2/10/21 - 17/10/21
The area we are travelling in is part of the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve (RMIDSR). It is an area of land protected from light pollution, which allows the general public to access the clearest and best views of the night sky and its constellations. The area is accredited by the International Dark Sky Associations and is internationally significant and similar to a World Heritage Listing. Dark Sky Reserves are known as the most remarkable places to camp and stargaze. Night sky darkness is measured at a level of between 0-22, with those closest to 22 among the darkest places on the planet. The RMIDSR consistently measures an exceptional level of darkness; commonly about 21.8 and some areas have measured 21.97. We have had some overcast nights but on clear nights the sky above was sensational to sit under and take it all in. At nighttime, if we woke through the night, for a toilet run, DABUS was so dark, one could become disorientated. Hahaha……mmmmm…..potential toe stumping nights.
Well Walker Flat was a place that we absolutely loved, here we spent 6 nights and experienced rain, wind, sun and warm weather, a really mixed bag of weather. Two young families with seven kids in total camped right near us and the kids enjoyed kayaking, fishing, yabbying and swing on the rope swing. Monday 4th we had to move on, only due to the fact we were finally out of water, pepsi and the wine supply was getting low. As the smaller towns we past through only sold Coke, we travelled on to Waikerie and stocked up.
Nearby Waikerie we found a campsite at Ramco, we had called in here on a previous trip but hadn't stayed. We went in search along the river and found a nice quite spot overlooking the river. During the second day here, one of the young families from the previous camp went past, with arms waving madly as they past, they camped further up river.
One balmy evening on dusk, we both smelt a floral fragrance and couldn't work out where this sweet aroma was coming from. It wasn't until we hit the road a couple of days later and pulled into a fruit stall on the side of the road, the fragrance of the orange blossom tree hit us and we then realized this was the scent that had drifted past our noses a couple of nights previously.
Dusk was the best time, listening to the single bonk…….. bonk call of the Eastern Banjo frogs on the other side of the river. Their call is usually heard when they emerge from their short burrows to feed at night. They are South Australia's biggest breeders in the frog family, laying up to 4000 eggs in a single nest. So listening to their call is now a regular occurrence along the river, we love chilling out and watching the birdlife, the majestically pelicans gliding down onto the water, the ducks, cockatoos, corellas and to finally hear our southern Kookaburra laughing.
After spending three relaxing days here, we decided to explore towards Cadwell, but frustration was setting in, when driving into campsites, they were either all taken, not level enough for us or too shady, we must be getting too fussy. At Waikerie we stopped at Nippys, a manufacturer of orange juice and flavoured milks, the fruit is sourced from local and riverland farmers, and purchased some drinks from their factory direct shop. Opposite the shop is the local silo art painted by artists Jimmy Dvate and Garry Duncan, our favorite was Jimmy's which was a giant yabby and on the other side the endangered Regent Parrot.
Anyhow we decided to check out campsites the other side of Waikerie and time was getting away from us, we found one at Lowbank and there were only two sites, the other already taken. Here we decided it was only an overnight stopover.
Moving onto Renmark we discovered a great spot on the Murray called Plushs Bend, which was $10per night and a relaxing place by the water. We had 31 degrees one day and one of us thought a swim might be nice, well lets just say the feet got wet but not the body. The water was freezing. Here we stayed for 3 nights and enjoyed a couple of walks, enjoyed the birdlife and the serenity of being beside the river. We were going to enter Victoria and go into Mildura, when it was announced that Mildura was going into a 7-day lockdown, so change of plans. Before leaving Renmark we visited Almondco Australia which has been supplying almond products around the world since 1944, here we went into the direct outlet shop and purchased some goodies.
We opted to stay on the Murray and headed south down towards Loxton, travelling through countryside of vines, orange groves, almond trees, avocado crops, this countryside is so picturesque. Rilli Reserve was our next destination and spent 2 nights here but with rainfall predicted we didn't want to risk getting stuck in there, as some of the tracks looked like they would be impassable to DABUS and her fat rear legs. The water levels on the Murray are quite high at the moment, we have seen boat ramps inaccessible and picnic areas under water.
After looking around Loxton we headed south, away from the Murray and arrived at Lameroo. Lamaroo is the birthplace of Julie Anthony, 'one of Australias most loved superstars'. Again rainfall was predicted but didn't eventuate, we had 2 days catching up on things, blog etc.
Heading east we stopped at Pinnaroo for a couple of days, we are now only 5 kilometres away, from the Victorian border.
Our borders permits have been organized, but with COVID numbers hitting over 2000 we do wonder why we are heading back into Victoria.
Goodbye South Australia.