Pam's Journal For March 2005

     
  Tuesday 1st March 2005  
  We enjoyed an absolutely splendid day today. Our friends from Perth, Jan and Peter, were over in Adelaide for a few days so they drove down to Victor Harbor to see us. After morning coffee we gave them a bit of a tour then caught the tram ride over to Granite Island for lunch. Peter added to my collection of animals and purchased a penguin for me who answers to the name of Victor. After a huge but very nice lunch we walked back across the causeway and had a wander around the town. Then it was back to the caravan for a cup of tea and all too soon it was time to say goodbye. Little did we know it was only au revoir!

After they left Peter and I busied ourselves with chores like the website and reading the paper. We then discovered friend Peter’s glasses, still here. As we did not have a phone number to contact them we had to wait for their call, which came later. We have now arranged to meet at Hahndorf on Thursday. Hence the reference to au revoir.
 
  Wednesday 2nd March 2005  
  We enjoyed another delightful day exploring this area. We visited coves and drove through mountainous scenery, saw remarkable rock formations and met some nice people and a somewhat unusual individual. We also visited Cape Jervis where we booked our trip to K.I. The somewhat unusual individual was a chap we met by the side of a lookout where the views were breathtaking. We said hello - as you do - and he launched into a full account of his life and how spiritual he was. He was in tune with man and was now working on animals. He declared other people found him strange. I said there was room for us all and made a hasty retreat back to the car . . . well, the wind was cold, wasn't it? Oh, I forgot to mention, I drove the car again today. I must have passed the test the other day.  
  Thursday 3rd March 2005  
  We met Jan and Peter in Hahndorf today to deliver Peter’s glasses. We had coffee, a wander around the town, then lunch. We then said our goodbyes and headed off in different directions. We wanted to further explore the surrounding countryside and we weren’t disappointed. On the way back we checked out two building that were described to us as ‘castles’. They were large impressive houses built in the 1800’s but castles they were not! We called in at the Information Centre to check out a couple of things, one being the wooden boat festival in Goolwa on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March. This was recommended to us as a great day out so we decided to add it to our list of things to do. Hence we are now staying in Victor Harbor longer than we intended. Hard life, is it not? We reckon Victor Harbor would be on our list of places to live, we like it so much.

With the business of the day out of the way, only one thing left to do. Yep, Anchorage here we come. We had our statutory one glass of red and were actually leaving - yes, I know that's hard to believe - when we got talking to a couple of ‘Pommies’. They were here on holiday and, as we got along very well with them, we had a couple more drinks. But only, I hasten to add, because it is important that Australians appear sociable to tourists so that they will return with their friends. Paul and Dawn were very nice people and it is shame that they are only in Victor Harbor for a short time. Anyway, maybe we will catch up with them tomorrow, who knows?
 
  Friday 4th March 2005  
  What an awful day; windy cold and raining. Dawn called by in the morning and gave us two books to read. Very kind of her. She and Paul are off to Granite Island this evening and will call in for a drink on the way back if it is not too late. We did some chores and then went to update the website.  
  Saturday 5th March 2005  
  Paul and Dawn did not call in last night as they got soaked to the skin and it was late when they arrived back. It was a terrible night and this morning isn’t looking much better. By afternoon the sun was out so we walked into the town, visited our local hostelry, and returned home.  
  Sunday 6th March 2005  
  It was a case of up early, get ready, and get out to that there Air Show! We arrived very early and reserved two places next to the runway by placing our chairs there. (This was the normal way of things as we were surrounded by empty chairs). We had a wander around, more so Peter checking out aircraft and . . . gliders. We then, from our prime position, watched various aircraft arrive. The show started at least half an hour late and the hordes were getting restless, but eventually it was all go. The show was great, heaps of aerobatics, some of those pilots must be on a death wish, the things they did. The model helicopters were something else, and controlled so well, it was amazing. We saw heaps of planes, a glider, model aircraft, vintage cars and motor bikes. When the flying had ended we were making our way back to the car park when we enquired if the helicopter joy flights were still operating and . . . yes, they were! So I had a very short flight in a ’copter and enjoyed every minute of it. It was on my list of things to do so I was not just happy but thrilled! It was great.  
     
