Living my dream

Trip Start Sep 07, 2011
Trip End Sep 06, 2012

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Where I stayed
Alan & Sue's Apartment

Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, January 23, 2012

The title is exactly the truth.  I had always dreamed of driving around Australia in a campervan and now I am doing it, albeit only driving a very small part of it, but I still am living the dream!!

Got up and left around 8.30 am as there were a couple of places that I wanted to stop on the way back to Melbourne today.  The first stop was only about 30 kms along the coast to Beachport.  Someone had mentioned it to me last night so I wanted to have a quick look, and a quick look I did.  Again, it was a lovely seaside town, but smaller than Robe.  Very quiet and definately a surfing beach.  I only stopped for 5 mins to take some photos and then jumped back in the van.

The second stop was another recommendation from Lani in Adelaide.  It was Mount Gambier.  It is basically the half way point between Melbourne and Adelaide and also quite a large city.  Well, when I say large, it has over 20,000 people living there.  I quickly went to the Information Centre to find out where a couple of things were that I had been told I must go and see.  The first one was the Blue Lake.  Well, I definately was not disappointed.

Firstly, let me quickly explain a little about Mount Gambier.  It is a town which has been built on a extinct volcano.  The last eruption was around 4,000 years ago, so I think we are pretty safe.  There are 3 craters in the area and the biggest one is the most beautiful.  This is home to the Blue Lake.  The Blue Lake houses all the drinking water for the whole town.  The water is crystal clear and has been filtered underground through the limestone which passes slowly beneath the city, so no other filtration is required.  Each year, around November time, the lake starts to change colour from a greyish colour to a brilliant turquoise blue.  The photos I took do not do it justice.  The vibrant blue was just a truly amazing colour.  The change in colour is something to do with the surface water heating up and calcium carbonate crystals forming.  I sound like I know what I'm talking about but it's just what I remembered from the short tour I took around the lake.  It was so beautiful, you just wanted to jump in, apart from the fact it was pretty damn hot as well.

After I had spent a good hour at the lake and taking in the shear beauty, I then headed to the next place which was the Centenary Tower, which you had to walk up to.  Once at the top you had a 360 view of the whole town.  My goodness, it was only 500 metres to the tower but it was such a steep slope.  I had to turn around at one point and walk backwards as it was the easiest way to get up there, plus the fact it was around 35 degrees.  I wasn't disappointed when I got there though.  I climbed up the tower and the view was spectacular.  You could see out to the ocean and all around.  You could still see the Blue Lake, along with the other lake, which is used for leisure activities, Valley Lake.

There was one other stop before I headed off and that was Umpherston Sinkhole.  What a name eh!  Basically what this is is an old cave which had collapsed, and around 150 years ago, it was turned into a sunken garden.  The town is surrounded by caves and sinkholes, but this is the only one open to the public and made into a beautiful garden.  It did feel like a little piece of the Garden of Eden.  I could have sat down there for hours, however, there were loads of bees around, so I made a sharp exit.

I forgot to mention previously about the landscape in South Australia.  It must be the driest out of all the states as everything is brown.  All the fields are brown and quite a lot have nothing growing in them and the poor animals are fighting to find food.  Once I crossed the border into Victoria, the landscape suddenly changed to fields of green and big tall trees.  It was amazing how quickly it changed.  It was a pleasure for the scenery to change as I was getting bored of the nothingness and brown colour.  I now had something to look at!

One other place that I stopped at (which was a recommendation by the man in the Centenary Tour) was to stop at Dartmoor.  Hmmm, am I heading back home again???  When I got to Dartmoor, there was a village hall, a village shop and a couple of houses.  There was next to nothing there, apart from a row of wood carvings which had been made out of the old trees that used to line the roadside.  The first part of the carvings where done to mark WWI and all of those who fought and lost their lives.  The second part of the carvings where all the animals that live in Australia and one random huge carving which detailed children's nursery rhymes and stories.  I was glad I stopped there as it was quite unique.  Definately nothing like the Dartmoor I know.

On the drive back, I passed through the Grampian Mountain ranges, which was a bonus, as I did want to go there, but could not afford it, so I got to see them for free!  It was great to drive the van and it was very comfortable and I didn't feel uneasy in it all, in fact I was very confident in it.

When I got back to Melbourne around 8 pm, Alan and Sue could not believe that I had driven such a large vehicle.  As it was so late, they decided to take me out for a beer and a Italian meal just down the road.  What a way to end your trip eh! 

Oh, I filled the tank back up and I spent $161 on fuel, so the whole 2 days (even though I had it for 3) cost me $26 to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne.  It would have cost me $200 to fly and $80 on a greyhound and take 11 hours to get back.  I know which one I would choose again!
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