The thing about cats is that they always make us smile, whether they know it or not. Willow is no exception to this as she brings us limitless amounts of joy as we travel around Australia with her.
Of course, peculiar nap spots are always a source of great amusement and on a recent visit to Flat Rock in South Australia Willow gave us particular reason to chuckle.
After visiting the laundromat and stocking up on supplies in Whyalla, we found ourselves at Flat Rock beach camping site situated between Cowell and Port Gibbon. We would spend 6 nights there and although our time was largely spent relaxing, we had a remarkable opportunity to swim with the majestic stingrays.
This stretch of coast has a number of low-cost camping sites run by the Franklin Harbour Council at $5 p/n or $50 for the week. Flat Rock is an exceptional little beach camp which had the perfect spot for our van just metres from the beach. From there we had spectacular views along the coast and could watch as the spring tides exposed the reef.
We were pretty quick to set up some camp chairs and it wasn’t long before Willow found a lap to sit on. That evening, a pod of dolphins passed by. Magic.
When I say this is a camp site, I mean that in the most rudimentary way possible. There are no facilities here with the exception of a rubbish bin. What this meant for us is that for this time of year coming into winter, we had the place to ourselves most nights.
In the mornings, the sunrises were out of this world as the sky was painted purple. I took this time to take walks along the beach, taking in the serenity and stillness of this magical place. When I would return to camp Willow would watch Steph practice some yoga and often joined in with some stretches of her own.
Though, Willow’s favourite pose remains to be ‘sitting cat’, a pose she performs for long periods daily for both health and prosperity.
We would take our snorkels down to the beach and swim across the reef to watch the fish. The water was fresh but nothing my Tasmanian blood couldn’t handle.
Although we only spend 6 nights at the camp, we did a small supply run to Cowell which has a small but well stocked supermarket.
Cowell also has an information centre which sells all sorts of locally made giftware, cakes, and condiments. We picked up the most delicious homemade carrot cake and some zucchini relish. Though they didn’t sell any cat treats for Willow – don’t they know there is a market for them?
Willow enjoyed her time outside sniffing around the dunes beside our campervan before deciding it was time to come in. With the day time temperatures cooling off, her green blanket on the dashboard always proved to be a cosy spot to snooze.
Though there are a few of her other nap spots I have to mention.
Willow doesn’t often settle on the camp chairs by herself unless she a lap to sit on. I think it’s because she feels a bit vulnerable and exposed to the sky. However, when she discovered I had draped my beach towel over to dry, she hopped right in and settled down for a sleep.
A few days later, Willow really made us laugh when we found her on the bed lying upon a map of South Australia. Of all the places she could sleep, of all the comfy blankets we lay out for her she chose sleep on a map!
The mind boggles, Willow!
Steph and I decided that now wasn’t the time to be making any travel decisions and that with Willow unwilling to relinquish the map, we may need to now bypass South Australia altogether! So, respecting Willow’s choices – no matter how terrible they are – we left her to sleep.
On our second last day I put our drone up into the air to capture some snaps of our campsite from above. Along the beach I spotted a large group of stingrays. I could tell from their pointed wings that they were Southern Eagle Rays that come into the shallows to feed on crabs and molluscs.
Steph and I grabbed our snorkels and ran down to the beach. We entered the water and waited for them to pass by. Unfortunately the visibility wasn’t great, however we did encounter one as it passed by us with majestic grace.
Eagle Rays are gentle giants and will quickly dart off if they sense danger, however, if you stay still and don’t pose a threat they will let you watch their activities and can even become quite curious.
Eagle Rays and stingrays are remarkable in that they are from the same family as sharks but their mouths are located on their underside, and they have breathing holes behind their eyes called spiracles.
They are truly a treasure to watch, and so peaceful.
That evening the three of us were tucked up in bed with Willow taking her usual spot nestled between my shins. Tomorrow we would continue our trip down the East Coast of the Eyre Peninsula onto new adventures, but for now I was grateful for our stay at this special beach.
Flat Rock is a beautiful place to take some time to relax and enjoy the ocean.
It’s wild, untamed, but most of all beautiful, and it was a delight to be able to spend a week there with Willow and Steph.