Hey, Hay! Bye, Hay!
Camping near Hay turns out to be quite a pleasant experience. The weather's nice (not too hot, not too cold); the flies are there, but not excessively so; and the scenery is definitely worth going out on a sunset or sunrise to take a photograph or two. Thanks to the recent drought, the water levels are quite low (about two meters lower than usual, in fact), but there's still enough for all the pretty reflections and the overall serenity. And the wildlife, of course. My neighbour Robert even says that there are wild pigs somewhere around, but, unfortunately, I fail to spot any.
So with my broken laptop
, I hurry off to Adelaide on a Thursday morning: to hand it over to the repairs, and also to catch up with a few people and do another resupply run. I also finally get my hands on the portable gas shower, which I had ordered weeks ago. Let's see if it amps up my comfort further on!
On the Murray River
Murray is the biggest river in Australia, and on its way it passes through New South Wales and Victoria (acting as a border between the two) before reaching the ocean in South Australia. On its way it makes great many twists and turns across the country, and one bend in particular is so large that it even has a name: Big Bend! Unimaginative, but descriptive enough; and, more importantly, it has an excellent, free to use camping area down the eastern bank, which is exactly where I'm going to stay for a while.
So here I am now, at the other side of the Spencer Gulf. It wouldn't probably be my first choice, as far as campsites go; but I'm expecting a few items that I bought online and directed to Adelaide, so I don't want to move too far away from the city. This place will do for now, even though it takes a certain effort for me to get there along a few very poorly maintained dirt tracks.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
On my way between Whyalla and Port Augusta, I notice that the clouds began to thicken on the horizon, and rain curtains begin to appear. There's nothing more scenic than a distant rain curtain, especially on these large ochre plains, where you can see far and wide!
Looks like a nice place, I think as I get up in the morning and take a good look around my new domain. Weather's nice and sunny, not a single soul around, the sky is blue, the sea even bluer... especially after a couple of weeks of living on the red dirt. This area couldn't look and feel more different, and the only dirt here is that on the track which got me here, and the only trees here are ten little mangroves a few steps away, struggling for their dear life among the bare rocks and shallow sea waters.
Back to the Land of Twisty Trees
After a quick visit to Lake Eyre
, and an equally wonderful drive through Flinders Ranges
, I return to the same camping spot
that I left yesterday. Still intact and still completely isolated. Exactly what you need for yet another week of good work and good photography. The place almost feels like home now.
It's Cloudy at the Flinders Ranges
I have visited the Flinders Range National Park (and surrounding areas) a few times before; in fact, this is exactly where my first ever Australian camping trip happened some five or six years ago. It is also interesting to realise that I have negotiated this stretch road (Hawker to Lyndhurst) a number of times from south to north, but never from north to south, because I was always taking a different route to go back. It's about time I should fix that, I believe.
Eyre from the Air
Scenic flights above Lake Eyre begin at 7 a.m. (the ones that start from Marree, anyway; there's a whole lot of other locations), and you're supposed to be there at quarter to. I arrive even earlier than that, and whilst waiting for the pilot and four other passengers I quietly observe a rather lovely sunrise beyond the airfield.
In the Land of Twisty Trees
The first day at the new spot is nice and sunny, but later in the afternoon some light clouds begin to appear. After a day's work, I decide to explore the surroundings and see what's out there. The map says that there's quite a big salt lake nearby; perhaps I should go there?