A Travellerspoint blog

25 Melbourne and Beyond

all seasons in one day 13 °C

3rd October
Colac

Colac is now a smaller farming town after a more exciting past over a hundred years ago being on the fringes of the massive goldrush era in the 19th century. Off to the local Baptist Church and were welcomed by Rev Angela Thomas, newly appointed pastor, and an excellent communicator. A lovely cuppa afterwards and a chat with the locals. On the way back to the CP we were delayed a bit by a road blocked because two cars had argued with each other and a power pole. The power pole lost, as did the cars.

Lunch and then back into town to do some family history at the local library – but didn’t make much progress. Power still off at the CP when we returned for a very quiet afternoon catching some sun and resting.

4th October
Colac to Melbourne/Braybrook

Although the weather threatened a storm we only had a few drops as we left Colac to head towards Melbourne. Mary managed to catch part of a dramatic sunrise with her camera.

The usual poor roads that we have come to expect in Victoria, except for the new M1 from Geelong into Melbourne, however, the traffic flows just got busier and busier as we approached the city. There was plenty of greenery along the roadside as we travelled so they had received some good rains recently.

We checked in before lunch and got nicely setup before taking a bus into the city for a look around. Mary spent hours trying to get another photo album to replace her first one, and we finally got to doing a few more helpful things including a few photos. A late coffee and after locating the State Library we caught a bust back to camp. A very exhausting day. I finalised our accounts for the month and awaited a phone call from my old flatmate from London days in the sixties – Bruce Smith – finally visiting Australia, especially for family. Bruce called during the evening but we could not get a face to face meeting as he was leaving for country Victoria early the next morning.

5th October
Melbourne

A fine day at last although with some high cloud. So, after a quick haircut at the next door shopping centre, we hopped in the car and drove (courtesy of Tomtom) to the Dandenong Ranges on the other side of Melbourne. It was about 60 Km mainly via built up suburbs, however, we enjoyed the ride up through the mists and heavy forest to a small village called Sassafras (after the local trees?). Very picturesque with lots of expensive coffee shops. Very Olde Englishe! There was even a ‘Miss Marples Teahouse’ to spend lots of cash in.
We enjoyed our lunch (home-made) at a little park – at least until the Thieving Magpie (no music please) attempted to steal pack of cake that she had taken out of her lunch box! Mary 1 – Magpie 0.

We drove back via the large Doncaster shopping complex where Mary finally (!!!) found a suitable photo album, then our friend Tomtom brought us back home after an interesting but tiring day.

6th October
Melbourne
Lots of washing had accumulated so that was all done before we caught the bus into the city for another go in the State Library. Not a lot of success again, so, after a quick bite at Gloria Jeans Coffee we headed for the bus stop, just in time to get wet from the first thunderstorm attacked us. The bus was way behind schedule so that by the time we reached the CP we were wet and the lovely washing was absolutely soaked. Oh dear, more money for the dryers. We had some nice sunshine for about one hour and then the weather pattern reversed itself and the thunderstorm attacked us 180 degrees from the first storm. Well, it is Melbourne we are talking about!

Eventually everything was dry and stowed away, and then the really heavy rain hit as we packed up our small bags to fly to Hobart the next morning. Watched some TV, and booked our seats on the flight.

7th October
Melbourne to Hobart
After all the windy and wet weather we were not looking forward to more of the same in Hobart, however, after putting the car and van into the Park security area we took a mini-bus to Tullamarine for our flight in the afternoon. I increased my baggage allowance for the flight after seeing how much Mary intended taking! The flight was OK although with a lot of cloud and then the usual bumps into the strong westerly wind at Hobart. Into town for a nice meal at la Porchetta and then a well-earned sleep.

8th – 11th October
Hobart

Looked at a few shops, but, apart from Mary’s buying more fridge magnets etc, we didn’t buy anything useful. A walk along the beach at Sandy Bay was very pleasant, if rather cool.

