Week 42 | Kingston SE to Port Fairy

Day 288: Kingston SE to Tantanoola

We’ve had 2 days free camping at Kingston SE and had to spend most of the time inside the van because of the cold overcast weather. Last night plummeted to 5 degrees. We are packed up and ready to leave by 9.20am and it’s warmed up to 14 degrees.

Our journey today of 134km takes us through pine forests, grazing properties, farm lands & vineyards. The scenery is very picturesque and so green and lush. We pass two bike riders again today near a free camp just out of Millicent.

It’s morning tea time so a take away coffee is in order at the Java Cafe. It’s directly opposite the old Bank of SA which has a beautiful mural painted on it. The locals are very friendly and Andrew is chatting away to one of the Visitor Centre volunteers who stops to pat Cinta. The sun is warm but the wind is still chilling.

Tantanoola is a tiny town known for its pulp & paper manufacturing, rural farming, native & herb farming.  It’s our free camp stay for the next two nights. The camp is right beside the old train station.  It would be great to see the station restored to it’s former glory.  There’s a small post office that sells a few grocery items and a local pub (known for the Tantanoola Tiger) that is open 4 days a week.  In 1893, there were reports of a strange animal in the Tantanoola area, it was described as a tiger. The tiger prowled the district for several years. In 1895, the tiger was killed, only to be discovered that it was actually an Assyrian Wolf, and is now on display in a glass case at the Tantanoola Tiger Hotel.  Unfortunately the pub was closed during our stay so we didn’t get to see it.

Wildlife: rabbits, camels, pelicans, emus, cattle, horses, sheep, Shetland ponies.

Day 289: Tantanoola

It was pretty fresh last night going down to 8 degrees. Andrew was up early so he covered Cinta with our beach towel as she was curled up in a little ball and looking cold. That was a great move because she then slept in until 8.00am. We were both pretty happy to get a sleep in like that.

Today is a work day for me. Andrew can sit back and relax for the day. We have 2 visitors pull up beside the van. David is from the herb farm. He delivers a bag full of fresh herbs. Apparently the herb farm supplies Woolworths. He’s really friendly and we have a great chat. Later in the afternoon another old farmer pulls in. Andrew is his captive audience and I have to rescue him after the conversation looks like it will never end…

Wildlife: corellas, magpies, plovers.

Day 290:  Tantanoola to Mount Gambier

Another late start to the morning with Cinta sleeping in again. Andrew met Miranda this morning who’s travelling with her two dogs Fergus (miniature border collie)and Milo (Italian greyhound).  He’s offered her some of the locally grown herbs as we could never eat them all. Miranda is a solo traveller from Port Brighton and we enjoy quite a long chat with her.

It’s 10.45am by the time we are on the road and it’s climbed to 20 degrees. We’re travelling 35km to Mount Gambier, a big days travel! The journey takes us through all the pine forests and farming lands.

We’ve decided to stay close in the city at a Kui Park. It’s a small park, split into two sections on each side of the road. Just around the corner is the main street and shopping district.

I’ve got some more work to complete and Andrew is off to do the groceries.  Happy hour is calling at 4.00pm today so it’s time to pack the laptop away and enjoy an afternoon drink.

Wildlife: Donkeys, camels, sheep, cattle, horses.

Day 291- 292: Mount Gambier

Today is all about exploring Mount Gambier.  Umpherston Sinkhole, also known, as The Sunken Garden was once a cave formed through dissolution of the limestone. The sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed downwards.  Now, there is a beautiful terraced sunken garden which is home to a colony of possums and bees.  Hanging vines sway in the breeze and I can only imagine how beautiful the garden would look when in full bloom.

Our next stop is in the middle of town to the Cave Gardens sinkhole which is 90 feet deep  The Cave Gardens feature a beautiful sinkhole, several lookouts and a suspended viewing platform at the top. It is believed that this sinkhole was the original water source for the early settlers in this area.

Surrounding the Cave Gardens sinkhole is a beautiful rose garden.  Mount Gambier is the perfect place to grow roses.  They are everywhere to be seen and the fragrance is tantalising.  You just can’t buy roses that smell like that anymore.

We’re heading back into town today to visit the library so that I can download my blog for Florrie.  I find that I have to join the library so that I can use their printer.  There’s no cost to do this, but I have to go through the process of getting a library card & loading it with funds so that I can print my blog.  The librarians are very helpful and come to the computer to show me how to do that.  I decide to pay attention and do as instructed.  I can’t help myself and jump ahead with putting in my USB and navigating to the printing area, the librarian quickly realises she is preaching to the converted.  Once printed, I head back to the counter for my receipt and offer my unsigned card back for recyling.

