Monday, 29 December 2014

Lincoln National Park & Port Lincoln for Christmas

We really didn't know how busy it was going to be on the Eyre Peninsula for Christmas & school holidays so we thought we should probably get down there early. So we left Walkers Rocks campground early & headed down towards Port Lincoln. The roads were really quiet, but it was only Wednesday the 17th of December so a week till Christmas Eve. We had done a bit of research into both Lincoln NP & Coffin Bay NP for our Christmas stay. They both sounded great, but in the end Lincoln won out as we hoped we would be able to get phone reception & also wanted to be a bit closer to town so we could pick up some Christmas goodies. We travelled straight into the park & pulled up at the entry station, it was $11 for vehicle access & $10 per night for camping so pretty cheap. We initially paid for 3 nights just in case it wasn't as good as we thougt it would be. As we drove in, the road ran along the water & it was spectacular. Not a puff of breeze, the water was glass calm, wow. We had a look at a few camps on the way in including Horse Rock, Surefleet Cove, Fishermans Point & September Beach. They were all okay, Fishermans point was lovely but really rocky & would of been a nightmare to put in tent pegs. We had see a sign for a camp called Richardsons Shack that we through we would try before we made a decision. As soon as we drove in we knew this was it. A large flat site, right on the water, easy beach access, trees & bush surrounding us for privacy & no rock. Fantastic. We knew we would be open to the weather & wind, but it was worth the risk for this great view. We could see right across to Port Lincoln, the town itself was only a few kilometres across the water, but by road it was about a 40 minute drive, so not to bad, it also had full phone reception.

Our beach above & below

We set up camp including the big awning as we planned to stay for a fair while & definitely till after Christmas, there was no way we were going to give up this spot! Once the big awning & solar panels were up, we set up our "Bush Dunny" as there was no toilets at this camp. By mid afternoon we couldn't believe our luck as we sat admiring the view in the afternoon, the weather was perfection, could it really be?

After a great nights sleep, we drove into Port Lincoln for a look. It's actually a really nice town, great views & all the shops you need including Coles, Woolies, Bunnings, a bakery, camping shops, even Kmart & Target. At least our Christmas shop would be a bit cheaper. We grabbed a few groceries as we hadn't had a big shop since Albany & went to the pub for a great lunch. 

Photo with the Makybe Diva statue in Port Lincoln

By the time we got back to camp the wind had started to blow, our lovely flat ocean in front of camp had turned into white caps. The wind has been our biggest enemy while camping, it makes cooking a nightmare, sleeping impossible when the tent flaps all night & you wonder if the canvas can possibly withstand the pressure. The rain & cold also suck, but we would take them any day over the damn wind. 

We prefer this weather!!

Luckily it had eased off during the night & we woke to another fantastic day. We stayed at camp for the day, went for a lovely walk on the beach & pretty much just soaked it all in. At night it didn't get dark till after 9pm but when it did, the town of Port Lincoln lit up across the bay & was lovely to look at. 

Some lovely sunsets 

The next day we had to go back to the park entrance station to extend our camping fees. We paid for another 7 nights. There are rubbish bins at the entrance station as well, so we dropped off our rubbish & grabbed some water from the rainwater tanks that come off the information shelter. They say the water should be treated, but we just ran it through our filter before filling the drums & had no problems. All of the camp sites with toilets also had rainwater tanks, so you should be able to get some water if they have had recent rain. After paying we headed back into the park & had a look at a few other spots. First we went to Woodcutter beach, a bumpy slow track in, it's only about 4km but very slow, it took us over a hour to get in & out. To be honest I wouldn't bother, it wasn't worth the effort as it wasn't any nicer than any of the other spots that are easy to get to, it does have camping out there but it's pretty average & if you have a trailer I wouldn't go out there, the 1 camping bay is tiny & there is no space to turn around. After that we headed out to Taylor's Landing, a great spot as well, on the eastern side so pretty exposed, but the camping area is set back amongst the dunes & bush. The beach is small, but lovely & there is a popular boat ramp. 

Taylor's Landing

That afternoon when we got back to camp we got some people camped behind us, 2 families in trailers with little kids. We were some what skeptical at first, but they turned out to be very entertaining. The kids who looked to be ranging from about 3-6 years kept sneaking into our camp & telling us about there adventures. Mainly that they got to spend the day at the beach & what Santa was going to bring. 

Camp when tide was out

The next day we stayed at camp & were entertained even more by them. The 2 boys came into camp early the next morning asking if we had any stubbies, we said yes we do (we thought they meant the empty bottles that they wanted to do something with) but the response was that their dads had drank all of theirs! We then found out that they had coco pops for breakfast, so Mat said he would trade them a stubby for a bowl of coco pops! It was hilarious, the next thing we hear is them back at camp yelling "they have stubbies", it was hilarious. Much to our dismay we found out they were going home & were only here for the weekend, we did find out that Santa was hopefully bringing dump trucks for Christmas presents before they left. Little characters!

The next day we headed back into town. We had to buy a new 12v shower as ours died & we also went to visit a farm butcher to fill up the freezer & get some Christmas ham. Back to camp for the afternoon & we went for another walk on the beach & found some razor fish/clams they are supposed to be tasty but when we opened them they only had a tiny little piece of meat so it wasn't worth it. 

