Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wudinna and sundry

As is our habit with blogs, we are filling this one in months later, now that the trip is over.

We made it to Kimba that night, stayed in a caravan park, and set off in the morning. Our target for that day was the Gawler Ranges, a national park that looked like it had a lot of neat sights. When we made it to Wuddina (wood-nuh), we stopped at the tourist info center and asked about the best way to get in to the park. Well, it turns out almost the entirety of the park is only accessible to high clearance 4WD vehicles (our tourist map of the park didn't show this), and given some of the trouble we'd had on the 2WD roads in national parks, we asked what else there was to see around here. It turned out it was quite a bit. There are two tourist drives to do in the area, and we only had time for one, but that involved seeing some awesome granite monoliths, including Mt. Wudinna, the largest in South Australia and third largest in Australia. Cassie and I hiked up it and were hit with a blast of wind. It towers above the surrounding landscape and so seems to be a magnet for high winds and affords some great views.

We then enjoyed lunch in the picnic area at its base. Did you know that many Australian picnic areas have free gas grills? You can just go and turn on the gas and get bbq-ing. Australia definitely has some perks.

Then we drove on, hoping to stay in some state park near Ceduna, the gateway to the Nullarbor. But by the time we got there, the winds were blowing something awful, and rain was coming down hard. We decided it might be best to stay at a caravan park in the town because the state parks were exposed on the cape. So we went and checked out our options. The first one we went to, the cheapest one, turned out to be cheap for a reason. It was a bit seedy, and when we saw the state of the camp kitchen, we made our way to the next cheapest one. This turned out to be great--it was mellow and uncrowded, the camp kitchen was great, and the camp hosts were very nice (we had to borrow a hammer to pound our stakes in--every place before this we could just stick them in the ground by hand). By the time we were all set up, the storm had blown over, and we thought we could probably have camped in a park after all. But when we were cooking in the sheltered kitchen, we were hit with another deluge, and were really glad for our choice.

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