop covered in spectacularly large boulders.
You can climb both rocks and they provide amazing views of the surrounding area.
Camping is also permitted at both sites.
These impressive rock formations are definitely worth the short detour!
From here we made our way to Ceduna where we checked into Shelly Beach Caravan Park for the next five nights.
The caravan park was really quiet so we were able to pick our own site and snagged a huge one that we could have fit two more vans on!
The beach was only a short stroll over the sand dune and it was a beautiful spot to watch the sunset.
Click here for more details on Shelly Beach Caravan Park.
DAY 7 – 10
The next four days were spent exploring the far west region of the Eyre Peninsula and our time here included Christmas Day.
There are many beautiful coastal locations to day trip to and explore and first on our list was Ceduna to Point Sinclair.
Along the way we stopped off at Penong Outdoor Windmill Museum and Lake Macdonnell where we got to see our first Pink Lake!!!
POINT SINCLAIR BEACH & JETTY
PENONG OUTDOOR WINDMILL MUSEUM
Heading south east from Ceduna following the coastline to Smoky Bay and Point Brown didn’t disappoint either – there is some spectacular scenery to feast your eyes on!!
SMOKY BAY JETTY
DAY 11 – 13
Today we left Ceduna and set off south to explore some more of the Eyre Peninsula.
We were keen to check out a camp at Perlubie Beach which was 15 minutes north of Streaky Bay. We instantly fell in love with this beach camp right on the water!!
The next few days we spent the mornings out in the boat fishing and the kids caught a nice feed of squid for dinner!
We were lucky enough to have dolphins swim next to the boat each time we were out too!
Each day after the tide had gone out you could see where the sting rays had been in to feed in the shallows. There were hundreds of holes and prints along the beach.
At the end of Perlubie Beach we explored the caves and rocks at low tide and the kids had fun flying their kites in the blustering afternoon sea breeze!!
While in the area we wandered around Streaky Bay and did the Cape Bauer Loop and soaked up the beauty of that piece of coastline.
Today we left the beautiful Perlubie Beach to head further south.
On the way out of Streaky Bay we drove along the Westall Way Loop and stopped off at The Granites to see yet another spectacular corner of the Eyre Peninsula!
We drove onto Sceale Bay for a look after The Granites and then out to Murphy’s Hay Stacks to see the amazing rock formations. These are definitely worth a visit and be sure to continue along the path over the back to see them all!!
From here we drove to Baird Bay and weren’t too fussed with the campground so continued to Venus Bay, however, with only one Caravan park in town and it being chockers we weren’t able to get a site. So after a quick check on WikiCamp we were off to Coodlie Park for the night.
This morning we explored The Woolshed Caves and The Tub. From where we were camped at Coodlie Park, it was only a short few kilometres to get there and a beautiful place to explore.
Then it was onwards towards Coffin Bay Area. We followed the coast road to Elliston and onto Shelly Beach Lodge Campsite, another campsite we found on WikiCamps that looked fantastic!
Shelly Beach Lodge Campsite is a low cost campsite on private property amongst the olive trees. It’s a very quiet location, there was only a few vans each night. It’s a great spot to base yourself to explore the surrounding area with Coffin Bay only a 20 minute drive and Port Lincoln 35 minutes away.
DAY 16 – 17
The next two days we spent exploring Port Lincoln and the Coffin Bay area including Coffin Bay National Park.
There’s certainly some dollars in the fishing industry and a drive around the marina is a must to see the quantity of trawlers parked up.
Heading into Coffin Bay National Park we were greeted by some of the locals!
We continued creeping ever so slowly north today. There are many towns to pop into along the way and many parks for the kids to play at and jetty’s to throw a line off.
Tumby Bay is a small town big on art!! Definitely worth a stop and wander around the town to see all of the clever street art.
Every town on the EP has a jetty!! And every time we walked along one we nearly gone blown off – it was so windy in SA!
We found a beautiful beach camp for the night at Cape Hardy. It was extremely windy so we didn’t explore too much of the beach but I’m sure on a better day it would be a spectacular place.
