Our family is at that stage where the oldest is just about ready to fly the nest, so we decided to have one last hurrah, a family holiday, to put some memories in the memory bank.
The southern part of the country is vastly different to our patch in North Queensland, and as we made our way around the Fleurieu Peninsula, Wilpena Pound/Ikara/Flinders Ranges, Lake Eyre and Kangaroo Island, we noticed some random things.
South Australians, especially around Adelaide, love their dogs. They think everyone should love their ill-behaved mutt as much as they do.
Their tittering when said spoilt canine makes its way along the Esplanade cafe precinct after its off-leash frolic along the beach, greeting every diner by shoving its wet nose in every crotch it passes - "Oh he's so friendly, he just loves everyone."
Well, I have news for you. We don't all love your crusty white dog in return, and I do not appreciate it leaving a salt-encrusted trail of snot on my inner thigh. For the love of all things sacred, teach to it come behind when told.
South Australians also seem to love their sheep. We drove from Jamestown, through Wilpena Pound, out through Marree onto the Oodnadatta track without seeing cattle, only sheep.
Despite so many sheep, lamb (or even a bit of mutton) was not on the menu. Laksa was, though. Laksa was everywhere, even in the outback.
I could live on the eastern side of the Flinders Ranges, and I could even learn to live with sheep. It is like New Zealand (complete with sheep), not as green, but oh so stunningly beautiful. Unfortunately, my husband does not seem enthused by this musing.
The desert is a phenomenal place. So full of life and splendour, so unexpected. It probably helped that they'd already received three times their annual rainfall.
What South Australians don't seem like is parking bays running alongside the street. If there's no yellow line, you can park even if half of your car is sitting on the street, forcing the traffic into the next lane to get around you. In fact a lot of their traffic/road usage is a bit how ya going.
It was a stunning part of the world, though, and the landscape changed so dramatically. So if you haven't been, go! Perhaps just don't go in winter unless you like a bit of frostbite on your toes, though.
- Kylie Stretton, Charters Towers beef producer
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