The most western coastal town in South Australia, and for me at least it seems to be a little bit of a trap. I booked in for 2 nights at the caravan park when I arrived, today I went and paid for my ninth night. So I haven’t officially crossing the nullabor as yet Ceduna is still another hundred odd kilometres away and commonly considered the South Australian end of the nullabor.The town is a mix of old and new and was once a bustling centre for the agricultural region though now the actual town only has 18 permanent residents. Fowlers bay lives under the constant threat of sand and many building have been lost to the dunes over the years.
As the town is so small and remote, the community doesn’t fall under the control of any council or local government, there’s no connection to power, water or sewerage and everyone has to fend for themselves. This isn’t so bad for power as there’s plenty of sun and wind, but for a town which only gets 30cm of rain annually, water is an effort. Locals go out into the vast sand dune areas surrounding the town and literally dig for water, running pipes back to the townsite. The dunes are littered in some areas with windmills and old excavations for water.
The picture above shows the small solar pump that supplies the caravan park with all it’s water. A few weeks ago their previous water supply was engulfed by the shifting sands so this new one had to be dug a few hundred metres from the original.
Fowlers bay is well known for it’s fishing, people drive huge distances to come here chasing Mulloway. For those who don’t know, Mulloway are one of those iconic species almost every fishing person in Australia spends some time chasing at some stage of their life, growing up to 2m in length they are not only a great sport fish but also excellent eating. Normally this is where you’d expect me to follow up with a picture of the big Mulloway I caught.
I wish… But this is the result of a couple staying in the park that went out on the local charter boat. Tuna, Nanoguy, Kingfish, Snapper, and shark, they had a fantastic day out fishing and get to leave town with a freezer full of fish.
Meanwhile I’ll keep fishing off the local jetty…
I’ve spent many hours on this jetty day and night trying to catch the illusive Mulloway. I’ve spent many an hour chatting to “The Pom”, he’s been coming here for years and living in the caravan park for the past 10 months. You’re guaranteed to find him on the jetty almost every day, sometimes during the day, sometimes at night and often night and day, sitting on his little fishing buggy with Fred the Kelpie close buy. There’s also one other thing you can be guaranteed of, that he’ll catch fish and there’s not a lot he doesn’t know about catching fish around here, if you see him there say g’day and ask for some advice, he’s always happy to share some tips and often he’ll give away the fish he’s caught or give you some bait if you don’t have anything decent.
Oh the hours I’ve spent sitting on this jetty over the days and nights, I’ve caught fish and squid, but nothing of any great size, however I’ll be off to give it another go shortly, one big rod out waiting for the Mulloway, and a small rod to keep me amused catching small stuff while I wait for the illusive big one. They say that catching a Mulloway is all about putting in the hours at the right times with the right baits and the right places. Well I’m in the right spot, with the right bait and putting in the hours, so hopefully I’ll get one before despair sets in or I run out of food.
I should perhaps talk a little about the town. If you plan on coming here, and I recommend that you do, you need to be fairly well prepared. There’s only the one shop in town, which is part of the caravan park. They sell coffees and a few basic food items like pies, toasted sandwiches, fish and chips and ice creams. There are also some limited basic stocks of essential grocery items like bread, butter, flour, baked beans, oil etc, so best to be reasonably well stocked before you arrive.
The caravan park is great. There’s some other cabin style accommodation in town but I love the caravan park. If you prefer more of your higher end style of park then you probably won’t enjoy your stay here so much, there are no huge bouncy pillows, no grass, not a lot of trees, in fact there’s not a lot here at all.
Your kettle or toaster may trip the power, the water pressure is terrible and it’s recommended that you fill your tanks and use your caravan pressure pump rather than plugging in directly.
There are also only 4 toilets/showers in the whole place so during busy times, well, it can get busy. And it’s tricky trying to work out where to go when you first arrive in town, the caravan park office/cafe is about 100m away from the caravan park.
On the upside, there’s a great camp kitchen and fire pit area.
Also on the up side, the current managers Shaun and Dana are brilliant, super friendly and happy to help you out any way they can. They light the fire pit every night at around 6 and sit down for a chat with fellow travelers. Saturday night is meal night and they put on a great spread for only $12 a head including 3 different salads, veggies roasted in the camp oven with sausages and chicken patties and often fish.
Then Dana will be up again first thing in the morning making coffees and food for people at the cafe near the jetty. They are at it seven days a week, no days off, yet still take time out to do little extra things, like Shaun driving me out into the dunes to have a look at how the water supply works.
Thanks Shaun and Dana….!!!!
Ahh the joys and diversity of park life, I’m now about to go and have a beer with Trevor. Trevor is a big bloke living in a van here, he’s got long hair, a big rottweiler dog and tattoos all over his face and neck, but a lovely bloke, I’ve spoken briefly with him a few times and then today he asked me to stop by his van later for a beer and a chat.
This is the local shell git after I sorted through it, damn hard to find shell grit around here, had to walk almost 5km out to the rocky point to find any. There were some interesting shells that I found while walking along the beach though.
The under side of this shell is a lesson in recycling, once the original owner had no further use for it, many different sized worms had set up home here at some stage.
There’s also a nice ride along the beach to the south of town. When the tide is low the beach is wide and the sand is nice and hard, well worth a leisurely ride, I rode almost 10km before turning back, weaving in and out of the weed piles, stopping now and then to look at shells.
I’ve slowly added bits to this post over a few days now, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to end it on a high note with a story and pictures of a big Mulloway. Well here’s hoping the story is to be continued…….