Today we reached the extremity of our travels. We drove south to Port Lincoln and, in the process, visited the half-way point across Australia.
We were all up and ready for departure before our scheduled time of 8:00 am and we made it out the gates a little before schedule with Warwick driving. Our target for the day was Port Lincoln near the foot of the Eyre Peninsula but to avoid completely retracing our path tomorrow, Majella had plotted a route via Kimba.
The first section of our journey took us down the main highway to Port Lincoln but we soon took a turn to the right and headed inland a bit. For a good while we drove through rough looking scrub. Occasionally we saw some sheep that looked in very poor condition but mostly it was scattered scrub with few signs of life. Along the way we passed Iron Knob where BHP had mined iron ore for its smelters over decades. The mine has been revived recently and we saw some signs of activity. Eventually, as we approached Kimba, some cultivation appeared and it was clear that this was a grain growing and grazing area.
In Kimba we paused first to admire the large painting that decorated the grain silos. We stepped out for photographs but there was a chilly breeze and nobody wanted to stay outside for long. We climbed back in the van and drove on into town looking for coffee. We spotted two possible venues and parked somewhere between them. Majella went to check what she thought was the most likely choice, Eileen’s, and returned to report that it would accommodate us. There was some hesitation because the alternative venue was closer but a passing local assured us that Eileen’s was the place to go so off we went.
Eileen’s coffee was excellent and she had a selection of decadent but delicious treats. I splurged on a salted caramel slice that I will have to walk off eventually. I did go for a short walk around town while others finished coffee. With coffee done, we drove a little way out of town to a lookout where there were iron sculptures of Edward Eyre and his indigenous companion on his exploration. From there we drove on south, pausing before we left town, to see the Big Galah at the roadhouse that marks the east-west midpoint of Australia.
The road south from Kimba took us out to the main road down the coast near Arno Bay. We paused briefly there but were not impressed with the beach so we drove on and followed the coast road on down toward Port Lincoln. At Tumby Bay we stopped and ate lunch at the Ritz Cafe. The meals we ate were simple but sufficient since we had already agreed that we would eat dinner out tonight to take advantage of the seafood in Port Lincoln, reputed to be the seafood capital of Australia.
Less than an hour later we were in Port Lincoln where we checked in to our apartments at Marina Hotel. We have two well-appointed 3-bedroom apartments with views over a marina section. After allowing some time to settle in, we drove through the city for a look and then on to Winter Hill Lookout for a view over the city. We were lucky that there were some breaks in the light cloud cover that lit up parts of the city and made for a more interesting view.
Back in town Michael dropped Majella, Warwick, and me at a beachside caravan park where we were able to access the Parnakalla Trail and follow it along the foreshore for about 3 km back to our apartments. The others did some essential shopping and drove back.
We were back soon after 5:00 pm in time for drinks before we went to dinner at the hotel. Majella had thought about a restaurant a few km away but walking 50 m seemed more practical and she had luckily been able to secure a booking for 10 at 6:00 pm.
On previous trips the group had bought Majella a gift in appreciation of her efforts as tour organiser and guide. This time they decided to buy our dinner tonight instead. This was very gratefully accepted and we all enjoyed a wonderful meal with a variety of seafood dishes and fine drinks before walking back to our apartments to rest before the last full day of travels tomorrow.