From the Clare Valley to the Yorke Peninsular- a 2 week motorhome meander

RB

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Same as everyone we have been going a bit stir crazy at home, but we appreciate that we have had minimal disruption to our retired life in regional NSW. It is 11 years since our last trip in a motorhome but circumstances led us to look at the possibilities. We have some flights available via an ANZ credit card, some Amex travel credit and use of some good deals at Meriton. Our previous times in South Australia have been mainly spent in Adelaide other than the time we travelled Adelaide/Darwin.

Sydney/Adelaide flights were booked last November and the motorhome was booked via Motorhome Republic last Dec. The Sydney hotel was booked in April of this year. Flights (we had separate bookings Syd/Adelaide) had a change for each direction but the border issues didn’t end up having any impact on us.
This is a rough map of our route- we ended up covering just over 1,500km

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PQQ-SYD ZL6363

Port Macquarie hasn’t been seeing any discounting happening on flights. With a difference of $60 odd each for the flight we were happy enough to go Rex for the first time. May 3rd happened to be the day that Sydney had morning fog and smoke trapped from burnoffs. Both Qantas and Rex flights were impacted. There were only 8 arrivals on the flight coming up from SYD and we were part of only 13 flying to SYD. Once onboard we were given a very clear explanation of the delays and enjoyed a smooth flight. The plane was oldish but I didn’t particularly notice a different noise level to the Dash 8 of Qantas. This flight is less than an hour and the service is very similar- a Kez’s Kitchen bickie rather than a Byron Bay muffin! Another hardish landing (all 3 flights since covid started have been the same) and a very quick bag collection and we were soon waiting for 5 minutes for the next train into the CBD. From Central it was a very short walk to the Meriton Campbell St.
We had arranged to meet mates from Thirroul for lunch-it ended up being very late. We are happy to eat at pub bistros and the Chamberlain Hotel was in the next block to the Meriton had good reviews for their food and drinks- just so happened that after it was planned, we found Chamberlain took Amex and qualified for the Shop Small and Delicious Month promotions. We also made our first use of the light rail down George St (impressed by the service) and visited the Fortune of War pub for a drink. We were back at the Chamberlain for dinner and tried the Asian side of the menu-again very good pub grub.

The Rex Offering
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Not much left over from dinner
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RB

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Meriton Campbell St-

Booked a luxury Studio Suite and thought it was a great deal for $118 for the night. We have never built up status in hotel loyalty schemes and we enjoy the space and kitchen amenities offered by apartments (on longer holidays we make our own breakfast). This studio was 39sq m and we were given the high floor we requested (35th floor). Good sized bathroom ( no exhaust fan though), king bed, free wi-fi and even a sneaky, distant view of the harbour between the surrounding other high rise. We had no use this time for the in room laundry facilities, fitness centre or heated pool. The front desk is a 24hr a day operation and there was plenty of seating in the foyer area. The Capitol Theatre is across the road, World Tower is a couple of blocks away, light rail 1 minute walk and great bacon and egg rolls a couple of doors away at the Naked Duck. Also plenty of eating options in this Chinatown location.

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RB

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Syd-Adl VA 424.

We had access to the Virgin lounge via Mrs RB having an Amex card. Still relatively quiet but a good quiet spot to enjoy a toastie and a few drinks. Only one time change for the flight after booking and we pushed back at the revised time of 14.15. Fairly full flight but we managed to position ourselves with a spare seat beside each of us ( 1 row apart). We didn’t need to take up the catering offers and it seemed very few did. We arrived about 10 minutes early with another hard landing. We had pre-loaded the SA Govt App and registered our arrival. On arrival there were helpers ensuring we had the app and making sure we did the covid safe check-in for the airport. The SA Govt app certainly picks up the codes much more quickly than the NSW one but there does not appear to be the option to sign out of a store. It is 9 years since were were in Adelaide airport- much more modern & bigger. Not many people around and our bags were very quickly available. Outside and we were surprised by a lack of signage to help with our plans to grab a Uber. Eventually had a very good ride into the city to The Adina Apartment Hotel Adelaide Treasury. Adelaide certainly has become more busy.

Surprised that we had to move from this spot in the lounge-the roof started leaking but there were heaps of other spots
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RB

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Adina Adelaide Treasury Apartment Hotel-Flinders St

We had stayed here previously and enjoyed the location and experience. We booked via a Amex annual travel credit and we were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a 2 bedroom apartment. Not a fan of shower/bath combos but this one had plenty of room. Spacious and clean with excellent staff this more than met our needs for a 1 night stay.

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RB

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Around Adelaide

We were thirsty and hungry and a walk to the Astor Hotel was a chance for some exercise and a simple pub meal. Some beautiful buildings to be seen on the way and a few little back lanes so close to the city. A parmy and a couple of drinks at the bar with an interesting mix of locals suited us. On the way back we mingled with more locals at the Town Square Tasting Australia- plenty of heating to keep the locals out and about but we left for a nightcap at the Treasury 1860- a beautiful bar in the same building as our apartment.

