Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fair Eyre

Day 6 - In which the January Eyre Peninsula road trip brings us to Elliston.

It was a wrench to leave Lincoln and that lovely hotel. We piled our road trip luggage on hotel trolly, astonished at how much we seemed to have.

Blossom, the pet chilli plant, capped it as a bit of luxurious overkill. But, the joy of a road trip is the the joy of almost unlimited luggage.

So, off we went early on Sunday morning, swinging by the famous oyster farming centre of Coffin Bay for a good look at it before humming north westwards to Sheringa to visit our Australia Day host, Kym Callaghan, his wife Robyn, and the boys Tyreece and Brody.

Sheringa is a flyspeck on the map but the Callaghans have a dear little colonial farm cottage there with garden and a few animals. We had a convivial cup of tea in the farm kitchen before following Kym up to Elliston, stopping along the way to gasp with awe at the magnificence of Lock Wells.

The council has created fantastic stairs and platforms for visitors to access the views, and even an eco lavatory. What a view. What huge, rugged cliffs. What wild and beautiful, vivid blue sea with frothy waves rolling forwards, line after mighty line. The glorious, clean air. The roar of surf. The ancient grandeur of it all. These are the mighty sea views people travel from afar to relish. We relished, too.

We skimmed on up to the sprawling coastal town of Elliston where Kim led us to the Council's Information Centre complete with impressive Op Shop in the big hall.

There were some terrific crafts on sale in the Information Centre shop. I bought a very quaint and characterful hand-made emu and some photo placemats. Kim presented me with some local information books and souvenirs.

I hunted for Ellen Liston books, since it seemed important that the town had been named after her - the only town I could find anywhere to be named after a woman writer. There was nothing more than reference to her in some history texts. I suggested her short stories should be reprinted and added to the tourist attractions.

Joy of joys, the Eyre Peninsular loo pride phenomenon rises to superstar quality in Elliston. The Information Centre was covered in impressive murals but, beside it, the public conveniences outshone it. Man and woman, huge portraits on the exterior. One could only smile and take photographs.

Kim escorted us on to the Elliston pub where there were wonderful locals waiting to meet us: Leon, Sonia, Cynthia, Mick, George. We had a drink, devoured lovely fresh grilled whiting and chips and had easy conversation with Leon et al. Leon and I used to work together on The Advertiser, so it was especially easy.

We discussed the Australia Day plans with other members of the council. The citizenship ceremony was to take place in Elliston while the Citizen of the Year ceremony was to take place in Lock, an hour away inland. There was some dissent about this division of ceremonies but in this vast Elliston and Lock District Council, it was traditional that the main event was in the town where the Citizen of the Year lived. This year it was Lock. It was all arranged that we would meet Kim at dawn and follow him to Lock where I would give my Australia Day speech.

We hopped off for an exploration of the area, driving around spectacular Waterloo Bay and along the local cliff roads to relish the stunning rocky vistas. So high. Such frothing sea below. Scary. Stunning.

Checking in to the Elliston Caravan Park, we found ourselves assigned the most delightful cabin where the little porch gave a magnificent view over the scrub to the sea. We walked the little sandy scrub path down to the beach to connect with the water of the darling little bay. We lolled awhile on the sand before returning to the cabin and making Pimms to drink on the porch before heading back to the pub for dinner.

Last time we were in a covered beer garden. This time we were in an austere, olde worlde country pub dining room. It was not too flash - but the fresh, local whiting which came out of the kitchen was stunning.

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