Day 16 – Wednesday, 13 February 2019

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.

Today we 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 without heirs.

Self-guided 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.

Once we 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.

Russ collapsed 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.