   
     
  And if you doubt it, just look at the grin on her face. It was there for hours! We then headed back towards Victor Harbor but did a detour to Port Elliot as it had been recommended to us. What a beautiful little place it is. But, time marches on and it was well past ‘glass of red time’, so off to the pub we went, a different one this time as we were also eating out to tonight. Very nice it was too. The barmaid (that Peter chatted up, as he does) told us she was planning to do a parachute jump on Friday for her 30th birthday. We said we would call back to see if she managed it.  
  Monday 7th March 2005  
  After such a full-on day yesterday we took it easy this morning. Especially as I had not realised that my face had caught the sun in a BIG way. Yesterday was mostly cloudy but, even so, my face is really sore today. After lunch we walked into town along the beach; this is a lovely place. We visited a history centre in the town. I had been wanting to go for a while but never managed it. We found it very interesting, in fact, after an hour they were closing up and we still hadn’t finished, so they gave us a pass to return free of charge. The main point of interest for Peter was, of course, our mate Matt. They had a lot of books about him and plenty of information. After our daily dose of history we headed off for the usual glass of red. That's one big advantage of a place this size - we're never more than a few minutes walk from the Anchorage Hotel.  
  Tuesday 8th March 2005  
  Today we did the tourist drive through the Inman Valley with its spectacular views. The scenery around Victor Harbor is certainly beautiful. It's an early night for us, tonight, as we are off at the crack of dawn to Kangaroo Island for a couple of days. We are leaving the caravan here and going on an organised tour, staying overnight in a hotel then returning home late on Thursday.  
  Wednesday 9th March 2005  
 

It was certainly up and out this morning. I even set the alarm last night and I cannot remember the last time I set an alarm! Nonetheless we were showered, breakfasted and standing to attention at the main entrance to the caravan park at 7.25 a.m. Those that know us will agree - a ‘mean feat’.

Our transport was not a coach, as we expected, but a six seater car as we were the only two going from Victor Harbor. After a pleasant ride over to Cape Jervis we were deposited at the SeaLink ferry office.
We boarded quite quickly and found seats at the ‘pointy end’. Peter, ever the gentleman, went in search of coffee which was surprisingly good. Or was it that we were so shell shocked from our early start that anything would have tasted good? No, I think it really was good. Within a few minutes of boarding I had 'sussed' out where the life jackets and life boats were. Let me rephrase that; I had 'sussed' out where MINE were, never mind anyone else! Women and children first? I don’t think so! This little woman can move fast when she wants to.

The crossing was smooth and in no time at all we had disembarked (see, I even know the jargon) at Penneshaw, and found our coach waiting for us along with thirty other people. We then set off, not on a tour as we expected, but on a round trip of hotels, collecting other passengers. We were already getting a bit fed up with this, wondering when the ‘real’ tour would start, when a lady asked the driver to stop at a chemist so she could collect a script (prescription). I kid you not! Peter requested - under his breath - that perhaps we could then stop at a hardware shop for him. Anyway, I guess the script must have been urgent.

However, now we started the tour with a vengeance. All our thoughts of how much this was costing us flew out of the window when we made the first stop. The beauty spot was called Stokes Bay and to get there we had to travel some distance down unsealed roads (lucky we didn't bring Billy). It was a really lovely spot made more interesting because we had to walk from one bay to another via a passage way through an outcrop of rocks. Really neat. On one side was a pebble beach, on the other a sandy beach – impressive. The picture shows me pretending to emerge onto the sandy beach.

An unconvincing re-enactment, just like on the telly.