Click here for more info on Cape Hardy.
DAY 19 – 22
Again, another small town and park hop day today as we continued north.
We pulled into Port Gibbon for lunch which is a beautiful spot right on the beach with massive sand dunes for the kids to run wild on!
When we opened the door and went into the van to make lunch there was a very nasty electrical smell! On investigation Justin found that it had decided to have a little BBQ without us and was no longer working. With our fridge needing 240 v power which the inverter usually provides, we were needing a powered site for the night so we could plug that in to keep our food cold and work out what was going.
So, we were onto Cowell Foreshore Caravan Park for the night and would re-evaluate from there.
After a few phone calls, it was apparent that we were reliant on a powered site until we could get hold of another inverter. Justin phoned around and could get what we needed in Elizabeth, just outside Adelaide. So with this being the case, we decided to stay in Cowell for five nights to do some fishing, relaxing and exploring.
We got a decent feed of Blue Swimmer Crabs and one little whiting – just couldn’t get the fish to bite!
CLEVE DAY TRIP
Today we had planned to head to Cleve, a small town around 30kms west of Cowell. From here we thought we’d have lunch at the Darke Peak Hotel and head out to Carappee Hill and walk to the highest point on the Eyre Peninsula.
Click on map to open in Google Maps
First stop was Cleve where we saw Clyde! Read the story below – Turtle is a very clever man!
After a wander around the streets of Cleve we continued on to Darke Peak only to find the Pub closed until the week after! So without any lunch with us, we decided it was best not to hike for over an hour on empty stomachs and settled for a drive around the bottom of the hill and then back to Cleve Bakery for a pie!
Across the road from the actual pub is the Hellbent Hotel 😉 you can read the story behind its construction below.
DAY 23 – 29
Our time in Cowell had come to an end so we continued our caravan park tour to the top of the Yorke Peninsula and checked into Port Broughton Tourist Park for seven nights – each stay we were getting closer to Elizabeth where we could pick up the new inverter and get back to free camping!
So we set off north and stopped off in Whyalla for the morning and had a wander along the jetty and were welcomed by some very friendly dolphins.
We then visited the HMAS Whyalla for a tour! The ship is high and dry, 2 kilometres from the sea and 2 metres off the ground!
This was the first ship built in the Whyalla Shipyards in 1941 and today is an exhibit of the Whyalla Maritime Museum. This is a guided tour only so give the Info Centre a call to book in.
We arrived to a very busy Port Broughton Tourist Park, however, they had put us up the back alongside permanents on a fairly decent sized site away from the chaos near the pool and slides so we had a great stay!
From Port Broughton we did some day trips to the surrounding areas of Wallaroo, Moonta and Kadina.
We really enjoyed our time spent in each town and found plenty to see and do!
K A D I N A is the largest town on the Yorke Peninsula and you can easily spend the day wandering around and exploring.
The Farm Shed Museum, Street Art, Walk in the Trees Playground and a pub lunch kept us busy!
MORE on The Farm Shed Museum
The Museum is located at the Visitor Information Centre and is a self guided tour through a huge display of mining and farming history in the Kadina region.
▶ Standing in its original location, Matta House, built in 1863, was the Mine Manager’s residence for Wallaroo Mine.
▶ The old school house has been moved to the museum and is displayed as a school room in the 1950’s.
▶ With an extensive collection of farm machinery and many other things to see in the museum, I’m sure many could spend hours wandering…
M O O N T A M I N E S
We had a fun day out in MOONTA MINES discovering all there was to know about the region’s copper mining history!
▶ We jumped onboard the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway for an informative 50 minute guided tour of the old mining ruins and the history of the area.
▶ We then drove around the remaining historic sites in town including the Old Railway Station, Moonta Mines Museum, Hughes’ Enginehouse, The Old Sweet Shop, Church and the Tailings Heap Lookout.
Quite an interesting little place to explore!
You can find Moonta Mines just a few kilometres south east of Moonta.
