We decided that our next trip would be to the South Australian Heritage town of Burra, situated 154 kilometres north of Adelaide, and 186 kilometres west of our home town. We departed on Thursday, 16 November 2006 and returned Sunday, 19 November 2006. This is our travel diary of the trip.
Day 1: 16 Nov 2006
When we were planning this weekend our main concerns were that the weather may be too hot. How wrong we were, this week saw one of the coldest November snaps in 20 years. Wednesday’s maximum temperature was only 15 degrees. There has also been some wild weather all around the east coast of Australia, fortunately we were spared anything serious.
After finishing work yesterday we went through our checklists to ensure that we were prepared for the trip. Diane bought a new microwave from BIG W which was on special for $68. I can’t believe that when we bought our first microwave 20 years ago we paid $300 – using the calculator on the Measuring Worth website I’ve calculated our first microwave would cost $500 on today’s value, or $40 in 1988!
Waking up this morning the weather was perfect – clear skies with little or no wind. Ideal conditions for travelling. The Jackaroo had been filled with fuel, the caravan was hitched to the Jackaroo and we departed Berri around 10.50am, on to Monash and then we turned off the Sturt Highway a few kilometres down the road to go to Morgan, and then on to Burra.
We travelled at a leisurely 80kph and arrived in Burra shortly after 1.30pm. Between Berri and Morgan whilst we were travelling beside the river, the vines appeared well looked after and there were little signs that we were in the middle of a severe drought. However, once we turned off onto the road to Burra, it was very evident that there was a drought.
Not one dam had any water in it, there were no crops in the paddocks and the whole landscape appeared very bare and barren, as if we were in a dessert area. The earth had a very dusty, dry, red appearance.
We booked into the Burra Caravan Park and set up the caravan. Prior to leaving Berri we purchased 4 metres of sullage hose having been advised that this would be sufficient for our needs. Upon being allocated our site in the caravan park, the sullage connection point was on the opposite side of the side of the caravan and our hose was a metre or so short. Off we went to the local hardware store to purchase an additional 10 metre length of sullage hose.
The remainder of the day was spent walking around the main street and purchasing the Burra Heritage Pass. Our friends, Jim and Raelene will be joining us tomorrow evening for the remainder of the weekend.
Day 2: 17 Nov 2006
We awoke around 6.30am. Whilst the morning air had a little chill in it, by around 10.00am it had warmed up and we had another perfect day for sight seeing. Today was spent exploring the Clare Valley.
We travelled the short distance (42kms) from Burra to Clare in just under 30 minutes and arrived in Clare at approximately 9.30am. This was the first time I had been to Clare since my parents took me when I was 11 or 12 to camp at Clare over Easter in 1970 or 1971. My only recollections of that camping trip is going up and down a few steep hills to a lookout (which I now know to be Neagles Rock Look Out) and camping by the creek in the Clare Caravan Park.
Visit the web site for more information on the region.
As we arrived in Clare via the northern entrance to the town, we had difficulty in finding the Tourist Information office. We asked at the Council Chambers to be informed that the office is located about 3 kilometres out of town on the southern side, adjacent to the Caravan Park. The Visitor Centre is magnificently presented and information was readily available. Once there we stocked up on tourist information and proceeded to Spring Gully look out in the Spring Gully Conservation Park.
From Spring Gully we drove to Martindale Hall, via Mintaro. Martindale Hall was the location for filming the school scenes for the film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) which was directed by Peter Weir. We then drove back to Burra and visited Thorogoods, makers of Apple Wines and Ciders. We samples a few of the products and purchased a bottle of Scrumpy Sweet Cider. We then returned to our caravan for lunch.
Following lunch we decided to visit Burra Gorge. This is a beautiful spot to camp at provided you are self sufficient. We then returned to Burra around 4.00pm and walked around the main street of Burra. Tea was prepared around 6.00pm and was served when our friends, Jim & Raelene arrived around 7.30pm. After tea we had a few drinks and turned in around 10.00pm.
Day 3: 18 Nov 2006
The weather today was a lot warmer than yesterday. With our friends (Jim & Raelene) we commenced the Burra Heritage Trail around 9.00am and visited a number of the sites.
These sites included Redruth Goal. This goal was used for the location for filming some of the scenes for the film Breaker Morant (1980) which starred Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson and Bryan Brown.
Another site was along the Burra Creek where miners lived in dugouts along the creek bed. We also visited the mine site where a number of the buildings (in ruins) still exist and are a stark reminder of bygone days. By 11.30am the weather was too hot to continue walking around the sites.
We decided to return to Clare for some further sight seeing. A few kilometres out of town on the road to Blyth is Brooks Lookout which we turned into to view and appreciate the vast landscape before us. We then returned to Burra and visited the photo display presented by the Burra History Group in the Town Hall. The Burra History Group have an excellent collection of photos and memorabilia from the early days through to more recent times of the history of Burra.
After completing our visit of the Town Hall we booked in for dinner at the Commercial Hotel. The dinner was excellent and the serves were more than ample. Meals ranged in price from $14 to $20.
We returned to the caravan park around 7.30pm and set up table and chairs outside for a drink or two. We were joined by our neighbours, Bain and Joan who were from Devenport (Tasmania) who were travelling in a Ford Econovan Campervan. Shortly after, Ron & Flo and Roy & Barbara who were both from Adelaide joined us and we had our own informal “happy hour” talking about our travels.
Ron & Flo have a permanent booking at Lake Bonney Caravan Park in Barmera every Easter and we hope to catch up with them again next Easter. We all decided to turn in around 10.30pm.
Day 4: 19 Nov 2006
Knowing how quickly the weather warmed up yesterday, we decided on an early start this morning to complete the Burra Heritage Trail. The sites we visited this morning were the Police Station Stables, the Court House, the Burra Railway Station and the Unicorn Brewery site.
We continued to be amazed at just how hard life must have been all those years ago. By 11.30am we had visited all the remaining sites of interest and we returned the key at the Visitor Information Centre. We ate a quick lunch and hitched the caravan in readiness for our trip home. We left Burra at 12.30pm and arrived home just before 3.00pm.
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekender to Burra and would recommend to anyone a short stay in Burra to undertake the Burra Heritage Trail is well worth doing.
We stayed at the Burra Caravan Park. The caravan park is situated along the creek bed with all sites requiring you to reverse into. The sites are clean and level with a gravel surface. There are no lawned sites. The southern end of the park has no fencing and therefore anyone can access the caravan park. On Saturday night there was an incident with our neighbour whereby someone threw a shoe at their caravan around 1.00am. Each time we left the caravan park we had to secure all items inside the van – this was a nuisance. A key was also needed to enter the amenities block. There are 28 powered sites and the site fee for a powered site was $17/night.
The total distance we travelled over the weekend was 764 kilometres and we consumed 134.49 litres of unleaded fuel. Of the total distance travelled, 373 kilometres (48.82%) was with the caravan on tow and 391 kilometres (51.18%) without the caravan.
Overall consumption was therefore 17.60 litres/100kms. Total fuel costs were $150.90 with the average price per litre 112.3 cents. Our average speed whilst towing was 80 – 85 km/hr.
Burra Visitor Centre Website – The website for the Burra Visitor Centre. The visitor centre is located at 2 Market Square, BURRA.
The History of Burra – The History of Burra compiled by the Burra History Group.
Clare Valley – State Government Tourist Bureau web site for the Clare Valley.
Thorogoods – Makers of Apple Wines and Ciders.