It was now lunch time and we trundled off to Stokes Farm for a salad lunch – now that was not impressive. We got chatting to an American couple, Tom and Kate, who were really nice. In fact, we met a lot of nice people on the tour including a couple from Warrington, (Pam and Arthur) and a lady from Bolton. Pommesville readers will know these places. With lunch out of the way, our next stop was a wildlife park. Not really our cup of tea as we have visited Cohuna (which is on our doorstep) many times. We don’t like to see the birds in small cages either, especially eagles.
The 'up' side of a coach tour is you see and learn so much more from the experts. The 'down' side is “Be back at the coach by one o'clock”, hurry here, hurry there. And, of course, you always have one. Ours was an American lady who sat right behind us and constantly talked very loudly on her mobile phone.

Seal Bay was next on the itinerary. When we arrived we were warned by a guide, who was very fierce and had a loud voice, that if we didn't do as she said she would bring us all off the beach and that would be the end of the tour. Sadam Hussein would have been proud to have her for a daughter. No one was game enough to step out of line! To be fair to her, her main objective was to protect the seals but she was also concerned for our safety. We did enjoy the tour and saw the seals very close up. By this time the whole coach party was beginning to wilt and we still had another stop before heading off to our various hotels for the night.

Our final call was at a honey farm which was very interesting. I mean, we all know how honey is made, but I never thought about the process of how the honey gets from the hives into jars! I know now though, and I also know about bees wax. After the tour we went into the shop for honey tasting . . . very nice! We also purchased a honey ice cream which we thoroughly enjoyed.

So, a long and very enjoyable day was over and it was off to our hotel. We were very pleasantly surprised with ours, as from the outside we had thought “Oh, no”. The owners of the Wanderers Inn were lovely - very friendly - and we received a warm welcome. After a short rest in our room we arrived in the dining room for dinner. After a very nice meal, and wine of course, we headed off to bed absolutely pooped.

The owners were thinking of giving up their business and travelling around Australia in a caravan, so they were very interested in our experience, short though it may be.

 
  Thursday 10th March 2005  
  After a very restful night we had breakfast then rejoined the tour at 8.30 a.m. We re-acquainted ourselves with friends we had made the day before and met some new people too. Again, it was a very full day but very informative and interesting. We visited:

  •  A Eucalyptus Oil Distillery,
  •  Kelly Hill Caves,
  •  Beckwiths Farm (for lunch - not much better than yesterday),
  •  Flinders Chase National Park,
  •  Remarkable Rocks,
  •  Cape Du Couedic Lighthouse,
  •  Admirals Arch,
  •  Rocky River,
  •  A Sheep Dairy.

Phew!!!

We really liked the sheep’s cheese and bought some. The caves were fascinating until the guide turned off the lights so we could imagine what it was like for the first explorers who discovered the caves. Being in the pitch dark underground is NOT my idea of fun! We saw more seals at Admirals Arch, this time New Zealand Fur Seals. All too soon the day was over and we had to head back to Penneshaw to catch the ferry home. Once again we had a very smooth crossing and chatted away the time with our new-found friends (and a glass of red). Then it was time to say goodbye and board the minibus to take us back to Victor Harbor.
 
  Friday 11th March 2005  
 

We were tired, boy we were tired, so it was a ‘take it easy’ morning; Peter updated the web page and I read the paper. Then I discovered I should have had a blood test three days ago so we walked into Victor Harbor. I did the necessary without any problems then, as we were so close to the Anchorage, we popped in for a glass. We met a very nice couple, Simon and Pauline, got chatting and drinking and before we knew it it was nine o clock. We all, by that time, needed something to eat and the Anchorage had stopped serving meals so we went off in search of food. The only place we found open was a take-away pizza place, not my ideal food, but when you are hungry practically anything will do. So there we were at 10.30 p.m. on a balmy night, in the middle of Victor Harbor, sitting on a bench with our new friends eating take-away pizza. And you know what? We had a really delightful time and didn’t get home until midnight.