Day 1 of Motorhome Experience

We booked the Apollo Euro Tourer 2 berth back in Dec. We made the booking through Motorhome Republic- they had a promotion that made it cheaper than a direct booking. We wanted something of similar size to the rentals we had in New Zealand back in 2009 and 2010. We didn’t want a model with a bed up over the cab but also wanted a toilet for convenience. The Euro Tourer is around 7.2 metres which was pretty manageable to park around town and was a diesel auto that proved to be very economical- just over 1,500 km all up and both times I checked we used a bit under 9litres/100km! Our vehicle was just short of the max 3yrs old and had done around 130,000 km- bit of cosmetic damage but that meant they were not at all particular when checking us back in ( we did no damage anyway). Can’t say that it was super clean- the cooktop needed a good scrub and the curtains and benches were showing their age a bit. The air con did a good job of heating the back area during colder nights but was noisy/less flexible compared to the gas heaters we had access to in NZ. We were a little surprised by the lack of a broom (just a very small brush & dustpan with no handle) and just 2 very small non-matching cups. No starter supplies of cleaning at all- perhaps we had been spoilt by the small private operator in NZ. The doona didn’t cover the entire bed (1.7m X1.9m) and the promised maps were missing when we went looking. There was no onboard navigation help. There were some USB charge spots. The rented outdoor camp chairs were of the $10 Bunnings variety and the very small outdoor table was small & needed a good scrub. We found the Apollo app to be very good-very handy to check on the workings of the motorhome.

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RB

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We opted to pick up the motorhome at Croydon Park- it was on our way out of the City. We caught a Uber out of city. It was an easy handover. We had a traffic snarl at start with a lot of work happening on the North/South Motorway but then it was easy going on good road. Our 1st stop was Gawler Dan Murphys! Friendly locals and we were soon stocked up. We followed the A32 and as per our plans, we were in no hurry and enjoyed stopping in the various towns/villages and educating ourselves a bit about these areas. Tarlee ( Tarlee, SA - Aussie Towns )is a very clean, quiet town. In common with the other spots we stopped it was obvious they took pride in their town war memorial. Next stop was Riverton (Riverton, SA - Aussie Towns ) for a walk of the main street and then on to Saddleworth. Ready Steady Eat store sold us a couple of pies-Ok but not the best I have had. As with the rest of the trip we noted how exceptionally dry the country was ( even despite being aware of their climate and the Goyder’s Line). A few merino studs but very little stock to be seen ( some evidnece of hand feeding), no crops growing but some huge stores of hay.

Sir James Pub Tarlee
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Lone Pine at Tarlee
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Tarlee and a French connection
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Riverton- Plaque for Community Centre
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Riverton Community Centre
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Hard to visualise given current conditions in Riverton
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Aboriginal Woman & Child
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Explanation of Above Photo
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RB

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Burra-

2 nights at Bon Accord hotel. We had booked a powered site (about 6 available) $25 per night. Good showers & toilets. Open fire, good food-fish & chips, schnitzels etc. Draught beer & piccolo bottles of sparkling. We were located near the heavy vehicle bypass but had no real noise issues and thought we probably enjoyed this compared to what looked like a very crowded but clean town caravan park.
Around Burra- the town very busy with groups. (pushbikes, motorbikes, vans & motorhomes.) Catering to tourists was well planned with signposted points of interest. We didn’t do the key thing (some not open due to covid) but visited most of those sites. We drove out to Worlds End Reserve/gorge-free camp, plenty of bird life, very little water, peaceful but not much happening other than sitting around camp. In town there was a IGA, butcher, chemist etc. Multiple town settlements grew out of mining in the 1850’s. As we drove around some optimistic farmers were turning over soil and creating dust bowls as we passed. We found the website Aussie Towns to be useful throughout our trip

Burra, SA - Aussie Towns

Dinner at the Pub
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Pub Grub

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Road to the Gorge
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In Worlds End Reserve
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View from Gorge Campground
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Goyders Line
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The only water to be seen
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RB

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Burra to Auburn.

On the way out of Burra we visited the “Midnight Oil House”- appeared on the cover of Diesel & Dust album. We drove to Auburn via Clare and Mintaro. Not much traffic on a pretty good bitumen road and we had plenty of time. A lot of broadacre farming to Clare with variable soil-could see soil changes as we went over ridges. We enjoyed a good walk around Clare that serves as a gateway to the Clare Valley and is an administrative and service centre. Plenty of off street parking, friendly locals and spotless streets. With European settlement beginning in 1840’s there are still a lot of well preserved older buildings and there is plenty of signage to provide some education. I noted a sign that indicated that in 1920 in the main street there were 6 hotels within 549 metres. Clare also has the Reisling Trail and we found the modern Tourist Information Centre out on the Horrock’s Highway a friendly, useful resource. Wishing to stay on tarred roads we opted to visit Sevenhill and Paulett wines. Sevenhill was the 1st winery in the Clare Valley and has links with the Jesuits. Paulett has a brilliant view across the farmland but things are so dry. While at Paulett we received a guided tour through the Bush Devine Garden- Aust Indigenous Bush Food Garden. We travelled via Mintaro and rejoined the main road at Leasingham.

