Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marvellous Meningie and Vibrant Victor Harbor

Too much alliteration? Sorry, can't help myself. We've been having a fantastic time, finding some really nice places to stay. We left Mount Gambier on Monday morning towards our last-minute-decision destination of Meningie. (Approx 300 kms of driving). To be perfectly honest, the main reason I picked this place was because it said there was a cheese factory/restaurant/cafe beside the caravan park! Sadly, I was misled - there was a cheese factory museum and a cafe/restaurant but no aisles upon aisles of cheese and free tastings that I was hoping for! But alls well that ends well because the park was absolutely gorgeous. Huge lakefront sites and we were able to have a fire. The weather was fantastic as well so we were very lucky and enjoyed a bit of relaxing down-time and 'quality family time' (If you can count Immie and Cooper bashing the stuffing out of each other as we played football).

We were only planning Meningie as a one night stopover but it was so nice we stayed for two. One of the benefits of a fairly loosely planned itinerary! But we had to press on eventually, so left Meningie on Wednesday morning for Victor Harbour (a nice trip of about 166 kms.) Lunch on the way was in the town just before, Port Elliott which looked like a lovely, historical and slightly smaller place too. Once arrived and set up we hit the visitor centre to find out what was what in town. We were sent in the direction of Basham's Beach which is a great spot to see whales! There were about six of them hanging out, I only spotted four but Imogen assures me she saw at least six. They were clearly having a lazy day as all we saw were the tops of their bodies and an occasional tail flap. Still exciting though and I'm sure we'll see more as we head further on.
This morning we had great fun at the Mini Golf in town. I picked up a surprise win (much to Leon's chagrin) and we took the horse drawn tram out along the causeway to Granite Island.
Tomorrow we're going to head to Clare for another couple of nights. We stayed there on our way to the Northern Territory on our last big trip and really liked it, so will spend a bit more time there.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

We're baaaaack!

The people have asked and I have responded. The blog is back! So you can quit with the phone calls, emails, Facebook pages (‘Bring Back the Intrepid Family Blog’)... I kid, I kid. But seriously, we’ve headed off on an adventure travelling around South Australia for three weeks so thought it would be good to record some of the experiences again.
As Leon is originally from South Australia we decided to check out some of his old haunts. We started our trip by heading to Mount Gambier on Saturday 22nd June. It was a pretty uneventful and long trip from Geelong, with a stopover at Kings Bakery in Hamilton for lunch. (Nice place but their coffee machine had broken down... the horror!) Actually, Leon has just reminded me of something some might consider eventful... being pulled over by the police for speeding! Oops. So with a hefty fine to temper Leon’s accelerator foot for the rest of the trip we continued. After setting up at Kalganyi Holiday Park (for the Top Tourist discount!) we had a quick drive around. A highlight smack bang in the middle of town is the Umpherston Sinkhole.

This was once a cave which created a sunken garden when the top of the chamber collapsed. In 1886 James Umpherston saw this potential in this natural wonder and beautified it. It has been continued on by others since and is really gorgeous.

After a rather crappy sleep (octogenarian neighbours getting home from somewhere at 1 am and slamming doors and shouting loudly and Cooper deciding 1.30am would be the perfect time to play his Nintendo DS!) we were all up early. Nice coffees and milkshakes were found at ‘The Whistling Cat’ and we hit the ‘Lady Nelson Visitors Centre’. Lots of information to be found here as well as some clever displays about the area.

We checked out some of Mount Gambier’s amazing lakes; Blue Lake which is in an extinct volcano and supplies the city’s water and the Valley Lake which has beautiful recreational grounds and a wildlife area.

Then we hit the road to Millicent, which was the site of many of Leon’s teenaged memories and experiences (yes I was afraid!) The kids and I enjoyed driving past a couple of the houses his family lived in, the schools and his first place of work! After lunch at the pub drove to the Tantanoola Caves, which has been the most exciting thing so far for me. An amazing cavern with dolomite base rock, resulting in gorgeous colours and formations. Definitely a must see for me.

After checking out a few more informal cave areas that Leon used to frequent and are now fenced off (gulp) we headed back to camp. Tomorrow we will move on (destination as yet unspecified) for yet more intrepid adventures!

P.S You can click on the photos to make them bigger if need be, and also some of the highlighted links.