 
  Saturday 12th March 2005  
  All of a rush today, we had to be in Victor Harbor by a certain time to see the steam train arrive. We also wanted to shop and update the website. As we stayed out late last night we were really behind the eight ball this morning. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I went for a shower and got talking to our neighbours so three quarters of an hour later I still wasn’t showered. Rush, rush only to find that the steam train wasn’t running due to the hot weather - a total fire ban had been imposed. Anyway, we updated the website and checked our emails. Had lunch at the Anchorage (well, it was so close!) and did our shopping.  
  Sunday 13th March 2005  
  We returned to the railway station today as it was a much cooler day and the steam train should be running. We were not disappointed. Well, Peter wasn’t. As for me, well, c’est la vie. Seen one steam train – hang on, I have seen them all! Peter spent over an hour taking photos, looking at the engine and talking to the railway men. I found a cup of coffee in our favourite hostelry, the Anchorage. We then hit the road for Goolwa and the Wooden Boat Festival. We saw plenty of boats of all shapes and sizes but my favourites would have to be the paddle steamers – they have a certain je ne sais quoi about them with a dash of romance thrown in.

We walked over the Hindmarsh Bridge four times (we had left our lunch in the car) and each time failed to see any secret women’s business. After we ate lunch we had a drive round Hindmarsh Island and were not overly impressed. It was then back to the festival and the James Morrison concert. I was bemused by Peter’s keenness to see James Morrison in concert as it is not really our kind of music. Could it be that I happened to mention that tickets for James Morrison concerts usually start at around $90? We had paid just $25 for both of us to enter the festival and attend the concert. Peter felt duty bound to attend in order to score a bargain. As the afternoon had now turned quite chilly we decided to call it a day. JM was still going but we didn’t miss a thing as we could hear him all the way back to the car and we also watched the final boat parade of the day from the top of the bridge. We finished off the day by having a meal at our favourite hotel, the Anchorage. I supposed we must qualify as honorary ‘locals’ there now.
 
  Monday 14th March 2005  
  Today it is a ‘get ready day’ for our departure tomorrow. We will also have a last walk around Victor Harbor and I can say with some certainty we will have a last glass of red in the Anchorage.  
  Tuesday 15th March 2005  
  We managed to leave Victor Harbor by nine o'clock, pretty good for us. We were sad to leave but to stay longer would have been a mistake as we had seen everything and been everywhere - well, almost. On our last day we were told we could have had a three course meal at the Victor Hotel for $23.00 per couple, and apparently it was very good. Ah well, maybe next time.

Last night we said goodbye to our new friends at the Anchorage and commiserated with them over a very rude and loud customer that did not need to talk to the bar staff (our new friends) so nastily.

We arrived in Robe about 2.30pm without any major dramas. Apart form the rain and cold it wasn’t a bad trip. Once set up, as is our custom, we checked out the town and surroundings. Robe looks like it could be very nice with some sunshine. Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be better. We did, however, find ourselves in a local pub which reminded both of us of the pubs in North Wales. No doubt we will return.
 
  Wednesday 16th March 2005  
  The weather isn’t any better today. We both feel very tired after the long trip yesterday so we took it easy, only venturing out into town after lunch. We went to the information centre. The lady there was very helpful but they have no internet access for a laptop so the website will have to wait until we reach Mount Gambier. We were supposed to leave for Mount Gambier on Friday but we have a problem with our awning that needs to be repaired and that cannot be done until Monday.

We then walked over to the Caledonian Hotel for our usual and also a history lesson. Let me explain. Yesterday when we walked into the Caledonian, Peter straight away said to the barmaid, “This place must be haunted”. Now, Peter does not believe in ghosts so where did that come from?! Anyway, the barmaid confirmed that it is! We gleaned as much information as we could about this ghost. She is possibly the very late Mrs McQueen. We liked the placed so much we decided to have dinner there on Saturday.
 
