Day Three, 18Dec16
While yesterday’s foray into the Australian Outback of New South Wales was characterized by glorious unrelenting red earth, today’s venture into South Australia was one of brilliant, striking gold.
We packed up and we’re off in the bitter early morning cold today. The desert overnight having resigned itself from sweltering temperatures of 39 gave way to a crisp, dry, 17 as we packed. My fingers felt the stiffness only a chill could enact and I was glad to climb into the blue truck now layered in a fine red powder.
By 0900 we had crossed from the last NSW Township into South Australia and almost immediately the landscape transitioned from red desert with pale blue-green clusters of shrub to non-stop horizons of golden grain and grass softly flowing in the wind.
Not nearly as many wild – or domesticated for that matter – animals made themselves apparent today. Beyond the random roo and a pack of emus, we didn’t happen upon animals again until reaching our destination where we were greeted by a chorus of seagulls and 3 foot tall pelicans.
We chatted with each other discussing the possibilities of how this never ending golden field would give way to the Southern Bight. I posited that since South Australia looked a great deal like my native Northern California I reckoned a hill somewhere, once crested, would serve as the barrier between golden farmland and green Cyprus-like trees, then beach grass and what I imagined a cold, rocky oceanfront. I was correct up until the “rocky” part.
Mounting a hill we pulled up over Port Augusta and saw below the tips of a bight, then drove over a river further into the golden fields before finally turning off the A1, up and over a shallow hill vein and into gorgeously green Cyprus-like trees. I do not know the genus of said trees, but comparing them to what I do know, their knobs and quirky branches capped with dense jungle-green leaves is the best I can do. Assorted among these trees were even darker pine-like trees, their firs the colors of emeralds, and then a shrubby tree, it’s branches frail and billowing in the wind, it’s leaves such a pale green on the EM-spectrum that in the light they sometimes shone bright yellow.
An hour later we were parked and set up in our new home along Streaky Bay. The beachfront town is quaint and reminiscent of slow-moving calm beach towns everywhere. We walked along the beach and waded through 6 inch high water, it’s warmth reminding me of the Gulf of Mexico. No waves here, for we are on an inlet rather far from the actual oceanfront. Yet, the clear pristine water and sweet scent of salt water is prevalent.
For dinner we curled into a booth at the local hotel pub, shared lemon-pepper squid, schnitzel and people watched vacationers and locals alike detail their Sunday’s activities.
A short while later we were under the stars sipping a long neck and enjoying each other’s company before bed on our third day of adventure.