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Welcome…

This is the travel blog and website for our 2020 Bailey Caravan Adventure through the outback of NSW and South Australia, with 16 other vans (Tagalong20 group).

Posts are ordered with most recent at top of the page.

The Tagalong20 trip was put together by our fantastic organisers – Ian & Jane and Liam & Jackie. It takes a huge effort to pull this sort of thing together and it worked brilliantly until the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic interfered with it. Activities, caravan parks and even state borders were closing toward the end of the trip and the group started to head home before the trip finished.

There are other pages you can view using the navigation links above to pages – About the Site; Locations; Itinerary; Activities; Trip Map; Bailey Boomer photos; Documents & Search. All links open in a new browser window. Hope you enjoy our blog!
cheers, Neil & Merrisa


Port Fairy

Due to the Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic closing everything down and the upcoming travel bans we could not get into our original accommodation at Surfside Holiday Park Warrnambool so we found a small caravan park in Port Fairy called Port Fairy Holiday Park. We were very fortunate as all other caravan parks in the district were closed and we were only allowed to stay as all 3 of us had caravans with their own toilet & shower; meaning we were totally self sufficient.

We went for a walk along the rock wall where the Moyne River runs out into Port Fairy Bay then took a drive around to check out the surf at Southcombe Beach and it was pumping.

We found a brilliant Thai restaurant in town called Lemongrass Thai whose takeaways (not allowed to dine-in due to Covid-19) was really tasty. Totally recommend it and will visit for a dine-in next time we stay in Port Fairy.

Here’s a short YouTube video Merrisa took of the surfers at Port Fairy…

Would we return?

We’ve been to the lovely town of Port Fairy several times now and totally love it. Yes, we would come back again but only if we were “passing by”. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Port Fairy. Tip – Stay at the Gardens Caravan Park – it’s great and close to town as well.


Mount Gambier

Mt Gambier is well known for it’s volcanic and limestone features. We spent 2 nights at the Big4 Blue Lake Caravan Park and were the only 4 caravans there.

We still had the ability to travel around the town as the Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic had yet to restrict people moving around except in groups no more than 4. We chose outdoor activities to isolate us from people as much as possible.

Like Naracoorte; we will definitely return here one day to take in more of what this wonderful city and region have to offer. In the meantime, these are some of the places we visited…

Cave Gardens

The Cave Gardens are located right in the centre of town (maplink). It is a sinkhole surrounded by a beautiful park and rose gardens. It was interesting to find a couple of wild bee hives clinging onto the wall of the sinkhole.

Umpherston Sinkhole

The beauty of the Umpherston Sinkhole has to be seen to be believed. Appreciate its size and depth from the viewing platforms at the top of the sinkhole, then, walk down into the sinkhole, along the terraces and behind the hanging vines. There are wild bee hives in the roof of the cavern and the display of hydrangeas are truly magnificent.

Umpherston Sinkhole is also known as “The Sunken Garden”. The sinkhole was created when the top of the limestone chamber collapsed downwards. Now the topsoil down on the floor forms the perfect environment for the sunken garden.

Originally beautified by James Umpherston around 1886, the sinkhole is open at all times and from dusk each evening the area comes alive with possums as they venture into the floodlit gardens to feed.

The geological processes that have created the sinkholes in the region inspired the sculpture at Umpherston.

Blue Lake

One of the most notable places to visit is the famous Blue Lake (Waawor) of Mt Gambier (maplink).

The Blue Lake is a large, monomictic, crater lake located in a dormant volcanic maar associated with the Mount Gambier maar complex. It is thought to be of an average depth of 72m, but in places reaches 75m deep. The crater rim measures 1,200m by 824m, but the lake itself measures 1,087m by 657m. It also supplies the town with drinking water.

The lake was conveniently located over the road from our caravan park so we decided to take the 5km walk around it’s perimeter.

It was a beautiful day and as we progressed around the trail the wind totally died down which turned this beautiful lake into a very photogenic thing of beauty.

Cape Banks Lighthouse

Cape Banks Lighthouse is located on a headland in Carpenter Rocks. Constructed in 1883. There were some fascinating photos of the wreck of Pisces Star ship near to the lighthouse so we headed off to check it out. It’s a 35km drive out to the lighthouse from Mt Gambier (maplink).

The wreck was visible from the lighthouse viewing platform but the tide was too high for us to venture out to check on it.

Last Night Dinner

We got together for our last dinner together to share pizza’s (delivered to the CP gate) and took the now traditional group photo of our (now depleted) Tagalong20 group.

Would we return?

We’d definitely return to Mt Gambier. There is so much to do there and so many interesting places to visit in the region. Check out TripAdvisor for more. You would need more than a week to explore here.


