When people asked where I was going next, I'd say 'Whyalla' and then wait for their response. Most times, it would be a look of confusion, followed by a 'why?' I have never thought of Whyalla as a destination in itself, or that I'd be catching an airplane to go there. I had a pre-conceived idea that it was a dusty, dirty, boring town in the middle of nowhere. A town I'd use as a pit stop or stopover on the way somewhere.
Yes, it is dusty. Red dust sits on the road, the curbs, the galvanised fences. Yes, it is nearly in the middle of nowhere. Like an oasis in the middle of the desert, there are some surprises in Whyalla that make me rub my eyes and say 'is that here'. The foreshore gets my attention. I see it while up on Hummock's Hill. To my right is the steel works plant lit up like a Christmas tree, smoke puffing out of chimneys. 'It's actually really photographic', I comment. Now, that doesn't mean it's pretty, but it would be interesting to photograph. Very interesting. Lots of graphic lines and colour.
And to my left I can see the foreshore, with a marina at the end closest to us, at the foot of Hummock's Hill. Our local tells us that dolphins follow the boats in, so we wander down to the floating jetty to see if we can spot any. We luck out. I turn my attention to the foreshore precinct. Lawns, a huge playground for kids, permanent shades on the beach (which, unfortunately, was covered in seaweed), surf club, cafe and a long boardwalk lit up along the length. It is beautiful. We organise to come down the next morning, meet the locals that are out getting fit, and grab some sunrise pics.
Discovering surprises like this is why I like to explore the towns and areas we travel through. I never know what I'm going to find. Sometimes there are treasures waiting - not always, but when there are, it's worth it. Journeys and detours can be as fun and interesting as the destination itself.