Also, be sure to pop into The Coffee Barn Gelateria just out of Moonta. Delicious Gelato all made on the premises – cash only!!
W A L L A R O O
A walk around town, a wander along the jetty and a beautiful sunset on North Beach was the perfect way to experience Wallaroo.
North Beach is one of only a few beaches that you are able to drive down on to in South Australia and extends for over two kilometres a great spot to watch the sunset! It has a very hard surface so even 2WD cars can get right down to the waterfront.
Today was the day we were off to collect our new inverter so we could stop relying on caravan parks for power for our fridge.
From Port Broughton it was an easy drive down to Elizabeth where we grabbed the inverter and Justin popped it in before we left the carpark.
With the fridge back up and running, we continued on towards Swan Reach heading through Gawler and Tanunda and then along the very scenic Barossa Valley Way.
We took the ferry over the river to Swan Reach and were keen to check out a few free camps south of the township that were on the Murray River.
We ended up staying at Greenways Landing which was 10 minutes south of Swan Reach. You can read more about this camping area here.
After our overnight stop at Greenways Landing we were off towards the South Australia/Victorian border again.
Our first stop was only a few kilometres up the road at Big Bend.
BIG BEND is the longest single bend in the Murray River. The area is known for its spectacular riverside cliffs, which are the tallest along the Murray!
The Murray is the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile.
Total length is 2756kms.
It spans three states – SA, VIC & NSW.
It’s the major domestic water supply for over 1.5 million households.
It really is a spectacular sight to see and well worth putting on your list!!
Our next stop was the historic town of Loxton. The main attraction was the Historial Village where we had lots of fun wandering and exploring the “main street”. The village is made up of 45 buildings fully furnished to reflect the early settler years.
Some of the buildings have been moved from their original location to the village for display while others have been reconstructed from local materials – for example, the Cellar was built using stone from the original Loxton Hospital.
There are interactive displays along the way that the kids can get involved in — our two had a great time as you will see from the pics!
We recommend a visit!
Salena Estate was calling our name (not quite the same spelling as our “Selina” but close enough!) so we popped in for a delicious lunch and a little wine tasting.
We then travelled a little way up the road and stopped in at Murray River National Park again for an overnighter – we tried out a different site this time!
Originally we had planned on staying around Mildura and Wentworth for a few days however the weather was due to hit the mid 40’s so we decided to change our direction and head towards Kosciuszko instead, so we could climb to the summit!
So we set off east and would be crossing back into Victoria briefly before being back in our home state of NSW.
We had quite a few stops along the way today and one of them was in Wentworth so we could see the junction of Australia’s two longest rivers – the Murray and the Darling!
When the Darling is in flow, the two rivers are marked by a distinct colour difference. The Darling being a clay base has a milky appearance compared to that of the Mighty Murray. Didn’t quite get to see that today, maybe next time!
(Murray on the left, Darling on the right)
We came through to Balranald and found a beautiful camp on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.
Mamanga Campground is in Yanga National Park, 5 minutes south of Balranald in NSW.
Click here for more information on this camping area.
On our way out of Mamanga Campground we stopped off at YANGA WOOLSHED for a wander. There is a walking track from the campground or if you drive you can turn off shortly after you are back on the main road.
The Woolshed was built in the late 1800s and was once the largest woolshed in the district. The final shearing took place in November 2005. Today, it is open for visitors to wander through and discover the history of the shearing days in the area.
After our shearing history lesson we continued on, edging closer to Kosciuszko. Today was all about heading east, so not much to see, just a driving day.
Our next quick overnight stop was Oura Beach which is just east of Wagga Wagga on the Murrumbidgee River.
Click here for more information on Oura Beach.
Today we set off towards the Snowy Mountains.
We skipped across the Hume from Oura Beach to Adelong where we stopped to see the old mill ruins.
There are a few different walks you can do to get up close to the ruins, however we didn’t strap our shoes on as our sights were set on Lake Eucumbene! An interesting stop though and if we had more time we would have wandered around.
We stopped off in Tumut for some supplies and lunch and then weaved our way down the Snowy Mountains Highway to Buckenderra.
