Category Archives: Regional South Australia

Paragliding at Tunkalilla

Back in January I visited a friend on his farm near Parawa on the southern edge of the Fleurieu Peninsula. After departing in the late afternoon I took the local gravel roads down to Tunkalilla Beach for a quick sticky-beak before heading back to Adelaide. It’s a rather quiet spot well away from the path of the typical day-tripper.  It is a known location though for hang glider and paraglider enthusiasts. Rolling hills rise to an elevation of several hundred metres immediately behind the beach, turning sea breezes into ideal updrafts for soaring.

On my arrival there were four paragliders in the air so I proceeded to capture the action with a macro lens (as you do!). Why a macro lens you ask? Shortly before arriving at Tunkalilla, I’d put my early 1980’s Pentax M 100mm macro lens on the camera, having stopped to photograph some of the roadside flora. It was also the only longish lens I had with me, so that’s what got pressed into use. Despite manual focus and manual exposure control (and terrible flat and dull lighting from lots of mid-level cloud), I managed to grab some half decent images, which I share with you in this post.

Paragliding at Tungkilla

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West Cape, Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula lies across the Gulf St Vincent from Adelaide and in a similar way to Italy is shaped much like a leg and foot, but much smaller at around 200 km in length.  My prior post took a look at the setting sun at Moonta Bay which lies at the very top of the peninsula, at the ‘hip’ as it were.

Travelling down the peninsula by road you eventually arrive right down the far ‘toe’ end. From Moonta Bay, it’s a 2½ hour drive, and 4 hours or so if travelling directly from Adelaide. Rugged Cape Spencer and West Cape define the toe and for this post I’m featuring sunsets again, this time at West Cape.

The two capes are within the Innes National Park and around 20 minutes drive from the last township on the peninsula, Marion Bay (which has previously featured on Photo Morsels in A wet and rainy day in Marion Bay).

The images in this post were taken in July last year (2014) which is mid winter down here in Australia. Despite that, the weather while I was there was fine and mild.

In sailing ship days, ships approaching from England and Europe would make landfall in the general vicinity of the capes and enter Investigator Strait in order to proceed to Adelaide. This would have been the first land those ships had seen since rounding the Cape of Good Hope at the base of Africa. Combine the navigational challenges associated with a journey of some 10,000 kilometers without any land observations, the presence of islands and reefs, strong tides and notoriously rough and windy weather on the wrong day, and the area soon became a shipwreck coast. To improve maritime safety, lighthouses were established as early as 1879.

West Cape beach, Yorke Peninsula

West Cape beach in the late afternoon, with shadow formed by the West Cape headland extending into the dunes. The patch of clear water perpendicular to the beach is a powerful rip carrying water deposited on the beach by the swell back into deeper water. Definitely not a swimming beach, and only experienced surfers look to surf here.

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End of the day at Moonta Bay

I’m sitting at home tonight with the first fire of the 2015 winter imparting the pleasant and satisfying warmth that only a wood fire can generate.

It only seemed like a few weeks ago South Australia was enjoying the transition from summer to autumn which weather-wise is undoubtedly the most pleasant time of the year along the southern side of Australia. For this post I’m revisiting one of those balmy late summer evenings.

Just before Easter I traveled up to Moonta Bay, a popular holiday location on the upper Yorke Peninsula some 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Adelaide for an overnight stay. During the day, cloud cover made the light quite unattractive for photography, but as the sun dropped low into the sky, things got a bit more interesting.

Moonta Bay, South Australia

Puddling about.

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Double Headed Steam: Pichi Richi Railway

So far in this series of posts, we’ve followed the Pichi Richi Railway’s Afghan Express heritage train from Port Augusta up into the Pichi Richi Pass as far as Woolshed Flat in:

Head full of steam

and

Heading for the hills

This third post starts at Woolshed Flat and what attracted me to come up to see the Pichi Richi Railway on this particular weekend is revealed – the rare opportunity to see a steam double-headed train. Waiting at Woolshed Flat for the Ghan Express to arrive was the Pichi Richi Explorer, a second heritage steam service that had come up to Woolshed Flat from the other end of the line at Quorn.

W22, Pichi Richi Railway

The Pichi Richi Explorer

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Heading for the hills: Pichi Richi Railway

NM25, Afghan Express, Pichi Richi Railway

Continuing on from the prior post, we follow the Pichi Richi Railways’ Afghan Express as it heads out of Port Augusta and up into the Flinders Ranges through the Pichi Richi Pass.