Naracoorte

Our original itinerary had an overnight stop at the Cockatoo Lake Free Camp but we agreed, due to there now only being 4 caravans, we’d skip it and go straight to Naracoorte.

The original itinerary also had us booked into the Naracoorte Showgrounds but it was closed, thanks to the Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic. We were fortunate to get into the Naracoorte Big4 Caravan Park for 2 nights (maplink).

We all agreed that we must return to this lovely town once the world has gotten over the Corona pandemic.

Naracoorte Caves

We headed out to the Naracoorte Caves National Park in the slight chance that something may be open and we were fortunate enough to meet some park rangers who allowed us to access to two attractions.

Wonambi Fossil Centre

The fossil centre is pretty cool. It incorporates fossils and displays of prehistoric beasts which roamed our great land. Well worth the trip. The entry ticket also allows you to visit the Stick-Tomato Cave (see below).

Stick-Tomato Cave

The only cave open for public access was the Stick-Tomato Cave. A self-guided easy-access walk trough the caves was not too bad and not too claustrophobic.

Would we return?

We’d definitely return to Naracoorte, even if it is just to explore the caves in the national park. This is truly a great spot and you would probably need more than a week here to take in the places Naracoorte has to offer. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Naracoorte.


Bordertown

Our now group of 4 Bailey’s pulled into Bordertown for an overnight stay at the Bordertown Caravan Park and there was basically nothing to do here so it was a case of set-up and wait for “happy hour”. We didn’t even go to check out the town’s major attraction of the White Kangaroo.

Bordertown, as its name suggests, is the symbolic “border town” between Victoria and South Australia. The fact that it is actually 20 km west of the border causing some typically Australian humour. There was a time, for example, when it became a talking point for Victorians when they would declare there was an imminent invasion from South Australia and the locals were massing at Bordertown.

In reality it is a quiet town which was created during the gold-rush era which is now both a service centre for the surrounding district and a place made famous by the fact that Bob Hawke, the country’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister, was born in the town.

Would we return?

Not likely. For us it’s really just an overnight stop on the way to somewhere else. But you may discover something to your liking on TripAdvisor about things to do in Border Town.


Loxton

Located on the mighty Murray River Loxton is a decent sized town. We stayed at BIG4 Loxton Riverfront Holiday Park located on the banks of the Murray (maplink).

This is where the Covid-19 Coronas virus pandemic really began to impact the group. To date we had been keeping our required social distancing (well, most of the time) but now the group was starting to split-up as many were required to return to their home states due to upcoming border closures.

All attractions were closed and at the end of our 2 day stay in Loxton there were only 4 of the original 17 caravans remaining for the trip to Border Town. It was really sad.

Would we return?

Most probably. Since all attractions were closed we’d like to check it out again, but more than likely if it was on our way to somewhere else. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Loxton.


Worlds End Freecamp

Just the name “Worlds End” at Burra Gorge conjures up in the mind an intriguing location to camp for the night. Well, it’s just another campsite with nothing special but the company we were keeping.

Along the way (maplink) we caught a glimpse of new wind farms being built and then a stop-over in Burra for coffee was great; even though the Covid-19 Corona virus pandemic had shut much of the town down.

Happy hour on this stop saw a bush poetry session with various members having a crack (even me). The poems were brilliant and many laughs were had. The Bob Magor poems were a hoot, but the flies (oh the flies!) were terrible resulting in the fly-nets coming out. Jeez it’s had to drink your beer thru a fly-net!

Here’s a YouTube video, which Liam took on his drone, of the campground at Worlds End…

Would we return?

No, been there and done that.


Crystal Brook SA

Crystal Brook is a nice little town on the Goyder Highway in South Australia (maplink) and the Crystal Brook Caravan Park was a great one night stop-over. The park is set on the Crystal Brook Creek with beautiful shade trees to sit under and wile away the day, while the birds make a racket above you.

We took a quick trip around the town to check it out, but the Covid-19 Corona virus shutdown meant most things were shut, which was really sad (but understandable).

Happy hour that afternoon had 3 of the ladies entertaining us with their ukuleles. A sing along ensured with lots of laughter and smiles.

Would we return?

Not really, but it’s a lovely spot and would recommend it if you are travelling through the area and would like to stay in a really nice caravan park and take a stroll through town. Check out TripAdvisor for more details.


Port Germein stop-over

On our way from Port Augusta to Crystal Brook we stopped over in the seaside town of Port Germain (maplink).

The attraction here is the jetty, opened in 1881, which is 1532 metres long. The jetty was the longest in Australia, and one of the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. A walk out to the end of the jetty surprised us with some dolphins playing in the shallows.

Would we return?