  Thursday 17th March 2005  
  We did the tourist drive around the area today, stopping at a seaside resort called Beachport and an inland town called Millicent. Beachport had some fabulous coastal scenery but the museum wasn’t up to much. Millicent was much bigger than we expected but ‘just another town’. The weather was cold and it kept raining off and on so it wasn’t the best of days for sightseeing.
On the way home we called in at the Caledonian for the next installment of the ghost busters. We spoke to the landlord who told us the ghost’s presence is felt whenever there are changes and very often it is ‘table 8’ where she can be found. We had already booked a table in one of the booths – no point in explaining why, you would have to see the hotel to understand. It must be one of the oldest Inns we have seen so far. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, we had already booked a booth, so I went and checked out table 8. Yes, that would be okay. I told Peter to have a look, if he was happy we would change our booking.

I know, I know - all this fuss just to eat out! Peter came back and definitely wanted to sit at table 8. He said all the hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he felt a tingling down his spine. I thought he was joking but looking at this face I realised he was serious. You never know, next he will be talking to God!!
 
  Friday 18th March 2005  
  It was exercise day today. We decided to walk to the harbour and back - not far on the map. We arrived at the harbour an hour and a half later, and we still had to walk back! We had followed a walking trail that was shown on a map given to us by the information centre. Well, we are either complete idiots or the map is grossly inaccurate. I would say it was the latter! We did obtain some refreshments at the Caledonian Inn before setting out for home.  
  Saturday 19th March 2005  
  We seem to have done everything we wanted to do in this area, so we are having two 'lay days'. We went out for dinner at the Caledonian Hotel, thought we might see the ghost! We didn’t see the ghost but . . . just as we’d finished eating, a couple arrived and were shown to the next table. Lo and behold, it was Simon and Pauline from Victor Harbor. We couldn’t get over the ‘coincidence’ as we should not have been in Robe; our original plan was to leave for Mount Gambier yesterday. We had a chat whilst they waited for their meal and they suggested we meet up again tomorrow which will be really good. We decided we'll meet up for a drink in the Caledonian then we can decide where we'll eat.
After that it is back to the strict diet for a few days.
 
  Sunday 20th March 2005  
Today’s lay day consisted of washing, cleaning inside and out and ironing. In the evening we met Pauline and Simon at the Caledonian. After a drink we wandered down to the Robe Hotel to check it out and decided to go back to the Caledonian where we enjoyed a nice meal, a lot of red and splendid company.  
  Monday 21st March 2005  
 

We left Robe reasonably early knowing we had to be at the caravan repairer in Mount Gambier by 1.00 pm. As we had plenty of time we stopped off at a museum in Millicent which I thought was excellent. Peter wasn't so keen, so he finished looking around in a short while. We always go in different directions at these places as our interests vary. Consequently Peter couldn’t find me when he had finished and wanted to get going. On the way back to the car I realised I had lost my glasses - time wasted looking for them - but luckily I found them. Someone’s stress level was now rising.

We arrived at Mount Gambier in good time and pulled in to the caravan place before we realised that their entrance was not made for a 21’ caravan. Stress levels up a few notches. We were manoeuvring the best we could - nobody came to help - when we brushed another caravan. The other ’van was okay but our cover for the hot water system looks a little the worse for wear. The place was a joke, (stress levels rising even more) but hopefully the chap has fixed the awning. Leaving, yours truly reversed our caravan out on to the main road. No problem at all, two mobile phones and Peter stopping all the traffic and giving instructions. What a team!! We then made for the caravan park to set up camp.

Mount Gambier seems to be a nice place. We had a drive around the Blue Lake and some other lakes then we explored the town. On the way back we spotted an RSL*. We had been told that meals and drinks are very reasonable in these places so we went in to investigate. We were baled up by one of the locals who insisted in telling us all the places we should visit. Very kind, but his whole approach was from a fisherman’s perspective; fishermen we are not!

*R.S.L. - Returned Servicemen's League. An Australia-wide veteran's organisation with clubs in most population centres. They make enough money from multitudes of well-patronised ‘pokies’ (poker-based slot machines) to be able to discount drinks and meals.

