Someone told us Port Augusta was large; it had both Coles and Woolworths. Being the town was so big we were pleased to find it still had a bush camp. It is set beside the river on the outskirts of the town. Ok it was a dusty site and the view wasn’t the best but for a donation of $7.00 a night to have a site so close to a large town with no restriction on time is a bonus.
It was my turn to drive and I pulled into the campground backed the van up and got out of the car. A lady had been watching me back the van into position. She came up to me and said, “You shouldn’t do that you know.” The confused look on my face must have shown as she continued, “If the men see you driving and backing they will expect us all to do it.” I laughed not a lot of women will tow caravans and fewer will back them.
Port Augusta is a nice town. The local shopping centre is set beside the river. After restocking the pantry we went to the visitor centre. They have a fantastic display you can wonder through for a cost. We spent about 3 hours just looking at everything.
We also visitor the Arid Gardens. Even though it wasn’t wild flower season there was a lot of colour in the garden. We walked around it for about 2 hours giving the local flies a lift along the way.
Some of the plants had information board next to them. It was interesting to read how the River Red Gum is the world’s fastest growing tree. That is not all that is impressive about this tree. The timber is resistant to decay and termites making it a great choice for fencing and jetties as well as flooring. It was also used a lot for railway sleepers but now the sleepers are made of concrete. It doesn’t stop there; the gum of the tree is exported where it is made into cough lozenges and to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Using the tree for medicine isn’t a new thing; the local Aboriginal people used it for all kinds of thing as well as for local medicine. It sounds like it is a good tree to have around. The usefulness of the tree doesn’t end there. The witchery grubs was often found in the trunk and branches. All of that and you get dinner as well. Wow. I have yet to try a witchery grub but I would like to give it a go, (I think.) The witchery grub is like a very large maggot. I have been told they taste just like chicken when cooked
Now from the great to the not so great. Mistletoe. The Australian mistletoe is not the same as the English mistletoe. In Australian it is said to be the vampire of plants as it sucks the nutrients from the host plant, sometimes killing it. It is a pity as it was full of colour and it did look pretty.