A visit to Hobart without visiting the famous Salamanca Markets on Saturday morning would be a dereliction of duty. In spite of the freezing wind it remained dry and so we stocked up on some vital necessities for home, namely, a few bottles of Johnnos sauces, fudge and honey. In my experience these are among the best Markets in the world and always worth a visit, especially as the vast majority of goods on sale are local Tasmanian produce and crafts with only one or two tarot types filling up the spaces.

Basically a time to sleep in a real bedroom for a few nights after five months in a caravan less than the size of our bedroom at home. The weather was cold but fine so that was nothing new.

12th October
Hobart to Melbourne

Off to the airport fairly early, fortunately against the morning traffic peak inbound to the city, and made the airport in good time for our flight back to Melbourne. The weather forecast had not been too encouraging so, whenever Mary made a comment about the weather prospects I tried to change the subject! However, the first drops of rain hit us as we walked over the open tarmac (no fancy covered aircraft access in the one city that really needs is!) and the rain front could be seen coming straight towards us. We departed on time and as we lifted off and turned north we could see the rain shower heading to the airport area that we had just left. The rest of the flight was pretty boring as there was 100% cloud and it wasn’t until we commenced descent into Tullamarine airport that we could see anything at all. Flying over the Metro area was interesting as we could see Port Phillip Bay, the CBD and the MCG among many things.

A safe landing into a strong wind, a quick baggage pickup and our chappy from the Airbus shuttle was on hand to take us back to the Park to get organised again.

After a quick re-setting up we got the bus into the city to catch a famous St Kilda tram.
About half way in to the changeover place the bus driver didn’t stop for a group of young people lounging and laughing near the bus stop.

The policy is quite clear, if you want a bus to stop for you then you hail it clearly, otherwise the driver can just carry on to his destination. However, one young thug took extreme exception to the driver’s perceived insult and negligence in not stopping and came racing alongside the bus bashing at the side of the bus. It gave all the passengers a fright. The next instant we could hear this very angry young male demanding that the driver allow them all on the bust at the traffic lights, where we had just stopped, or else! The driver allowed them to get on and the young thug started abusing the driver and, not getting the profuse apology that he demanded, started attacking the driver in his supposedly secure compartment. The physical and verbal abuse escalated very quickly as the thug used almost every imaginable swear word in his limited vocabulary all the while passengers sat, stunned, in their seats. The driver then gave very explicit and frank instructions to the thug to get of his bus. (Or words to that effect). On hearing this the thud tripped over a frail old lady near where the first fracas had broken out and then proceed to kick the back door off its hinges. After several vain attempts, during which I could see the door bending considerably, one of the thug’s friends managed to intervene and flick the emergency lever above the door and the thug left with all his ‘friends.

The sudden quiet in the bus following his departure was very striking, however, the frail old lady was busy crossing herself over and over again, such was her fear at what almost became a serious problem for her.

The bus then moved towards town and shortly we had a routine driver exchange and I decided to offer the drive a Statutory Declaration as to what I had witnessed first hand. He was very pleased to take my number and get home!

Anyway, back to the tram trip to St Kilda. Yes, we managed to fit it in and enjoyed a pleasant walk around St Kilda pier area, marvelling at the exotic cakes (all unpriced) in the shop windows.
Back on the tram to the city and a peaceful ride home on the bus to be greeted by more rain and wind. (This is Melbourne we are referring to so why should I be surprised!).

13th October
Another rainy day but I took a bus into the city to try and get closure on the family history issue for Mary. However, after several hours of searching I reached a dead-end and decided to head back to camp. In the meantime Mary had done a major clothes wash and dry and shopped for groceries for the next stage of our journey.

