Farewelling the Murray

15th – 17th March, 2017

Wednesday 15th

We backtracked a bit to have a look at Mildura. Vineyards, vineyards and more vineyards, with occasional almond groves, citrus and stone fruit. Mildura region supplies 98% of Australia’s dried vine fruits (eg sultanas), 68% of our table grapes and 20% of our wine grapes. 60 – 70% of Australia’s wine grapes are grown in Mildura, Riverland (just over the border in SA) and Griffith (just north east in NSW). We don’t hear much about these wines because the huge majority of them are exported – the 41% tax put on local sales makes export much more lucrative.

Leaving Mildura we crossed into South Australia which has even stricter biosecurity regulations than the Victorian Pest Free Area and I added my zucchinis and pumpkin to their bin.

Entering South Australia - just past the biosecurity check point.

Entering South Australia – just past the biosecurity check point.

We met up with Ric and Gill in Berri. They’re now heading back to Queensland before going on a volunteer assignment to Fiji. Tonight we’re all staying at Katarapko, part of the Murray River National Park. Yep, you guessed it – back camping with the Redgums again.

Sunset on Katarapko Creek, Murray River NP

Sunset on Katarapko Creek, Murray River NP

Hot day today (35-ish). Hot night too.

Thursday 16th

A blustery cool change came in at 3.30am – no rain luckily considering the state of the road we drove in on, but sure cooled things down.

We had a slow start to the day, chatting with Ric and Gill about their exciting times coming up and them giving us lots of tips about where to go and what to see in our coming travels (they’ve been here  before). We farewelled them in Berri then stayed on in a caravan park, beside the Murray, organising shopping, cooking, washing, etc.

Friday 17th

With hot weather forecast for the weekend, yet again, we’ve decided to head towards Eyre Peninsula where it’s much cooler. Leaving Berri the vineyards and occasional almond groves quickly disappeared replaced by flat grazing country. We followed the Murray to the town of Morgan where we stopped for brunch. It’s an historic town, a port for the region when river transport on the Murray was of major importance. We farewell the Murray now. It’s been fun following it, but different adventures await us.

From here we continued on towards Burra. We’d noticed the mallee country changed to mile after mile of saltbush (sheep grazing country), then passed a sign that mentioned we’d crossed the 1865 Goyder Line which is a line that joins places that have an annual rainfall of about 250mm. South of that line is mallee country and cropping is possible, north of the line, saltbush country, only light grazing recommended. It’s proven to be remarkably accurate over the years, though scientists are now saying the line is shifting further south as climate change affects the area.

Saltbush - as far as the eye could see.

Saltbush – as far as the eye could see.

At Burra we dropped into a cidery – mmm delicious organic apple cider. Phew, definitely alcoholic though!

Clare is one of many areas in Aus well-known for its wine and we did visit a vineyard but because it had a bush tucker cafe rather than for wine tasting. We were disappointed though – got there at 3.30pm, knowing it closed at 4pm, to be told the kitchen was closed. That’s rubbish! If you’re open till 4pm the kitchen should be open until then too!

Clare Valley.

Clare Valley.

Tonight we’re at the Clare Racecourse for the night with two other campers.

To see more photos from this part of our trip CLICK HERE.

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