OZ and Tassie travel blog

17 November

Woken very early by the birds, corellas, lots of them, all saying good morning to each other, many times! Well at least we could get on the road at a reasonable hour. It was a beautiful day, almost cloudless and the sunshine was warm, even if there was still that cool breeze. Just as we were going into the camp kitchen to make breakfast I had a double take - there on the ground was a koala, ambling along, until he spotted us then he sort of ran, a gait a bit like a rabbit, to the nearest tree. What he didn’t realise until he climbed it was that that tree had been cut down to about 3 metres high. He did look puzzled! We backed off to allow him to climb down and find a proper tree. Great photos!

We had a quick look around Portland and it is true there are a number of original buildings dating from the late 1800s, very pretty. We drove out to Cape Nelson as it was suggested whales could be seen from the clifftops, maybe even Blue Whales. We scanned the ocean for about fifteen minutes but there was no sign if any whales, oh well!

We took the old highway and headed west, past Nelson and to Mount Gambier, all through lovely countryside, no sign of any drought here, all good farmland. Huge forest plantations as we approached the Victoria/South Australia border. Saw a wedgie (Wedge-tailed Eagle) fly up from the roadside with a snake in its talons. Saw a few emus on the very wide grass verge and sadly a few dead kangaroos by the roadside. Spotted an echidna by the roadside but by the time we’d stopped and walked back it had disappeared into the bush.

Joined the Princes Highway at Mount Gambier, saw the Blue Holes, something we spent some time viewing on our last trip, so this time we just drove past and on through more lovely countryside towards the coast again. We stopped in Beachport for a lunch of fish and chips, still a beautiful day but the wind was howling across the bay. On to Robe, a lovely little town we had enjoyed on our previous trip. Called in at the craft brewery to sample a few of their products and to buy some too!

Back on the road, the land was becoming drier and the vegetation coarser, a lot of Mallee scrub as we got closer to the Coorong. The Coorong was much as we remembered, low scrub, a few trees and many saltpans/ephemeral lakes. Not sure of the temperature, but it was definitely not the 42 degrees we had experienced before. We took the old road, forgetting that after a short while it became a gravel road. Bailed out at the next junction, preferring to drive on the blacktop! We called in at Jack’s Point on Lake Albert to see the pelicans, but couldn’t see any, so back on the road until we reached our campsite at Meningie right on the banks of Lake Albert. Nice site, great views of the Lake, and......the pelicans!

A couple from Tasmania, Mick and his wife Corrine, wandered over as the sun was going down, we had met them briefly at Portland. They are on their way to Kalgoorlie with a newly purchased camper trailer, their first such trip. They want to drive the Nullarbor! We almost had their life history, before I suggested i should check the camp kitchen to see if it was free. They had already eaten, but anyway, they took the hint and departed. Very friendly couple. Dinner, bed.

18 November

A quiet night and we slept well, waking with the sun at 6. Got up, breakfasted etc then hit the road. We didn’t have far to go but we thought we would spend the day exploring the Fleurieu peninsula.

A lovely campsite with views across the lake, a calm as a millpond in the early morning light; just beautiful.

We drove out of Meningie and headed north towards Tailem Bend (on the Murray River), this whole area is really the delta of the Murray, pretty flat, parts of the road subject to flooding. Not much to see, it was very dry land, until we reached the ferry at Wellington. It was free! A cable ferry ran back and forth across the wide Murray River 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; it could take about six cars. The road from Wellington, named the Mighty Murray Way, took us to Langhorne Creek, the road here lined with vineyards, including Wolf Blass. The road dropped down to the shores of Lake Alexandrina, a huge body of water trapped by the sandbars of the Coorong.

We headed on to Goolwa and then to Victor Harbour, both places we had been to on our last trip so we didn’t spend long there, except to grab some lunch. Discovered they had pink grapefruit and avocados, so we bought a bag of each - $5 the lot! It was now very hot, the forecast was for 28.5 degrees, but it felt much hotter. The sky was clear and blue and the ocean showed amazing blues, ranging from deep blue offshore to turquoise in the shallows. Just wonderful, despite the heat.

After lunch we headed north to Willunga where we hoped to get to the west coast, but access to the beaches was by dead-end roads, which meant trucking out and back each time. We called in at a farmers market, but he place was heaving: two coach-loads of wrinklies! We drove on. This part of the peninsula was hilly, lots a small fields, trees, it was refreshing after the Coorong. We made it to Jervis Cape campsite; it was still very hot but an ice cold beer sorted that!

Tomorrow, Kangaroo Island.

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