Posted by psstevo 22:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

24 The Great Ocean Road

storm 14 °C

26th September
Portland
A loud Dawn Chorus from a few magpies, followed by a deafening din from a large murder of crows. Who can sleep? We all attended the Baptist Church service and were pleasantly surprised that their guest speaker was a John Bell of Harare Baptist Church in Zimbabwe. The service was very well run and John’s message was a very powerful one. Even the visitors were invited to a light lunch with all the church folk, and a great time was had by all. Spoke with John Simpson, senior pastor, whom i had met a few years ago at a Pastor’s convention in Brisbane. A growing church and it was easy to see why that might be.

After the lunch Mary & I spent a couple of hours trying to fill some gaps in her family tree, but to no avail. Returned to camp and spoke with Brian and Evan regarding mum and dad’s ashes.

27th September
Portland
Mary was unwell so took her to local hospital where she received fairly slow but excellent attention from all the staff. While waiting I cleared out the car boot to access the spare tyre to have inflated as one car tyre was slowly losing pressure, however, the local tyre shop advised that they could not do that as the tyre was too well worn. Had a look at other rear tyre and that was no better, so, two new rear tyres later I was on my way back to hospital to wait for Mary to be cleared. Additionally, there was a pool of water in the tyre well so that had to be completely dried out, which was not a simple task due to the lousy weather.
Finally got that done and Mary arrived home with instructions to see her doctor upon return to Brisbane. I spent some time getting the car boot reorganised as the sun set amid the raucous crows evening lullaby!

28th September
Portland to Peterborough

We had a late start for this leg of our journey, partly due to the cold and wet weather. The road was in poor condition and that made driving difficult. We stopped at well-known holiday town of Port Fairy, however, there was a freezing cold wind and rain so the warm coffee did not do that much for us that day. There are many old, heritage, buildings in this seaside town and we took a few photos but decided to keep moving to keep warm.

We reached Warrnambool, a major commercial and farming centre for South West Victoria, in pouring rain. We stopped for petrol and took advantage of a special ice-cream offer to warm ourselves up!!!

We agreed to wait until arrival at the small coastal town of Peterborough before having lunch, where we managed to get set up before the next shower. Fortunately we had quite sheltered sites there. A nice Caravan Park (Top Tourist again) as the staff were very helpful.
As the much maligned ‘bad book’ story goes – “It was a dark and windy night – with heavy rain”, however we did manage some sleep. After setting up we drove back about 5 Km to Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs scenic lookouts for photos. The strong winds had really made the sea very rough and therefore the crashing surf against the lovely rocks made for some spectacular scenery. (Hopefully I can get a photo or two up soon to view). The gloomy weather as the sun set finally drove us back to camp.

29th September
Peterborough

The stormy night (yes another!) did not help sleep, especially as the angry surf nearby also added to the overnight noise. However, after breakfast, we all headed back to the previous sites for better sunlight photos, which proved to be a good move as the sun shone on the wave crests thus making look ‘whiter than white’. The cold wind kept blowing the camera around so taking shots was still not so easy.

We then headed east of Peterborough to view the Arch and London Bridge rock formations. The London Bridge one, though very interesting, lacked the original London Bridge shape as, a few years ago, one of the arches succumbed to the ever-present wave battering and collapsed into the sea. Although the waves were slightly smaller than the previous day they still presented a very attractive photo op.
We lunched at Port Campbell, a small holiday village on the coast – an interesting little town with lots of visitors. After lunch we tried taking one of the back roads that was supposed to have some touristy things to see but they either had closed or were uninteresting. To make matters worse the roads were in very poor condition here too.

We decided to get the washing up to date in case of further weather deterioration. I loaded Mary’s and my photos onto the laptop – some had turned out really well.

30th September
Peterborough to Apollo Bay

We drove east, past Port Campbell, and soon found the Loch Ard (shipwreck and rock viewing site) and Thunder Cave stops. The showers and cold winds did not detract from the great views and photo opportunities here.

