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Point Lowly, Fitzgerald Bay, Ada Ryan Gardens.

Road Trip Day 11: 2nd June 2007

Point Lowly is the location of a historic lighthouse that is no longer used for its original purpose but is kept functional by the Whyalla Council as a tourist attraction. It's a 20 minute drive from Whyalla and once you get there you can see... well... a lighthouse.

I can see on a warm summers day that Point Lowly would be a great family outing location. It has nice beaches, playground, picnic and toilet facilities. It's a paradise for shell collectors like Rose is.

On a cold winters day (though thankfully not raining or icy cold) you can walk on the beach and look at the lighthouse - and if you're up for a hike follow the walking trails that include information boards at key locations.

Rose and I weren't up for a hike (as most were more than 1 kilometre long) however we noted you could follow one of the walking trails by car for impressive views of the bay. The trail lead to Fitzgerald Bay, for which we had seen a sign on the road in and thought we might take a look on the way back. By following the trail we could do a kind of loop and head for home from Fitzgerald Bay.

The coastal trail doubles as the emergency exit for the local oil and gas storage facility that you pass on your way to Point Lowly. It's a very winding dirt road both up and down hills and left and right bends. You wouldn't want to have to follow it quickly in an emergency or you could find your vehicle in the bay.

We followed the trail, mostly in second gear for the six kilometres between Point Lowly and Fitzgerald Bay. If you're into four wheel driving and want a fairly amateur track to get you started this would be one to follow. There were one or two fairly steep inclines that I thought our little Subaru 4WD may not have handled but did effortlessly.

The view was worth the drive. Looking out over the bay you can see boats and the many enclosures that form part of a commercial fish farm all framed with the backdrop of the southern Flinders Ranges in the distance.

Fitzgerald Bay is really just a name on a map. We couldn't see a lot there (beyond of course the magnificent views) so we followed the road back to Whyalla.

Once back in town Rose and I stopped for some lunch then made our way to the only Art Gallery in town (well the only one mentioned in the tourist brochures). The Whyalla Art Group has a gallery that exhibits it's members work. Whilst the work was all very good it was fairly typical of your local community art group with a varying array of themes and subjects.

For the rest of our day Rose and I walked around the Ada Ryan Gardens - and old haunt of our family back in the days when we lived here. On many occasions we'd come to the gardens for a picnic before heading down to the beach.

The gardens themselves are not much different from any local park however what sets the Ada Ryan Gardens apart is something that I had forgotten. The Gardens feature several animal enclosures where you can see a range of Australian birds and a family of grey kangaroos.

When I saw these, I had immediate memories of walking around these cages as a child. I think both of my parents used to try and get the galahs and cockatoos to say 'hello cocky' (a mandatory thing to do whenever you see any kind of parrot). I don't think we had a lot of success back then with getting the birds to speak but this time around both the cockatoos and pink galahs came over and said 'hello cocky' without any prompting.

Ada Ryan Gardens isn't a very large park so Rose and I ventured back down to the beach and walked the length of it. Rose collected shells whilst I was kind of half looking out for the missing steam locomotive I used to play on as a child, perhaps it had been located further down the beach? I didn't find it.

That was pretty much our day. Tomorrow is our last full day in Whyalla then on Monday we'll do a tour of the One Steel factory in the morning before leaving for Perth. It will be good to get moving west again.

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