The next leg of our Perth trip

We had endured a couple of difficult days in Clare, South Australia and were about to embark on the next leg of our Perth trip to the Nuttbush Retreat 40 kilometres west of Port Augusta.

I don’t know about you but I believe that many things happen in “threes”:

  1. our first started in Hahndorf – a mechanical failure,
  2. then Clare and – an electrical failure,
  3. finally in Port Pirie – an animal issue!

1. The Hahndorf Resort

Our arrival at the Hahndorf Resort had been planned but the events following our check in were far from planned.

Broken Steering component
Broken Steering component

Reversing our vehicle into the site there was a loud bang from the front of the vehicle. The end result being that we were stranded in the middle of the road, with a camper trailer attached on a downhill slope – we had no steering!

The next thing we knew was that the Hahndorf Resort owner was there with his vehicle, attaching our camper trailer to his car and moving it to another site. He then helped me move my vehicle out of the way, with advice on where he wanted it. Given that we were on a slope, I had no control of where we went but I did have brakes, so we rolled it onto a gravel area out of the way. This was all done at 8 pm at night!

Plant border between sites
Plant border between sites

Next morning he knocked on our door, asking if I was ready to go into town to order the parts. He then returned later in the day to pick me up to collect the parts as they had arrived. I had the car fixed in half an hour, he then arranged for us to get a wheel alignment the next day.

This is why the Hahndorf Resort wins awards like the Premiers award for Service Excellence from the South Australian Tourism Awards Office.

I will add that Brian, the owner of the Hahndorf Resort is in his 70’s and did all of this without fuss or complaint, and then had the kindness to allow us to let our cat stay in the unit we booked for an extra night!

2. Clare in the Clare Valley

After our problematic time in Hahndorf, we headed to Clare in the Clare Valley.

We had planned to stay in the Clare Caravan Park, to the south of the town, so that we had a base to tour around this lovely area. Cue the next and second of our little issues.

This time we had an electrical issue, burning out a component. With our 4wd being a bit older parts are becoming harder to find and I carry the most common of parts with me. However, this was a rotor button in the distributor burnt out when the coil failed. Remember it is an old vehicle.

We ordered the part through Adam of Adam Bruce Automotive who ordered the part from Adelaide. Unfortunately the part did not arrive for three days, even though the sender promised it was on the courier that day. Adam, was very good with us, he called into the caravan park on the way home after day two to explain the dilemma he was in, totally of his own free will.

When the part arrived he installed the new part for us, immediately. Another fantastic business in South Australia offering excellence of service.

Clare Caravan Park

As we had no vehicle for three days, we spent a lot of time at the caravan park.

The facilities here are excellent:

  • There was a separate under cover area with 3 Pizza ovens
  • A large open fire and
  • plenty of tables and chairs
  • camp kitchen with TV and tables as well,
  • and more

The caravan park also had a school holiday program running for the children, including movies at dusk, and later on

movies for mum and dad.

3. Port Pirie

This is the third issue of the three, we had no more problems for a few weeks, so clearly our run of bad luck had ended once we were finished in Port Pirie.

The Cat
The Cat

We were travelling with a cat and she had been trouble free for the entire trip to date (about a week), sleeping in the car, walking on a lead and behaving quite well for a 21 year old cat.

The drive to Port Pirie was difficult as the cat had begun to “pant”, make strange noises and had refused to eat her breakfast, she had plenty of water and had been happy over night.

By the time we got to Port Pirie she had become totally listless, wouldn’t move and even her tail had stopped moving – a bad sign for this cat! We looked for vet quickly.

The vet kept her for an hour while we had lunch and on our return she was as happy as she is on a normal day. The vet had given her a needle, and some kitten food, good as gold. We had no more trouble with her for the entire trip, must have been a bad “cat” day!


The drive to NuttBush Retreat

The next stage of our trip was to Nuttbush Retreat, approximately 40 kilometres west of Port Augusta.

Old Shearing Shed
Old Shearing Shed – Nuttbush Retreat

As we had been having bad luck with the car, we decided to take roads leading to larger towns, which meant that the first town we headed for was Port Pirie. Another stop over place (unplanned, with the cat issue), but only for a couple of hours and onto Port Augusta where we stopped again for an hour or so.

With our car and cat troubles we were a little behind schedule so our planned stop in Port Augusta became a quick stop over, filling up with fuel, checking the cat and moving on.

Arriving at Nuttbush Retreat

Nuttbush Retreat is a little over 40 kilometres from Port Augusta, and therefore quite an easy drive.

Upon our arrival we see that there is a few other vans there and only one site left, ours!

To me this was what I had expected from a typical working cattle station, well typical from my point of view, given that I have never seen one!

The camping area is large but with a small area of grass, a very difficult proposition to grow grass out here as there is very little rainfall. After we had set up our camp site, we went up to the restaurant and bar for the happy hour, we were the only people who partook of the happy hour!

Their restaurant is made from a converted shearing shed and the floors being uneven added to the rustic appeal of the place. The decor is all timber, the tables and solid timber creations from other parts of the building and everything has that “solid as a rock” feel of the old days.

The old shearing quarters had been turned into accommodation, and a full set of facilities was provided, including:

  • A camp kitchen,
  • Laundry facilities,
  • A recreation room with a very large open fire, TV and pool table,
  • Swimming pool (which you had to shower BEFORE you went in!).

All in all, this is an interesting place to stop over for a night, it is a pity that they can’t organise tours of the property, but as it is a working cattle station I can understand the difficulty, especially given this quote from the website:

Nuttbush Retreat website states:

4WD tours or other on station activities are currently not available due to the Department of Defences’ compulsory acquisition of the land these activities were conducted on. We hope to develop trails on other parts of our property in the future.

Looking forward to these new trips.

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