Moving east we soon came to the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations and halted there. We used the under-bridge beneath the main road to access the walkways and were confronted by the sight of crashing waves attacking the many rock formations. Today there were only 9 or 10 of the ‘Twelve Apostles’ rock formations that have so far withstood the incessant pound of huge waves on their foundations. However, the time was well spent and we enjoyed seeing this famous heritage piece in such a dynamic environment. Obviously, as this was one of the trip highlighted planned stops we were very pleased with what we found here. The tourist chopper was doing great business in the blustery conditions.

Lunch in the part shelter of the cafe complex, but we were all annoyed that, apart from very warming coffees, there was no souvenirs on offer, and this at one of Australia’s premier tourist attractions. Well, it is Victoria after all!

The approaches to Apollo Bay was through quite hilly and narrow roads, and there were frequent hillside slips and even large trees brought down as a result of the recent heavy rains and very steep hillsides. A challenging drive with a van in tow on these steep slopes and sharp corners!
Checked in to the TT CP with some difficulty as our two park sites, although with concrete slabs for the van, was adjacent to veritable swampy ground. Making a reversing mistake would ensure becoming bogged in a narrow street!! However, we had no rain (!) or wind (!!) at last. Managed to get the TV going so had a relaxing evening.

1st October
Apollo Bay

Today we drove to the Cape Otway Light Station (formerly the Cape Otway Lighthouse – now decommissioned). The trip was back over the hills (from yesterday’s drive) and down through rainforest to the Light Station. A very pleasant trip it was as the road had dried from the heavy recent rainfall, and not towing the van made it a joy to complete. The lighthouse was built in 1848 and was only decommissioned in 1994 but during its lifetime many thousands of lives were saved because of its important position at the junction of Bass Strait and the Great Southern ocean with all of its rocky reefs and cliffs. Today it has been replaced by a small laser unit that keeps the shipping safe.
On the drive into the lighthouse we noticed many cars stopped along the road and assumed that it was a group of enthusiastic twitchers (bird-watchers to the uninitiated), however, we soon realised that their interest was in the many koalas in the trees alongside the road! Of course we also stopped and managed to get some photos too.

Anyway, we had a very enjoyable and informative time at the facility, including a WWII radar unit that had been urgently placed there in 1942 to keep a check on Japanese submarines as one had sunk and American vessel in the vicinity.

The second Keeper (the first had been fired because of alcohol abuse) spent 30 years on station, raised nine children with his wife, and never received a pay rise – in spite of asking the boss several times! How times have changed.

When he retired the Keeper proudly stated that not once, in his 30 years service, had he allowed the light to go out, with the resultant saving of many hundreds of lives. That is real service.

On our return trip Mary & I discovered a small rainforest walk and enjoyed the beautiful jungle-like walk there. When we arrived back at camp we enjoyed a final coffee with Brian and Maureen as they were heading for Ballarat and so on back to Brisbane, while we were heading for Melbourne.
A really pleasant day with sunshine, no rain, very pleasant surprises (koalas), and a flat and peaceful sea.

2nd October
Apollo Bay to Colac

A beautifully sunny day and a late start for us (Brian and Maureen had already left before us) as we enjoyed the rugged cliff-side road views from Apollo Bay, through Lorne, and then turned up the steep mountain range heading for Colac for two nights. The highway was a mess with many kilometres of rough seal plus many small land slips and rocks that had fallen from the cliffs. Lorne turned out to be abuzz with visitors. A pretty holiday town with a great beach (along with an amazing fudge shop) as well as a nice morning tea.

The hill climb was also a pleasant if steep one and we enjoyed the beautiful day and nature as we travelled.
Lunch at the village of Birregurra (its on the map!) in the sunshine and then to Colac where we had some difficulty in locating the Colac CP, mainly due to the fact that it located at Colac West, a matter that Tomtom overlooked along with another incompetent town council that fails to enforce bylaws regarding having the street number prominently displayed so that people can find their way to the correct location.
The CP is fairly basic but is OK with the boundary (very close to us) having a small farm setup with sheep, goats, ducks, geese and chooks (including at least one rooster). A restful night is anticipated before commencing Daylight Saving from Sunday morning.

