Home again.

9th March 2019

Distance: 643km
Fuel: 63L

Set off about 9am, like yesterday not an inspiring drive being mostly on the Hume Highway.

Sheparton to Wollongong - Hume Highway

Stopped at Holbrook for lunch, tried the bakery first but it was packed so crossed the road to a cafe/restaurant and had a very nice lunch.

HolbrookHolbrook

Afterwards wandered up to the submarine just to stretch the legs.

HolbrookHolbrookHolbrookHolbrookHolbrookHolbrook

The original plan was to stop overnight at somewhere like Junee but at the turn off for Junee decided to press on for home.

The final stop was at Gundagai at the Dog on the Tuckerbox again just to stretch the legs, it was a long drive, far longer than I like to do these days but eventually arrived home in the late afternoon.

Gundagai Dog on the Tucker BoxGundagai Dog on the Tucker Box

Trip Summary

Distance Travelled: 3237km
Fuel: 325L
Average Park cost: $29.10

The Route

Great Ocean Road

7th March 2019

Distance: 101.9

After yesterday’s visit to the spectacular sights on the Great Ocean Rd west of Port Campbell, this morning we set off to visit the natural structures on the eastern side of Port Campbell.

Loch Ard Gorge, Broken Head and the Thunder Cave

Don’t know if the Thunder Cave is a new platform but I don’t recall seeing it on a previous visit.

Great Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Great Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadThunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken HeadGreat Ocean Road - Loch Ard Gorge Thunder Cave and Broken Head

!2 Apostles

No longer twelve, possibly eight or ten?  but the area was packed with people – I don’t remember this from a previous visit. It is starting to get like the Blue Mountains attractions – something to be avoided.

Great Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve ApostlesGreat Ocean Road - Twelve Apostles

Kept travelling east with the intention of having lunch at Lavers Hill but found the local cafe in the middle of a power cut. Fortunately they still had hot pies but obviously no coffee or hot drinks.

Laver Hill

Returned to Port Campbell and walked up the ‘Discovery Walk’ on the other side of the creek. It actually was worth the stairs with good views over the town.

190307 092 Port Campbell190307 093 Port Campbell190307 099 Port Campbell190307 102 Port Campbell190307 109 Port Campbell190307 112 Port Campbell

Port Campbell

6th March 2019

Distance: 258km

Time to leave Mount Gambier, it is a town I like very much but time to move on to The Great Ocean Road.

Mt Gambier to Port Campbell

Pretty uneventful drive cutting across country and avoiding major towns (such as there are) until reaching the Great Ocean Road where we periodically stopped to enjoy the views.

Bay of Islands

Great Ocean Road - Bay of IslandsGreat Ocean Road - Bay of IslandsGreat Ocean Road - Bay of IslandsGreat Ocean Road - Bay of IslandsGreat Ocean Road - Bay of Islands

The Grotto

Great Ocean Road - The GrottoGreat Ocean Road - The GrottoGreat Ocean Road - The Grotto

London Bridge

Unfortunately one of the arches collapsed a few years ago.

Great Ocean Road - London BridgeGreat Ocean Road - London Bridge

The Arch

The weather was really cold with a strong southerly wind reducing the temperature to an apparent 7’C. It just never let up.

Great Ocean Road - The ArchGreat Ocean Road - The ArchGreat Ocean Road - The Arch

We arrived at Port Campbell checked in and set up camp the wind was still bitterly cold making the 15’C seem like 7’C according to BOM.

Port Campbell

Port MacDonnell

5th March 2019

Distance: 88km
Fuel: 9L

The weather was forecast to be showery and so it was but only brief showers of a few minutes interspersed with sunshine.

Port MacDonnell

Drove the 25km to Port MacDonnell (the southernmost town in South Australia) and paid a visit to the Tourist information office which was also the local library and Maritime Museum.

Opposite were some large murals.

Port MacDonnellPort MacDonnell

The museum was quite interesting showing the local history but as a maritime museum it was a bit tedious being a history of ship wrecks along the coast including one which resulted in 89 deaths

Port MacDonnell Maritime MuseumPort MacDonnell Maritime MuseumPort MacDonnell Maritime MuseumPort MacDonnell Maritime Museum

Next door to the museum was the old Customs House with a German WWII mine in the courtyard – the Germans mined the sea route from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Port MacDonnellPort MacDonnell

Next visit was to the site of the old lighthouse with its spectacular coastal views.

