Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Thursday 16th November 2006 to Saturday 18th November 2006

Thursday 16th November 2006

The sun was hidden behind dark fluffy clouds this morning, however although there had been quite a bit of rain overnight, there were a few (very few) blue patches for it to peak through from time to time. At 8:a.m. the thermometer told us it was pretty warm compared to the last couple of nights as it was almost 8 degrees and there was no wind to add any chill factor. This was not too bad considering the forecast all around us was for 0 degrees overnight.... Maybe it was but we were happy not to be out in it. At this time the morning Sunrise show is saying Mt Baw Baw has as much snow on it as it has had at any time during the last winter, but we can't see any on the top of the Grampians.
The home of the Stawell Gift
A wall showing many of the 125 Stawell Gift winners
Photos of many of the 125 Stawell Gift winners
Pammy is on the Stawall Gift start line
Pammy is on the Stawell Gift start line
The track the Stawell Gift is run on
The track the Stawell Gift is run on
Pammy's first touch of snow
Pammy's first touch of snow

Knowing that the Stawell Gift Hall of Fame opened at 9:a.m. and closed again at 11:a.m. we headed out of the caravan park at about 8:50a.m. and made our way the 27 kilometres to Stawell and parked outside the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is at the venue where the Stawell Gift is run and as such it is not in any great imposing building, however it has real feeling being able to look out over the ground on which these champions have run to win this, the worlds richest professional foot race over 120 metres. The 2006 race meeting last Easter was the 125th running of this race and there were special displays created for the occasion. There was even a re-enactment of one of the earliest races, all started by the gold miners in the area 125 years ago..

The Grampians from Mount William

On entry to the Hall of Fame (at a cost of a whole $3 each) we were greeted by Bob Power, who we understand is the only paid member of the organisation, and he took us into the display area and then we found out he had a wealth of information about the Stawell Gift over it's last 127 years and was wonderfully enthusiastic about the event as a whole.

Another couple, Scott and his fiancee also turned up to browse the display and then we were shown some news reel and video clips on the running of the Gift over the years, all this with with great additional commentary from Bob. One rather amazing event was back in the 1930's, the winner of the Gift was able to take his $500 winnings back to South Australia where it bought him a farm and a car.... Just try to do that with $500 today!!!!

Grampians - admired by many different people

After having a good look around the display area, Bob let us out onto the oval where the races are actually run. Pammy immediately took her position at the start line and challenged anyone present to race her in her own Stawell Gift. The 'Other One' would have taken her on but there would not have been any photographic evidence to prove he won so she had to run the race on her own... Yes, she did win!

We then walked over the oval and around the grounds, taking photos as we went, before finding our way out through the memorial gates to the Patrol. This was a really great visit and very informative in regard to this event, and Bob was so helpful he really made the visit a great pleasure.

Another peak in the Grampians
Another peak in the Grampians

Before we left Stawell we called in to the Mobil Service Station where we filled up the Patrol with diesel and ourselves with some goodies from a local bakery before returning to the Grampians and starting our tour of these mountains.

We made our way south for a start and after about ten kilometres or so we turned off and headed up the mountain track to the car park of Mount William. Pammy became really excited here as there was still some snow patches on the ground after the cold snap that came through this area yesterday. It wasn't long before she was scrambling up the side of a slope to grab a handful of this snow.

It may have only been small patches and it may have been starting to dissolve, but it was snow and it could be made into a snowball and thrown........ Guess who copped it!

The top of MacKenzie Falls
The top of MacKenzie Falls

From Mount William we continued to travel south between some magnificent ranges, stopping from time to time to take photographs. At one point we stopped to view an artist painting the hills in front of her and we had a good chat with her before moving on even further to the south. We eventually drove out of the Grampians and arrived in the town Dunkeld where we stopped briefly before turning and making our way north again, this time taking a different route along Victoria Valley as far as we could, until it lead us back onto the same road we traveled down on.

After returning to Halls Gap Pammy took on a little Shopping Therapy in the local souvenir shop before we then drove up over the Grampians to the west for about fifteen kilometres before we called in on Mackenzie Falls. There was a steep walk down to the falls where we took a good number of photographs before returning to the patrol for our journey back to the caravan park

Along the way we called in on a lookout that provided views right out over a wide valley to another range of mountains in the distance. After recording this in digital images for later reference, we continued on our way back to the caravan, arriving there around 6:45p.m. This being one of the longest days of sight seeing we have indulged in for quite some time. Having visited most of the notable places to visit in the Grampians today, we decided that we will move on in the morning and head out of Victoria and make our way to the Barossa Valley. This is a good long drive of around 550 kilometres but the the location at the end of it is well worth that drive.

Friday 17th November 2006

When we woke this morning the decision to move from the Grampians and head for the Barossa Valley was confirmed when we looked at the thermometer and said that it was two degrees below zero at around 6:20a.m. Well that is why Pammy said she wanted to leave today but the 'Other One' thinks it is more like the wine in the Barossa Valley that was the real reason. In fact she had everything packed up and was sitting in the Patrol by 7:30a.m. as we moved out of the caravan park.

We first drove back into Stawell where we topped the Patrol up with diesel at the Mobil Service Station, then headed out along the Western Highway toward the South Australian border. Along the way we passed through Deep Lead and then made a very brief stop in Dadswell Bridge where we took a photograph of the 'Big Koala', then continued through Horsham, Pimpinio, Wail, Gerang Gerang, Kiata, Nhill, Kaniva and Lillimur before we arrived in Bordertown and realised we had not seen any signs to tell us where the border between Victoria and South Australia was. It was obviously time to set our clocks back thirty minutes as we continued on our way.