Posted by psstevo 04:55 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

23 Adelaide to Portland

overcast 16 °C

21st September
Adelaide to Meningie

As Brian was unwell we gave a bit of a hand to them getting packed and ready to roll towards Meningie in the Coorong region of the Murray Rivermouth. Our Tomtom gave us a few problems in getting onto the highway out of Adelaide (like, turn left when the street signs clearly said turn right) as we ended up in some small side street that was difficult to exit from. However, got back on track for the drag up the Princes Highway, along with all the fast cars and heavy trucks, and the persistent light rain, until we reached the plateau and things became easier. Brian managed to catch us up as he had to stop for petrol prior to the main road exit. Everywhere was green, so the rains had certainly been helpful to the local climate if not to us.

The road was good and flat to Tailem Bend where we turned off towards Meningie – a place that I had never heard off – for our overnight stop. Boy, that ‘sealed’ road was rough so we had to drop our speed by 15-20kph in order not to damage anything. Plenty of farming activity, quite possible more than usual due to the recent rains.

We arrived at the small town of Meningie and checked into the Lake Albert CP (Top Tourist) where we had a lovely view of the lake. A very peaceful locale that we enjoyed very much. Lake Albert is part of the Coorong and had been almost dry until very recently due to the long-term drop in the Murray River system flows out to sea. However, recent heavy rain upstream had resulted in significant flows and the locals were all very excited and kept checking on how much the Lake had risen that day.

We all walked into town to post mail and window shop at the few shops that were along the street, had a coffee, then returned to take some sunset photos over the lake.

22nd September
Meningie to Mount Gambier

We all wished that we had allocated more time at this lovely oasis, but time was needed to keep to our latest schedule and that meant leaving it all behind. Maybe a longer stop next time.

Although the scenery today was pleasant enough, the road condition again meant travelling more slowly. We travelled along the northern edge of the Coorong wetlands and enjoyed the infrequent glimpses of lakes and flora along the highway. A few nice looking farms adjoined the Park and all looked likely to have a bumper crop come harvest time, as long as the rains kept to their normal pattern.

We stopped at Salt Creek, adjacent to one of the many lakes, and enjoyed a morning tea in the overcast and cold conditions. We were surprised to see Australia’s oldest oil well still standing there, although in a rather decrepit state. However, when we stopped at the seaside village of Robe for lunch the sun had briefly come out so we managed to enjoy that respite from the cold. Mary & Maureen couldn’t resist collecting more seashells from the seashore.

Near the seaside town of Millicent we saw a massive wind-farm with almost 270 windmills thrashing the air and adding a significant amount of electricity to the Grid.
We arrived in Mt Gambier and were fortunate to have sites at the Top Tourist CP right in town. Mary & I walked to the Lady Nelson (named after a ship of that name) Visitor Centre to collect local sightseeing brochures. Another cold, overcast day.

23rd September
Mt Gambier

We drove up the nearby hill to the Blue Lake centre and booked on their Aquifer Tour. This tour was a walking one in which we were taken to the pump house, down a small lift and through a tunnel to get almost down to the water’s edge. Quite interesting to see how the city was able to use the clean water that leached through the limestone hills and was very pure and easy to distribute as the pumping station simply pumped the water up to the top of the nearby volcanic hilltop and gravity took the water around the city. There are several other lakes in the complex, and all in a former volcanic cone now filled with water. An interesting tour for all of us.

After lunch we all walked the 3.6Km around the crater rim of the Blue Lake and enjoyed seeing many bird species.
We then drove to nearby Valley Lake for photos and afternoon tea before heading to town for much-needed petrol, then some CBD photos of old buildings - mostly bluestone.

We decided to walk to nearby (we thought) Umpherston Sinkhole for some photos. However, it was further than we thought and Brian and Maureen were already there – somewhere in the darkness. The lighting was not good and therefore walking was an inherently hazardous operation. The Sinkhole, named after the man who turned a huge drop in the stone floor at ground level to some 30 or 40 meters below normal ground height, into an attractive tourist attraction with walkways, flowers and other flora to enhance the massive cliff walls a full 360 degrees circle.

