Today saw us regretfully leaving the Yorke peninsula to work our way back to Victoria. From Alford we passed through Kardinia which seemed to be mainly a service town for the Copper Coast and then back towards Port Wakefield. The descent from the escarpment into Port Wakefield has some great views of the valley below, but the weather was not overly cooperative so no photos – sorry. We then turned North towards Clare and the geography was back to more flat plains and salt lakes, but without the limestone rocks of the Yorke. The roads are good but the straight runs are rather boring and it is not difficult to see how drivers can lose concentration.
Approaching Clare, we could see the hills in the background and once we started the climb into the Clare hills the the vegetation changed drastically to reveal fertile Clare valley. We had the van in tow so we did not spend much time at Clare. This town would normally be quite beautiful with vineyards and hilly scenery but El Nino has taken its toll and the lakes were dry and the grass was dead. Even the grape vines looked like they desperately needed a drink.
The Clare valley is quite narrow and we soon climbed back up the hills on the other side. The road had hairpins to rival the Great Ocean Road and the next part of our journey was through hilly cleared countryside which again was primarily used for cereal farming.
We did not really know anything about Burra or its history and were surprised to find quite an old town with lots of remnants of the copper mining that made it quite a busy town in the late 1800’s. The remnants of the mining days at Burra are very well preserved and there is a trail of about 11 km that takes visitors past a number of historical sites including the mine itself, dugouts in the creek where many miners used to live, ruins of a historical village and the old gaol which was later . Many of the site are unusually well preserved and are more interesting than the sites at Moonta.
Our home for the night was the Burra Showground which was spacious but “rustic” and in need of a good clean. The wind was howling big time and the caretaker tried to put all the vans next to the buildings for a bit of shelter.
The Pony Club grounds are also located at the showgrounds so I at least got to look at some horses for the first time on our trip. The Pony Club has a nice arena and the black surface of the arena and round yard intrigued me. We chatted to some ladies having lessons there and it turns out the preferred arena surface in the area (and also the sand scrapes at the golf course) is dried grape seeds and skins which are left over from wine making and are available for free.
Given the gale force winds I think I would have given up on the arena and had my lesson on the patient beast we found in the Pony Club shed!