Razor fish
Seaweed at the beach at camp that shows as the dark blue colour in the photos. 

The next day we went for a drive to Coffin Bay national park. We had a great day & I will write up a day trip report after this to fill you in. On the way back we decided to call into Port Lincoln again to get the last of our Christmas shopping done so we didn't have to go to town again before Christmas. 

So for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing Day we stayed at camp. One Christmas Day we woke to a lovely morning. Cooked up some breaks wraps & had a slow morning. It felt weird to be by ourselves for Christmas. By about 11am the weather had completely changed. The wind got up & it was raining. It was so windy that it was blowing the rain in completely under the awning, so the only dry space we had was in the tent. It was so bad we couldn't even make our Christmas lunch, so we just had a few snacks & hid in the tent & talked to the families on the phone. By night time it was still terrible, but managed to heat up a bit of cooked chicken & made some roast chook & gravy rolls. Not the Christmas we envisioned. We imagined a warm day on the beach, drinking beers, eating seafood & relaxing. It was far from that. We went to bed that night a bit disappointed, it didn't feel like Christmas. 

Boxing Day was much better & nearly a perfect day weather wise. So that improved our spirits. We got to have our Christmas s lunch & enjoy the beach which was nice. 
Christmas lunch

We thought about staying longer, but both were ready for a move, although staying in the 1 spot for 10 days was pretty amazing, our longest stay of the trip. The cheap cost was also a bonus, $111 for the 10 days, not bad. Despite a couple of days of crappy weather, the other 8 were great & we loved our time at Lincoln NP. If you are self sufficient campers, definitely consider the camp at Richardsons Shack, it's just a bit further along from Fishermans point, especially if you can get the front campsite, like we scored. It was time for us to move north & see what else we could find. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! We hope you all have a wonderful day. We ended up camped at Lincoln NP near Port Lincoln right on the beach. It will be a simple day for us, our first Christmas by ourselves. Safe travels to everyone & we hope you enjoy your time off. 

Our Christmas views

Jess & Mat

Monday, 22 December 2014

Spring Rolls

Who doesn't love spring rolls? These are pretty easy to make & delicious. This amount filled 18 spring roll wrappers, but you could stretch it to the 20. This was to much for us to eat in one go, although we did eat them as our main meal. They reheated surprisingly well over a low heat in a frypan the next day.


Camping Spring Rolls

- 500g of mince, I used pork & veal mince, but you can use any you like
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1/2 a teaspoon each of dried chill & all purpose seasoning
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/4 of a green cabbage, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
- 1 packet of frozen spring roll pastry, thawed 
- oil for frying, I used Australian canola oil

- prepare your mince filling by frying off the onion & garlic until soft in a little oil
- add the mince & fry until browned
- add the carrot & cabbage & fry until softened
- add the sauces, mix to combine & then remove from heat

- allow your mince filling to cool before you make the spring rolls. Transfer to a bowl to cool quicker or put in the fridge until you are ready to roll your spring rolls, the filling can be made up to a day in advance 

- take your spring roll pastry out of the freezer about half an hour before you want to use it
- roll your spring rolls according to packet directions or as below
- wet some paper towel or a clean tea towel & wring out until just damp, you don't want it wet or it will ruin your pastry,  use this to cover your pastry so it doesn't dry out 
- place 1 sheet of pastry on a cutting board

- place about 2 tablespoons of mince mix on one end

- fold the pastry to enclose the mince & tuck in the sides as you roll to form a spring roll log, before you get to the end, brush the last edge of the pastry with some water or an egg wash to seal, water works fine

- keep covered with damp paper until you have rolled all of the spring rolls

- heat a layer of oil to a medium heat in a frying pan, we are going to shallow fry them, you can deep fry if you prefer. 
- carefully place in 3-4 spring rolls at a time so you don't overcrowd the pan

- turn them every minute or so until golden brown

- remove from the pan & drain on paper towel

- serve with your favourite sauce, we love sweet chilli or sweet & sour sauce. 


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Walkers Rocks Campground near Elliston, Eyre Peninsula

After crossing the border back into SA we kept driving across the Nullarbor. We pulled into a rest stop for lunch & after eating walked out to the Nullarbor cliffs for a look. They are truly spectacular even though we saw them on the way over they still take your breath away. It was much hazier this time, so the photos aren't as good, so glad we got some great shots last time, still lovely though.

Nullarbor cliffs

We kept driving & listening to more cricket & eventually pulled up at another overnight parking bay to camp for the night. This one was also pretty good & we managed to get a fair distance off the road. The hot dry air was blowing, but it made us happier as at least it wasn't cold & rainy. Because of the time change it was only about 2.30pm WA time but 5pm SA time, but we thought we have to get used to this change soon, so we pulled up & set up camp, we went 700km for the day. Curried sausages for dinner at around 7.30pm & it wasn't even remotely getting dark, in the end it was 9.30pm before it was dark, oh us Queenslanders just love daylight savings.......