We decided that we would return next day and take photos in daylight! We walked back home and tried to get TV but the system failed, so gave up.

24th September
Mt Gambier

We were all up fairly early for showers, washing and breakfast and after a caffeine fix we set of for the Valley Lake walk – a quite long and difficult one. Mary, Maureen and Brian headed off up the mountainside, and I drove around the corner for nine holes of golf on the Blue Lake Golf Course. I had a pretty good game considering my lack of practise, and then collected Mary at the completion of her walk. Tired, but happy.
After lunch we attacked the Umpherson Sinkhole for daylight photos. Certainly a different perspective from the previous evening!
We got some shopping supplies, checked the tyres, sorted the car then Mary walked up town for more photos while tried to get my Journal up to date.
We all walked around the corner to the RSL for a dinner out for a change. Very nice too.

25th September
Mt Gambier to Portland

More poor quality roading as we headed for the South Australian/Victorian state border. The rolling hills, forestry and farming looked nice if one had time to glimpse at the passing scene between potholes and poor construction and repair efforts.
Morning tea at Nelson, a small village by the mouth of the Nelson River in Victoria.

We arrived at Portland and checked in to the Top Tourist CP and were delighted that they had had so much rain that the normal van sites were not available so we received ensuite sites at no extra charge. Wow, our own toilet facilities for three nights!

Mary and I walked towards the nearby town centre and encountered a pre 1900 Melbourne tram running tourist trips across town. Why not, we thought, as we jumped on board and received a pleasant, if slightly bumpy, ride across the CBD. A free commentary was made by the young lady who was a volunteer conductor. Very interesting indeed in this oldest town in Victoria, with some 200 buildings from the 19th century still standing, and, in most cases, still occupied. We took some photos, and it appeared to me to be reminiscent of older parts of Oamaru, although with blue stone rather than limestone there. A large, deep-water port enables shipping of woodchips and live sheep to overseas destinations.

Posted by psstevo 03:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

22 Adelaide, South Australia

overcast 16 °C

17th September
Adelaide
Morning arrived to find Mary still unwell in spite of the significant pain killers prescribed for her, however, we decided that we would drive down to Victor Harbour (60 Km) for the day and hope for the best. The weather was still windy and cold, however, we enjoyed the scenery (mainly vineyards) along the hilly way. We had morning tea in the cold wind near the beach and then booked on the Victor Harbour Horse Tramway to cross the bridge to nearby Granite Island. The old Clydesdale horse (22 y o) plodded slowly along the tramway at a pace that enabled us to enjoy the cold wind!

We walked around this small granite island, and outcrop from the mainland, and were very surprised by the huge ocean swells crashing upon the massive rock cliffs. We took many photos because the views were really quite spectacular.

After our return Tramway ride we found a protected lunch shelter and enjoyed lunch. We were soon surrounded by many squawking seagulls, all demanding a free lunch. After this din had continued for several minutes a magpie swooped down on the flock of gulls like a jet aircraft causing the gulls to make a very speedy retreat indeed. The gulls didn’t learn much, for, no sooner had they returned to trying to extort food from us than ‘swoop’ dived bombed again scattering them all along the beach. Free entertainment for us all!

As Brian wanted to see the mouth of the Murray River at nearby Goolwa, we headed off along the byways to Goolwa to check out the Goolwa Barrage. This engineering device was completed many years ago as a flood control mechanism for the Murray River which often has it’s access to the sea blocked due to insufficient river flow to push the sand out to sea. This Barrage is one of several in the Murray River system. We then decided to drive over the infamous Hindmarsh Bridge to get another look at the river. This bridge was in the news a number of years ago when false information was fed into a government study program claiming that Aboriginal ‘secret womens’ business’ had taken place there over many generations – a claim that was subsequently rejected as untrue.

