We are at the end of our epic adventure which seems crazy. Not sure how 6 months flew past quite so quickly. The kids are starting to get excited about going home and seeing friends, even going to school!
We headed into the Gawler Ranges and for Wombat land. I opted for Kolay Hut mostly because it claimed to have a donkey shower – where you light a fire under a tank to heat the water – who could resist that?? Plus the views were pretty good.
So for Jack’s birthday we had a fire, toasted marshmallows and sung numerous rounds of Happy Birthday. The next day we hit the road for our first wombat sighting. We crested a hill and there were mound after mound of wombat burrows. Ohhhh the excitement and despite it being the middle of the day we spotted 6 of them on their burrows sunning themselves.
Although they are pretty quick to disappear if you even look at them funny. We drove on, exploring a few of the old houses which have been done up. They date back to the first settlers in the late 1800s. I cannot imagine anyone arriving and thinking this would be the perfect place to settle. It wasn’t even that hot and already you can tell this place is going to be dry most of the year. But it was interesting to see the houses, and read about how they attempted to build a life here.
The next day we went further afield to the Organ pipes, weird stone eruptions and then finished the day at the Shearing Shed where the kids played some odd game than involved running around being sheep and making more noise that should be humanly possible for 3 small people. So much so we woke the hunter who was having a kip in one of the nearby huts. It turned out to be a good thing as he sat and told us little stories about his life. The fact that he has just finished a week shooting feral goats on the property and despite shooting 900 there were still probably 1000 left. Impressive considering we had not seen a single sign of them so far. He told us about hunting feral cats, some over 6kgs, and how Dingos will hunt out foxes, foxes will kill kittens but nothing likes to take on a large feral cat. He also told us about the time he was hunting wild pigs and had settled himself with his back against a dam, in front of a bush and at the last moment glanced down to see a huge crocodile making its way silently towards him. He has no memory of firing the shot that saved his life or picking up the shells and running off the dam.
He also talked about how dry the land was, 2 years without rain in the summer means there is next to no food and if they don’t get a few heavy storms this summer most of the kangaroos we saw won’t make it. He said last summer a few of them had been hunting when they stopped at the shearing shed for lunch. As they sat there a kangaroo had come close, smelling the water in their radiators maybe. It sat and watched them as they watched it. He got a small bowl, filled it with water and laid it out and after a few moments it hopped in, drank it all and then disappeared. Sadder still, they had stopped at Kolay Hut and found a mother and joey obviously thirsty, the joey had blood starting to come out of its nose and despite giving it something to drink they found it had died the next day. He wished us luck with our wombat hunting (our kind not his) and headed back to the hills for his last night.
On the way back we looked for wombats but saw none, instead we stumbled over a mummy kangaroo and her tiny baby, still unsteady on its feet. When it spotted us it must have spent about 2 minutes desperately trying to get back into the pouch but was in such a panic it could not make it. We turned off our lights and headed in a big circle giving it time to finish its panic and snuggle into safety before the mother bounded away.
The next day the winds picked up and we packed up and headed for Coffin Bay. Now I’ll admit I have on occasion maybe picked campsites without properly checking them out. So when we hit Coffin Bay National Park and I told Jamie I had chosen not the easy first campsite but the second one further on via a variety of stony paths and sand tracks he was not best impressed. After our last sand bogging he is a little wary and as we were running a bit late not too happy with me, even less so after we bogged 20 metres after hitting the sand! Opps. But we made it, took an hour but we did it!
We spent the first day exploring the outlooks and zooming along seven mile beach, the sun shone and the wind whipped past. Bliss.
The next day we trekked to a random wiki camp mention I had found about koala spotting. We pulled over in the middle of no where surrounded by flies and once again Jamie is doubting my brilliance – and to be honest so was I. But then we spotted one koala, and a bit further on another and then one with a baby, and another with a baby. I think we found around 10 and at least half had little adorable babies clinging to them.
When we got back I took the kids for a walk along the Black Springs trail and half way there found 2 seals sunning themselves on the rocks. After much squealing at them they slid into the water and dived and rolled in the water in front of us while I took a million photos.
That night as we were all tucked up in bed the sound of crunching suddenly started outside the door. Earlier we had spotted a rat darting away into the bushes – bleh. So Jamie armed with a torch threw open the door and leapt into the doorway to discover a couple of kangaroos munching on a chicken bone they had ripped out of the bin. We shooed them off and distracted them from the bone with a nice juicy apple. In the morning they came back with a little joey and the kids fed them the last of our carrots as we packed up.
We zoomed our way to the Barossa and our last few nights of the trip. We’re all a bit sad but it’s been such an amazing adventure I wouldn’t change a moment for the world. And now we can get ready planning the next one!