The alarm went
off far too early. We had a quick breakfast and did the dishes, made sure
everything was stowed away in its place, and headed out of Mundulla at 8:27am.
from yesterday arrived just as we were leaving, and we had a quick chat. He
said they would start the cutting away from the remaining vans at the back,
which would give them a bit longer to clear out of the way.
section of the road was clear of traffic, but that didn’t last long. Bordertown
came on us fairly quickly and then turned towards Horsham. Lots of semis along
this stretch of the road, and some of them caused Shadow to move a bit as they
passed, so Russ spent a lot of concentration on the road.
through Kaniva, which looks like a place that would be worth a few days stay to
check out the surrounds, filled up at Nhill and continued on our way. We turned
off the main drag once again and headed for Jeparit.
The trip was
137 kilometres today, and much of it was on a C road and we encountered a lot
of trucks along the way. When we arrived at Jeparit (a bit larger than I
expected) we turned into the caravan park and stopped to take stock of the
opportunities in front of us.
park is small but has lush green lawns around the site areas. When I spoke with
Yolande the other day, she told me that we could park wherever we wished. She
texted me the codes for the facilities block and informed me that she would be
around after work to pick up our fee.
There is a
trailer camper tent already here (vehicle missing), and two caravans, which
appears to have become a fixture in the park, but otherwise we have the place
deployed the awning, set out the table and chairs, and it is a pleasure to just
sit back, watch the magpies, and enjoy the serenity.
afternoon we will take a stroll down to town and have a look around. Not sure
what we are having for tea tonight as the cupboard and fridge are almost bare.
We were on
the road to Mundulla before 10:00am. Mundella is 147 kilometres away so we can
take it slow and steady and still arrive in plenty of time to suss out the
camping area and set ourselves up.
We headed for
Kingston SE and filled up with diesel at OTR before turning off towards
Bordertown. Mundulla is ten kilometres before that.
The road was
in pretty good nick and the traffic was light. The sky was overcast which is
good driving weather, and the temperature is sitting on 19 degrees C. In fact,
it stayed that low all the way to Mundulla.
reached Mundulla, we followed the map directions to the footy oval. We came
through a very narrow gate, but Russ manoeuvred the entire rig like a pro. We
discovered that we had actually turned one street early and would have come
across a much easier access if we had continued for a little bit. Them’s the breaks!
area is lush, green grass. The sprinklers were on when we arrived and much of
the camping area had a few inches of water over the top – Russ got his sneakers
After we had
set everything up, we were hailed by a gentleman who asked us how long we
intended to stay. We replied that we were only there for the night. He informed
us that he had contract arborists arriving at 8:30 tomorrow morning to trim the
dead branches off the red gums as they were preparing for a large festival in
two weeks’ time, and the place would be packed chockers.
We have been
wondering for a while how come many places are green oasises among much dry
grasslands. He told us that they tapped into the Artesian well, which was only
20 metres underground.
He advised us
that the contractor would be putting out cones to fence off the camping area,
and we said we would have moved before he began work tomorrow.
that another van pulled in beside us. I went and introduced myself to Brian and
Shirley (and their adorable puppy – a white poodle) and told them about the
tree cutting exercise planned for early the next morning.
they were meeting with some others, as yet to arrive, but would leave their van
where it was until they got here and had a confab. The consensus, once they
arrived, was to move back further in the area outside the cones where the water
had soaked away in the time we had been there.
So, all in
all there were about five rigs in the park overnight. One of them ignored all
the sign that claimed you must not park within 25 metres of the toilet block,
and I hope they got a wonderful odour from the dump point beside their front
We spent some
considerable time being serenaded by a family of magpies. Both of us can sit
and listen to them for hours as they whistle, warble and chortle along. How
lucky we are!
