Month end Odo reading: 19,194
September 2009
Km's for the Month: 2,156
Odo reading at month start : 17,038
1 - 2 September     Distance:  294
Port Lincoln to Whyalla, via Tumby Bay  & Cowell. Staying at Whyalla Foreshore Caravan Park (Top Tourist).
 
Both Tumby Bay & Cowell are neat holiday resort towns and are both obviously favourite fishing spots.
 
On the other hand Whyalla is a bit of a dump, judging by our first impressions. The main industry here is steel and after a drive up the very steep road to the Hummock Hill Lookout this is very obviously so. We saw at least 3 steel mills from the lookout. All the roofs of the houses are stained reddish-brown, I guess from the iron ore dust.
 
Whyalla (pop. 22,500) is also known for its Australian Giant cuttlefish, they spawn in the bay here. In 1941 BHP built a corvette for the navy - it was named HMAS Whyalla in honour of the town. In 1987 she was brought back to the same slipway where she had been launched, and now rests 2km away from her original build location, forming part of the Maritime Museum.
 
9 - 11 September     Distance:   70

Adelaide (Hallett Cove) to Victor Harbour. Staying at Victor Harbour Beachfront Holiday Park (Top Tourist).
 
Said goodbye to Eric & Dot after enjoying a great breakfast with them. We so enjoyed a trip down to  Victor Harbour on Sunday with them,  we decided to come down here again for a couple of days. After arriving we did a trip on the Clydesdale horse-drawn tram to the end of the pier on Granite Island and back. The town itself is also very interesting, the normal permanent population is around 12,000 but peaks at 30,000 in holiday season - school leavers is also held here in December. On the way to the camp we were passed by around 50 Suzuki 1,800cc cruising bikes, when we arrived at the camp they were all lined up checking into the same camp. I spoke with a number of them, they were from all over OZ, some as far away as North East Queensland.  Tonight they have a parade in town in front of the Suzuki dealership, might be worth going to see.
 
We stayed another day as a very strong wind blowing, gusting 45+ knots, rather than drive in the gusty wind.
Suzuki rally
2 old buildings in Port Wakefiled. Just about the whole town comprises old house like the above.
Umpherston sink hole gardens
Blue lake, water green in winter
Port Hedland & iron ore ship
3 September     Distance:  297
Whyalla to Port Wakefield. Staying at Port Wakefield Caravan Park (Council owned)
 
As we arrived back in Port Augusta today we completed our circumnavigation of the western half of Australia  - we left Port Augusta (PA) headed north on the 18th May, nearly 4 months ago. Since leaving PA we have travelled a total of 13,608kms! For old times sake, we stopped in PA for a cup of tea, a visit to Woolworths and the BigW where I bought 2 diesel fuel containers, which by the way, I have never used. So much for stories we heard about gas stations being so far apart, if I remember correctly the longest distance between stations was coming down the west coast north of Geraldton, and the distance was only about 400kms! Our fuel range is between 450 - 570kms on a tank, depending on speed, wind strength and direction.
 
I feel we have completed one of our Ozzie goals, so a pat on the back for both of us!
4 -8 September     Distance:  119 plus 98 kms to Hahndorf 
Port Wakefield to Adelaide (West Beach), just north of Glenelg. Staying at Adelaide Shores Caravan Park (Big4).
 
7th - Moved to Adelaide Caravan Park, closer to the city, so we can get to the upholstery earlier in the morning without having to come across the city - this park is only about 5kms from his workshop.  We stayed at this camp when we came through Adelaide a few months ago.
 
Before going to the camp we visited an auto upholstery shop, who has agreed to repair the stitching that came loose on 2 of my seats.  We have our RV booked in on Tuesday, so we will be staying slightly longer in Adelaide - and moving camp on Monday so we are closer to his shop. He re-upholsters vintage sports cars so I am confident he will do a very good job, although it is a very small repair, 1 stitch on each seat has come loose.  Eric & Dot are collecting us this afternoon to take us to the Central Market, it will be good to see them again. Adelaide Central Market, one of the best-stocked markets we have seen in Australia, the price of the fresh produce is a fraction of the cost from supermarkets and it all looks much nicer.  Besides fresh produce there was a vast selection of cheeses, fresh meat, deli meat, sausages, freshly baked bread and very fresh seafood. It was very well worth visiting.
 
