Hello Possums! (to be said in a Dame Edna Everage voice)
21.10.2007 - 27.10.2007 27 °C
Well after two attempts we managed to get the correct replacement tent poles, before leaving Adelaide. Adelaide was very nice, but it was good to get out of the city and be back in the smaller towns. We left Adelaide about 8am and were straight into the rush hour traffic. Luckily due to my perfect navigation we managed to find the Princes Highway without any hitches and as soon as we cleared the town traffic the roads were relatively clear. It’s a pity we couldn’t say the same about the weather!! Misty and very rainy!! Mind you the Australians do need the rain. In South Australia there has been a drought for a few years and there are all sorts of restrictions on water usage.
It was a shame about the weather because this area was one of the most picturesque journeys so far with the landscape changing from pasture to pine forest to lakes. We stopped in Kingston SE on the way to Robe to pick up some groceries, as we’d heard Robe was a small town with not a lot of shops.
When we got to Robe it was absolutely pouring with rain!!! We decided to wait until it had eased before putting the tent up and had lunch in the camp kitchen. After lunch Steve, with the aid of his able assistant, set about fixing the tent poles with the replacement sections, which wasn’t as big a job as we envisaged. It did eventually stop raining and we managed to put the tent up. We now have an unwonky tent!!
We spent the first evening in the camp kitchen (as it was cold) with about 30 members of the Ballarat Caravan Club. The second evening there, having decided it was far to cold to sit in the tent, and the Ballarat caravan club members had all gone home, we went to one of the local pubs, The Caledonian, for a drink. Our plan was to have one in there and then pop across the road to the Robe Hotel and have another one there, but it didn’t work out that way. The Caledonian had a big roaring log fire, and a sort of olde English charm and it sold Australian Guinness, which Steve said tasted the same as proper Guinness after he’d had a few. So we ended up staying there all evening. Naturally we slept well that night and didn’t feel the cold at all!!
Robe is a very quaint town with lots of historical buildings, some of which have been converted into holiday homes for the middle classes from either Adelaide or Melbourne. The town has some lovely coastal walks. The coast is made up of limestone cliffs that have been carved out by the wind and the water leaving caves and blowholes. It’s amazing how the scenery changes from one small cove to the next.
From Robe we headed to Mount Gambier. As we had been warned about how cold it was there, we phoned ahead and booked a cabin. I think we made the right decision, as although it was warm in the sun, as soon as the sun went down it was very cold. While in Mount Gambier we visited the Umpherston Sinkhole twice!! Once during daylight hours, where we discovered an amazing subterranean garden filled with Calla lilies, rhododendrons, manicured lawns and hanging ivy. It really was picturesque. We went back a second time as we were told that a colony of possums lived in the sinkhole and came out at night to feed. We had no sooner climbed down the stairs into the sinkhole than out of nowhere came possums, even mums and babies. They were quite tame if you had some fruit to give them and would take it from your hand. Possums are notoriously vicious and do not usually respond to petting, but this colony had become so used to humans that you could stroke them after giving them a piece of fruit. They were so soft to touch. Needless to say, I took a rather lot of photos.
Mount Gambier also boasts a series of lakes that have been formed in old volcanic craters, one of which, “The Blue Lake”, was a beautiful azure blue. There are also two other lakes, one which over the years has become devoid of water and is now a tree plantation. The third lake, “Valley Lake” to me was the best of all as it housed a Wildlife Park. Although the lake area had been fenced in, none of the animals were separated by fences, pens etc. They were just left to roam within the Park. I think the fence was purely to stop rabbits getting in. We saw Wallabies, Kangaroos, Swamp Hens, Turtles, Red Parrots, Potaroos and fabulously coloured small birds. It was great to be able to get up close to the wildlife. My camera was working overtime again!! There was also supposed to be Koalas, Wombats and Possums, but unfortunately we didn’t see any of them.
After Mount Gambier, we left for the slightly warmer climate of Warrnambool, which is an old whaling town in the state of Victoria. Unfortunately we arrived about two weeks too late to see any whales, as they have all headed south, now that the weather is warmer. The campsite is very nice and once again we’re only a few steps away from the beach. Warrnambool is at the start of the Great Ocean Road, and it seems that we are now back on the backpacker’s trail. We’ve bumped into lots of Europeans all either on their way to travel, or at the end of travelling along the Great Ocean Road. We have decided to stay here for the weekend and then head off on Monday, we will break our journey to Melbourne somewhere along the Great Ocean Road, but as yet we are not sure where.
There has been a bit of a problem with posting comments, but we think we have resolved it. We have also uploaded a few more photos.
Love to everyone.