Saturday, July 20, 2019

Day 10 — Sat 24/8/2019

The final leg of my journey today — 440 km from Wilpena to Adelaide.  I decided to take a more easterly route back so that I would have different scenery from my northbound leg. The day started out sunny and pleasantly warm at 19C, but on the way through the Clare Valley I encountered my first cloud and rain (just showers) of the entire trip.  Not heavy enough to wash the car though!

I took my time, stopping for the occasional photo, coffee or leg stretch.  Left at 9 a.m and arrived at motel at 4 p.m.  Passed through a lot of small towns along the way.  What characterised most was that they seemed to be struggling for existence.  A lot of historic old stone buildings have been restored and renovated for modern day use.  They all have their own bakery and cafe, which is a wonderful change from service stations with McDonalds attached.

Passed through Hawker, Quorn, Wilmington, Melrose,Murray Town, Wirrabara, Laura, Gladstone, Bungaree, Clare, Sevenhill, Auburn, Tralee, Roseworthy, Gawler, Elizabeth and Salisbury.  The stupid nav system then took me through the main streets of the cbd to reach the motel, a painfully slow process.

Quorn has a steam railway museum, and still runs an old steam train to Port Augusta on the old Ghan track for tourists.  Called the Pichi Richi train.  At Wirrabara the old wheat silos at the railway siding have been given the “silo art” treatment.  Features a farmer and a local bird.  Very colourful and really excellent paintwork.  By the way, most of the rail crossings I passed over on this trip had a small sign erected next to them “Rail crossing not in use “.  Indicative of how the times have changed  for these country towns.  I stopped in Clare at local bakery for lunch.  After that the road was lined with vineyards and cellar doors, mostly small brands not familiar names.  Did pay respects to the Jesuit winery at Sevenhill.  Opposite it was a small cellar advertising “Good Catholic Girls” wines.  Had to get a photo of that !  At Gawler passed by a very impressive looking racetrack.

By contrast with previous days travels, the countryside today was lush green instead of barren desert. Sheep grazing contentedly everywhere.  Colourful yellow fields of canola interspersed the green of other crops.  But the drive into ADELAIDE through the suburbs is just like any other city with its fast food outlets, used car lots, and light industry.  Only the place names would let you know you are not in Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne.  Which makes me appreciate all the more the uniqueness of the outback country I have just had the pleasure of exploring.

That brings my travels to an end.  A quiet night here at the hotel, out to the airport at 7.30 am in the morning to surrender the car and line up for the 9 am flight back home.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past 10 days, and especially the small town bakeries that give character to our outback.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about them.

The last of the photos are here

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