A few photos later and then we found another way to get to the actual river mouth, so off we headed in the late afternoon to check that out too. It looked just like any other river mouth, however, as we knew that it was the great Murray River system we were all satisfied with that fact.

A late afternoon drive home over very hilly terrain was made even more difficult when we had some incidents with a few ‘P’ plated young drivers whose driving skills showed clearly that they had won their licence in a raffle as the apparent IQ was less than their boot size. How we made it home unscathed is something of a miracle.

Mary and I then drove to my cousin Glenda (and John’s) home nearby and we enjoyed a really great evening of reminiscing on family and other adventures – as well as John’s top class cooking! Rather late we made it back home, very tired and slept!
18th September
Adelaide
We arose feeling very tired, however, as it wasn’t actually raining, we drove to the nearby rail station and took a FREE train ride into Adelaide central where we caught the wrong tram to Glenelg. That in itself was quite a feat as the tram only goes to Glenelg – however, we got the right one in the end and enjoyed the trip. Took some photos, had lunch, bought some chocolate stuff and headed back to town for more photos and home for dinner.

19th September
Adelaide

We all went to the local Baptist church and found a very caring bunch of people there. A very good service with a strong message.
After lunch Mary & I drove via a very round-a-bout route to the old German village of Hahndorf. There were plenty of hills and narrow roads but we made it OK and walked the main street checking out the sights. Certainly a taste (literal) taste of Germany with a range of German foods available. An interesting experience, shared with thousands of other visitors!
We took a different, but very windy hill road home and decided to clear our heads with a walk along Christies Beach (for collection of some pretty coloured stones) in the crisp southerly wind. Some dinner, TV and a long sleep.

20th September
Adelaide
As we had three washing machine loads to get washed we were up early to get first wash! After that large chore we drove to the nearby Noarlunga Shopping Centre for coffee with Glenda, John, Ann and Peter (Ann is John and Glenda’s daughter). A very long chat over coffee that we enjoyed immensely, especially as Ann is now writing her 50 something book for Harlequin Press (?) and doing a Masters at university.

We window shopped for a while and then had lunch before Mary managed to get a hair appointment. Met Brian and Maureen and so decided on coffee again before doing our shopping for the next stage of the trip. This shopping centre is a large Centro one about the same size as Indooroopilly I believe.
We went home and tidied up for our next morning departure before learning that Brian was quite unwell and our departure looked quite uncertain.

A very nice dinner that Mary had prepared helped to ease the day’s events.

Posted by psstevo 00:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

21 Eyre Peninsular - Port Lincoln to Adelaide

rain 17 °C

13th September
Port Lincoln

Another cloudy and windy day with showers, so Mary & I went shopping for some local prawns for dinner. A good choice as they were delicious! The weather deteriorated later in the day.

I received a call from the Port Lincoln caravan people that they reckoned that they could fix the problem van charger for a fair amount of money, so we agreed to call in as we left next morning.
During the evening the weather went from bad to worse and we had quite long periods of heavy rain that went on for several hours. I became concerned that if the large and heavy caravan parked very close above us on the hillside caused some soil slippage we would have a very serious problem in avoiding damage. Fortunately that did not happen, so we were relieved, that in spite of the heavy rain and increasing wind, to make it safely through the night. To add to the tension we decided to watch a DVD that a fellow traveller had given to us back in Kalgoorlie – ‘Avalanche’- a definite yawn movie! Altogether, a bad night.

14th September
Port Lincoln to Whyalla

Mary and I were up early to pack up and get on the road, even though the weather was not very good and the Park was really wet with some erosion from the run-off.

Brian and Maureen had expected a difficult time in getting hooked on to their van due to the slope on their site, however, everything worked out well for them, so we headed off to get the charger situation dealt with in town.
Neither the original charger nor the smaller version that I had bought from RACQ before leaving were functioning so a decision was made to have a new and larger 20 amp model installed. All went well and we were only an hour late in leaving town to catch Brian and Maureen up the highway.

