The Limestone Coast

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On a day when the weather couldn't decide what to do we crossed the state border into South Australia and gained half an hour of daylight due to the time change. Why they don't just adjust by an hour we'll never know.  In search of volcanic crater lakes we entered Mount Gambier, a timber town surrounded by immense forests that feed the industry.  Our first unexpected sight was Umpherston's Sinkhole, a large limestone excavation done up with vines and flowers to welcome the tourists.  Although similar in geology, it was nothing like the cenotes we'd visited in Mexico.  The same was true of the local crater lakes, which didn't quite measure up to the magnificent one we'd tromped through the Oregon snow to savour.  Still Mount Gambier was quite appealing and while visiting a cave in the centre of town we certainly couldn't turn down another free wifi opportunity at the library.

In Beachport a rainbow over the 772 metre jetty drew us in.  We walked to the end with waist high waves cresting and crashing against the embankment as Jason reflected on his childhood fear of bridges over water and Sylvia offered him her hand.

Rolling on to Robe the incessantly intermittent sunshowers continued.  A lovely little seaside town it was.  We slurped chicken and broccoli roganjosh from the pot, wiping it clean with slices of bread as the extended day ended.

Against advice we drove off in darkness again in search of a safe haven to last until dawn.  Just past the turnoff for The Granites we had a close encounter with a kangaroo hopping across the road and seconds later spotted our first wombat.  While preparing for another early bedtime we thanked sister-in-law Wendy for the TowTabs that wiped our faces clean before long overnights in the car.  The half moon shone brightly in the night sky and the ocean was in our ears as we drifted off to sleep.

On a boring drive northwest we broke the fuel rule of never dropping below a quarter tank.  In a vast country like Australia it's important to keep ample petrol on board at all times.  The scenery improved to include seaside lakes surrounded by sand dunes and patrolled by pelicans.  With about five litres left in the tank we were saved by the Cal-Tex station in Meningie, at a premium price of course.  But at AUD$1.52 (~CDN$1.57) per litre it was still a lot better than the NZ$2.20 (~CDN$1.87) we were paying a month earlier.

On the way into Adelaide we enjoyed a small diversion to Hahndorf, the oldest German town in Australia.  The main street was a pleasure to stroll down in search of nothing in particular.  We tasted cheeses, mustard, chutney and jam before visiting a small museum documenting the long voyage of early German settlers to the area as well as work done by local artisans.  We ate roast pork, apple and cheese sandwiches for lunch.
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Steph Y. on

Glad you conquered your childhood fear of bridges Jason! And, how sweet of Sylvia to offer you her hand :)

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