Places to stay in South Australia

brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
edited January 2014 in SA
Calling all SA knowledgeable folks.

I'm loading up the van and the kids for a foray in SA and was wanting to start a discussion with anyone who has local knowledge. I'm looking at having a couple of weeks in early Jan 2014 heading off from Canberra on Boxing day (or thereabouts) with the first stop being Mildura. After that I haven't decided. Couple of thoughts were Innes NP or into the Flinders, possibly even some time in Renmark. An early plan was Cooper Pedy and I'm still OK with that but thought I might see what others might recommend.

I'd like to spend a little time by water but that's not all that important given the last trip was "The Ridge" and before that Cameron Corner. The kids and I don't mind hot,in fact we like it.

We full self contained so are happy with free camping but don't mind caravan parks either. The kids love swimming pools and rivers but trees and large rock formations also keep them entertained.

If you know somewhere interesting let me know, driving there is no problem, obviously but I would also like to know if it's likely to be crowded and when might be the best time to arrive.

Oh the kids don't 4x4 so driving on the beach is OK but anything more then that is a no no. My van is an outback so dirt and gravel is OK but nothing more challenging.

Thanks folks

Comments

  • MarkVMarkV Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Hi Brookes,
    I live in Adelaide and have done extensive travelling around SA including the far north. I am not a 40 degree plus lad, so tend to pick the cooler places in summer. Coober Pedy is a somewhat interesting place for a quick visit, but is very much a dustbowl, and depending on your kids ages, could be a bit limited in keeping their interest. You can probably tell I'm not a great fan.

    South Aus in summer is very dry, and is not very attractive whilst on the road, but the places I personally like are the South East, The Flinders Ranges, including the wineries in the Southern Flinders around Wirrabara (Kids don't seem impressed when we say we are dropping into a winery though!). The drive from Tumby Bay through to Port Lincoln and then through to Streaky Bay with a stop in at Elliston gives a great drive along the West Coast, where there is quite a bit to see. A drive from Sheringa to Sheringa Beach opens up some great views and is a great place to stay for a day or two. Secluded spots, and last time I was there it wasn't too populated. Call in and have a look Murphy's Haystacks on the way through.

    If you like doing some hiking, there are good walks and views around Mount Remarkable National Park from the Western side, and also the Eastern side. Access to the Eastern side is from a great small town named Melrose, where there is a great caravan park nestled at the base of the Mount Remarkable mountain. During other times of the year when it is green gives a totally different experience compared to the 'no green at all' during summer. But, having said that, everyone is different, and this is just my opinion.

    Renmark is a big town on the river, and is VERY busy during school holidays, and if you want to stay in a caravan park, you probably have missed the boat if you haven't booked. Most of the Riverland towns are really busy that time of year.

    Yorke Peninsula ala Innes National Park is a great place to go too, but will also be busy.

    From my travels in other states, SA doesn't encourage free camping and either bans it in many places or charges for it. I tend to head interstate for my hols.

    Hope this helps. Have great travels. Enjoy Rokin' along the highway.

    If you haven't already, grab the latest edition of Camps Australia. It is invaluable. :D
  • FritzFritz Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Well Mark has pretty much covered it all. But I grew up on the west coast of the Eye Peninsula and would recommend anywhere along the coast at that time of the year. If your keen you can tie it in to a trip Coober Pedy but it would be hot 40+ at that time of year. Then come down to Lake Gardner and through the Gawler ranges to Streaky Bay and head south along the coast from there. You mentioned sand, Coffin Bay NP has heaps of it and some good 4x4 access but not sure about camping. Would be caravan parks all the way and you may have trouble getting a site.

    In brief anywhere along the coast is awesome but at that time of year conditions in the north are hot.

    It may be a squeeze to fit it into 2 weeks but if you get over there it is well worth it!

    Jamie
  • LuckyLukeLuckyLuke Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Brookes,

    Good advice already from the other guys, but I reckon the West Coast would be a better option that time of year. The South East is great in Jan, but probably better without the van. All the parks are full for the first two weeks, and the better camping spots are not van friendly. You'd be fine camping at Lake George near Beachport, and the Kingston end of the Coorong (always able to find a spot there), but that'll only keep you busy for a few days.

    I think you'd have a great drive up the west side of Eyre Peninsula. You might get creative a few nights if parks are full, but you'll always find something. I'd go as far as Davenport Creek and Fowlers Bay. Beautiful part of the country, especially that time of year. The Cactus area near Penong is pretty impressive. There's a track along the coast further west through aboriginal controlled lands that I've always wanted to look at too. You can get a permit pretty easily I think. It will be hot, but at least there's relief at the coast.

