12th – 22nd March 2017: Burra to Stawell

Leaving Port Augusta the day was very hot and humid, and the Flinders Ranges so majestic, yet quite mystical in the morning light. A glider floated across the sky above the highway then landed in the flats alongside the railway line, (hope all was OK?). On the climb through Horrock’s Pass the change in flora to the statuesque river gums and surrounding farmland.

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We drove through Melrose, a small but trendy looking town, must stop next time! At Booleroo Centre, Derick parked under a tree when we stopped for a break. Then when we left Jan and Ross said he took a part of a branch with him, there was leaves and branches going everywhere. Well, when we stopped for the night I was in the shower cubicle removing a bucket and thought to myself, ‘it’s very light in here’. The tree branch also took the bathroom hatch with it. Funny now but no so at the time. Derick made a temporary cover till we reached Berri and then replaced the hatch.Back on the road we passed through Jamestown, and along the full stretch of the Mount Bryan Wind Farm, it goes for kilometres!! Our next stop was the Burra Bakery for lunch, Cornish pasties, so yummy. Our camp for the next two nights Burra Gorge (Worlds end Gorge) just off the Worlds End Highway.

Being a long weekend in South Australia, the campsite was reasonably full, without being over crowded. The trees are tall, old and gnarly and give the place so much character. The wind was very gusty, whipping up the dust and dirt but we hunkered down and just enjoyed the location and its ambiance.

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Monday, on the road again heading for Berri; when a Wedgetail Eagle decided to leave its prey and take off in front of us. They are such big birds and taking off is a long process, luckily we missed him. Then an hour or so later a fox, with a death wish, ran in front of the car and we only just missed him. Feely a bit ragged we decided to take a break in Morgan, turned into a side road for another rest stop, passing these 2 young boys on their skate boards. Jan said later one of them was messing around on his skateboard and almost fell under the back wheels of the van! Jan and Ross yelled out to them, as did a couple walking on the road verge. Thank goodness the kids took notice, got off their skateboards and the road.

Morgan is a great town, lots to see and do. The lookout provides an amazing view of the Murray River, in both directions. We took the punt across the river, passed through Cadell and Waikerie on our way to Barmera to see Lake Bonnie, arriving in Berri around 1ish.

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We booked into the Berri Riverview Caravan Park and were allocated sites directly opposite the river. Very nice views although the traffic was a little noisy.

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While in Berri we visited Renmark, toured the paddle steamer Industry which was moored at the information centre. The volunteers were full of information and so passionate about the river and its history. Very interesting and well worth a visit when in town.

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Dinner at the Berri Bistro on Tuesday nights is buy one, get one free and the meal was absolutely delicious. Once again highly recommended when in town.

Leaving Berri we visited Lock 4, Bookpurnong Weir which is 516 kilometres from the river mouth, the pool height is 13.2 metres above sea level and construction was completed in 1929.

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Today was going to be a long day, surrounding consisted of dry, barren, paddocks. Lunch stop was Murrayville under some large shady trees. We crossed the border into Victoria and headed for Lake Lascelles at Hopetoun, our stop for the night.

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The main reason we are on this trip is for a family reunion being held in Stawell. We arrived in town late Thursday morning, booked into the Grampians Gate Caravan Park, set up and settled in.  An hour or so later, Lee and Laurie arrived as then Alan and Gail.

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Since being in Stawell we have trawled some of the op shops, visited the Pickers Market, awesome spot for collectors and traders. Viewed the town from the lookout across to the Grampians, what a magnificent site.

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The remainder of the weekend was spent catching up with family, meeting new members (babies, wives, husbands and partners) and generally enjoying wonderful camaraderie.

Sunday, those of us left visited the Great Western wineries for tastings with lunch at Seppelts which was delicious.

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Monday we visited Ararat for a walk around town, and then the lookout for fabulous 360° views of the surrounding mountains and farm lands.

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Tuesday was grey, wet and foggy; despite the weather we decided to visit The Grampians and Halls Gap.  The views from the lookouts over the surrounding countryside were eerie; drizzling rain, mist and fog adding to the ambience.  Was well worth the visit, spectacular views from the lookouts, the aroma of wet Australian bush and the exhilarating drive tackling the winding narrow roads and switchbacks.

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Wednesday our last day in Stawell, was all about shopping, washing and packing up ready for our next adventure.  The eight of us left ate dinner together in the camp kitchen, retelling stories of the past week spent together.  Many wonderful memories have been made this family reunion week and they will sustain us until we next meet again.

 

 

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