Click on map to open in Google Maps
Heading down the Snowy Mountains Highway from Tumut, the picture below is pretty much all we saw for at least a hundred kilometres.
A stark reminder of what this area was going through this time last year during the fire season.
There are many pockets of regrowth but also a huge amount of trees that have been devastated by the intensity of the fire and still stand burnt and blackened.
Blowering Dam was along the way and looked to be an awesome spot to set up camp! Definitely one to favourite on WikiCamps and come back to another time.
Yarrangobilly Caves was another place we were going to stop at however we were told it wasn’t a suitable road to tow caravans down so we will leave that for another time, maybe when we come back to stay at Blowering Dam!!
We continued on to Lake Eucumbene where we set up camp for a few days.
Buckenderra Holiday Park was where we based ourselves and it offers powered sites or unpowered sites around the lake. We thought $34 per night for an unpowered site was a little on the pricey side given the facilities however it is a great location where we could launch the tinny at the van so I guess sometimes you just have to pay and put up with it!
After having a few travel days to get here today we did nothing ….except a mountain of washing and we put the tinny in the water for some very unsuccessful fishing adventures!!
Climbing to the summit of Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia, had been on our bucket list for quite some time so we were all very excited that the day had finally arrived!
It was a pretty windy day but the sky was clear and air temperature cool so good conditions really!
It took around 45 minutes from Buckenderra to Thredbo where we started our hike.
Thredbo during the summer time is extremely popular for mountain bike riding! It was packed, accommodation looked to be all but booked out and there were people and bikes everywhere!!
Climbing Kosciuszko isn’t an overly cheap experience but one we were not going to miss out on! There is a Kosciuszko National Park day pass fee of $17 payable to allow you to drive through to Thredbo and a one day pass for the Kosciuszko Chairlift for our family of four was $110.
So after we’d purchased our tickets, we jumped on the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift and that took us to the start of the Kosciuszko Summit Walk where we followed the track all the way to the summit!
- 13 kms return
- 3 hours
- 2,228 metres above sea level
- One spectacular view!!!
This hike isn’t overly difficult, however it is a gradual incline with a few steep sections thrown in and it is 13kms but if you take your time it is manageable.
You are rewarded with spectacular views once you reach the summit so every step is absolutely worth it!!
You can also say you’ve been to the highest toilet in Australia and if you are like us, you can have lunch at the highest restaurant too!!
DAY 37 – 38
Today we day tripped to Cooma to visit the SNOWY HYDRO DISCOVERY CENTRE.
The Discovery Centre is a fantastic place to learn all about the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, from the early years to now and into the future.
After a short 10 minute video explaining “The Snowy Story”, including a virtual flyover of the Snowy Scheme, you can wander through the interpretive area to discover even more about the operations.
This was a really interesting place to visit, well worth a stop. Great to learn more about an impressive piece of Australian history!
Today it was time to head home! Our fabulous 6 week road trip had come to an end.
We did make one last stop on our way through Cooma though as it was shut yesterday. We wandered through THE CORRECTIVE SERVICES NSW MUSEUM.
The only museum in the world that employs serving offenders as tour guides for visitors!!! However, COVID happened so it’s currently a self guided tour…
The inmate tours are highly recommend, so a shame we missed out on that but still a really interesting place with lots to look at for a gold coin donation.
Well that’s it, another trip done and dusted and so many new lines covered on our map!
What a fantastic way to see out 2020 and welcome in the new year with…
- 38 nights away and
- 7866kms travelled
The day we arrived home was Australia Day so a fabulous time to reflect on how lucky we are to have such an amazing country to explore! There really is just so much to see!! We really encourage you to get out there, any way you can to travel, explore and enjoy our big aussie backyard!
Thank you for following along on our “life outside work” adventure!
We hope you have enjoyed our trip and noted down some places to check out yourselves!
Now, it’s time to plan the next one!!
CHECK OUT OUR HIGHLIGHTS VIDEO ON YOUTUBE!!