On Nectar Brook Road heading towards Spear Creek

The Bamboos to Spear Creek to Carradoo Tanks Gravel Pit

We travelled 235 Kms from the Bamboos campsite to Spear Creek via Port Pirie, driving up the West Coast of the Yorke Peninsula via Moonta, Wallaroo, Port Broughton, Port Pirie then joined the Princes A1 Highway. Always looking for the road less travelled, we turned right onto Nectar Brook Road, and travelled, mainly slowly on a narrow dirt road for a while. Then right onto Horrocks Pass Road briefly, then left into Spear Creek Road and finally onto Boully Road before arriving at the park. It’s an off beat and slightly longer way to get there, but you pass through scenic country, mainly low saltbush, sheep crossing the road and the odd roo or two!

Spear Creek Caravan Park is in the middle of a 7000ha working sheep station in the District Council of Woolundunga on the foothills of the Flinders Ranges where you camp amongst beautiful old river red and white gum trees. The hosts Bill and Karen were most welcoming, but are leaving mid May after having managed the park for three years. Before that they had started their trip around Australia and only got as far as the park, loved it so much they stayed and ran it.

Spear Creek Caravan Park has everything you need

There’s a washing machine, showers, toilets, Hills Hoist clothes line and kitchen with all the usual amenities to cook in and an adjoining undercover, open area with tables to sit and eat at. Water is available with an artesian bore supplying the property. The quality has been tested and approved by SA Water for drinking and it is so clear and tastes great. We took the opportunity to top up our water tanks. All this for only $25 a night. But don’t come here when it’s school holidays or Easter. Apparently the park gets chockers with around 300 people! There were only about three others campers the night we were there, but it was a Sunday night.

Being located on a working sheep farm, they sell lamb at the office from their saltbush fed Dorper sheep. Not sure if that makes them taste better but it sounds good. We didn’t try any as we still had a full fridge and freezer and couldn’t pack anymore in. So don’t turn up with lots of meat so you can enjoy it straight from the farm.

But where are the stromatolites?

Apparently, 300 million year old stromatolites have been discovered only 1.5Km from the park office, on a walk that will take you through magnificent valleys and gorges with wildlife like wedge-tailed eagles, goats and kangaroos. We decided to do the walk the next morning, leaving early to try and find the stromatolites using the mud map supplied from the office that would have had Indiana Jones scratching his head. Despite coming across some potential stromatolite looking rocks we returned to camp slightly disappointed we didn’t find anything impressive. But we were very energised and awestruck by the beautiful walk and scenery amongst the river red and white gum trees, and spotting a few kangaroos.

We only spent one night there, but would have stayed longer, if not for wanting to be in Cook by Thursday so we headed west to the Nullarbor.

Life is too short not to do the things you want to do

At Port Augusta we stopped briefly, buying groceries and refuelled. Through Facebook, we found that one of our friends, Whippet was on his way back from working in Venus Bay so we met him just west of Port Augusta near the golf course. We hadn’t seen each other for a while so it was good to catch up. Our last big 4WD camping trip together was Lake Eyre in 2011. There’s an old blog of this trip with not much commentary, but a lot of photos here. Plus the 12 days of Christmas that Vic wrote for our best friend Kylie, who sadly lost her battle with cancer in April 2017. Kylie was a dear friend of ours and together with her husband Mark, we went 4wd’ing and camping as much as we could. Her passing was a big factor in us making the decision to start a new lifestyle of living on the road. Life is too short not to do the things you want to do. We don’t want to leave things too late and have regrets.

Gravel pits can make good campsites!

About 150 Kms from Spear Creek, about 30 Km east of Kimba we stopped at a roadside rest stop called Carradoo Tanks Gravel Pit in Lake Gilles Conservation Reserve, which rated 4 stars in WikiCamps. There are lots of sheltered parks amongst stringy bark gum trees on red dirt to tuck in away for the night and escape the wind. Plus there is ample room for large RV’s to park as well. Road noise was minimal as there are tracks leading way off the road. There were no flies and only some ants seen when you drop water. They were thirsty, but not a problem. No facilities, just great free camping, clean and fresh air! Only one other small Campervan parked overnight in the distance. There was a slight breeze, but it was a clear night and the stars were incredible!

Morning was a bit brisk with a slight breeze, but with brilliant blue skies. Using the portable gas cooker, the gas cylinder was freezing up so it must have been cold!

Where to next?