As we headed north towards Whyalla we were somewhat surprised at the number of flooding streams and creeks with muddy water surging towards the nearby sea. Fortunately none had managed to cut the highway so we soon met Brian and Maureen at Tumby Bay, a seaside town, for morning tea. It was also very wet there and some roads were very close to flooding over. A cold wind didn’t help either as we then moved north and had lunch at Cowell – an older township, somewhat similar in building design and age to Oamaru (NZ).
We made it into Whyalla, a large mining based town, and checked in to the CP prior to heading to the shops for some supplies.
We had an early dinner and headed off for an early night.

15th September

Whyalla to Snowtown

A very quiet night for all of us enabled Mary and I to be ready for an early start, however, by the time we had the office pre-book a couple of sites at Christies Beach Top Tourist CP for the following night we finally hit the road about 0900.

For a change we had sunny weather and a good road so cruise control came in handy for this leg of the trip. Morning tea at Port Augusta then a lunch break at Crystal Brook, before deciding to make it through to Snowtown for the night. The roads were good, but with a lot more traffic than we had previously had in many weeks on the road. The amazing greenery of the fields and even on top of the Flinders Ranges was a sight for sore eyes as we knew that drought had been stalking the land for years.

Mary and I made a small deviation from the highway to a small village called Port Germein. A nice place it seemed.

There were many large fields of grain (wheat, mainly) and the changing scenery made for an interesting trip. We arrived at Snowtown about 1430 and set up a basic camp as we planned to leave early next day. We did not bother with awnings for unhitching from the car to speed things up for departure. This CP was a part of the local sports complex, but had basic facilities so no problems were experienced. A walk around this small town filled in the afternoon and gave us some welcome exercise! Snowtown will be familiar to many Australians as a place of multiple murder and evil some years ago, however, it appeared almost asleep as we walked through.

Our plans for a peaceful night suffered a blow when we discovered a major rail line was only about 80m from us, however, there were few late night trains so it did work out to be a reasonable spot for the night.

16th September

Snowtown to Adelaide (Christies Beach)

We were on the road quite early into a variety of traffic types. There seemed to be a lot of over-size trucks travelling the highway and we soon found that our UHF CB radio could transmit but not receive. Needless to say I understand that I received a fair amount of abuse from the passing heavy vehicles, but as I couldn’t hear what they were saying, I wasn’t bothered by it! By turning the set power off and then back on again I managed to get the CB working in time to make contact with Brian, ahead of us, just as we hit the northern outskirts of Adelaide.

In the increasing traffic, hindered by roadworks, we managed to edge our way through the northern suburbs before finding a sort of by-pass route to avoid the CBD. Brian, in the meantime, had followed his GPS (also a Tomtom) and managed to access the supposedly better by-pass, however, his Tomtom did not ‘know’ that the motorway by-pass it wanted them to take was a one-way only system. Poor Brian spent quite some time getting (literally) back on track, and finally caught up with us at Christies Beach as we started to set up.

Brian had a major problem when he tried to unhitch his van from the towbar when the jockey wheel failed leaving him in no-mans land being unable to move the car or setup his van. Nigel, the young chap on duty at the park managed to ‘borrow’ a spare jockey wheel thus enabling Brian to get unhitched completely, and after setting up his van, to race out and buy a replacement one. We were all very impressed with Nigel’s customer service skills over several days. In the meantime Mary & I set out to find a doctor to attend to Mary’s continuing back problems and eventually found one available who soon prescribed some very potent medication to help ease the pain.

The weather was, again, overcast with a cold wind – not at all like the Adelaide that I remembered from 1963/64!

We foolishly thought that being in a capital city that we would watch TV for the evening, however, the gadget that we had bought back in Brisbane refused to function, so after too much wasted time, we gave up and read a book instead!

Posted by psstevo 04:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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