 
  Tuesday 22nd March 2005  
  First on the tourist list today was Engelbrecht Caves which were very interesting but I would not have liked to have been down there on my own in the dark. We found it fascinating that these caves run under the town of Mount Gambier - a bit scary if you think about it. We then went to the Lady Nelson Discovery Centre. This was interesting enough. It told us the history of Mount Gambier and even had a little lady walk out of a photo to explain her life with the Aborigines. Very cleverly done.

When we left the Lady Nelson Discovery Centre I wanted to go to Umpherston Sinkhole which is now a garden. Peter agreed although he had that ‘not another garden’ look on his face. However, when we got there he was pleasantly surprised. It really was spectacular, the ‘sinkhole’ had appeared after the roof of a cave collapsed. Now you understand why I said it was scary having these caves under the city. If the roof of a cave can collapse then, why not now? It was really warm at the bottom of the ‘sinkhole’. Sheltered I guess. After another drive around the blue lake we returned home.
 
  Wednesday 23rd March 2005  
  It always puzzles me that we used to arrive at work for 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. - yet here we are rushing to get to a church car park for 11:00 a.m. We were to meet a guide who was conducting walking tours of the town. We met the other people on the tour who all turned out to be local and knew each other, but they made us feel very welcome. We walked around the town for about an hour and half looking and listening, it was very interesting, and before we knew it we were back at the church. We all followed ‘Roz’, our guide, into the church hall where we found a table all laid out ready for lunch. A very nice lunch it was too. After a most enjoyable time we said our goodbyes and headed off to see another ‘sinkhole’, this time in the centre of the city. Again we were enthralled with the beauty and how extraordinary it all appeared to be.
Boring stuff next, grocery shopping, ho-hum!

After dinner we went back to the beauty spots of Mount Gambier as they are lit up at night and you get a different perspective. Apart from The Lady Nelson the other places were not lit properly (ie lights not working) and quite frankly lacked imagination, they could have done so much more.
 
  Thursday 24th March 2005  
  We went on an Aquifer tour of the Blue Lake. It was very interesting but as with a lot of ‘mechanical’ type things Peter loves, I find a lot of it goes over my head. It didn’t help that some people decided to bring along a child. Okay if the child was old enough to be interested, or didn’t scream at full volume for the entire tour. Please do not even think I am exaggerating; I am not! Where have the days gone when you planned your days around the child or took some toys or something to keep them occupied. I mean, if you were a year old would you be interested in the water system of Mount Gambier? One of the highlights of the tour was to travel in a glass panelled lift to the surface of the lake. Oooh, I thought, I hope I am not frightened. I mean, going in a glass lift under water! Not a problem, the lift stopped well short of the water and then we had to walk through a tunnel and even then we weren’t actually at the surface of the water. So much for tourist brochures.

From there we went to look at Mount Schank, another volcanic crater. We walked to the top. I do not know how many steps there were but it felt like millions. We got to the top and then the idea was to walk around the crater. I looked at the path, which seemed to disappear in parts, and I looked at the drop either side and decided enough was enough. It was also blowing a gale on the top of there. Anyway I have now walked to the top of a volcano! Been there, done that. Cross it off the list.

We had lunch whilst looking at a lovely view of another crater next to Mount Schank. We then decided to go to Port MacDonnell. Nice enough place but another fishing town, and boy did it stink! Our next stop was Adam Lindsay Gordon’s cottage. The locals seem to take great pride in the fact he lived here for a short while. The cottage looked nice and the garden was lovely, but as the house was closed we didn’t get to look inside. We made our way home via a hotel, the inside of which I really wanted to see. As you do. It looked like one of these really old buildings that have very attractive rooms. Well the wine was okay but the inside was a disappointment.
 
  Friday 25th March 2005  
  Good Friday – pouring with rain. Why does it so often rain on Good Friday? Is it God’s way of telling us he is disappointed with the human race? Who can blame him. After prayers we had a very relaxing day of reading, letter writing, and Peter working on the website. What else?