Port MacDonnellPort MacDonnellPort MacDonnellPort MacDonnellPort MacDonnellPort MacDonnell

Had intended to drive along the coast but the road suddenly ended and the sat nav showed the route via Mount Gambier which seemed a bit of a waste of time.

Stopped at Mount Schank one of the many local extinct volcanos, there was a path to the rim. It was pretty steep but the views made it worth the effort.

Mt Schank VolcanoMt Schank VolcanoMt Schank VolcanoMt Schank VolcanoMt Schank Volcano

Funny thing was that the sound of a herd of cows a few kms away sounded as if it was next door.

Mt Schank VolcanoMt Schank Volcano

Returned to the caravan park after topping up with fuel and doing a bit of shopping.

A Day in Mount Gambier

4th March 2019

Distance :25km
Fuel: 24L

Leisurely start, no rush today everything is in town.

First stop was the Blue Lake… Yes, it really was blue and the steep walls made its volcanic past obvious to anybody. It is the town’s water supply.

Blue Lake Mt GambierBlue Lake Mt GambierBlue Lake Mt GambierBlue Lake Mt Gambier

Next door is Valley Lake, the remains of two craters that finally exploded, joined and largely filled themselves in forming a smaller shallower lake and a large area of land that has been turned into a recreation park.

Valley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt GambierValley Lake Mt Gambier

Overlooking this area is Centenary Tower which is reached by a very steep walk. It is worth the effort because the views are spectacular. To be honest I thought the tower must have been a bicentennial project but I couldn’t have been more wrong – it was built to celebrate the centenary of the opening up of the region and was completed in 1904.

Centenary Tower Mt GambierCentenary Tower Mt GambierCentenary Tower Mt GambierCentenary Tower Mt GambierCentenary Tower Mt GambierCentenary Tower Mt Gambier

Next visit was to the Umpherston Sinkhole which, like Cave Gardens, has been turned into a park and gardens. Named after the person who originally owned the land and used it as his own retreat from the heat. It used to have a quite large lake but as the water table has lowered it is now largely dry. There was also a waterfall but unfortunately the mechanism that kept it going is broken.

Umpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt GambierUmpherston Sinkhole Mt Gambier

Had a sandwich lunch and coffee at the local cafe – actually very nice, a big change from that at the Giant Koala..

Next port of call was Engelbrecht Cave yet another but smaller sinkhole but this time privately owned and which leads to a complex of water filled caves and tunnels which are popular with divers. The caves run under the main streets of Mt Gambier.  Naturally we only visited the dry bits.

Engelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt Gambier

The sinkhole was originally used as a rubbish dump for a distillery and the local butchers, Some quite nasty chemicals were originally dumped down it and cleaning it was quite a task – many hundreds of tonnes of rubbish were removed by hand before the cave could be used.

Engelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt GambierEngelbrecht Cave Mt Gambier

After dinner at a local Malaysian/Chinese restaurant went to Cave Garden to see the sound and light show which I had been told started a 8.30pm by 8.45 nothing had happened so walked back to the caravan park. The only disappointment of the day.

Am staying an extra day in Mount Gambier to get better weather for the Great Ocean Road though I have to say that I really like Mount Gambier as a town.

Mount Gambier

3rd March 2019

Distance: 220km

Didn’t leave until nearly 10am because only a journey just over 200km today, not only that, South Australia is half an hour behind the eastern states.

It was a largely uneventful journey mostly using back roads to cut cross country. The only problem with these roads is that there are never any rest areas except street parking in any small town. The weather was overcast only reaching 23’C but a pleasant change from the heatwave of the previous two days. Everything looked very dry and there was no rain in these clouds.

Horsham to Mt GambierHorsham to Mt Gambier

Arrived at Mount Gambier about midday and checked into a caravan park virtually in the centre of town. The owner was very helpful with events and sight to see.

At 1pm walked to the Riddoch Art Centre to watch a film about describing how the local area was formed from volcanic activity when Australia separated from from Gondwana Land and how the weakness caused by this fault line later led to the formation of the Blue Lake and lava flows travelling for 100s of kms into Victoria.

Mount GambierMount Gambier

Nearby is Cave Gardens right in the town centre – basically a sinkhole.

Mount Gambier Cave GardenMount Gambier Cave GardenMount Gambier Cave Garden Mount GambierMount GambierMount GambierMount GambierMount Gambier

Returned to camp for a shower before wandering out for a walk ending up at about 5.30pm at the Mount Gambier Community RSL where we had a meal and a couple of drinks.