Travelling Australia - Journal 2008b
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11 June 2008 - Nhill area to Mannum
Location map Early in the previous night there was a fair amount of noise from heavy transport vehicles on the Western Highway passing our rest area but the number of trucks declined as the night went on. As we drove out of the rest area it became clear that it was larger than most and could hold a dozen B-doubles comfortably. There had been considerable signs of rabbits along the edge of the rest area, many fresh droppings and diggings in the soft soil as well as burrows. Maybe the calici virus has run its course and rabbits are back on the agenda.

Traffic was light on the Western Highway. Weather was good for travelling but still cold in the slight breeze blowing. We stopped in Kaniva for petrol at the Community Road House which was what the name implied, it was owned and operated by the community as the only petrol station in town. Kaniva is a small, neat and attractive township; this was the last settlement in Victoria before we crossed into South Australia. No quarantine was in evidence at the border.

In South Australia the terrain continued nearly flat. Crops and sheep were the main pursuits with mallee along the roadside reservation and in patches on paddocks.

After passing Keith the road was accompanied by a large water pipe on the left side carrying water from the Murray River to Keith. Just before Keith we passed a large, newly ploughed paddock with large piles (three metres high and eight metres diameter) of limestone boulders scattered over it; these looked like boulders thrown up by ploughing. If they were, then ploughing in this area must be hard work.

Coonalpyn silos Large silos at Coonalpyn. Our caravan is on the far left.
Although there were not vast grain paddocks lining the road, as we had seen north of here along the Mallee Highway on a previous trip, this was still a major grain growing area and silos dotted the landscape, especially along the railway line running near the Western Highway. At Coonalpyn, where we stopped for a lunchtime pastie, there is a particularly large concrete silo with a metal one nearby. By the time we reached Coonalpyn the slow decline in elevation had reached 21 metres from 161 metres at our overnight stop west of Nhill.

Grain-growing continued to Tailem Bend but after that we were quite close to the Murray River which seemed to inhibit grain growing. We turned off the Freeway to go to Murray Bridge, then through that township to get to the Mannum Road taking us to Mannum avoiding the ferry across the Murray at Mannum. Arriving at Mannum, we drove through the town down to the river bank where we found the caravan park and checked in. Although there had been some threatening clouds about in the afternoon there was no rain. The wind had grown quite strong during the day and had sometimes moved the van a bit but not so much as to cause concern.
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