Oh, yes we decided to shampoo the carpets and lino. Well, actually Peter decided to have a shower in the caravan with the plug in its little hole. Hence the water overflowed and soaked everywhere. It was then a mad scramble to remove the carpets mop up the excess water before it seeped into the cupboards under the beds. Peter was a little disconcerted that I had the door wide open throwing carpet, etc., outside whilst he was standing there in his birthday suit. He didn’t get any offers!!! Anyway, no damage done, the carpets are taking a while to dry out but by tomorrow they should be dry enough to put down again.

The caravan park is full and we have lots of children racing about on bikes and things. It is bedlam in the shower block so I guess we will be showering in the ’van until Easter is over. Without the plug in its hole!!!!
 
  Saturday 26th March 2005  
  We went into Mount Gambier to update the web site and send emails. We found a lovely park in the middle of the town where we ate lunch. The townsfolk had given particular consideration to blind people when designing this garden. We walked around but could not see what they actually meant.

After lunch we went to do the shopping and then went home for a rest before our big night out - we were going to the speedway. Previously we had enjoyed watching the speedway in Esperance and so expected more of the same. It wasn’t. People weren’t as friendly or welcoming, I suppose because it was much bigger. The biggest shock was the entry fee. $25 each!!! but we got a pensioner discount of $5 each. The action on the circuit was exhilarating and you would be lying if you said you weren’t waiting for a ‘bit of a crash’. We were not disappointed! There were a lot of crashes but all the drivers walked away unhurt, thank goodness. The events went on and on because every time something unexpected happened on the track (i.e. a car stalled or crashed) and two laps hadn’t been completed the race had to start again. By 10.00pm we were frozen; two hours later we were complete ice blocks. When we finally got home we thawed out and decided that we are now so over speedway!
 
  Sunday 27th March 2005  
  We decided to visit Nelson, across the state border in Victoria. Eventually we left home - I say ‘eventually’ as we didn’t get an early start to the day and then ended up chatting to people. Once on our way it started to rain, then we missed the turnings for two beauty spots we wanted to check out on the way. We arrived in Nelson, had a look around, saw the Glenelg River and sat in the car eating our lunch as it was now pouring down. Water bird life was in abundance, we enjoyed watching them whilst having lunch.

After another look at the map, and Peter driving more slowly this time, we took off to check out our ‘missed’ beauty spots. Piccaninnie Ponds, another sink hole, was first on the tourist list. We arrived looked, admired and left for the next stop which was Piccaninnie Beach where we could “observe springs erupting on the beach”. We walked for about 20 minutes from the carpark on a track with great expectations of seeing this phenomenon. We arrived at the end of the track to find running water, which was the outlet from the ponds running into the ocean. It was clear water, important to mention that. Well, we looked, admired and decided it must be of some importance because somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to make the track, some of it being very fine boardwalk. We just couldn’t see the importance! We made our way back to the car park and went a different way over sand dunes on to the beach. Did we see these damn springs? No, we did not! We gave up and decided to press on further to Hell Hole.

Oh, no! Unsealed roads! But we soldiered on and eventually came to Hell Hole which is another sink hole. From the car park we had a short walk on a track through some bush. As we approached we heard shouting and a car engine and wondered what was happening. At this point we couldn’t see anyone, just hear all this shouting. When we arrived at the ‘sink hole’ we were most intrigued to see all this winch equipment set up, using two cars and the lookout where divers enter the sink hole for enjoyment. Yep, I said enjoyment. After asking a few questions we were told that four divers were in the sink hole and were too tired and cold to climb back up. We watched in awe as this skilful procedure was carried out. We were on edge - will they get them out in time, or will it be a life and death situation? At one point we were asked to leave the landing of the lookout because if the pulley snapped it would take our heads off. I wasn’t sure what would actually take our heads off but we didn’t hang about to find out. We watched from the side lines as instructions were relayed from one person to another then to the driver of the car. As I said, we were on edge waiting for these poor divers to emerge from the cold dark water. I suddenly realise Peter had moved from my side, where was he? Like a true trooper he was helping. Well, actually under the pretence of helping he had got nearer to the action so he could take good photos. We all sighed with relief when the divers and equipment were safely back on dry land. All that effort and what did they see in the sink hole? Rubbish, street signs, a small sunken boat and various drinking vessels, i.e. beer cans. “But it was very clear” one diver told us. Yep, as I said previously, they do this for enjoyment.