6th  -  Eric & Dot took us down south to Goolwa, Horseshoe Bay and Victor Harbour.  It's a really scenic and historic area of South Australia. Goolwa was formerly a port at the mouth of the River Murray. Today paddle steamers operate tours up the river from Goolwa. We also stopped at the beautiful Horseshoe Bay at Pt Elliot, where we enjoyed really good fish & Chips.  Horseshoe Bay also used to be a port in the 19th century.  Victor Harbour is a very interesting holiday destination, many of its old building have been restored. An old train still operates to and from the historic station and there is also a Clydsdale horse-drawn tram, which runs along the pier, where the the whaling station used to be situated. Whales can often be seen here between June to October.
 
8th  -  After having the seats repaired and on the advise of the woman who cut my hair, we drove to Hahndorf, the oldest surviving German settlement town (1839) - about 30kms from Adelaide in the Adelaide Hills. It's a really interesting town with only a few original German buildings left but most buildings, although not German in style, are well preserved and/or restored. THe town has a German feel about it, we heard quite a lot of German music emanating from the numerous shops and pubs offering German food. We bought smoked eel and mackerel as well as double-smoked bacon which they call Spek.
 
After going to dinner with Eric & Dot we spent the night parked in their driveway, connected & comfortable. We had a great time with them and they made our stay in Adelaide so enjoyable & absolutely fantastic.
 
 
Oscar W, paddle-steamer, Goolwa
Interesting buildings in Hahndorf
12 September     Distance:   341

Victor Harbour to Robe, via Pt  Elliot, Goolwa, Strathalbyn, Wellington and Kingston SE. Staying at Lakeside Tourist Park (Top Tourist)
 
Very windy today as well, but at least it was on our side and rear for most of the trip.
 
At Wellington we had to catch a ferry to cross the estuary. We had a 2-ferry wait before going across. While were waiting we went inside the Old Courthouse building alongside the road.
 
At Kingston SE there is a massive model of a Rock Lobster alongside the road - this coast appears to be the rock lobster coast as when we arrived in Robe we passed a number of shops selling local lobster.
 
We drove through the very scenic historic holiday resort, there are over 90 heritage listed buildings, some in immaculate condition.  We drove out to Cape Dombey, which is totally unprotected from the very strong winds and wave action along this coast - as a result it's an extremely rugged coastline with impressively wind-carved cliffs.
 
Even this caravan park has historic listed buildings, the office is a stable built around 1882, as part of the estate owned by Englishman George (Danby) Affleck, the son of the Reverend Sir Robert Affleck, Baronet of Dulham Hall, Suffolk England.
13 September     Distance:   150

Robe to Mount Gambier, via Beachport. Staying at Central Caravan Park. Beachport is a typical holiday town, but is very neat and is set on a large bay, with the obligatory long jetty, as some many seaside towns in Australia have. Very windy again, close to 30 knots and gusting even higher, thankfully it a tail wind.  We have also had some very heavy rain fall on and off all day.
 
Mount Gambier has a very good information centre where we collected plenty maps and tour guides for our trip from here to Melbourne, along the Great Ocean Drive. We then drove to Blue Lake, a crater lake created after a volcanic eruption. There are also caves below Mt Gambier where divers come from all over the world to dive in the Engelbrecht cave and swim under the city centre.
 
On our way out of Mt. Gambier we stopped to look at the Umpherston Sink Hole, caused by the collapse of a limestone cave. Around 1886 it was made into a garden.
14 September     Distance:   122

Mt Gambier to Portland, via Nelson. Staying at Holiday Village Portland.The camp is situated about only 200 metres from downtown Portland so the location is great.
 
We crossed into Victoria State today, so watches had to be changed by +30 minutes. The first town we came to, Nelson, is a really neat small holiday resort, situated on the Glenelg river which runs into the sea. The river is lined with small garage-like boathouses, it appears the fishing is very good here. I spoke with a few fishermen while they were launching their boat and watched a Labrador play with a freshly caught, still jumping Bream.
 
Portland is a very historic port town, with over 200 old buildings, many heritage listed. It was first settled by Europeans in 1834. We walked around town with a historic building guide, I think it's really commendable that so many buildings remain from that period. Even the caravan park we are staying at has an interesting entrance, with a historic building on one side and a replica of a historic building on the other side - see photo.
15 September     Distance:   182
Portland to Port Campbell, via Port fairy and Warrnambool. Staying at Port Campbell Holiday Park. 
 
Port Fairy is a small resort town with a very interesting history, it used to be Australia's 2nd busiest port in the 1850's, today it has a small fishing fleet and is well know for crayfish.  The  crayfish season ended yesterday.
 