We had a
lovely relaxing time and, once Russ had completed his meditation, we headed on
foot for the lengthy walk around town. It did turn out to take us longer than
we had first thought, but only because we found a nature trail. If I had known
of it before we started out, I would have worn better shoes instead of my
wandered through a lightly forested area and had signs along the pathway to
advise you of the items worth looking for as you walked. Some local person had
a marvellous imagination, and was skilled at metalwork, because there were
quaint original items of artwork spaced along the way. Russ took his camera
with him, but as it was only supposed to be a walk around town, I left mine in
the van. I was then forced to use my phone to take photos of the artwork
our sojourn through the town and took particular notice of some of the older
houses, many of which would have been original to the first settlement.
arrived back at the van we prepared for tea – soup and sandwiches. Along the
way we both decided that the sandwich maker (a fairly cheap one) was inadequate
and we would look for a suitable replacement. We also looked at stainless steel
electric frypans so that we don’t have to rely on the gas stove in the future.
Many times during this trip it has been too windy and cold to use the Webber
Baby Q, and we don’t have an annexe to make conditions better at this point in
We both had
showers before we went to bed so that in the morning we can make a timely
withdrawal of the van from the camping area.
We turned in
for an early night, which didn’t eventuate for me as I got to sleep somewhere
around 1:00am. Russ snored a lot, and as he had set the alarm for 7:30am it
came far too early. The galahs took over this morning from the corellas of late
yesterday afternoon. Boy, those birds can be noisy!
we took things slowly. After breakfast and showers, we took the privacy screen
and awning down in preparation for packing up and leaving tomorrow morning for
Mundella – our first overnight stop on our way back to Mildura. I also did the
last load of washing until we get home.
The day is
actually sunny, and the wind is not blowing a gale, so very pleasant for Robe.
We decided to
finalise our shopping and grab some cash from the ATM in order to pay for our
campsites once we are again on the move, so headed to town. Whilst I did the
shopping (so onerous!) Russ spent time talking to Brett and fixing his internet
problems as the power went out in Mildura last night for a time and interfered with
his net connection.
We then went
to the Pastry Shop to grab a bite for lunch. What a ripoff. Gormet pies cost
$8.90 each. Russ went for a beef, bacon and onion pie and I chose a chicken,
leek and mushroom one. The pastry was thick and gluggy, and there was very
little content in the pie once the lid was removed – definitely a treat to miss
stowed away the few items purchased, and Russ had downloaded his geocache sites
to the phone and GPS tracker, we headed off to do some geo-caching.
Well, that was
the plan. About 15ks out of town I realised I did not have my phone with me so
we had to turn around and go back for it. It was, thankfully, still sitting on
the table outside the van when we got back there.
around we got underway. Russ was driving and I was following the prompts on his
phone. That man will do anything to get some 4WD on unsealed roads. I have to
say the limestone unsealed tracks around here are in excellent condition. In
fact, some of the surfaces are better than some of the proper roads.
Once we made
it to the first site, in a very roundabout way (Russ did enjoy it) we came to
the first of the site he hoped to get. We changed over so that I was now doing
the driving (at a much slower pace) and it wasn’t long before we were back on
made six stops and Russ collected all of them except the last one, which was in
an area that had just had major road resurfacing take place, so it was probably
lost sometime during the works.
I have written
all this diary while Russ has completed his meditation and back stretches. I
also confirmed with Yolande at Jeparit that we would be in on Thursday night,
not Wednesday as originally booked. We don’t have to worry about Mundella as it
is free camping and you pay as you stay.
will have sausages and mashed potato for tea. Russ will upload the final part
of the diary to the website and we are planning on a reasonably early night.
After tea we will remove and pack away the matting outside the van where the
awning was to make it lighter work tomorrow morning.
thoroughly enjoyed our time away from home and wouldn’t be worried if it was
longer. However, there are things to do at home before the start of the footy
season, and the next trip to plan, so lots more to look forward to in the
we packed our lunches and took off for Nora Creina. We have no idea what it is
but there are big signposts for the place around Robe, and it is just past the Little
Dip Conservation Park, so we decided to take a look.
It turns out
to be a private settlement behind locked gates. You can park your vehicle and walk
down to the beach, but you are asked to respect the privacy of those who live
there. I need to say here that the 22 kilometres to get to Nora Creina is on an
unsealed road. It is in good condition being crushed limestone, but still –
fancy having to navigate that in all seasons.
We stopped off
at the first salt lake in the Conservation area. It ponged in no uncertain
terms and there was nothing there to see or photograph. Russ was beginning to
get a bit disheartened, especially as we are nearing the end of our time in
Robe. The march flies flew us back to our car. Heavens, they are big buggers!
next little track we came across said it was Freshwater Lake, so we decided we
had nothing to loose by taking a gander at it. This was an excellent decision
we made, as it turns out that the nature walk around Freshwater Lake is a real
gem of a find.