If you haven’t taken a look at the earlier post Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway I suggest you take a look there before continuing with this post.

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Head full of steam: Pichi Richi Railway

Yep, I’m back to posting about trains again. It’s been a year since the last post dedicated to trains, so that’s not too bad for self discipline!

There are two historical railway societies within South Australia running regularly scheduled tourist railways. One is the Steamranger Heritage Railway operating in the Adelaide Hills and along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula  and which I have previously looked at in several posts. The other society is the Pichi Richi Railway located some 300 kilometres (200 miles) north of Adelaide in the southern Flinders Ranges.

In early October 2013 I took a major detour on the way from Adelaide to a camping weekend along the Murray River to first head to Port Augusta and check out the Pichi Richi operations. Photos from this trip were to have been posted to Photo Morsels but an unexpected visit to the National Railway Museum in suburban Port Adelaide later in October yielded an extensive collection of photos. Those photos rather than the Pichi Richi photos ended up appearing on Photo Morsels in late 2013.

I still intended though that the Pichi Richi photos were to have been a follow-on series published soon thereafter. The ‘soon thereafter’ didn’t eventuate, so with considerable delay, let’s now take a look at the Pichi Richi Railway.

The Pichi Richi Railway is headquartered in the township of Quorn, historically an important railway junction straddling the east/west line across Australia and the railway that headed north to Alice Springs. The heritage railway workshops are in Quorn, but rolling stock is also stored in Port Augusta. This allows heritage services to be operated out of either location.

Joining Port Augusta to Quorn is 39 kilometres (24 miles) of lightly built narrow gauge railway. This section of line was built in 1878 as part of the South Australian Railways’ Port Augusta & Government Gums Railway, and later formed a part of the Commonwealth Railways Central Australian Railway and the east-west Transcontinental line. The original Ghan passenger service operated on the line initially to the remote South Australian community of Oodnadatta and later to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. The section of track maintained by the Pichi Richi Railway is the oldest remaining section of this now abandoned and largely removed narrow gauge track. The Ghan still runs, but on standard gauge track built in the late 1970’s on a completely different alignment to the original.

This post looks at the assembly of an Afghan Express heritage service prior to its run from Port Augusta to Quorn and back.

NM25, Pichi Richi Railway

After building up steam, former Commonwealth Railways 4-8-0 locomotive NM25 brings the some of the original Ghan’s wooden railway carriages out of the storage sheds located at the Port Augusta railway station.

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Second Valley – Painted by Light

After finally finishing the Malaysia holiday series of posts, I’ve taken the opportunity this week to catch up on visits to some of the WordPress blogs I follow.

One of these is High Street Photos X100 authored by another Adelaide photographer Andy Kidd. Andy takes most of his photos with a Fuji X100 camera, hence the X100 in his blog title. He has recently published several posts of photos taken in the area around Rapid Bay and Second Valley. Looking at his posts has prompted me to revisit some photos I took at Second Valley about 18 months ago.

Second Valley is 80 kilometres (50 miles) or so south of Adelaide on the coast of Gulf St Vincent. Size-wise, there’s not much there except a handful of holiday houses, a caravan park and a small jetty. The surrounding area is quite attractive: the coastline is backed by steep hills and Second Valley is located where a small creek flows out of the hills into the sea.

I drove down there in the autumn of 2013 to take photos of some geological formations for use in my son’s Year 12 geology assignment. He’d been down that way some time earlier on a school tour but had apparently missed photographing certain formations he now wanted to reference. So dad to the rescue. He chose to stay home to do some maths home work, so armed with my camera and a quick briefing of what I was looking for, off I went.

The day was drizzly rainy with leaden skies, so I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of interesting photos. But I just happened upon some quite dramatic lighting as you will shortly see.

Yankalilla Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula

Second Valley is on the road that leads down to Cape Jervois. After passing through Yankalilla and Normanville, the road runs along the coast for a few miles before turning back inland. This is the view looking south at the point where the road turns left to head back into the hills. Second Valley is one of the little coves in the distance while Rapid Bay is just this side of the far headland. Dreary drizzly conditions and the hazy look at top left is the rain falling on the nearby hill tops.

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