Warrnambool is a much larger city (pop. 32,000) - it's harbour has a massive breakwater built in late 19th century. Just passed Warrnambool at Allansford we visited a cheese factory we believed was a privately owned factory that made interesting soft cheeses - however it is a very commercial shop for the large Sungold cheese factory across the road - they only produce cheddar cheese. A disappointing visit!
 
A few miles later we started our trip on the Great Ocean Highway, a road which runs along the rugged limestone coastline. Very soon we began to see the beauty this route is so well known for. The coastline is predominantly limestone and as a result we saw the most amazing limestone creations consisting of haystacks, cave, grottos and natural bridge formations.  It was very well worth it  coming along this route, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip today.
 
All the attractions on the right (except Port Fairy) are on a stretch of coastline only about 20kms from the first to the last (The Arch), so there's plenty to see in a short distance. Our favourite sight today was the Grotto, it really is quite stunning.
 
Port Campbell is a very small quaint resort town with a permanent population of just under 300 - bit this swells to well over 5,000 during the peak holiday season.
16 - 17 September    Distance:   123

Port Campbell to Apollo Bay. Staying at Apollo Bay Holiday Park (Top Tourist)
 
More stunning coastal scenery on the Great Ocean Road, almost immediately after leaving Port Campbell.
 
The Loch Ard Gorge is in the Port Campbell National Park and is named after the Clipper Loch Ard which was wrecked here in 1878.  For a detailed map and more information click on the map alongside - the image is large enough to read all about it.  It is an extremely interesting place to visit, we walked all around the park and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A must see if you ever get here!
 
The Razorback is a particular interesting structure, as is the Grotto and Thunder Cave.
 
Our next stop was the Twelve Apostles, we only counted eleven but there were obviously more then twelve as we could see the remains of some of the prior 'apostles'.  They reminded us of the Haystacks in Oregon.
 
Due to me making a pretty bad mistake when looking at a large scale map of Australia, I thought Cape Otway was the most southern point of Australia, so we decided to do a 24km round trip detour to view the lighthouse, just so we could claim we had been to the most southern point.
 
However after double checking on a different scale map, I determined it was  not in fact the most southern, nevertheless we am glad we did the trip.
 
The lighthouse was completed in 1848 after the Joanna ran aground nearby in 1843.
 
After leaving the lighthouse on our way back to the Great Ocean Road, we saw an Echidna and a few Koalas. I stopped and took photos, one was of a mother and its baby.
 
Apollo Bay is once again a typical small holiday resort with too many restaurants and hotels for the local population.
 
 
18 - 19 September     Distance:   145

Apollo Bay to Geelong, via Lorne & Torquay. Staying at Barwon Caravan Tourist Park (Top Tourist)
 
The drive from Apollo Bay to Lorne is particularly spectacular, the road hugs the coast for over 50 kms all the way to Anglesea where the road goes inland until Torquay is reached. The Great Ocean Road joins up with the Princes Highway at Torquay.
 
Lorne is an upmarket resort town with so many restaurants to suit any taste, a surfeit of hotels and accommodation establishments and  enough boutique shops to keep Charlotte & Yvonne busy for hours. From Lorne we drove up an extremely steep hill to Teddy's Lookout where one is afforded panoramic views of the Great Ocean Road.  On the drive back into Lorne I spotted a Koala crossing the road in a residential area so I stopped and took photos and video - they seem very unafraid of humans and pretty inquisitive, he watched me as much as I observed him.
 
Torquay is also on the coast and is home to the world famous surfing beach, Bell's Beach. There is even a surfing museum in Torquay. Both Ripcurl & Quicksilver were born in Torquay and it is rumoured the wetsuit was also invented in Torquay as well.
 