It is a 1.6km
walking loop and there were people already there when we got into the car park
area. Russ then decided that if we walked the loop in reverse these people
would push the abundant birds our way as we walked.
was every bit as great as the birdlife. It was a pleasant walk with picnic
spots dotted about the foreshore. We met the other couple along the track. He was
carrying a large pair of binoculars, so we exchanged info before continuing on
our merry way.
We rang Mum
and caught up with her and her health news. It appears that they have diagnosed
she has shingles along her back. She is now on medication and it will take some
time before she is well again.
phone call we took the computer with us and went into town to order our fish
and chips. It was the freshest flake and chips I have ever tasted. The batter
was so light as to be almost non-existent, and the fish was so fresh. The chips
were cooked in fresh oil and just the way I like them.
All in all, we
enjoyed our meal, which we ate down by the information centre and post office
where the Telstra Air point is in Robe. It took some time but eventually Russ
had uploaded our latest batch of photos to the website.
packed our lunches and headed off to Naracoorte to refuel before driving to Bool
Lagoon. We have found some of the Reserves are free to visit, but camping fees
apply. Just to be different, when we got to Bool Lagoon we discovered we had to
purchase tickets – ONLINE, if you please.
It was just as
well that there were no rangers on duty as I have no intention of ever doing
banking on my phone. Needless to say, we drove through the park, did some of
the walks (watching very carefully for snakes), and did not buy a ticket. It
would not have been worth $10 either.
I have to say
here that Robe is very cool, even when the sun is shining. If you are out of
the breeze blowing, I think you could actually get hot, but the wind is the
coolest wind I have ever encountered in summertime at the beach. It seems that
the temperature increases by one degree on average for every ten k’s you drive
further away from Robe. Today it was also very humid, so we made sure to drink
plenty of water along our travels.
Russ took lots
of photos of birds. He came across a few that he had not captured before, so he
was pleased with the excursion. Other than the Wetland Boardwalk all the other
walks are hindered by heavy layers of tall weeds which impede your view of the
lake and the birds on it.
cannot get near enough through them to get good shots without a telephoto lens.
At the end of the Wetlands Boardwalk there is a bird hide. I think if you came
here after the rains (not sure when that is) and the water was higher, it would
be a fascinating place to visit. I think you could also get a van in here but
am not sure if they allow free camping.
As Russ took
most of the photos today, I told him he could do the downloading of them all.
He did his meditation, we had tea, and then he steadily downloaded the shots. I
went through them and picked out what I thought were the best shots, and they
are now ready to go up onto the website.
Tonight we had
scrambled eggs and toast for tea – quite delish.
decided to have a lazy day. Russ stayed with the caravan and I took hornet into
Robe for a long walk around the town. I parked at one end of the town down near
the Information centre, and walked up one side and down the other.
I think I
visited every shop (some of them only open on the weekends) and all I can say
is some people have a lot of money. Even the items on special were over $60 a
piece, and I wouldn’t have bought any of them. The colours are beige, brown,
black, blue and a mushroom pink – just about in every shop. I think if someone
put a bright colour in their shop there would be a revolution.
I did buy some
lovely silver ear-rings, made here in Robe, and I enjoyed my wander through the
lady’s shop. I resisted buying an ice-cream as the weather is overcast (nothing
unusual in Robe) and Russ was not with me.
enjoyed reading the plaques on many of the buildings, which hark back to the
early days of the township. I also discovered about wool washing. Apparently, a
sea captain who lived in Robe was docked at the pier/jetty when a storm broke
out and the ship left its anchorage. It was driven onto the rocks at the port
mouth and wrecked.
of his cargo was salvageable, although it had spent time in the sea. It was
decided to wash the wool before re-bundling it for passage to England. Once there,
the quality of the wool was remarked upon, and sold at a much higher price than
other wool presented at the time. When this news came back to Robe the wool-washing
industry was set up at Lake Fellmongery by the gentleman who built Robe Manor,
just across the driveway from our caravan park.
