Weeks 25, 26 & 27 (And Final)
Whilst in Victoria Harbour we had to go on the horse drawn tram across to Granite Island.
After catching the tram across to Granite Island we went for the walk around the island and then caught the next tram back. The horses are so quiet and well trained – I think they could do it by themselves.
Next day we had booked on a boat cruise on the Coorong and Lake Alexandrina, however the cruise was cancelled because the forecast was for heavy rain, 90 kilometre hour winds, thunder and lightning. Although it was quite windy all day the rain and storms failed to arrive. It was very disappointing. Instead we went on a drive to Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island and Strathalbyn.
Cape Jervis with Kangaroo Island in the background.
Bridge to Hindmarsh Island
Mouth of the Murray River
We then detoured up to Monarto Open Plains Zoo.
We walked around part of the zoo and then as storms were threatening we caught the Zu-Shuttle around the rest of it. It was not as good as I was expecting – they did not seem to have many animals but then they may have had more that were out in back areas and not on public display. We have now seen all three ‘open plains’ zoos, Dubbo, Werribee and Monarto and I would have to rate them in that order. As the storms closed in I managed to get a photo of the water spout which went west of Monarto but only from the window of the bus.
There were reports of a lot of hail but we managed to miss it. It did look very black but we only received light rain which continued for most of the night.
At this stage we still had not decided which way we would travel home but decided to go down to Bordertown and cross the border near there and make our way up to Swan Hill as I wanted to see the Pioneer Settlement there.
Now I know where Santa gets his six white boomers from.
We stopped in Bordertown for lunch and I made sure that I had used up (or cooked) all our fruit and vegies only to find that there was no quarantine stop at the border (in either direction). We had a free camp on the border – it was also right on the highway and there was a continuous flow of heavy vehicles all night. Not a good night’s sleep!
Next we stopped in Kaniva for a walk around town. They also have a wildlife park similar to Bordertown but no white kangaroos (well none that we saw anyway). They also have lots of brightly coloured sheep in the main street.
Then it was onto Nhill where we again stopped for a coffee and walk around town.
Nhill has a memorial to the heavy horse.
We made our overnight stop at a little town called Minyip. Those of you who can remember a TV series called ‘The Flying Doctors’ may know this little town as ‘Coopers Crossing’ as this was where it was filmed. They still have a sign on the pub and also Emma’s Garage (which is now a café).
They have built a great little caravan park there. Only $10 per night for a powered site (there are about 8 or 10 powered sites) with good toilets (2) and a shower (all unisex) as well as a disabled toilet and shower – you pay by an honesty box or contact the caretaker. They also have covered barbecues, playground and a walking track (with some exercise stops) around a wetland area where there were hundreds (well, it sounded like hundreds) of frogs- sounded like at least two different species.
We then took the back roads to Swan Hill somehow managing to miss all the little towns expect for Donald where we did not stop as it was quite early in the day. The showers and storms had now cleared away. It looked like some of the places did get quite a decent drop of rain but it has been very, very dry.
At Swan Hill we stayed at the Pental Island Caravan Park which is on a farm about five kilometres out of the township and is right on the banks of the Murray River. The Murray was quite high and flowing quite rapidly so I think they must have be releasing water into the system. The caravan park was really nice – beautiful green lawns and gardens and a walk along the banks of the Murray.
While at Swan Hill we made time to go and see the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement which was really good. It is not terribly big but it was good to see that they had so many of their old tractors and farm machinery working and we spent some time speaking with a young enthusiastic blacksmith (he was telling us that next year he should become a fully qualified blacksmith) who was making a coal shovel. They also had some vintage cars driving around which you could go for a drive in, an old time band playing, a horse drawn wagon which you could also go for a ride on (all included in your admission ticket) and a Paddle Steamer which you could go on.
From Swan Hill we travelled up to Bourke via Hay.
Murrumbidgee River, Hay
I wanted to go to Bourke to specifically go on the Paddle Steamer on the Darling River. However, that Paddle Steamer only operates during the winter months and stopped cruising about three weeks before we arrived. I am not sure why they don’t still operate it at least once or twice a week. I know the tourist numbers aren’t as great now as they are in the winter months but there were still quite a few people about and we were talking to some in the caravan park (Kidman Camp which incidentally is very nice) who did what we had done i.e. specifically went to Bourke for the Paddle Steamer.
Darling River, Kidman Camp Caravan Park
We then continued north to Cullamulla and then turned east.
Whilst at Cullamulla we had a chat to this fellow in the park.
We had a nice stop at Bollon on the banks of Wallam Creek. They have made a nice flat area to park your RV next to the creek as well as a path along the creek where they have taps, seats, fireplaces and picnic tables. At one end of the camping area is the cemetery and there are toilets there for the campers use as well. They also have toilets and showers up in the main street. It is a free camp but they do ask for donations to help maintain the area which I think is fair enough.
There had been lots of storms and showers after leaving Cullamulla and there was lots of water beside the road as evidenced in the above photo.
Yes, another great western sunset.
Our next stop was the Nindigully Hotel. We had stayed here some years ago and it was a nice spot . It still is a nice spot but they have now put bollards along the river so people can’t camp too close to it (a good idea) with a concrete path along the river. They have also put a new toilet block and still have the toilets (and showers) behind the pub for the campers use. They have levelled an area up near the hotel to park but there is very little shade. It doesn’t quite have the same atmosphere though.
We then had an overnight stop at Yelarbon (still a great camp area) then we detoured back down into New South Wales to make our way across to the Gibraltar National Park to meet up with some friends before heading home on Saturday.
We have had showers and storms every day since we left Burke and the countryside, especially in northern New South Wales, has been a picture. Once we neared Glen Innes the weather turned cold and I had to unpack our winter clothes which I thought I could safely pack away.
More wildflowers - we found these on the way to Gibraltar National Park.
The first night at Gibraltar National Park we camped at the Boundary Falls Camping Grounds – it is a beautiful spot. We only walked to the Boundary Falls. The lookout is right at the picnic area but to get to the bottom of the falls is only 400 metres but is all steps down and then back up. We had a big storm that afternoon and then it rained on and off all night.
Boundary Falls Camping Grounds (after the thunder storm)
When we were camped at Boundary Falls we were lucky enough to see two (2) lyrebirds but one disappeared into the scrub too quickly for me to get a photo of both.
Next morning we moved over to the Mulligan’s Camping Grounds where we met up with some friends for a couple of days before heading home.
The view from Raspberry Lookout
These little red-neck wallabys were frequent visitors around camp. They weren't tame but were not scare of you either.
On the walk to the Needles.
The Gibraltar Waratah
We only had time to do one walk at Mulligan’s so we chose the Needles Walk which was 6 kilometres but quite an easy walk. There was only one steep hill and it was a little rocky on the way down to the ‘Look Down’.
This will be my last blog for this trip as we are home on Saturday. Then it will be a big job unpacking everything and cleaning the caravan up before planning our next trip.
I hope you have all enjoyed reading about our travels.