Geelong is 73kms from Melbourne and is on Port Phillip Bay. Its waterfront has obviously been recently upgraded and is now a smart & interesting area with many chic cafes and eateries and a very large marina. The Cunningham Pier is an imposing structure of the waterfront area. Near the pier there is the historic steam-driven carousel. We drove up to the Botanical Gardens from where one gets a stunning aerial view of Geelong. Only on the drive back did I see a sign restricting vehicles to under 3 tons - we are 4 tons, but we weren't "nabbed". Like many other towns along our route there are many historic buildings dotted all around downtown.
20 - 21 September     Distance:   108
Geelong to Ballarat. Staying at Ballarat Goldfields Holiday (Big4). Gold was discovered in Ballarat in August 1851, within a very short time over 40,000 people lived  in the thriving city. In 1853 alone, 9,926kgs of gold was shipped to Melbourne and between 1854 & 1857 a further 77,000kgs was sent to Melbourne. After monthly licence fees were increased 3-fold to 3 from 1, the miners were incensed and at a meeting at Bakery Hill they burnt their licences and the Eureka flag and demanded abolishment of mining licences and the granting of political representation - they were refused so they rebelled and as a result thousands of miners who had barricaded themselves in a wooden stockade were attacked by 300 soldiers, in the ensuing bloody battle 28 miners and 6 soldiers were killed. Public outrage aimed at the government  resulted in the forming of a more democratic legislative assembly in Victoria.
 
We are going to the Blood on the Southern Cross  show tonight at Sovereign Hill which re-enacts this unfortunate period in Ballarat's history. Update - the show was fantastic and we now have a good understanding of what transpired leading up to the miner's revolt and the government's heavy handed response.
 
Sovereign Hill  is only 300 metres from our camp and is  a well know tourist attraction. Soon after getting into camp we walked to Sovereign Hill, which is a living museum where staff wear period clothes while performing their various jobs. We watched a young lass making butter, a man making candles in the way they were made at that time, there was an old printing press and of course, all the mining equipment - all still working even the steam driven pumps. There is an underground mine tour as well.
 
One can also pan for gold, which I did but like thousands before me I came away empty handed, even though some people around me did manage to get a few flakes of gold - every day flakes of gold are planted in the creek.  The whole 'town' is very realistic and one really gets the feeling of walking through an 19th century mining town.  It was well worth the 100km detour coming up here.
22 - 24     Distance:   107
Ballarat to Melbourne, via Deer Park
Staying at Ashley Gardens  Holiday Village(Big4). To date this is the most expensive RV park - $47 Per night!
 
On the way to the  caravan park we stopped atStorage King in Deer Park, the warehouse where we are leaving our motorhome. I installed a 10/15A Amp-Fibian isolator box as well as a 20-metre power lead, so everything is ready for us on Friday morning when we leave our RV there. Getting into the warehouse through the side entrance was incredible tight with only 2 inches gap on either side, my driver's mirror did actually touch on my first attempt to get in.
 
Our RV has treated us well and we have enjoyed the 19,000kms travelled in it.  We do not really have one particular town or area as a favourite, but travellers going up the middle and down the west coast have been the most friendly - this also holds true for rest areas where people are generally far more friendly and more willing to chat, mix and share information. Since leaving the Nullarbor we have stayed in caravan parks every night and that's where we have found people not to be as outgoing or friendly - it's not that they are unfriendly but people seem to  travel in groups so they stick to their group in parks as opposed to looking for an excuse to have a natter or happy hour, like in rest areas.
25 September     Distance:   0
Melbourne to Coolangatta
 
After arriving in Kalgoorlie and driving through the main downtown area, I visited an old customer to see his steel framing business. After checking into our camp, we walked to the historic Burt Street in Boulder. Some of the buildings are really neat but Boulder has a definite air of being past it's sell by date, most small stores have ceased trading - one bustling store is one that sells metal detectors and all sorts of things for prospecting.
 
We arrived at Storage King earlier than planned, luckily Sally was already there so we were able to park the motorhome, connect the electricity long before Wang - our shuttle bus to the airport arrived at 9:15 , spot on time. I can personally recommend his service in Melbourne, his company is called Airbus Western Metropolitan.
 
We are flying to Coolangatta for  few days R&R at the Gold Coast.
Clydesdale drawn tram in Victor Harbour. Trip taken to Granite Island on it.
Hanhdorf
The Arch
29 September
Fly back to NZ.
Hummock Hill, red-stained bldgs.
HMAS Whyalla
Adelaide Central Market. The selection & the aromas!
Wellington ferry
Kingston crayfish
Cape Dombey cliifs
Boat house, on Glenelg river
Very narrow park entrance
Bay of Islands
London Bridge
The Grotto
At the 12 Apostles
The Razorback
Cape Otway lighthouse
Koala & bay near Cape Otway
Great Ocean Road, from Teddy's
Indian 201 MPH cafe, Lorne
Geelong
Cunningham Pier, Geelong
Me panning for gold, no luck!
Street in Sovereign Hill
Storage King, Deer Park
Yvonne going for the loot!
Gold-panning creek
Inside the warehouse