Around Australia Week 38 – Ceduna and Streaky Bay

After a long (but very enjoyable) trip across the Nullarbor, we reached Ceduna and checked in at Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park, which is out of town a bit: a small, quiet park with a rather unusual layout for the amenities. (The amenities block contains several ensuite-style rooms, with the shower, toilet and hand basin all in together – very convenient, actually!) The sites are big and there is a path to beach.

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Although we’ve been three quarters of the way around Australia with hardly any rain to speak of, it was finally our turn: the heavens opened half an hour after setting up (about two minutes after Rob had wandered off to have a shower, so he came back drenched!) All part of life on the road. Meanwhile, we’d run out of supplies (we ate at a lot of roadhouses along the Nullarbor!) so we headed out to stock up.

While we were filling the trolley, we heard a voice from the other end of the aisle: “Hey, Rob!” it turned out to be Rex Marsh, who recognised us from the DVD. He and his wife Glenys invited us to visit them in a different caravan park the next day for a few happy hour drinks.

When we called in, we also met their friends Chris, Fran, Rob and Lynne. Several people at this park were working at the Viterra Grain Silos – you may have seen Chris interviewed on the Caravan and Motorhome DVD, along with his wife Fran, who is a talented seamstress. She’s got a great setup in her annexe… and many caravanners would be really interested in her sewing machine: it operates with either a hand control OR a foot pedal. That’s handy in a caravan if you want to minimise the number of cables lying around.

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Rex and Glenys were waiting to be called up to start their stint at the grain silos… after talking to Chris, they decided to stay in Ceduna a while and see if they, too, could get work there. (They were successful: you can read their story in Caravan & Motorhome magazine, Issue #157. This might be something you’d like to try yourself, if you’re working your way around Australia.)

We caught up once more with friends we’d bumped into several times on the circuit: Janet and Bucko, and organised a seafood night, seeing we were on the ‘Seafood Trail’! Janet made her ‘signature dish’ of marinated fish in coconut cream. She says her family always ask her to bring this to family hoe-downs, and I can see why. The fish is ‘cooked’ in lemon juice – no heat whatsoever. In case you’re wondering: no, it doesn’t taste a bit like you’re eating raw fish. It’s totally delicious… and it IS fully cooked!

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Of course I managed to find a craft store at Ceduna: Craft De Eyre, which has friendly workshop/chat sessions where anyone can drop in to work on a project. Glenys Marsh says she called in to one of these afternoons and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, girls, if you enjoy things like this, don’t forget to go in search of craft shops in the towns and cities you visit. It’s quite likely that you’ll find a group session on one or two afternoons or at night, where you can have fun with your hobby and meet a few other people. (I guess I’m being sexist here… I’m sure the guys would be welcome to go along too, if they are partial to knitting, sewing or scrapbooking!)

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From Ceduna we drove on to Streaky Bay. We were very taken with this lovely little seaside town (loved the seaside hut décor in the pub, where we had lunch!)

In the caravan next door to us we found Brian and Jean, and discovered very quickly that Jean was an accomplished catcher of Blue Swimmer Crabs. So accomplished, in fact, that crabs would practically walk into her crab pot whenever she wandered down to the jetty. Jean caught so many crabs that she actually had to resort to pickling them in vinegar to save them for later because she and Brian were getting ‘crabbed out’.

We didn’t like to tell Jean that we’d spent an hour on the jetty at Ceduna with a crab pot and got precisely nowhere. (I did catch one little sand crab, but it was so tiny that it slipped through the wires of the crab pot as we were hauling it out of the water. I don’t think that counts.) And as for Rob – well, he ‘caught’ half a dozen tiny little fish that got trapped after stealing our prawn bait.

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Something tells me we need a few lessons from Jean…

We called into Sheringa Beach campground to spend a night free camping along this stretch of the trip. (“Free camping” in the sense that there was no power or showers… just a pit toilet at the site. There was a small charge to camp there; payable at the Sheringa Roadhouse.)

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There was nobody else around when we pulled up, but the campground was well kept and there was no broken glass or rubbish around (which can be a bit of a danger signal) and we felt quite happy about camping there by ourselves for the night, watching the stars through the window and then walking along the deserted beach in the morning.

I was tempted to set up a fake crime scene for the film crew to discover when they came back the next morning (overturned chairs, tomato sauce pooling into the ground) but Rob vetoed the suggestion. (“You’ve been watching too much CSI…”) Too bad.


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