If you checked out our earlier blog post, you’ll be aware we started our 10 week Outback SA and NSW trip at the start of Sep, initially catching up with family in Adelaide before setting off to experience the magnificent Eyre Peninsula coastline; but not before a rendezvous with the Frost family. We originally met these guys on Facebook; a family living on the road with their dogs Susu and Puppup, so we arranged to meet up in Kadina about 150km west of Adelaide.
We me up with Dave, Tanya, Kiera and the dogs at the Kadina Showgrounds ($15 night with power and water). Through our correspondence on Facebook, Dave had already arranged a joy flight over the coastline in his brother’s Jabiru 2 seater aircraft. How lucky were we? Kevin took as up one at a time to survey the coast and point out the geographic landmarks of the area.
Grant Hansen, one of the local senior constables came to visit us during our stay. He had initially spotted the Maxtrax on the roof of the Patrol, and then on a closer inspection identified the Topaz. Grant had been following our travels last year in Camper Trailer Australia as part of our Big Lap, so was keen for a chat, asking us straight off the bat if we were the Paveys’. Grant and family get away from civilisation in their camper trailer at every opportunity. He’s a big fan of the Track Topaz as the ultimate freedom machine and obviously a fellow of sound judgement!
Back to our hosts. As Dave had grown up in Kadina, he was happy to play tour guide during our stay, showing us around the sights. One of the many highlights was the joy flight, seeing the lay of the land by air, including the Copper diggings, the York Peninsula coastline, the Greg Norman-designed golf course in Wallaroo and the jetty, where the vehicle ferry berths for the connection between the York and Eyre Peninsulas, saving 420km and at least 5 hour’s drive. Expect to pay around $210 each way for the privilege for a standard vehicle and two adult passengers.
For the history buffs, there are plenty of historic trails to walk, ride or traverse by vehicle. Moonta is the best location to appreciate the best of the mining history. The relics have been well preserved and money has been well spent on the historical trail experience; not so at Kadina. There are still plenty of ruins in Kadina, but the interpretive signage has been removed, limiting the experience. The best bet is to buy the historical trail booklets from the Tourist Information ‘Shed’ in Kadina at $2 each which can provide more information on many of the ruins.
The mini train ride at Moonta is well worth the small charge of $6 adult, $3 child and free for pre-schoolers. It is run by volunteers, keeping the costs down and all income is reinvested in maintaining the area. The train trip runs for about an hour including a few stops along the way and is a very informative tour. Don’t forget the lolly shop across the road.
During our stay, the Frost family took us crabbing at the Bird Island Conservation Park. At low tide you can walk right across to one of the two islands or scratch around the weedy shallows to tempt a crab out of hiding. The water was quite cold and Razor fish and dog sharks lie hidden in the weedy shallows, so keep your eyes open and wear protective footwear. The Razor fish are a fan shaped shellfish that bury themselves in the sand point first, leaving the sharp, curved edge of the shell exposed. They live in the sand and mud flats in tidal areas in Southern Australia and can be eaten, with the white muscle being particularly tasty. However, step on one of these guys and it’s a first aid job to patch up the cuts. I picked up an old pair of sandshoes from the Salvos shop in Kadina for some cheap protection.
There seemed to be a lot of smaller Blue Swimmer crabs caught on the day, with most returned to the sea. Dave’s brother Kevin also took the boys out fishing in a small 12ft dingy. The plan was to lay a few crab pots in a clear, sandy patch amongst the sea grass beds, a couple of hundred metres off shore while simultaneously fish for squid. With the sandy bottom in sight, you can watch the crabs crawl into the pots and then reef them up into the boat, to keep them from fighting each other. The blue swimmer crabs here were much bigger than in the shallows at Bird Island and we were able to nab about a dozen with relative ease. We also hooked a squid each; a first for me which was very exciting. Our catches were dropped into an ice box, putting them to sleep within a few minutes.
Want to know the secret to cooking the most succulent crabs? The Frosts’ tell us the secret is to cook them in sea water. Based on taste alone, I can’t challenge the theory, as the white meat was super succulent and sweet. We cleaned up the squid in salt water by removing the head (retained for bait) and cleaning out the tube, removing the guts and plastic-like strip. It was cooked on the bbq that night with salt, pepper and garlic and along with the crabs was one of the best seafood feeds we’ve had in a while.
A big thank you to the Frost family for sharing a very special part of SA with us. We wish them well on their extended travels around Australia and hope to catch up with them again in the future. If you see their “Frosty’s Travels” bus around the country, give them a wave or say g’day on UHF channel 38. You’ll be glad you did!
Mike & Anita Pavey
THE DIRT (On Everything 4WD)
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