Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY
22 January 2004 to 23 January 2004

Thursday 22nd January 2004

We managed to get an 'early' start this morning and were away from the caravan park and Hahndorf by 9:30am. we traveled through Mt Barker and onto the S.E. (South East?) Freeway to Murray Bend where we detoured through the centre town as the freeway passed by the edge of the town. We were then back on the freeway and immediately crossed the Murray River (At this point, 'one of us' became quite excited and started singing songs about it).

Having survived the impromptu concert, the 'other one' kept on driving until arriving at Tailem Bend where we filled up with diesel at a very busy fuel station. (54 ltrs @ $91.6 cpl). On leaving Tailem Bend we turned of the Freeway onto the Princes Highway and headed south to Meningie where 'one of us' needed feed, so we stopped and bought some lunch opposite the foreshore.

On the road again we continued south through Policeman Point, Salt Creek and then 'had to have' an ice cream at Kingston. The entry into Kingston was dominated by the biggest crayfish we have ever seen, so it was time for a photograph.

From Kingston we continued down to Robe, having to detour about two km into the town itself. Robe was well worth the time it took to visit the town site and there were more photographs taken there. On leaving Robe we turned onto the Southern Port Highway and on the way we bypassed Beachport and Rendleshaw as time was getting on and we were heading for Mount Gambier.

The next town we went through was Millicent which was quite a reasonable size. It appears one of if not it's major industry is pine trees. We then returned to the Princes Highway and traveled through pine forests most of the way to the city of Mount Gambier where we followed the signs to the Kalganyi Caravan Park which is one of the two Big4 caravan parks in Mount Gambier.

The Kingston Crayfish

Foreshore in Robe

Friday 23rd January 2004

After yesterdays drive from Hahndorf to Mount Gambier, today was a much quieter day with some food shopping in the morning, a few running repairs and a short drive up to the Blue Lake at the top of the town.

The Blue Lake is the only thing I have any recollection of from my last visit here as a small child with my parents back in 1953 or 1954. It is worth the visit to Mount Gambier even if we didn't see anything else. The Blue Lake is in the crater of an old volcano that was formed some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. The water in the lake is seventy metres deep and the surface is the natural water table level in the area. It is the main water supply for the Mount Gambier area and due to domestic and commercial use, is replaced through natural groundwater sources approximately every 10 years. The water is a deep blue and the photo above doesn't really do the colour justice. 'One of us' says they were Blown away' with the sight of it, the 'other one' was also very impressed.

There are many more sights to see around Mount Gambier, but as we have decided that being the Australia Day long weekend, we will stay here over the weekend and take our time to visit the recommended tourist sights.

Right now there are more important things to think about because the roast pork that the 'one of us' is cooking looks real good and smells even better!

Saturday 24th January 2004

This morning started out with another visit to Woolworths because 'one of us' liked the cake she bought yesterday so much, we had to go and get another one...

After that we went to the Information and Discovery Centre, which is a tourist bureau and an exhibition of the history of Mount Gambier and the surrounding areas all in one. We first watched a movie on a large screen that promoted the are and gave a brief but informative lesson of the history of the area since around 1849 through to today. Next, after paying an entry fee of $16.50 we entered a section of the building that took us back to the days before European settlement when the area had large tracts of wetlands throughout the region and there were replicas of the habitat that wandered the wetlands during that time. From there we went through various rooms that conveyed the history of the land and it's early people, which included a model of a volcano, a three dimensional image projection of a woman who was an early settler in the region and worked extensively with the aboriginal people of the area. This three dimensional image was very well presented and she told her story of the people and the land in her time. The last room of the walk through was in the replica of the ship 'Lady Nelson' where the captain told what it was like to live in the ship for the months and years it took to explore the coastline of Australia.

After leaving the visitors centre, 'one of us' was hungary so it was back to the caravan where we re-charged our energy and also the batteries of the camera.

Next we went to the Umpherston Sinkhole garden, that is a very (don't know quite how to describe it) unusual (maybe best says it) garden that is situated in a sink hole. A sink hole is where the roof of a cavern or cave had fallen in and leaves a huge hole in the ground. This garden was first established back in the 1870's or 1880's by, you guessed it, a fellow by the name of Umpherston. It fell into disrepair around the turn of the century until around 1972 when the local sawmill social club members commenced a project to bring it back to it's glory, and that they have done very successfully. 'One of us' was very impressed with the garden because most of the flowers were hydrangeas in various shades of pink, do I need to say more???

From here we headed off down to port MacDonnell which is about 27 km to the south of Mount Gambia. In this area it is known as Australia's Southern Rock Lobster Capital. It is also the most southern point of land in South Australia. It had quite a number of fishing boats in an artificial harbour that has been created by a very long rock groin. We visited the town centre then went to the southern most tip of land and took some photographs before visiting Dingley Dell, the house of the first Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon. On the way back called in to Mount Schank, however as it was necessary to walk up the side of this old volcano to see the sights and time was getting on, we decided that we would just observe it from the bottom.

After all of that it was time to head back to the caravan as 'one of us' was thinking about dinner. All in all it turned out to be quite a successful day of seeing things we had not previously known existed.

Visitors Centre - Mount Gambier

Umpherston Sinkhole garden

Pammy at Pt MacDonnell
South Australia's southern most point of land