I also found a
shop that sold Nesti Dante soap at a commensurate rate to that in Italy. The
soap is made in Florence, Italy, and I discovered it whilst we were in Sicily –
believe it or not. I have checked their website and they do sell online.
However, the cost of postage from Italy for heavy items is prohibitive. I then
discovered that Saison in Richmond, Victoria sell online, and the cost is
comparative. I have been putting off my next purchase for a while now but
finding it in Robe was a sure sign – so I bought two bars of it.
I climbed back
into the car after my three-kilometre walk and went to Foodland to grab a few
grocery items before heading back to the van.
himself later in the afternoon and we went down town to get Chinese for tea. There
was nowhere to sit while it was being prepared so we went back to the car. We
had no sooner got into Hornet and the heavens opened. It poured like we were in
the tropics for at least fifteen minutes and then stopped.
The fried rice
was nice, and Russ enjoyed his honey chicken, but I found my duck to be very
travelled to Beachport, which is located on Rivoli Bay. We took our time
travelling and looking around us as we went. We saw some emus in the paddock
where we turned to go up to Woakwine Cutting, and Russ took photos of some new
Cutting is an amazing story. It was constructed in order to drain a 420-hectare
peat swamp on the property of Mr Murray McCourt. It took three-years to
complete and commenced in 1957. The work was carried out by Mr McCourt and his
employee, Mr Dick McIntyre.
The length of
the cutting is 1 kilometre, and it is 28.34 metres at its deepest point. Over
276,000 cubic metres of limestone rock and material was removed.
with a D7 Caterpillar Crawler tractor, 7 Ton Drawn ripper, an 11 yard Le
Tourneau scraper, a single furrow swamp plough and lots of explosives. Some of
the equipment is still housed on site for viewing, and there are two viewing
points of the cutting
Beachport around lunch time. Russ spent quite a few minutes enthralled with the
colony of tern camped on the boat breakwater. He took may photographs of them,
and I took photos of one of the longest jetties I have ever seen. The water was
turquoise and aquamarine and so clear it was beautiful.
There is much
rugged coastline away from the town proper, and some beautiful scenery. We
walked along some of the beaches and took the tourist drive, which involved some
unsealed roads, which Russ loved. I didn’t let him drive on the sand!
We drove to
Lake George Conservation Park and lunched with many March flies. Don’t they
know it is still February????? They are whoppers!
Lake George is
open to tent camping, but not caravans. However, we entered one of the camping
areas that had a picnic table and bench beside it so we could enjoy the birds
and the scenery. I’m sure the blue wrens see Russ coming with the telephoto
lens on it ‘çause they hide behind tree branches so you can’t focus properly
for the shot.
Once we had finished
our photography and lunch, we had a leisurely drive home along a different
route so we could see something different.
Russ did his
meditation and back stretching exercises and I enjoyed some reading and game
is overcast, but the winds are just breezy – cool, mind you, but okay with a
jacket. The sun is supposed to come out later today, but time will tell.
We only packed
our coffee thermoses today as we have decided to get lunch somewhere down in
Robe. It turns out that Robe is much bigger than you think until you start
driving around it.
We headed all
the way along the main street and followed the signs to the Obelisk. This
structure was erected in the 1800 and was painted white. However, the sailors
said it was too difficult to see it against the limestone yellow, and so it was
painted in alternate strips of red and white instead. It is now fenced off as
the limestone cliffs are crumbling and it is unsafe to approach. It is expected
that it will fall into the sea sooner or later.
We parked in
the Old Gaol carpark and hiked up to the ocean lookout. There were lots of
people doing the same thing as we were, but we were some of the few carrying
track is sealed crushed rock, which makes for a firm walking surface. There are
only a few places where the rock causes problems because it has become loose.
We had a map of the area so were able to see where we were headed. The Blow
hole was a non-event as the tides weren’t high enough for it to be operating.
is fascinating. It is a dominant feature along the walk and starts out with
three arches to see and then becomes closed as you venture around the point.
Lookout is just before the new and modern lighthouse further along the walking
walked about ten k’s and had a few rest-stops along the way. Conveniently, they
place benches along the track at the top of the inclines, and we made use of
all of them.