Probably not, BUT we recommended this stop-over to the Tagalong group as we visited it on our Half Lap trip with our Bailey friends Neil & Sharon and really liked it. We’d recommend it to anyone else travelling between Adelaide & Port Augusta. Find out more on TripAdvisor.


Port Augusta

We’ve only ever driven straight through Port Augusta so it was good to finally have the opportunity to have a couple of nights stay at Discovery Park Port Augusta for a chance to stop and check it out.

We will continue to just drive through it in the future as it was fairly underwhelming.

We did drive out to Matthew Flinders Red Cliff Lookout to check out the view and then onto the Water Tower Lookout for view over Spencer Gulf and Flinders Ranges.

Would we return?

Not if we could help it BUT that’s our opinion. It would only ever be an overnight stop-over only for us in the future. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Port Augusta.


Wilpena Pound

From Rawnsley Station we took a trip out to Wilpena Pound stopping off at Arkaroo Rock and then onto Wangarra lookout at Wilpena Pound (maplink).

Arkaroo Rock

It’s about an easy 2 hour return walk from the carpark to Arkaroo Rock through dusty scrub-land. This is a significant cultural site for the Adnyamathana (pronounced Ad-na-mut-ta) people. The art at Arkaroo Rock (Akurra Adnya) tells the story of the creation of Wilpena Pound. It’s a story from the Adnyamathana Dreamtime and is believed to be 5,000 years old.

Wangara Lookout (Wilpena Pound)

Back into the car for the next historic location. Leaving the car (and Merrisa) at the Wilpena Pound visitors centre I undertook a 7.8km round trip to check out historic Hills Homestead and 2 of the Wangara Lookouts over the Pound. It’s a pretty easy walk to the homestead but a pretty grueling uphill walk to the 1st and 2nd lookouts.

Having walked around the base of Uluru and Kings Canyon Rim Walk on our Half Lap trip in 2018, I must say that this walk was pretty disappointing for the effort put in to get there. The views from the 2 lookouts are basically the inside of the crater and I reckon the best views would probably be of the outsides of the crater.

Would we return?

We’ve always wanted to go to the Flinders Ranges and having now been there and ticked it off the “bucket list” would probably not go back. It may sound a bit harsh but it’s a bit like our visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock) – it’s totally awesome and spectacular but having been there would probably not go back there either. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in the Finders Ranges.


Rawnsley Park Station

Our accommodation in Wilpena Pound was called Rawnsley Park Station. It was a dusty drive in but we ended up with a real outback style caravan park which looked out onto the Flinders Ranges with some really stunning views. (maplink)

We had 2 nights here and on the 2nd night the group booked into the Woolshed Restaurant located on the station. The food was spectacular with the main menu item being lamb which is sourced from the station itself.

Would we return?

Probably not BUT if you are travelling to the Flinders Ranges/Wilpena Pound area we would totally recommend staying at Rawnsley Park Station as it’s really great location and the restaurant is brilliant.


Peterborough SA

After a 300km trip from Broken Hill we pulled into Peterborough (maplink) for an overnight stop at Peterborough Caravan Park. After doing a very quick set-up in the caravan park we took a short tour of the town.

Peterborough is a rare railway town where, because state governments could not agree on a standardised railway gauge, three railway gauges (broad – 5’3″, standard 4’8 1/2″ and narrow 3’6”) once met. The town became hugely important as a railway link between the iron ore mines at Broken Hill and the iron and steel processing at Port Pirie. At its height over one hundred trains a day were passing through the town. It is therefore hardly surprising that it has a museum in a railway carriage and its prime tourist attraction is the “Steamtown” Heritage Rail Centre & that’s about it.

We came across a cute monument to “Bob the Railway Dog” who was among 200 other dogs taken to the far north of South Australia to be used for exterminating rabbits. He ended up being taken in by a train guard and then travelled the rails for the rest of his life getting as far as Sydney & Melbourne.

The town rail museum has a carriage with a video running through the windows depicting what train travel would have been like for those travelling in the early 20th century.

Following a glorious sunrise on the next day, we all headed off to Rawnsley Station in Wilpena Pound passing some old pubs, railway stations and plenty of emus along the way.

Would we return?

Not really, as it’s another one of those places that once you’ve been there you would not return unless passing through. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Peterborough.


Silverton

Silverton is an interesting little dot on the NSW map, founded in 1883, population of around 40 and is situated 25kms north-west of Broken Hill. Even if you’ve have never been here before you will recognise Silverton, as it has starred in countless films, television shows and commercials in all mediums.

Our group had lunch in the historic pub then fanned out to check the surrounding area.

Mad Max 2 Museum

We took the tour of the ramshackled museum which is a tribute to the 2nd Mad Max movie filmed in 1981. Lots of photos pay tribute to the filming locations (no photography was allowed), but the best part of visiting the museum is having a chat to the guy who runs it – fantastic knowledge of the movie and people involved in it.