Clare, SA - Aussie Towns

Photos from our walk around Clare

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Former AMP Building
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Bentley's Hotel
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Currently housing Argus Newspaper
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jb747

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Mintaro pub. Good spot for lunch. Sevenhills pub does a really nice dinner too.

Did you get to Owen and or Farrell Flat for the silos.
 

RB

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The Mintaro pub obviously has a strong following- only place in town where we saw people. We didn't go Farrell Flat or Owen. I have posted in the "My Office" thread for the Wirrabara silo and the water tower at Port Vincent.
 

RB

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Auburn Community Caravan Park

A powered site here right by the town oval on the edge of town was a great spot to stay for 2 nights. We had plenty of space on a gravel site, the amenities block was super clean (complete with fresh flowers) and the camp kitchen was a great setup-oven, microwave, fridge, pots, pans, plates, washing up facilities and gear. We were given a cable to hook into the tv inlet at the power box for tv reception(did the same at other caravan parks).

Around Auburn
Auburn, SA - Aussie Towns
The first night we walked the 10 minutes or so into town to have dinner at the pub. You needed to have a booking at The Rising Sun Hotel on weekend nights. Great food and good choice of tap beers and wines.

First stop around Auburn (birthplace of C J Dennis) was to park the motorhome & walk around the relatively small town. Plenty of well signed stone buildings.

I am a beer drinker & Mrs RB prefers sparkling so we are not great followers of any particular wines of the Clare Valley but we were here for a good look around. Taylors was the pick for us. The lady working here was excellent, full of info re the relationship with Taylors in Europe, their Clare Valley wines and the district in general. Mrs RB enjoyed a couple of tastings & purchased a couple of bottles for later in the trip. We also visited Claymore at Leasingham. Lunch was a pie at Little Red Grape- nice enough but no standout. We cooked dinner at the camp kitchen-great facility.

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Tasting Room, previously railway station
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jamescara

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My old stomping grounds!

It's great to see the Bon back up and running, a few wild nights were had there in my "younger" days (says me in my late 30s!).

The Sevenhill pub is definitely worthwhile for dinner if you're about, and lunch at Skilly too.

It's certainly been a dry start to the cropping season in SA, they've not really had any decent open rains to promote germination at all - completely relying on soil moisture for the time being.

If you get as far north as Melrose etc - be sure to check out Stone Hut Bakery for a pie (although I have not been for some years so not sure how good they still are!).
 

RB

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My old stomping grounds!

It's great to see the Bon back up and running, a few wild nights were had there in my "younger" days (says me in my late 30s!).

The Sevenhill pub is definitely worthwhile for dinner if you're about, and lunch at Skilly too.

It's certainly been a dry start to the cropping season in SA, they've not really had any decent open rains to promote germination at all - completely relying on soil moisture for the time being.

If you get as far north as Melrose etc - be sure to check out Stone Hut Bakery for a pie (although I have not been for some years so not sure how good they still are!).
We are home in NSW-I don't post reports live. We did get to Melrose-went through on a Sunday. Missed the bakery you mention and ended up with a very expensive loaf of bread from the Store 54 Cafe & Food Market at Melrose! Really enjoyed our time at the Bon-seems to be a good operator, well suited to the place and got the right food & drinks
 

RB

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Auburn to Mambray Creek Campground.

We were back on the Horrock’s Highway. Back through Clare and then Laura, Wirrabara (great painted silo), Melrose (most expensive bread we have ever bought) and Willmington. Throughout this drive there was constant roadworks and reduced speed limits. It was pretty surprising to see the Remarkables after all the flat land we had been travelling through. Then it was through the Horrocks Pass. We had read of people worried about towing along this section and how bendy the road was. The surface was excellent, total was only about 19km, the “tough” climb was barely noticeable and we encountered very few other vehicles. We certainly noticed an increase in traffic when we reached the A1 Highway but again it was a good surface & there were plenty of overtaking lanes.

Mambray Creek Campground
We pre-booked a site through National Parks for 1 night. A good set-up with some hot showers and a toilet block but no power. Quite a few others-big vans, motorhomes, camper trailers and tents. There were no boofheads around the peaceful site and the sunset and night sky were spectacular.
Our plans here were for a bit of hiking- restrictions with rental cars on dirt roads kept us away from the Alligator Gorge area. With the dry conditions we walked along the creek bed through the red gums and cypress pines and came across the water pipeline. There are heaps of interpretive signs and the track is well compacted. Unfortunately light showers greeted us the next morning so we abandoned our plans for a couple of more strenuous walks.

Departing Auburn
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Wirrabara
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Melrose

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Wilmington
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Horrocks Pass
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Entry to Park

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Our Mambray Creek Site- good booking site that describes shade, size, wind protection, distance from facilities, etc and photo of site

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