Road trip across Australia – Day 18 Traversing South Australia

Okay, Mildura is not in South Australia, but it is where we started today’s journey.
Before doing that we had a look around Mildura, a large town on the Victoria/New South Wales border, which also happens to be on the Murray River. It is quite a large regional city and the Murray River was looking great after all the rain the region has had recently.
The weather was good as we set off early, and we enjoyed the scenery, particularly looking at the many orchards and vineyards that we passed on the way to the border with South Australia, a distance of approximately 100 kilometres.
After crossing the border we drove the extra 40kms to Renmark, another Murray River town.
We could have followed the Sturt Highway and not have seen the town properly, but we opted to drive in and spend some time admiring the Murray River, and the old riverboat Industry that was moored near the Tourist Information Centre.
After leaving Renmark we turned right at Monash and followed an inland route to the town of Morgan. The land on this side of the Murray seemed to be a lot harsher than the fertile soils we saw on the south side of the Murray, but we seemed to be on a plateau, which afforded us great views over seemingly large distance.
We did not dally in Morgan, but kept to the Burra-Renmark Road, heading towards the historic town of Burra.
Burra is a lovely town, which, according to the information we gleaned from the helpful lady at the Tourist Information Bureau once saved South Australia from financial ruin when the world’s largest copper mine was opened there.
The town has many lovely old buildings, and has been used as a location for a few Australian films, including Peter Weir’s Gallipoli. We spent some time there exploring the town and visiting the remains of the famous copper mine, but we really couldn’t dawdle for too long as we were in transit and still had a long way to go.
From Burra we took the road to Crystal Brook, which had us heading in a northwest direction through some lovely pastoral country, until we finally reached the Eyre Highway about 20kms south of the Port Pirie turnoff. We turned right onto the Eyre, and with the beginnings of the Flinders Ranges on our right, and the waters of Spencer Gulf a distance away on our left, enjoyed a really lovely drive as we headed towards Port Augusta.
We enjoyed a break in Port Augusta, sitting on the wharf that is adjacent to a large shopping centre. It was a beautiful day and the waters of the Spencer Gulf looked inviting; particularly as we saw a dolphin making its way lazily back towards the open water.
After a short discussion, which went something like this:
“I reckon if we left now we could make Ceduna pretty easily.”
We refuelled and began the drive to Ceduna.
On my way into Port Augusta and the drive heading east I had noticed a high area about 20kms west of the town which seemed to offer great views of the Gawler and Flinders Ranges, and had made a mental note of it for the return journey. This time we stopped there for to take some photos, and it was truly inspiring, which such a magnificent scenic outlook of sweeping plains fringed by two mountain ranges. We got some great shots of a truly magnificent view, or views, for whichever direction you looked, the view was always perfect.
Driving past Iron Knob again, we reached the town of Kimba, which claims to be the halfway point of the Australia crossing. As it was getting dark, and increasingly cold, we quickly got back in the car to continue the drive to Ceduna.
Soon after we left Kimba we saw a magnificent sunset, and then it got dark very quickly. Fortunately, toe road is very good, and fairly straight, so it is safe to drive in the dark as you do have quite a good visual reference of any oncoming traffic, and you know well in advance if there is any traffic approaching you. In actual fact, there wasn’t a great deal of traffic on the road this night, so we had an easy drive to our destination.
We reached Ceduna at about 8pm, and I went to check into the hotel I had stayed at two weeks previously, but they wanted an extra $25, so we opted to stay at another motel which cost us a lot less and which, I found, was just as comfortable as the more expensive variety.

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