Day 17 - Beachport to Naracoorte

Trip Start Apr 17, 2012
Trip End May 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
Naracoorte Caves Campground

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today we had the choice to go to Robe and onto the Coorong (which we had been looking forward to for ages) but our research uncovered some caves which were highly recommended but required us to detour inland and back East for 130km (or 2 hours at our bird-avoiding road speed). We made the decision to go there as missing them would cause regret. This would be a 1-day detour before we could get back on track but since we had all the time in the world it wasn't a problem. We had cereal brekky before heading into town for coffee at Bompahs. The day was beginning to look nice and sunny with only the occasional dark cloud bringing brief showers before clearing up again so when we finished our coffees we walked over to the super long jetty which we had planned to walk.

The sign said that at it's longest the jetty was over 1200 metres long but in it's current form it was only 750m or so. We started the walk and had done 50-100m when I realised that I had left my camera in the cafe so in a state of panic, and fully adrenalised, I did a Usain Bolt back to the cafe to try ti retrieve it. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to live without my camera, memory cards and lenses. As I got to the front door of the cafe panting, some of the local Mums commented saying that I was lucky but generally they said that most locals are nice and trustworthy. Now that I had my camera I walked back to the jetty with Julie waiting. I could see that several kms out to sea there was another incoming dark cloud which meant rain would fall in about 10 mins. Due to the length of the jetty, I estimated that we'd get pissed on whilst at the furthest point.

Walking out was quite amazing. The first few metres had huge waves crashing into the seawall and some waves were almost hitting parked cars. As we got out into deeper water the waves got smaller. We took heaps of photos and kept an eye on that approaching cloud. We actually made it all the way to the end of the jetty before the raincloud arrived but there was no way we would make it back. In fact, we were only 2 or 3 mins into the return walk when the sky went dark and the rain began to fall. Julie managed to put on her hood, but I, for some stupid reason only had a jumper on. My head was wet and cold and my clothes got a little bit damp but it was mad fun so it was well worth it.

We thought we'd make it to Robe for lunch so we jumped onto the Southern Ports Highway around the lakes and got to Robe soon enough. We quite liked Robe, it had a nice vibe and some picturesque waterfront areas. We found a small cafe off the main strip called the Wild Mulberry Cafe with a yummy menu and a nice heated courtyard area with lots of little birdies flying around. I ordered the fish & chips with home made tartare & salad which was goddamn superb. Julie had a pretty tasty looking rice salad. After lunch it was hard to leave as it was so nice. We grabbed a ginger beer for the road and headed NE.

The drive to Naracoorte was mostly farmland, we began to see the old classic South Australian brick ruins of old homesteads on the farms. As we got closer to Naracoorte it became real cattle & sheep territory. By the time we got to town it was after lunch so we stopped by the bakery for some sandwiches, coffee and ginger beer (as usual). The town was interesting so we did a quick drive-around and then set the controls for Bool Lagoon Game Reserve to check out some birds. There is a huge lake there so it's a base for some migratory birds as well as natives. The heath-like terrain also is perfect for some honeyeaters. We got there just before dusk and had a quick explore. The road was rough so the going was slow because it shook the hell out of our plates, bowls and saucers drawer in the back.

We figured we'd head to the highest point for the sunset so we drove to the western end of the park and watched an awesome sunset surrounded by some fantastic wildlife. We hung around and savoured the moment - we laughed, we danced, we jumped around, we took lots of photos until the cameras were rendered useless by darkness. Too lazy to pull out the tripods, and too cold to stay outdoors we jumped into the van and headed to the Naracoorte Caves Campground which we had heard were well equipped but hadn't checked out yet.

It was only 10kms to the campground and it was dark when we arrived so we were a bit apprehensive driving into the place. When we got there it was awesome. There were only 4 or 5 camps set up (1 tent, 1 caravan, 2 camper trailers + us in the camper) and the place was pretty spacious, it could probably accommodate 30 caravans. The campsites had power, the toilets were clean, the showers were extremely hot (and free) and they even had a laundry. The whole place was easy to walk around in the dark with sensorlights and best of all, it was only another 10kms to Naracoorte which meant the whole range of digital TV channels and full strength Next G internet for our evening's relax. After a feed and a shower I only could handle 45 minutes of relaxing before I fell asleep.

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