We were unsure of which direction to head from here, but wanted to be in Cook by Thursday night to watch the Indian Pacific train come through on Friday. Perhaps towards Venus Bay where we used to go camping in our 20’s? But looking at the weather, it was going to be windy there with 40 Km winds predicted on the coast. So we decided to continue along the Eyre Highway…continued on next blog.

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Spectacular sunset at Wauraltee Beach campsite

Port Arthur to Wauraltee to the Bamboos, Yorke Peninsula

We stopped at the IGA in Maitland for some supplies. Most importantly to buy Kangaroo mince and curry powder to make up some burley for catching fish and buying a sausage sizzle and Lions cake from the local Rotary club stall in front of the IGA. From there we headed down the Second Beach Road towards Wauraltee. Along Second Beach Road we stopped to take photos of a Carcasse. Not the type you’re probably thinking of. We use this term to denote any sort of vehicle that has been left to die and rust under the elements. We’ve started a blog here and we’ll keep adding Carcasses to it.

Wauraltee Beach Campsite

We arrived at Wauraltee Beach campsite and found no one else there. Brilliant! We headed down the track to the camp we found last year, but this time went one site further to the end. It’s slightly larger and there’s a turn around at the end. The sand is quite soft but not enough that you need to lower your tyre pressures.

The lure of this camp was the nice flathead Vic caught last year so off he went fishing using the made up burley and cockles we gathered in Middleton. The water was warm but tan stained yellow in colour, maybe due to the large amount of seaweed, but not really sure. Unfortunately no flathead but he caught four yellowtail whiting which tasted great filleted and cooked just in butter on the pan. This went down nicely with the Amber Ale home brew he made in Gumeracha.

We retired to bed early as the fire ban restriction is in place in South Australia until 30 April so unfortunately couldn’t have a fire, despite the temperature being in the mid teens so one would have been welcome. We didn’t expect a nice sunset as it was very overcast so were surprised that out of nowhere the sky turned a brilliant colour so we jumped out of the camper to take some great photos.

We woke to a beautiful still morning and cooked up a delicious breakfast of fried eggs and the last of the tasty Fritz we’ve been savouring from Gumeracha Gourmet butchers.

Vic went fishing, despite the tide being on low, but only got a few small bites. It was sad to leave this beautiful spot but we could only stay one night as we had organised to stay with friends in Port Victoria that night, so we packed up and headed off.

We stayed overnight in our camper at our friends Paul and Fiona and along with some of their friends that night, had a lovely meal of crabs, snook and whiting which Paul and his mates had caught that day from their boat. Oh, how Vic wishes he had a tinny with us!

The Bamboos Campsite

On recommendation from the locals we met that night, we decided to investigate three campsites up the coast. We drove back via Maitland then on to Balgowan. A large stumpy tail lizard greeted us on the road so Vic took a photo and let him cross. The first site up the road was Tiparra Rocks but it was too windy and exposed and what looked like the best site down the end was occupied by a group of campers.

We drove past the Bamboos to the Gap and again found it was windy with limited sites out of the wind and very busy with lots of groups of campers so we headed back to the Bamboos. We don’t know why, perhaps because Tiparra and the Bamboos don’t have toilets, but no one else was there and we found a perfect spot shielded from the wind just behind a huge dune which led up and over to the sea. Some people arrived later to have a walk and two more cars from Kadina with friends from Roxby went fishing but found it too windy. They said they didn’t care as they don’t see water too often so it was more about the experience. What a great attitude! None of them stayed the night so we had the place to ourselves.

This campsite was perfect as there was a westerly wind blowing and the dunes shielded us nicely. We camped with the dunes near our door step, and could hear the roar of the waves pounding the shore over them. We love the sound of the sea, it’s so calming. If it’s really crashing, you can be too close as it’s deafening. We’ve also camped near fast running streams in the Victorian High Country that are so loud you need to move! Walking over the high, trodden free dunes you arrive at the top where you can see the waves crashing on the shore and magnificent views up and down the coast. We watched an awesome sunset from the top of the dunes and Vic drank his last Dainton beer left over from when we stayed at Kim and Leo’s.

The wind died and it was an overcast morning, fresh but no rain though some was predicted by the Willy Weather app. Birds were enjoying sips of water from the condensation off the camper and 4WD. We went for a small walk along the soft white sandy beach. An exposed approximately 6m cliff face of reddish limestone made for an interesting explore and of course, more photos!

We decided to head to Spear Creek Caravan Park, located 25 kilometres south-east of Port Augusta in an area called Woolundunga. We’d heard it was a good park and the WikiCamp reviews backed that up so off we went.

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