Almost back at
the car park you come across the remains of the Old Robe Gaol (old time
spelling, of course). It is interesting to meander around them. There were
rooms for three gaolers, but only three small cells, a huge exercise yard, a
big store room and a kitchen.
We then drove
past one of the big old dwellings (made out of limestone) and have decided it
is privately owned as there were no signs around it all. We then went to No 4
for brunch – Russ had pancakes, maple syrup, ice cream, strawberry, blackberry,
and I had a delicious egg and bacon roll.
Once we got
back to the van, we put the awning back up and the privacy screen. Russ went to
meditate, and I downloaded the photos while doing more washing. It was time to clean
Russ cooked steak
for tea and I cooked the chips. We have concentrated on updating the blog and
Russ has taken time to identify all the bird photos he has taken.
The wind this
morning is still gusty, but nowhere near the ferocity of yesterday. The day is
supposed to reach 21 degrees, but I will be very surprised if it does.
packed our lunch, some snacks, our thermoses of coffee and visited Penola for a
look around. It is, after all, the home place of Saint Mary McKillop who
created the order of Josephite nuns, which had a lasting impact on many of our
age groups as they were our teachers at school.
We then headed
towards Naracoorte. On the approach to Naracoorte is Struan House. This
spectacular double story mansion (with a bell tower in the top around fourth
floor level) was once the home of the pioneering Robertson family. The home was
completed in 1875.
It is now the
home of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA, who carried out a
$2 million upgrade in 2008. They purchased the house in 1948 from the estate of
the oldest son of the Robertsons, Alexander, who was a bachelor and died
tours of the place are available during office hours, and it is well worth the
effort. You simply do not see craftsmanship like that anymore. It is built of
limestone which was carried from the local quarries by dray and cut on site
during its construction.
Before we took
our self-guided tour, we ate our lunch on the side verandah of the mansion with
a spectacular view across the manicured lawns. In the grounds also are some
incredible Moreton Bay fig trees and Norfolk pines. The lovely lady in the
office had provided a short written history of the Roberston Family and we read
all about them while we had our lunch.
Lots of photos
later we headed off to the Naracoorte Caves and the Wonambi Fossil Centre.
We decided to
attend the tour of the Alexandra Cave and wandered around the Fossil Centre
while we waited for the staring time. Our tour guide is named Frank and he has
been employed at the caves as a guide for 18 years. He has a good sense of
humour and me amusing incidents to tell. He is also very knowledgeable about
the history and geology of the caves.
I was able to
take a lot of photos inside the cave and most of them have come out fairly
decent. Once our tour was concluded Russ and I did the Roof Top walk, which
takes you over the top of some of the caves. The area is deep into conservation
of flora and fauna and some of the species here are on the endangered species
list, especially the bats.
completed our stroll, we decided to head over to the café for an ice cream.
They were about to close for the day, but the lady very kindly allowed me my
purchase before she shut up shop.
We took the
meandering back roads back to Robe using the C roads. Surprisingly many of them
are signed as 110, but you would need to know them to travel some part safely.
in screaming heap when we arrived back at the van about 5pm. I don’t imagine I
will see him for at least an hour and a half. It is lucky we are having left
over Chinese or I might have begun gnawing on my arm.
The gale force
winds eventuated in the early hours of e morning and the rain came down in
tropical downpour fashion. At least the downpours only last for about 15 to 20
minutes and then let up for a while. The same cannot be said about the wind. At
5am this morning Russ and I were up and taking down the awning and privacy
screen. We were wondering if the van might not end up in Lake Fellmongery the
gusts were so forceful.
disturbed night we both decided to rise later than usual, and the lazy day was
a great plan. The wind is very cold, so it is time to don a singlet and put the
extra blanket on the bed.
While Russ did
a lot of reading, I ended up doing a couple of loads of washing. During a dry
spell I ventured up to the laundry with the washed clothes via the caravan park
office to get some change for the dryer.
I also told
Julie that the lights had been left on in Villa 12. She thanked me for the
advice and said she had come across in the night to supply more blankets to one
of the cabins and had seen the light herself so had asked Tom, her son, to
visit the villa and turn them off.
We went down
the street and bought Chinese for tea: Russ had honey chicken and I went for
roasted duck once again.