Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

View from Cummings Lookout

View from Cummings Lookout

Murphey's Haystacks Approaching the site

Murphey's Haystacks from within the site

Murphey's Haystacks with a Yorkshire Lepricorn

Murphey's Haysyacks

Sylvia's comments 19.12.06

Once again the alarm went off at 7am to ensure we were up in time to get to the garage. It is nearly like being back at work! This time I had come up with a plan, yesterday we had passed a lovely café on the front that did breakfast, so instead of spending time doing our own breakfast we would treat ourselves in the café. Jeff was torn between spending an extra 20 mins in bed or buying breakfast, the latter won. So off we drove to the garage.

There now followed a debate as to whether the van would fit into the workshop, Jeff began to drive it in very slowly under the direction of the owner and a mechanic standing on the back of a truck. We got the first part in ok but the air conditioning unit stands up higher. After a debate between owner and mechanic they decided to let some of the air out of the back tyres and once this was done from my perspective standing at the side it did not look as if it would go. The mechanic and Jeff came around to look and agreed with me but the owner insisted from the front it would go. So with the mechanic up on the truck and the owner at the wheel it slowly edged forward and in it went. It would have been difficult to get a tissue between the top of the door and the van, that's how close it was. Once in the work could begin and we set off to find the café and have breakfast. I suggested we take longer and return to the garage after the work was completed and the van would be outside as I could not bare to watch them bring it back out.

Breakfast was nice and afterwards we went for another look around the shops, I bought myself a book, the Australian version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. I haven't learnt all the words yet but on the first day my true love gave to me an emu up a gum tree, and on the fifth day it was five kangaroo's. I must practice it for Christmas Eve so I can go carol singing around the camp site.

We returned to the garage to find the van (in one piece parked outside with the tyres blown up). We went in to settle the bill and had to wait whilst the owner dealt with another customer. As we were sitting there the gentleman who I had met in the caravan repair centre turned up and asked where my wombat t-shirt was. What a shame it was in the wash, I had missed my chance. As we were leaving he came over to say good-bye and insisted he got another cuddle for good luck, this time under Jeff's nose, he had missed it last time. He gave Jeff a hand shake.

Off we went once more on our travels, back to the sports centre to put some more entries on our site and send some e-mails. When we drew up the car park was empty but it gradually began to fill up with cars all depositing ladies (of an age well above mine) for what looked like a Christmas lunch. Jeff did consider joining them with 'Squeaker' the puppet monkey but as I suggested I was not hanging about he decided to give it a miss.

We set off up the west cost of the Eyre Peninsula to our next overnight stop at Streaky Bay. We covered a fair distance and then started to look for a suitable place to pull in for lunch.. We came across a road side picnic pull in spot which had a nice view over a 'pink lake'. (These are the salt lakes that in some light conditions look pink. We have seen a great many around Australia). After lunch we decided to walk up to the view point rather than take the van as it was a dirt road and did not seem too far away, only 500 metres. This proved to be mainly uphill, through open bush and on a hot day, what do they say about mad dogs and English men? As we got near the top we could hear the roar of the ocean crashing against the rocks so guessed we were in for a great view, which it was. There were big signs warning you not to go near the edge of the cliff as it was dangerous and liable to crumble, it looked pretty rough to me so I kept well back. As we were standing there two young guys arrived and asked if we had seen the surfers, we said we had not but as we pulled in a car was leaving. We got into conversation with them and they told us this was the last great wilderness for surfing in Australia. I asked how they got down to the water and he stepped forward and pointed downwards, I went tentatively to have a look and there was no path just a steep climb down. At first I thought he was winding me up but I realised he was serious, they did go down this cliff to surf, no wonder it is the last wilderness as I'm sure most sane people would not attempt it.

It seems that both young men were teachers in Port Lincoln and one had a cottage in a bay just down the road. The schools have now broken up for the five week summer break so they were over here for the holiday to surf and fish. One pointed out a showel of salmon in the sea below us. They suggested a stopping point for us on the way to Streaky Bay that should not be missed and then we said good-by and headed for a view point around the headland before returning to the van.

On the way up the coast we called in at a couple of the small townships to look at them, and some of the spectacular beaches they had. Eventually we reached Murphy's Haystacks, the stop the guys recommended.

These are giant stone boulders that have emerged from the ground and look like giant haystacks. The legend goes that one farmer used to critisise his fellow farmers for not looking after their fields correctly and building proper haystacks. He was passing this field on a coach and declared that this farmer was a good one as his haystacks were built correctly, as these boulders were on a farmer called Murphy's land they became known as Murphy's Haystacks. When you first draw up at the site there only appears to be about a dozen boulders but as you walk up further you see many more stretching back into the distance.

By now it was getting late and we still had a little way to travel so we set off again. We reached Streaky Bay at about 7pm and found the camp site; we were given a place on the front overlooking the bay and next to a couple from Hampshire who was travelling in a motor home from Perth to Melbourne for Christmas. We swapped stories of camp sites and places to visit as if we were old hands at it. Then it was time to cook tea and enjoy yet another wonderful sunset over the bay. It is a hard life.

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