    I'll be in Beachport from Xmas to new year if you decide to head South and could point you in the right direction. Rok will be left in Perth though...

    Good luck.
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Thanks folks.

    So what would you think of the Port Augusta --> Ceduna --> Port Lincoln --> Port Augusta loop? Just winging it and staying in the NP's or caravan parks wherever there is a free spot? I was thinking of a NP Holiday plus camping pass, costs $80 for 2 months and valid in all parks except Finders Chase and Desert Parks.

    I'll just fly over there and mosey on back.
  • WinchyWinchy Forum Addict
    edited October 2013
    G'day brookes,
    We were down that way in June this year, but were told by heaps of people to try and avoid camping at Pt Augusta. We did a google search and found this spot. Yeah, it costs, but it's a top little spot out of the way. Can get busy at peak times so maybe a good idea to call ahead. Spear Creek campground. ph. 0428 822 644 http://www.spearcreekcaravanpark.com.au/
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Winchy wrote: »
    G'day brookes,
    We were down that way in June this year, but were told by heaps of people to try and avoid camping at Pt Augusta. We did a google search and found this spot. Yeah, it costs, but it's a top little spot out of the way. Can get busy at peak times so maybe a good idea to call ahead. Spear Creek campground. ph. 0428 822 644 http://www.spearcreekcaravanpark.com.au/

    @Winchy Spear Creek looks good for the return. I am thinking we might just fly across to Ceduna and dawdle back. According to Camps there is a Picnic Area at Bird Lake that might suit for the flying visit to Port Augusta on the way over then perhaps Spear Creek on the return if we have time. I'm estimating hitting Ceduna around the 29th Dec with a view to be back in Canberra on the 11th.
  • WinchyWinchy Forum Addict
    edited October 2013
    I'm sure you'll enjoy it mate. S.A. is a great place to do big miles as we found the roads were bloody awesome! ( compared with QLD) Most highways are 110 speed limits. We loved our trip and have vowed to go back. We were warned about Pt Augusta for its high crime/ theft rate. An ex pat mate actually called it Port a gutter! We did a drive through and it seemed ok, but glad we stayed at spear ck. Oh and if they have some of their own lamb shanks for sale, buy some! Best we've had. Enjoy mate.
  • LuckyLukeLuckyLuke Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Looks good Brookes, reckon you'll have a good trip. I'd certainly support keeping clear of Pt Augusta overnight. Either pull up before or push past. Winchy's suggestion looks good.

    Ceduna itself isn't that interesting - I'd definitely push at least an hour further West. But you'll work it out.
  • Scorp69Scorp69 Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Stefan/Brookes...if you have a spare few days catch the ferry across to Kangaroo Island with your caravan while you are down there. The southern; western and northern parts of the island are magical. I toured around it with a swag on the back of my old R1150GSA a few years back. At the time my brother was shooting fur seals with his tranq gun and putting radar trackers on their back which I helped with. ..the place is amazing.
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    I did think about KI but I'm going to leave that until the missus can come. She dosen't like the high k's per day the kids and I can do, keeps wanting to stop and look at shite. The kids and I just bomb to where we want to be then take it easy after that. Sometimes spending whole days without getting on the tourist treadmill.

    Rest assured, though, Kangaroo Island is on the list.

    Shelly Beach CP has sites available. That's a start and that's all I really need. I now have a start and a rough plan/direction, now we just go with the flow :)

    Still interested in advice because I have never been in SA.
  • WinchyWinchy Forum Addict
    edited October 2013
    I did think about KI but I'm going to leave that until the missus can come. She dosen't like the high k's per day the kids and I can do, keeps wanting to stop and look at shite. The kids and I just bomb to where we want to be then take it easy after that. Sometimes spending whole days without getting on the tourist treadmill.

    Rest assured, though, Kangaroo Island is on the list.

    Shelly Beach CP has sites available. That's a start and that's all I really need. I now have a start and a rough plan/direction, now we just go with the flow :)

    Still interested in advice because I have never been in SA.

    Shelly beach cp is the pick at Ceduna I reckon. We stayed there. It's out of town and just up the road from the fish co-op. You really can't go wrong mate. We travelled Qld to Broken Hill to Ceduna and then on to Vic. We loved the whole lot. Only regret is we didn't have more time. Amazing country.
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited October 2013
    Winchy wrote: »
    Only regret is we didn't have more time.