Once our adrenaline had returned to normal we headed off in search of Caroline’s sink hole. Whoever put these brochures together should do the trip themselves and then they would find how inadequate their instructions are. Anyway we gave up on Caroline’s sink hole and started homewards. After a quick trip around the Blue Lake to another lookout we had not been to before, a look at Leg of Mutton and Valley Lakes we went home to a nice glass of red.
 
  Monday 28th March 2005  
  This caravan park is adequate, and only just adequate. The park has been full over Easter but they only have two washing machines! Thus at 7.15 a.m. I was in the laundry armed with washing powder and dirty clothes . . . only to find someone already there using both machines. I said I would come back in 20 minutes but meantime we got chatting and I discovered she was from Helena Valley in W.A. and was travelling around Australia in a caravan with two young children. Rather her than me. We said our cheerios and went about our business. When I went to hang the washing out I got talking to another lady who was also travelling around Australia, they were from Queensland. Then I got talking to our next door neighbour who invited me in to look at her table (long story, I'll tell you some other time).

Eventually I returned home to make the breakfast at 10.00am. Quite a story, eh! How much I can chat and to anyone and everyone as well. But, it has filled today’s space as we are not doing too much today. In the afternoon we did a whistle stop tour of two or three places we had missed. ‘Little Blue Lake’, another view of Valley Lake and Centenary Tower, which I am told, has views spectacular views. Peter walked the hill alone and I looked after the car. I was tired.
 
  Tuesday 29th March 2005  
  We managed a fairly early start and headed towards Keith where we parked and had a look around. We really did like Keith, a little farming town, people very friendly and the town had a nice atmosphere Very good hardware store in Keith! After a very long time Peter met me back at the caravan. We had lunch and then he went back to the hardware store for more!

Back on the road for a couple of hours when we found ourselves in a small town called Padthway. It was decided that here was as good as any place to ‘camp’ for the night. We then discovered we had very different ideas of where one ‘parks up’ for the night. Peter seemed to think you can park anywhere. I felt happier if we were in a discreet location so we did not draw attention to ourselves. We finally decided on the wide verge of a back road behind a vineyard - nor knowing that it was the vineyard’s main access road and there was an onion store down there too. So we settled down for the evening . . . then all the workers and their equipment droned past on their way home. After a while it went quiet except for the odd road train speeding down the highway, just at the other side of the vineyard . It was also a hot night.
 
  Wednesday 30th March 2005  
  After a night of tossing and turning we decided to carry on to Tailem Bend. We were just about to leave when Peter decide to check batteries and things and found we have a fault with the car. “The idiots haven’t done the wiring correctly!” And that is a toned down version for all the children that read this site. Eventually we get on the road and eventually found ourselves in Tailem Bend with the same discussion as we had had the night before. A carpark in Tailem Bend was our home for the night. Not too bad tonight - a little cooler - but freight trains that went past our door at regular intervals do tend to keep one awake.  
  Thursday 31st March 2005  
  We had a good look around Tailem Bend, a nice little town, lovely views of the River Murray. Whilst having a coffee before setting off, the police arrived. They were actually buying morning tea, not arresting Peter. (Why they should be arresting him, I don’t know. But if I think long and hard I am sure I could come up with something.) As they were from W.A. we asked what and why. They were Water Police doing training with the S.A. Police. Their destination was Mount Gambier and they were diving into Hell Hole, so we had to tell them our story, didn’t we?

Our next port of call was Murray Bridge where we spent some time by the river, a very nice spot. We had a look around the town and decided it was still too early to camp for the night. We pressed on to Mount Barker where we found a very nice car park by a very nice park. It was a much better night and the hordes of people that used the park for exercise and walking their dogs didn’t pay much attention to us.