We wander along the main street and find a funky cafe for morning tea.  Metro has every type of cake you can imagine.  Oh my…I’m in heaven.  Here we go, how can I possibly choose.  Andrew’s instructions were; “surprise me”.  I have chosen a red velvet cheesecake and a lemon meringue tart.  They were both amazing!

Time to walk off morning tea.  Vansittart Park is situated a short walk from the town centre.  There are two lovely rotundas and a war memorial.  The gardens are filled with roses and I just can’t help myself snapping every colour that I can see.  I think I might have to make a rose calendar.

The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier occupies one of the craters of the extinct volcano after which the city has been named.  It is a spectacular sight.  Between November and February the lake turns a magnificent turquoise blue. How lucky are we to be here at this time to see it.  The colour is amazing.  There are several lookouts around the 3.6km drive or walkway around the lake.  We decide to drive as it’s going to be 38 degrees today.

Blue Lake Lookout

The ripples you can see in the photo above are from the wind that was blowing a gale at the time when we were there.  The lake is also the main water supply to Mount Gambier.  Some interesting facts are:  Surface area; 70 hectares, Circumference; 5 kilometres, Depth; 70 metres, Volume; 36 000 million litres, Consumption; 3600 million litres annually.

We have rarely been out to dinner in the evening since beginning our journey.  Tonight we are having a belated wedding anniversary celebratory dinner at the 1862 Wine Bar & Grill at the Mount Gambier Hotel.  It’s a beautiful old hotel, originally built in 1847 by John Byng.

I have the Braised Beef Cheek and Andrew has the Josper Grilled Chicken Breast.  The meal was plentiful and extra tasty.  Not long after we arrive home a storm rolls in.  Thunder and lightning.  Cinta is not happy.  It rains on and off for most of the night.

Wildlife: magpies, plovers, ducks.

Day 293: Mount Gambier to Heywood

We’re almost ready to leave and I’m packing up the toiletries from the bathroom sink.  There seems to be a bit of water behind the tap.  Further investigation finds that my lovely little flower arrangement from Dot is soaking wet.  I open the bathroom cupboard on the wall and the 3 rolls of toilet paper are soaking wet.  Oh gosh we have a leak.  Andrew investigates the roof and looks like some of the sealant has a crack in it.  That will be his next job to fix when the sun is shining and we have a clear day.  For the time being, it’s all cleaned up and we are ready to leave by 9.50am.

Our journey today is 82km to a free camp at Heywood.  It’s overcast and 16 degrees.  Radiata pine trees are prolific along the highway.  The Victorian border is a short distance and we don’t even notice a quarantine bin.  There’s a small sign welcoming you to Victoria.  We arrive at Heywood before lunch and set up at the 48 hour self contained rest area.  It’s right beside a small creek and situated alongside the South West Road Transport Wall of Legends.  It’s a really peaceful place to stop.

Today is Derby Day and we’re both keen to spend the afternoon watching the coverage on TV.  It’s cool outside and overcast so an afternoon indoors is on the agenda.  We take several walks around the park area and settle in for a night of netflix.

Wildlife: cattle, sheep, dead kangaroos, crows, ducks.

Day 294: Heywood to Port Fairy

It’s a lazy start today after a cold night of 9 degrees and a lovely sleep in.  I was up early this morning and covered Cinta with a towel and she slept in till 8.00am.  We are packed up and ready to leave just after 10.00am and it’s climbed to 14 degrees.

Our journey today is 70km which takes us past the Cordington Wind Farm and many grazing properties.  The wind is blowing a gale when we arrive at Port Fairy.  We’re staying at the Gardens Caravan Park which is situated right on the Moyne River.  We have a lovely big grassy site backing onto the river and right under the pine trees.  Now that’s not so good for my hayfever!   The winds are 35kph and howling through the trees and there’s a few light showers as well. The awning won’t be coming out today.  Looks like another day indoors.  Welcome to Port Fairy!

It’s been lovely to have a weekend off work, however, tomorrow I’ll need to put in a big day with a board meeting first up.  Tuesday is Melbourne Cup Day so some googling is in order to see what’s on at Port Fairy for the day.

You will have to wait for next weeks blog for photos of Port Fairy as it’s too cold, wet and windy to go outside today.  Good luck if you’re having a bet on the race that stops the nation. Have a great week.

Wildlife:. rabbits, cattle, sheep, water hens, magpies, alpacas, swans, magpies, crows, dead kangaroos.

Week 42 total expenses: $538.53 – a good result this week!

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That’s a wrap for Week 42 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment

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