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.

28th April–Ceduna to Nullarbor Roadhouse

Distance: 324 km
Fuel: 32 ltr
I am such a dope. I had intended to buy a Telstra SIM card for the spare phone I packed. When did I remember? When I was parked at the Nullarbor Roadhouse looking at the Telstra only phone tower! Anyway to continue…
From Ceduna the first stop was a quick sortie into Penong to see the windmills.
170428 005 Penong Windmills
Then a fairly long stint with nothing much to do other than occasionally turn the steering wheel to accommodate the rare bend in the road while listening to the audio book of “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” read by Stephen Fry.
Nullarbor is not an Aboriginal word as I had assumed but from the Latin Nullus Arbor meaning No Trees (and there aren’t any)
About 15km before the Nullarbor Roadhouse is the turn off to “The Head of the Bight”. 14km of sealed road to a visitor’s centre, boardwalk and lookout. It is on Aboriginal Land and costs $5 (more for the less elderly).
170428 026 Head of the Bight
Well worth the money, during the season whales can be seen but even without them it is spectacular scenery. The only thing south is Antarctica.
170428 029 Head of the Bight
Finally the Nullarbor Roadhouse… What can I say? Diesel is $175/ltr, they generate their own electricity, desalinate their own bore water and charge $30 for a powered site plus $1 for a shower. I had a Nulla Burger for my evening meal and it was very good perfectly complimented by an $8 stubbie of Carlton Draught.
The original Roadhouse is still there (remember when there were only two sorts of petrol? Standard and Super).
170428 041 Nullarbor Roadhouse
But the new one also has a motel, caravan park and even a golf fairway.
170428 045 Nullarbor Roadhouse
Now this is a road sign you don’t see every day.
170428 048 Nullarbor Roadhouse
Haven’t seen any of the camels yet but I would imagine hitting a camel at 110kph would do a lot of damage to both of you.

27th April 2017–Port Lincoln to Ceduna

Distance: 498 km
Fuel: 41 ltr
So excited to be leaving Port Lincoln – cold and miserable place as far as I am concerned. Up early to get milk and ice from the local Coles, like the ACT they don’t have plastic bags.
Stopped a few times on the way to look at landmarks and cairns – a pet peeve – this was one of them.
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Now how on earth does that qualify as a site of interest with road signage, parking, a cairn and a plaque? Talk about more having money than sense.
One place I did find interesting was Murphy’s Haystacks. I think the rock formations are created in a similar way to The Devils Marbles in NT though not as spectacular.
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Arrived Ceduna early afternoon and checked into the caravan park right in the town centre.
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Walked around the shops and waterfront before taking a 35km drive along a dirt road to the OTC Earth Station.
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The road was well graded so it was pretty easy but the dish no longer belongs to OTC and has a much more glamorous use.
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Perhaps it has been replaced by these dishes much nearer town.
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I don’t know if that is so this site was totally unsign posted except for a warning that there was 24 hour surveillance and that trespassers would be prosecuted.
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During the early evening strolled to the pub next to the caravan park for a beer and food. Learned all about the difference between South Australian descriptions of glass sizes and the rest of the civilised world.
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The weather is much improved quite warm(ish), only needed my light jacket this evening.
I think I have solved the fuel consumption problem. I suspect it was a combination of windy, inclement weather, hilly countryside and the speed limit. Today the drive was virtually flat, windless and I set the cruise control on 100kph for the whole journey. Fuel consumption was nearly as good as without the trailer (Ok, No it wasn’t but it wasn’t that bad either).

26th April 2017 Port Lincoln and About

 

Cold Night

The night was windy and miserable; the vent on the camper roof kept banging and waking me up. It rained intermittently so I couldn’t leave the glass panels open. Was warm enough but it was not a good night.

A Day Out

Up early to get the laundry washed, dried and packed before 9am. Pretty pleased ($3 for washing machine, $3 for dryer).

After some breakfast I drove into town to see the sights. First stop Makybe Diva, it’s a horse that won the Melbourne Cup and it definitely looked like a horse to me.

170426 011 Port Lincoln

Nearby was the Mosaic Couch another attraction of the town.

170426 015 Port Lincoln

Not mentioned in the brochure was a statue of Flinders and his Cat.

170426 019 Port Lincoln

Back in the car to visit the Old Mill which you can climb for spectacular views of the town,

170426 026 Port Lincoln Old Mill

Well, views anyway.

170426 022 Port Lincoln

The Axel Steinross Maritime Museum was next, it was closed but there was an interesting variable pitch propeller and a couple of boats outside.

170426 029 Port Lincoln

Onward and upward to Winterhill Lookout for more views.

170426 037 Port Lincoln Winterhill Lookout

A 40km drive to Coffin Bay, alas not some macabre beauty spot but a small fishing port named after an Isaac Coffin.

170426 046 Coffin Bay

All the time it was bitterly cold. At Coffin Bay I bought coffee and a sausage roll which went down well.

Back to Lincoln National Park to see a monument to Flinders. The bastards wanted $9 to go in so I gave it a miss – I had already seen Flinders and his Cat which was probably enough Flinders for one day. But when too much Flinders is never enough there is always a cairn to mark where he found some water for his ships.

170426 050 Coffin Bay

Went to a couple of other interesting spots at the Marina and Billy Lights Wharf but by then felt I had exhausted Port Lincoln’s attractions so returned to the caravan park to watch the goings on there. Believe it or not the sun came out for a few moments.

170426 060 Port Lincoln

While it was a good day out, the weather doesn’t suit me at all, far too cold.

On reflection perhaps I should have made this two trips the southern part in summer the northern part a little later in May. Having said that tomorrow’s forecast for Ceduna where I am heading next is better and it has only been two wet, cold and or windy days. I just hate cold weather so much.