The next morning we were up at about 6am SA time, we won't think what time it was WA time & hit the road about 7.30am. Just as we were packing up we heard a funny squawking noise & saw some Major Mitchell cockatoos in a nearby tree, my favourite birds. I was so excited I grabbed the camera but before I could get really close, some galahs chased them out of the tree, bugger but it was great to see them in the wild, only the second time I have, we then saw a few more eating on small shrubs as we drove along the highway, they are so beautiful.

A Major Mitchell sorrounded by those pesky Galahs

It was only 200km to Ceduna where we had to stop at the quarantine station, we lost some oranges, lettuce & cabbage, but they let us keep our onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes & carrots. We tried to use up any veggies the night before that we knew they would take like pumpkin in our curried sausages & ate our apples for morning tea before we got to Ceduna. So we went into town to grab a bit of fresh fruit & bread. We were pleasantly surprised to find a great Foodland grocery store that had great specials & decently priced fruit & veggies, you really get ripped off for this stuff in WA. We grabbed some diesel on the way out as well. Another great surprise it was only $1.36c/L, the cheapest diesel we have bought the whole trip & in years. We paid $1.66c\L back in April when we were here, bonus. 

We left town & headed down into the Eyre Peninsula. It was to early to go down towards Port 
Lincoln for Christmas so we decided to find a camp along the coast. We drove past or near all of the great places we stayed at on the way over including Streaky Bay, Cactus Beach & Fowlers Bay had forgotten how arid this country is & it is so dry at the moment. The harvested wheat crops almost run right to the edge of the ocean in some spots & there is very little vegetation or trees. 

We had heard of a place called Walkers Rocks campground near Elliston that is run by the shire that has camping for $10 per night which sounded good. We found it with ease & found a site under the only 2 trees in the whole place. It was right near the beach but protected by dunes. The camp has 4WD beach access for boats & driving, a flushing toilet, a cold shower, rubbish bins & a picnic table. There are a few different areas for camping & big sites. Most seem to use it just as an overnight camping area, but we really liked it. Most of the areas have no shade at all, except our site. 

Our camp

Beach fishing in front of camp 

The next day which was Sunday the 14th of December we just stayed at camp, we were buggered from 3 days on the road. We explored the beaches & relaxed. The wind was pretty strong despite the forecast for it not to be, we must of brought it with us!

Beach on front of camp

The next day we went into the town of Elliston for a look. On the way we did the coastal cliff top drive which was fantastic. Amazing views. At one lookout we stopped to find it full of cars & about 20 surfers down in the waters under the cliff catching waves. Into town & it's a nice small town. It has 2 caravan parks, a shop, bakery, pharmacy & a few other bits & pieces. The surfers were keeping the bakery busy. We then went down to the jetty for a fish. Great views again, but no fish, barely even a bite, but we did watch some people catch a squid. Back to camp & Mat went for a fish on the beach infront of our spot & got 2 good sized Australian Salmon, they would be dinner the next night, as we had home made spring rolls (recipe coming soon) that night, YUM!

Cliff top drive near Elliston above & 2 photos below

Elliston Jetty

Elliston forshore

The next day was domestic duties day & we did our washing, as we could get bore water from the shower. After that we went to the beach for a walk & a fish. Nothing caughtin the morning as there was to much weed in the water & the afternnon was Ben more weed & wind, oh well. The clouds started rolling in threatening to rain but half an hour later it was clear again. We did our usual pack up what we could & had the salmon & veggies for dinner, very tasty. It is now time to head down towards Port Lincoln, we are going to try & find a good spot in Lincoln NP for the Christmas break. 

Other beach near camp that is more sheltered

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Lamb shanks

We made this recipe while camped at Shannons campground when it was freezing. I am not usually a packet mix sort of cook, but this one did make it easier for camping with limited ingredients & was very tasty. We used our Hillbilly camp oven for this one.

Camping Lamb Shanks

Serves 2, although the sauce is enough for 4 shanks

2 lamb shanks
1 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 recipe base, I used Masterfoods Garlic & Herb Lamb Shanks
1 tin of crushed tomatoes
1 packet or a tablespoon of tomato paste
Water for the sauce if needed 
Salt & pepper to taste

- remove the lamb shanks from your fridge about half an hour before you want to cook
- prepare your campfire, we want initial medium high heat to brown the shanks & get the sauce boiling, but then a gentle heat to simmer the shanks for at least an hour & a half 

- chop the carrot & onion

- place your camp oven over the heat to warm
- in a little oil fry of the shanks until browned all over 

- add the onion & carrot & fry off

- add the rest of the ingredients; packet base, tomatoes & tomato paste along with about 1-2 cups of water so the sauce covers the shanks

- bring to the boil & then reduce to a simmer
- cook for an hour covered with a lid, stirring every 10 mins or so

- remove the lid & keep simmering for at least another 30 mins but an hour is better, until sauce is thick, stir every 5-10mins & roll over the shanks, check seasoning & add in salt & pepper if needed, we added a little of each

- serve with your choice of veggies, pasta, rice, flat bread or whatever you like with it. Personally I think it has to be mashed potato to soak up all that lovely sauce.