Then it was through Keith, Coomb, Tintinara, Coomandook before stopping for lunch on the side of the road about ten kilometres east of Tailem Bend. After getting mobile after lunch we went through Tailem Bend passed Murray Bridge before arriving in the Adelaide Hills and turning off the Western Freeway at Littlehampton. From here we made our way through the hill communities of Balhannah, Oakbank, Woodside. Lobethal, Gumeracha, Forreston, Williamstown and Lyndoch where we turned north for the last time and made our way between the green vineyards through Rowland Flat and arrived in Tanunda around 2:30p.a. South Australian daylight saving time.

As we arrived in the Barossa Valley Pammy made the statement "It feels just like I'm arriving home... I just love this place!" and that was even before we discovered there is a type wine of festival on in this area on Sunday!
Don't worry kids, she did clarify the matter that if you were here too it would be even better....

After booking in to the Tanunda Caravan and Tourist Park for the next four nights we then set up the caravan on some beautiful green grass in warm conditions with a clear blue sky. After that drive we put our chairs outside the caravan in the shade of the awning and sat and enjoyed a soft drink (yes, soft drink in the middle of the Barossa Valley) for a while before setting about the evening tasks, including the most important one of enjoying Happy Hour.

Tomorrow we will take a look around Tanunda, do a little shopping and maybe make plans for the rest of our stay in the Barossa.

The Big Koala in Dadswell Bridge
The Big Koala in Dadswell Bridge

Lunch stop on the side of the road
Lunch stop on the side of the road

Saturday 18th November 2006

Farmers Markets in Nurioopta
Farmers Markets in Nuriootpa

Yes... We said we would take it easy today and not do too much, just rest up and relax... Well 'One of Us' didn't remember that this morning and the 'Other One' was dragged out of his bed early and told that the Farmers Markets in Nuriootpa only run until 11:a.m. so we had to hurry!!!!

He might have been a bit slow on the uptake, but Pammy made sure we were out and on the way to the farmers markets by around 9:15a.m. Unfortunately we needed to fill the Patrol up with diesel so we stopped off at the Coles Service Station in Nuriootpa where the patrol and the three empty jerry cans were also filled. Now this took a little while to achieve as we almost had to mortgage the house to pay for the 174.08 litres of diesel and even with our 20 cent discount for the first 150 litres, it still cost us $195.43

The German Arms Hotel in Handorf
The German Arms Hotel in Hahndorf

With the fuel tanks full and the jerry cans on the roof rack, we then made our way out to the farmers markets where we parked and strolled through the building in which they were being held.

There was not a lot of produce that we found necessary to purchase and Pammy was pretty disappointed as there were no Settler Bears there either.... "Not that I really want another one" Who is going to believe that????

She then expresses a desire to visit Hahndorf again as "There must be some souvenirs there that could picked up and used as gifts if they were needed". Sure... Come in sucker...

Building that have been here for centuries
Building that have been here for centuries

Being a brave man, but also being a man that prefers to avoid broken bones, he agreed to take her to Hahndorf now with one woman instructing where were were going to end up, it was time to get out Miss Bossy (Navman) and tell here where we wanted to go. She didn't like being woken but after being prodded a few times, she started telling us where to go!

It took a while to realise she was getting one back on us as she decided to take the long road down through Gawler, Elizabeth and down to the outskirts of Adelaide City before heading up into the Adelaide hills and eventually getting up to Hahndorf around 11:45a.m.

The 'Big Rocking Horse' in Gomeracha

Surprisingly, Hahndorf was not all that busy, in fact it was as quiet as we have ever seen it on all the occasions we have been there. We found a parking spot in the main street then commenced to examine the contents of each and every shop in that street.

We saw cafes, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, confectionary shops, clothing shops, clock shops, candle shops and almost every other kind of shop anyone could want to see... All aimed at the tourist market of course.

Along the way we entered a shop called Fantasy Cave that had fairy costumes, lots of other interesting things for children AND Settler Bears!!!! Pammy grabbed one of them called Georgia and said how beautiful she thought this one was. BUT He was very firm and we walked out without Georgia or any other bear... It was time to put his foot down NO!!!

Two new member of the family
Georgia & Fiona - Two new members of the family

We continued to silently stroll around the rest of the main street until we visited a candle shop for a second time and we walked out smelling a little bit sweeter than when we entered.

It was time to return to the Patrol then and we started to drive out of town when Pammy stated she really did love 'Georgia' Yes... He was a beaten man so we pulled up in the main street once more and he went back (leaving Pammy in the Patrol) to the Fantasy Cave and picked up the next member of our family... Georgia. Unfortunately as he was trying to take Georgia out of the shop, little Fiona started crying and wanted to come along with Georgia as well.. Who said he was a weak man? Whoever it was must have been right!

Georgia & Fiona meet the family
Georgia & Fiona meet the family

After handing over his life savings and having a good long chat with the very nice and helpful lady in the shop, he walked back to the Patrol and introduced Georgia and Fiona to there new mummy. She was rather happy one could say, but then that would possibly be a pretty big understatement!

Next we called in to the Fruit and Vergetables market just out of Hahndorf and topped up our supplies as we had used and cooked all we previous had before entering South Australia.

Our return trip was much more direct as Miss Bossy must have calmed down a bit and the journey took us much the same way as we had traveled with the caravan the day before, only 70 kilometres instead of the 100 kilometres she lead us around on the way down.

We arrived back at the caravan at about 4:14p.m. and then came the rush to get the web site completed and all the things that have to be done before Happy Hour. Pammy left the caravan and returned about an hour later, she found someone to chat up so naturally he stayed back and did all the work (You do believe that don't you?).

Tomorrow we are having a quiet day, just a look around some of the vineyards in the Barossa Valley and an easy afternoon.... Yeah...! We will see what she decides in the morning....

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