|Travelling Australia - Journal 2008b|
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|26 June 2008 - nr Yalata to Condada|
|This morning the temperature in the van was 15° so it felt relatively warm compared to previous mornings. The wind which had concerned us last night had stopped; there was a nearly continuous layer of mid-level cloud allowing some sunny breaks. Before we left our overnight spot I spent some time taking photographs of the plants in the mallee environment. The upper story was two species of mallee, the understory was a mixture of several arid land species some of which I had seen at the Arid Land Botanic Gardens. The obvious one was a pale blue plant which is often mis-identified as pearl bluebush but a closer look at the leaves shows that it is Bluebush Daisy (Cratystylis conocephela) which is coloured pale blue, the same as pearl bluebush.|
|Mallee/bluebush vegetation with the green mallee leaves contrasting with the pale blue of the understory. Sunshine enhances the contrast.|
|We drove onto the highway at about quarter past ten but stopped again a few minutes later near the road grid where the dog-proof fence (also called the vermin proof fence, see map below) crosses the highway. The fence is well maintained, a bit over a metre and a half high, built to keep dogs out of the agricultural area of South Australia. The grid where the fence crosses the road was big, at least twice as wide as any other grid I have seen and with drainage culverts underneath that I could easily crawl through. The grid surface was well aligned with the road surface, and traffic was passing over at normal road speed, but about a dozen hub caps had been left under the grid by cars which found the crossing a bit rough.|
|The dog-proof fence running away from the Eyre Highway. This fence runs around the area devoted to agriculture from the coast south of Yalata to the Victorian border; it is intended to keep dingos away from farming areas.|
|The grid where the dog-proof fence crosses the Eyre Highway.|
Leaving the dog-proof fence we headed east through the mallee until we entered the cropping area near Nundroo. The first white painted silo was near the turn-off to Coorabil just past Nundroo Roadhouse; the next silo was at Penong. Windmills were scattered between Nundroo and Penong, no doubt artesian water partly explains the sheep grazing around this area.
We passed a few road kill carcasses (wallabies and at least one sheep after Ceduna) - many being eaten by up to ten crows on a single carcass, no other species was involved. When a vehicle approaches, crows often delay leaving a carcass until nearly too late to get away without being hit but at least they fly away from the oncoming vehicle when they do take off, unlike some hawks and eagles we have seen elsewhere which are reluctant to leave "their" food and become a hazard to themselves and to vehicles on the road.
On the outskirts of Ceduna we stopped at the fruit fly quarantine check where I had to cut the tops off some carrots and hand them over; carrots without tops are acceptable. We had eaten the last of our mandarins well before we reached Ceduna. The inspector said that when we passed the check point going west on Tuesday we could have got a slip of paper from them which would have avoided any check on our return since we were not leaving South Australia.
We stopped in Ceduna for a check of material at the Information Centre which also had toilets, had lunch at the bakery, then continued towards Port Augusta. We planned to drive at least as far as the overnight area at Condada we had used on Monday night and to go beyond that if sufficient daylight remained when we reached there. In the event we decided it was close enough to sunset to pull in at Condada for the night.
Weather had varied during the day. After a reasonably pleasant morning the cloud had thickened and been augmented by a sort of grey haze which made the world gloomy by lunchtime. But this lifted and late afternoon sun was widespread. Traffic on the Eyre Highway seemed light to us with 46 vehicles going the other way in two hours driving between Ceduna and Condada.