Travelling Australia - Journal 2008b
20-22 June 2008 - Port Augusta
Location map The weather improved during our stay in Port Augusta from cold, windy, dull and a bit rainy to no cloud, no wind and a fair bit of sunshine on the final day. We are getting used to the appearance of this caravan park which is a bit daunting at first. It is surrounded by a two metre high fence, either chicken wire or metal sheeting, surmounted by two strands of barbed wire. The high electric gates, open during the day, close at 9:30 p.m. until 7 in the morning; a special card is needed to enter after that time.

Staying for a few nights makes us different to most caravans which stay for one night so the place is nearly empty by mid-morning then fills up again in mid-afternoon.

The park itself is quite large and well laid-out with many drive-through sites. The local bird is the crested pigeon which struts around in groups and one and twos as if they own the place; they move out of the way reluctantly for people, cars or caravans. They feed continually from the gravel surface, especially immediately after a site has been vacated, but what they are eating is not clear.

Spencer Gulf is only a few hundred metres wide at the caravan park frontage. Across the gulf is a major railway shunting yard where freight trains to and from Darwin and Perth are made up or re-assembled. There seems to be continuous movement of freight cars. Engine sirens are not used much but they are still heard sometimes at night and the freight cars make some noise as they are moved around. Some residents have commented about the noise but we find it not unpleasant and certainly not loud or intrusive.
Freight Train Long freight train leaving Port Augusta. This is probably bound for Darwin; the configuration of two deisel locomotives towing a flatbed truck with two fuel tanks, then an accommodation carriage, is often seen on trains travelling between Darwin and Port Augusta.
On Sunday morning we tried to get a cup of coffee in Port Augusta but Sunday was taken very seriously; except for Big W, Woolworths and the cheapy shops the place was closed. So we had a cup of coffee in the caravan.

Mim watched several football games on television over the weekend while I spent several hours at the Arid Land Botanic Gardens looking at, and photographing, a variety of dry-land plants.

On the last day I filled the caravan water tank before we leave tomorrow for about a week of free-camping in an area where drinkable water is hard to obtain. We usually carry only 30 percent capacity for one or two nights on the side of the road but now we need full tanks. Filling took a while because water is held in two separate, connected, tanks and the one with the inlet fills up quickly so the water backs up the filler and triggers the water level indicator to show a high water level. Then water flows into the connected tank, the indicators show a much lower level, and more litres of water can be added. If the van tanks are full, we have 180 litres of water in the van plus another 30 litres in the back of the Territory. I also checked levels under the bonnet - everything was up to full/maximum.