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Road to Whyalla.

Road Trip Day 9: 31st May 2007 (Afternoon)

Whyalla is our next major stop. The town where Rose and I grew up. The drive is about two and a half hours from Laura cutting through the Flinders Rangers and the town of Port Augusta.

During our journey, the drive between Laura and Port Augusta, has been one of the most scenic so far. Pretty country towns with the Flinders Ranges as a back drop then finally passing through the greenish blue hills of the Flinders Ranges themselves. Such a contrast to the long straight roads through the flat, dry country heading out to Broken Hill.

On this leg of the journey we only made a brief stop in Port Augusta just to stretch our legs after an hour and a half of driving. There's not much to say about the Port except that it is a fairly major town that is run by a fairly controversial local council. It probably has an important place in history given it's location but I've never really had the time to find out.

Between Port Augusta and Whyalla it's just over thirty minutes to drive. It's a long stretch of flat road that can get quite hairy when it comes to over taking.

I had particular difficulty trying to get past one road train. The first attempt failed due to on coming traffic (I got about half way past then had to drop back in behind). On stretches like this it's easy to think you'll have enough time, but at speeds of 110 kilometres per hour the on coming traffic approaches really quick. The second attempt I made it with out any problems.

We made it into Whyalla in time for a late lunch at the Westland Shopping Centre. My family used to shop here regularly. All the shops have changed and a food hall extension has been added since I was last here in 1978. The exterior supports a green roof instead of white. One thing that hasn't changed is the floor tiling in the old section. I'm fairly certain it's the same pattern I remember. The only other thing that is close to how it was in 1978 is the Doctors Surgery that my mum used to take me to is still operating as a surgery.

After a bit of a look around we headed to the Whyalla Tourist information centre to find out about tours of the Iron Knob mine and One Steel, Steel works as well as to find out as much information about local sites as possible.

One place on Roses list was Wilson Park which just happened to be up the road. The park is mentioned in the brochures mainly because it offers great views of the One Steel Factory. Which may not seem all that exciting but we're talking about THE FACTORY that is the whole reason for Whyalla's existence. However I'll go into that in a later post.

The other claim to fame that Wilson Park has is a giant ship rudder that was presented to the people of Whyalla in 1974 and serves as a monument to mark the jubilee naming of the township of Whyalla. The inverted rudder is 10 metres high and, these days has the towns logo emblazoned across it.

That was pretty much our first day in Whyalla. We ended the day by not being able to get a room in our chosen motel. Instead we headed over to the Alexander Motel which was a little more expensive than expected but the rooms come with free wireless internet access and dial up access too. A real bonus for us as this service wasn't mentioned in the accommodation guides.

Our room is nice too and is the first twin share we've been in that has two queen sized beds (usually rooms have one queen sized bed and a single bed).

Tomorrow is our first scheduled tour, which our motel staff kindly booked for us. The Iron knob mine.

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