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Blue Snoopy is a 2012 Nova Vita Caravan pulled by a 2012 Nissan Navara ST Dual Cab Ute.

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3 July 2013 – Renmark to Peterborough SA

What a day.

It was cold when we made our way out of bed (2 degrees) however the temperature had risen to a warm 6 degrees by the time we left Renmark.  The day itself was clear, not a cloud in the sky and very little wind.

We had several options for the trip north but decided to follow the most direct route which would take us through Morgan, Burra, Terowie and then onto Peterborough.  We initially had intended to visit Banrock Station at Kingston on the Murray (the makers of wines that we love) but we decided that we could not afford the additional weight from wine which we would have purchased and besides that, it was probably not wise to undertake wine tasting so early in the day.

After turning North at Morgan, we started to notice a gradual rise in fuel consumption reported by the computer in the Navara.  Shortly after this, the Navara would not change into 5th gear when driven automatically.  It was at this time we started to notice a fair amount of movement in the trees and bushes alongside the road.  This part of the trip was also a new experience as the faithful white line marking the edge of the road had disappeared, the road had narrowed and there was a drop of several inches from the road to the shoulder in places.  We could not recall travelling with the caravan with road conditions like this so it was a good learning experience. By the time we arrived in Burra, our consumption was about 2 litres per 100k’s higher than we have ever experienced in our short time towing.  It was also a lot higher that anything we have experienced since embracing this lifestyle.

We went to the Burra open cut copper mine and as soon as we disembarked from the car we became very aware that it was almost blowing a gale outside.

We walked into the mine site only to find out that the museum closed in 20 minutes time and they wanted $4.00 to go in.  The suggested time to visit the site was 1.5 hours so we decide to pass.  In hindsight we should have stayed overnight at Burra bearing in mind that Peterborough was only an hour down the road. (Note – had we done this we would have then driven to Peterborough the following day and during the time of exceptionally high winds).

After having lunch at the mine site we moved to an adjacent lookout to take some photographs and whilst there we were amazed at three women who hurriedly drove in and parked directly in front of our car.  It was a fairly large site and without trying, they blocked us in.  They were madly taking photographs with ipads and we had to ask them to move so we could leave.

Peterborough is only about 80k’s from Burra but the fuel consumption on the Navara computer continued to rise to 18.4 litres per 100k’s (will see the correct number when we refuel but expect it to be around 19 litres) by the time we arrived.  The Navara really performed well and the combination handled the wind with ease notwithstanding the fuel consumption.

We did notice a wind farm to the left of the road between Burra and Terowie and we counted just under 100 wind generators.  This is by far the largest wind farm we have ever seen and we understand that this farm will get bigger in time.

We stopped at Terowie and went to the old railway station. Terowie’s initial role was to serve as a transport hub for the late 19th Century pastoral settlement of the north-east of the State. The broad gauge line from the south (via Burra) ended at Terowie. Soon a narrow gauge line continued 20 km north to Peterborough, where lines from Perth, Western Australia, Alice Springs, Broken Hill and later Sydney met. Thus Terowie functioned for decades as the transhipment point at the railway break-of-gauge.

The broad gauge line was extended from Terowie to Peterborough in the 1970s, and Terowie went from a thriving township into something of a perfectly preserved ghost-town. The railway line was closed and removed in the early 1990s but many relics remain and have been well preserved in the Museum and the Walking Trail.

We were surprised that Terowie still remains a well preserved ghost-town with very little evidence of commerce.  There is a fuel stop on the main highway but virtually nothing in town.

We also noticed a plaque on the railway station which stated “I shall return”.  Whilst transferring trains in Terowie on 20 March 1942, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur made his famous speech regarding the Battle of the Philippines in which he said: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”. He subsequently repeated the line “I shall return” in a number of other speeches, in a number of other places. This is the event that is commemorated by the plaque.

We were happy to check in at the caravan park and as a result of booking early, we were given a site close to the amenities block and camp kitchen.

After doing our setup we retrieved email and at the same time noticed that the forecast for tomorrow was for afternoon showers. We have a booking at Steamtown for the Sound and Light show so we decided to see if we needed to change to today due to the forecast.

We drove to Steamtown only to be amazed at a brand new building and a total makeover since our only visit in 2007.  We confirmed that the Sound and Light show was not impacted by weather and we spent time speaking to some of the volunteers at the museum where we learnt that $1.8m had been spent on the museum in 2010 and it is still a work in progress.  We had not planned to visit the museum again but we will now do so tomorrow.

Whilst talking to the very helpful staff, we made enquiries about a local attraction called Magnetic Hill.  We were given directions to the site and decided to go there straight away.  The round trip was about 70k’s.

We obtained the following from the internet.

“Taking your vehicle to Magnetic Hill is one of things that you must do if you want to experience something that is just a little bit different from anything else. Park your car on the side of the hill and watch it roll UPHILL.

Magnetic Hill was formerly known as Bruff’s Hill, a name which originated from 35 year old James Bruff, of Willunga who settled on that section of land in 1897.

Murray Catford, a former farmer tells the tale of an acquaintance who, in the 1930s, had acquired his first motor car. He was driving in the vicinity of Bruff’s Hill and happened to get a puncture right on the section of land now known as Magnetic Hill. He did the right thing – put a stone in front of the wheels before jacking up the vehicle – only to have it roll uphill. “

At Magnetic Hill we did as the sign said, “put the car into neutral, stop the engine and release the brake”.  You guessed it, the car rolled UP the hill and we have video to prove it.

Before returning to the caravan, we stopped at the local tourist information centre where we obtained information relating to the places we can visit tomorrow. Peterborough is actually an interesting town.

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