|Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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|28 May 2012 - Horsham to Naracoorte|
The morning was fairly cool but some overnight wind had faded away by morning when we drove out of Horsham on the Wimmera Highway bound for Naracoorte about 150 kilometres away in South Australia with Edenhope in between. The Wimmera Highway was a single carriageway of two lanes. For the whole distance road quality varied from fairly bumpy to good; in bumpy sections speed was limited to 70 kph to minimise bouncing. This road is described as the B240 or C240 so, as a B or C class road, is hardly considered an important interstate link. Traffic was very light in both directions. Weather was good for travelling with a complete cover of high cloud, no noticeable wind and no rain.
While the Wimmera Highway goes through Natimuk and passes Mount Arapiles the land remains predominantly cropping paddocks; many of them looking as if they have been recently seeded after rain a couple of nights ago. We were now very used to the sight of crop paddocks extending to the horizon from the roadway, sometimes with a thin band of trees along the road reservation and a few gum trees scattered along paddock edges; we had been looking at that scene since shortly after leaving Mildura far north of here. But cropping was not the only agricultural activity - we also passed flocks of sheep grazing on stubble or on pasture and there was a single dairy farm between Horsham and Natimuk; several hundred cows grazed on one side of the highway and used a tunnel under the road to reach the milking sheds.
As we moved towards Edenhope several changes took place. The ground became hilly; not big hills but after days of driving over nearly flat ground a hill in the road was quite a change. The single-minded devotion to crops gradually faded and many paddocks were under pasture. Sheep were in the majority but cattle also grazed.
|One of several timbered State Park adjacent to the road between Natimuk and Edenhope
|Eucalyptus lined paddock with scattered gum trees. This cleared land is opposite the state park in the photograph above.
There were other changes in the landscape. Small lakes, up to a hundred metres across, became very common with a few larger ones as well. These lakes extended west from about Natumuk becoming less common once we had passed Edenhope. Lakes were sometimes close to the road, others were in the distance. Many were circular or roughly oval.
Another change was an increase in the amount of gum trees. Paddocks were now lined with rows of gum trees and there were often large trees scattered over paddocks. Between Natimuk and Edenhope the road also passed several State Parks containing gum trees.
After Edenhope the Wimmera Highway turned more to the west heading towards Naracoorte. The land was now very flat and the road remained variably bumpy. Land use was mixed with paddocks fairly evenly divided between crops and pasture; there were plenty of sheep grazing but cattle were not uncommon. The land was far greener and gum trees were very common on paddocks and along the road. The road-side reserve for much of the way past Edenhope was thick with gum trees; upper branches often curved over the roadway from both sides forming an attractive arch.
Near Edenhope we passed the first stone building seen for many days. This looked as if it had been built as a house and later converted to a farm building. Several more stone buildings were passed before Naracoorte where public buildings, churches and residences are built of the same local stone. Naracoorte is in part of Australia known as the Limestone Coast characterised by lots of limestone which has been used as readily available building material.
Crossing the border into South Australia was marked only by a couple of signs including the warning that taking fruit or vegetables into South Australia is prohibited and attracts a fine if offenders are caught; there was no border check on travellers. We dumped the remains of our morning tea mandarins in the yellow bin and continued on our way with a clear conscience. There is a half hour time change between Victoria and South Australia but we left our clocks unchanged for now.
Land use gradually changes between the border and Naracoorte. The Limestone Coast is well-known as a wine area and vineyards became fairly widespread, we also saw a deer farm, ducks and chooks sharing a paddock with grazing sheep, and horses grazing. On the outskirts of Naracoorte we passed a saleyard and a meat-works; we were later told this meat-works deals with cattle and another meat-works processes sheep. We had passed some cattle today but there didn't seem enough to support a meat-works, we were told that cattle are trucked from "up north" in New South Wales, and possibly Queensland, to the meat-works.
Arriving in Naracoorte we made our way to the caravan park and set up on a large site ready for several days.
|Caravan and Pathfinder during morning tea break.