    Always the problem. Never enough time off.
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited December 2013
    Well am writing this from the Shelly Beach CP in Ceduna where we will be till tomorrow. I've been told that you can swim with the sea lion's in Baird Bay so will check it out day after tomorrow. The Amarok handled the drive across from Canberra pretty well though it did use some fuel across the various plains. I noticed a tyre going flat the night before leaving, typical, and knowing nothing would be open boxing day I removed the screw and repaired with a plug. Has lasted a couple of thousand k so far and I still have the spare is everything TTS. Haven't managed to find an open tyre place yet. Nice part of the world. Had some great fish and chips for dinner! Anyhow time for a Pear cider.
  • steveiehsteveieh Posting Freak
    edited December 2013
    Well am writing this from the Shelly Beach CP in Ceduna where we will be till tomorrow. I've been told that you can swim with the sea lion's in Baird Bay so will check it out day after tomorrow. The Amarok handled the drive across from Canberra pretty well though it did use some fuel across the various plains. I noticed a tyre going flat the night before leaving, typical, and knowing nothing would be open boxing day I removed the screw and repaired with a plug. Has lasted a couple of thousand k so far and I still have the spare is everything TTS. Haven't managed to find an open tyre place yet. Nice part of the world. Had some great fish and chips for dinner! Anyhow time for a Pear cider.

    Brooke's don't worry bout the plug mate it will outlast the tyre I can assure you, in 2004 a cat 5 hurricane came to the island I lived on and sat there for two days, I spent the next month or so plugging tyres with 'rope seals' because it's all we had, every single one of the vehicles I fixed never came back until they needed tyres due to them being worn out, some of which were three years later!.


    Steve.

    My12 reflex silver, rollin on Deltas, 275/70R18, Seikel lift, 25mm body lift, Stage 2 V-Tech Tune, Manta 3" turbo back exhaust......
  • davedave Supporting Member
    edited December 2013
    steveieh wrote: »
    Brooke's don't worry bout the plug mate it will outlast the tyre I can assure you, in 2004 a cat 5 hurricane came to the island I lived on and sat there for two days, I spent the next month or so plugging tyres with 'rope seals' because it's all we had, every single one of the vehicles I fixed never came back until they needed tyres due to them being worn out, some of which were three years later!.


    Steve.

    My12 reflex silver, rollin on Deltas, 275/70R18, Seikel lift, 25mm body lift, Stage 2 V-Tech Tune, Manta 3" turbo back exhaust......

    Over a 20 year period I literally used 100's of these in bobcat tyres, brilliant stuff. Sometimes 2 or 3 were needed in the same hole which was caused by reo bar and mesh.

    Even though I am guilty of using them in the past, I was of the understanding that it wasn't legal on a road going vehicle. Not trying to be the fun police, just after thoughts.
  • WinchyWinchy Forum Addict
    edited December 2013
    I know in Qld, personally repaired tyres are only classed as an emergency fix. They must be taken to a"qualified" repairer for a "legal" fix. Any tyre with a hole in the tread within 25mm of the shoulder, must be disposed of. To my mind if your plug keeps the air in, leave it there. The only drama I can see, is with insurance if tyre failure causes an accident or damage and its found you had one of these temp plugs in.
  • WinchyWinchy Forum Addict
    edited December 2013
    Whoops, seems to be going a bit off topic here. Glad you're enjoying Ceduna, mate. Did you manage to get a booking for spear ck.?
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited December 2013
    Nah we blew by Port Augusta and keep going to Wudinna. The kids were OK so I just kept going. Ended up doing 800k's that day. Not too bad actually.
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited January 2014
    So we left Ceduna headed for Baird Bay got to Sceale Bay and chatted to one of the locals. No the caravan cannot got on the beach because with the weed it'll get bogged. Cool so I dropped the van and went for a drive along the beach and went for a swim. Talk about brilliant. Nice beach, clean water and the right size waves for the kids. I would have stayed there if there was camping or a CP near the beach. Baird Bay was out as the seals were at LaBatts and you'd need binoculars to see them much less swim with them. The skinny from the local is Tractors Beach. Wrong direction for me this time as it's back towards Streaky Bay and I'm headed south. So here I am a Venus Bay CP. Nice enough place.
  • MarkVMarkV Supporting Member
    edited January 2014
    G'day Brookes. Good to hear you are enjoying the trip. Are you swinging through Adelaide on the trip back to Canberra?
  • brookes2622brookes2622 Supporting Member
    edited January 2014
    MarkV wrote: »
    G'day Brookes. Good to hear you are enjoying the trip. Are you swinging through Adelaide on the trip back to Canberra?

    Na I don't really have the time once I hit Pt Augusta its straight back to CBR. Adelaide will be part of future trip. Unless there is something I must see/do?
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