Renmark, Hogwash Bend

Leaving Victoria behind us we entered South Australia on the way to Renmark. Crossing the border meant a quarantine check – no fruit or vegetables to be brought into South Australia. The quarantine check station is just before Renmark. The Inspector wanted to have a look in the fridge in the LandCruiser as well as the fridge in the caravan. We came well prepared – Lesley had cooked up all the vegetables we had, which made them OK to import into South Australia. Lesley mentioned to the inspector that we didn’t have any honey – to which he replied: only Kangaroo Island and Western Australia have restrictions on importing honey. They are the only areas that have native bees that need protection.

We did a bit of shopping in Renmark, vegetables needed to be replaced. Woolworths was a convenient stop. We parked in a side street, close to the shopping centre. When we returned, we found that witches hats had been placed along the middle of the road that we were parked on. This left little room between our caravan and the witches hats. All the same I went through the procedure of checking lights. Only the running lights were working and the indicators, brake lights and the brake controller were not connected. After a little time of avoiding traffic passing between the witches hats and the caravan, I decided it was too dangerous to continue checking in the street where we were parked. We left to turn around the next corner into a suburban street. Here it became evident that there was a problem. A guy approached us from one of the houses in the street and enquired what the problem was. We explained that the caravan lights were not behaving themselves. He offered to bring a can of CRC to spray into the plug and socket – but this didn’t help either. We asked him where we could take the van to be checked out. He started explaining how to get to Pendle Automotive Services. It became too complicated and in the end he offered to drive in front of us to lead us to the repair place he had in mind. What a guy – offering this kind of assistance to somebody he never met before.

It certainly was not straight forward and I was glad that we had a guide in front of us all the way to the repair place.

It didn’t take long for the guys to diagnose the problem – the plug on the caravan was stuffed, to put it in technical terms. They had to source a replacement plug and after a little while, the replacement plug was fitted and all the lights and brake controller were working again. We would certainly recommend Pendle Automotive Services in Renmark should any fellow travellers find themselves with a problem. A quick resolution at a very reasonable price.

We soon left Renmark and were on our way to Hogwash Bend. Leaving the main road, we came across a sign proclaiming the land to be private – do not trespass. We took it to mean we couldn’t proceed along the road and therefore turned left. This ended up to be a dead end and I had to negotiate a three point turn with the caravan. Eventually we found our way to Hogwash Bend. The ‘do not trespass’ sign did not relate to the road, but only meant do not enter our land. We arrived at Hogwash Bend and were able to set up camp a very short distance from the bank of the Murray.

Once set up, there wasn’t much to do. We sat, watching traffic on the Murray River. Pleasure boats were making their way up the river.

People were kayaking along the river bank on the other side of the Murray.

There even was a water skier that practised turns on the river.

I tried to get a photo of a pelican landing – but no such luck. They appear out of nowhere and descend before I get a chance to get my camera ready.

The Hogwash Bend Conservation Park is a vast area that was recently set aside. Previously it was possible to set up camp in the whole area. Since 2012 the area has been fenced off and a program of re-establishing the native flora has been undertaken. While I understand the need for conservation, I still regret that we can’t camp in the beautiful spots that were formerly accessible.

It would have been great to camp close to the river in this location.

Of course if everybody was mindful of the environment, it would have been possible to keep this area open to the public. Unfortunately, some people push the boundaries and that results in restrictions having to be imposed on everyone. I was dismayed to see nappies disposed of near to the camp grounds. Even less understandable when you see the council making the effort of providing bins and emptying them on a regular basis.

We only stayed one night at Hogwash Bend – a nice stay with only a few campers staying there. This is the road out – about 2km to the highway on this dirt road.

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