Day 18 - Naracoorte to Meningie

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

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Where I stayed
Meningie Lake Albert Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, May 4, 2012

We awoke to a glorious morning - quite possibly the nicest morning of the trip. The sun was out and the birds were tweeting. It was warm too which was a change. Seeing the campground in the daylight made us even more impressed with the place. The NPWS do a pretty good job of keeping it looking great. Lawns were trim, shrubs were chopped and garbage bins were clean and emptied. As we had to move on, we threw down a quick brekky and packed up but we vowed to return to this place again. It just was one of those nice places.

We went straight to the Caves complex and luckily found a cafe there - perfect to get us in the mood for some caving! After a strong long black and some cake we checked out the information centre and bought our tickets for the Bat Cave tour. Soon our guide came up and introduced himself and we were on our way past various sinkholes and limestone features to a bat observation block which has some video monitors which are showing infrared images of the bat activity in the caves beneath us.

The guide gave us a bit of an information session about Bent Wing Bats and the particular species which only live in the Naracoorte caves and passed around a taxidermied specimen for us to feel. We then headed down into the caves. Dang what an awesome place. Some parts were easier to photograph but most of it was too large and cavernous for the flash to have any effect. I tried some longer shutter openings but without a tripod this was futile. I managed to get one shot of a bat with the flash on, but felt sorry for the poor little bugger so I gave up.

After our caves tour we had completed our tasks to do in the Naracoorte area so it was back West to the coast. Our first stop was Cape Jaffa which had a lighthouse we wanted to check out, or more interestingly, a giant metal platform built on a rock reef 6km out to sea which once-upon-a-time was the foundations of a lighthouse. The lighthouse at one stage had two families living in it, two weeks on - two weeks off. It has since been replaced with a solar powered electric beacon but the lighthouse is on display at Kingston - out next stop.

It was only 8km to Kingston and we were looking forward to being allowed to have a look inside the old Cape Jaffa lighthouse. Unfortunately it was closed. Only open on school holidays. Bugger.

There was also a Giant Lobster to go and check out, but with light fading it was time to get some fuel and get onto the road which was to take us through the Coorong which I had always heard about but had taken me almost 20 years to get to. Jumping on the Princes Hwy from Kingston gets you pretty much on the start of it with large bodies of water alternating sides of the road. It begins to get very scenic until you suddenly feel the magic of the place. It may have been the time of day and the time of year because as we drove into the sunset along the Coorong I was completely loving every minute. It really is a mystical place (and no it wasn't just David Sylvian playing on the stereo, might've been Beth Orton).

Right in the midst of it we saw a sign to a camping area a few kms off the main road. Something made us want to have a look even though it was now fully dark. It was a badly formed rocky road and we could only travel at 20-30km/h so it took a while. It was so dark and cold that when we got to the camping area it felt a bit eerie. It was dead empty - no campers, houses or anything nearby and it just had a creepy feel to it. It wouldn't have been fun to go outside to pee if we stayed there so we decided to head to Meningie which was another 20 kms or so. We knew we'd regret this because waking up at that campsite would have been glorious.

We got to Meningie, it was pretty unimpressive after a full day's driving and having to still find a campground. There were no free camping areas in the town so we went to the Lake Albert Caravan Park and got a powered site overlooking Lake Albert. The view was nice but there were just a tad too many people staying there. 

We cooked our own dinner in the van then had showers. Meningie had all digital TV channels & internet so we were happy campers. I slept like a log that night.
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