We left Parham with a long drive ahead of us. Today, we were aiming to get to Whyalla on the other side of the Spencer Gulf, which required driving all of the way north to the top of the gulf before we could head down again.
Making an early start, we stuck to the main highway heading north from Adelaide, passing by several coastal towns. We decided to pull off the highway at the turn off to Port Germein for a rest and a coffee break.
Port Germein is a bit of a dead town, most of the shops seeming to be out of business and a lot of properties up for sale. It was dead quiet despite it being Monday morning.
The town was once an important port in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, due to its huge jetty that allowed sailing ships to dock in the otherwise shallow water. The wooden jetty was 1680m long in 1883 and was used to export bags of wheat from the surrounding areas. At this time it was the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere, and even now at its reduced length of 1532m, it is still the longest wooden jetty in Australia.
The port declined after the opening of the railway in 1934, hence why the town has declined. It now only really exists for its seaside location which is popular with holiday makers from Adelaide.
Hopping back on the highway, we continued north to the small city of Port Augusta at the top of the Spencer Gulf, a much larger and more active port. We stopped here to pick up some supplies before continuing on.
Now that we were heading south again on the Eyre Peninsula, I instantly noticed that this was a much drier area than the land on the other side of the gulf. The dry red earth only seemed to support rough scrub and stunted trees. It turns out that the area around Whyalla receives 300 days of sunshine every year, so it is certainly dry, but a great place to go if you hate the rain.
We didn’t go right into Whyalla today, but instead took the turn off out to Point Lowly where we planned to camp at Fitzgerald Bay. The camping area here was packed with caravaners, so we had to search for an alternative and headed out to Point Lowly itself. This turned out to be a great decision.
Although the camping area at Point Lowly itself was full, we found ourselves a beautiful spot further along the road that had a million dollar view of the lighthouse and the sea surrounding it.
We spent the afternoon exploring the rocky shore and the Point Lowly Lighthouse, and sat down for the evening with a glass (or two) of Barossa Valley wine. The view was simply beautiful. The sun slowly set to the west, casting a beautiful glow across the bay, and as the sun sank below the horizon, the lighthouse came to life to cast its glow across the sea to warn any passing ships. I could have sat there all night.
As I sipped my wine and looked out at this beautiful view, I felt like a millionaire. I might only be a backpacker with very little money in my pocket and with few possessions, but it’s times like these that I feel like a very wealthy man. Wealth isn’t just about money; it is the experiences that you have in your life, experiences just like this one. At this moment I felt completely content with life.