Mundi Mundi Lookout

Located about 5.5kms from Silverton the view from the lookout (just the top of a hill) is one of the expansively flat Mundi Mundi plains. We understand that it’s spectacular at sunrise or sunset but I must say not all that enthralling in the middle of the day (when we were there). Checked out some of the old (beautiful) buildings on our return trip.

Would we return?

It’s a bloody long drive to get to Broken Hill and this was definitely one of those “tick it off the bucket list” places which we’d always wanted to visit, but we would probably not return. Been there and done that. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.


Broken Hill Line of Lode Miners Memorial

There’s a building which sits atop the large Broken Hill mullock heap that we could see from most places in town so we took the short trip up to check it out. It is called the Line of Lode Miners Memorial (maplink).

The Memorial is an icon for Broken Hill and the mining industry. It is also a symbolic and spiritual representation of the human tragedy of more than 800 deaths since mining commenced in Broken Hill in 1883. The Line of Lode is the ore body that bisects the town.

The actual memorial building is the rusted looking structure who internal panels list the names of miners who have lost their lives working in the local mines. These are represented by a red rose next to the miners names.

Would we return?

It’s a bloody long drive to get to Broken Hill and this was definitely one of those “tick it off the bucket list” places which we’d always wanted to visit, but we would probably not return. Been there and done that. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.


Pro Hart Museum

The Pro Hart Museum is based in Broken Hill (maplink). This is a gallery and tribute to the artist Pro Hart, boasting three floors of his colourful artworks. He was one of the outback artists who came from around Broken Hill and painted Australian scenes in the brilliant hues of the outback. This gallery is in the studio and home where Pro brought up his five children.

Some of his car collection and sculptures are at the entrance to the gallery. His hand-painted Rolls Royce is a must see. We picked up a great jigsaw puzzle called Home Brew Party and (yet another) gecko for our collection at home.

Would we return?

It’s a bloody long drive to get to Broken Hill and this was definitely one of those “tick it off the bucket list” places which we’d always wanted to visit, but we would probably not return. Been there and done that. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.


Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum

Behind the stone facade of the restored former Bond Store is another of Broken Hill’s must-see mining museums.

The Albert Kersten Mining & Minerals Museum displays information on how the world’s largest deposit of silver lead and zinc was formed here in Broken Hill.

It also houses a renowned collection of Broken Hill minerals.

The Museum is also home to the Silver Tree once owned by Charles Rasp, the boundary rider who pegged out the first Broken Hill mining lease with his partners. The 8.5 kilos of silver is an exquisite example of the renowned Adelaide silversmith, Henry Steiner.

Would we return?

It’s a bloody long drive to get to Broken Hill and this was definitely one of those “tick it off the bucket list” places which we’d always wanted to visit, but we would probably not return. Been there and done that. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.


Broken Hill Sculptures & Living Desert Sanctuary

We took the 28km drive (maplink) out from the Outback Resort to view the sculptures created in the Living Desert State Park. These sculptures range from plain (with a story) to rather exceptional. The visit is definitely one which should be undertaken when in Broken Hill.

The Sculptures comprise 12 sandstone artworks which highlight the skyline, all with a story to tell. Located on a majestic hilltop within the centre of the reserve, the sculptures were completed in 1993 by artists from around the world.

Would we return?

It’s a bloody long drive to get to Broken Hill and this was definitely one of those “tick it off the bucket list” places which we’d always wanted to visit, but we would probably not return. Been there and done that. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.


Broken Hill Outback Resort

Our Tagalong20 trip began with a 2 day road trip from our home in Melbourne traveling up the Calder Highway (869km – maplink). We stopped overnight at a free camp behind the Royal Hotel in Sea Lake (Vic), as long as we dined in the pub. After a great feed and very quiet night (only van in the carpark) we continued on to Broken Hill the next day.

Happy hour gathering

Arriving at the Broken Hill Outback Resort along with 16 other Bailey caravans it’s time to re-connect with friends from previous trips and meet new friends at the first happy hour. We gathered around and had a few drinks while the organising team provided the group with a briefing.

We then all participated in the welcoming dinner prepared by the team at the Outback Resort – nice tucker. We just had to battle the bloody flies!!!

The evening rounded out with a short, sharp dust storm and a splattering of rain; welcome to the unpredictable outback.

Here’s a YouTube video, which Liam took on his drone, of the resort and surrounding landscape…

Would we return?

This caravan park is fairly new and well set-out BUT its 16.6kms from town. The primary reason it was chosen was because it was pet friendly. If we were to return to Broken Hill we would look for a caravan park closer to town. Check out TripAdvisor for more information about things to do in Broken Hill.