Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

199904 Australia-SA

Thursday 1 April 1999  Up and on the road early – April Fool!  Up late again and manage to dodge the wasps whilst giving the van a good clean  Call in on the little town of Elliston which has the largest mural in Australia painted on the town hall depicting bygone days and the local industry.  All the businesses in town have murals showing how the insides used to be and even the lampposts are all individually decorated.   Locks Well is famous for the 160 metre staircase down the cliff to the beach which is very attractive but the clouds and wind are not conducive to sunbathing.  We feel we are being transported back to Yorkshire as we drive across moors and see examples of dry stone walling.  Sheringa Beach has been recommended at $2 (80p) night.  3 camping areas, 1 by the freshwater lake and 2 behind the beach.  We select a very secluded and sheltered spot by the lake with almost no flies, wasps or wind and potential for naturist sunbathing if and when the clouds blow over.  The lake is separated from the sea by huge white sand dunes which look like the desert.  The weather forecast is for steadily improving weather which for a Bank Holiday weekend will be great. It is strange that this is the last holiday of the season here whereas in England it is the first. 
Friday 2 April  Set up our stall with the windbreak, gas outdoor camping stove/BBQ, chairs and table- ever hopeful that the wind and clouds will disappear.  Stroll to the beach site where we meet Audrey from Birmingham and husband Peter from Scotland.  Now living in Perth they are on tour in a motorhome similar to Dew Drop Inn.  Manage to sit out for quite a while when the sun breaks through between the clouds.  Lots more people are starting to arrive and we watch a steady stream of motorcaravans and cars towing caravans or trailers containing, boats, jet skis, quad bikes and trailer tents.  Steve is not convinced about us keeping the daylight saving time so I reluctantly agree to put our clocks back an hour providing he still gets up at a reasonable time in the morning (some hope) making us 8 1/2 hours ahead of BST
Saturday 3 April  Yes – clear blue skies and no wind.  I leap out of bed and start cooking the "Full Monty" breakfast on the outdoor camp stove.  We enjoy romping around naked and soaking up the sunshine until late afternoon.  Feel a bit like Robinson Crusoe with our own little beach.  Call to see Audrey and Peter and enjoy a Hot Cross Bun whilst discussing good free camping spots.  In the evening we hear fireworks around the lake.
Sunday 4 April  The early mist is slow in clearing but by mid morning we are horizontal again.  The sea mist keeps rolling in but never get over the dunes and it looks rather strange.  Climb up the dunes and realise what a brilliant spot it is for people on bikes and quads.
Monday 5 April  Early start as the mist on the lake is thicker than ever to the extent that we cannot even see the lake shore.  Hit the road at 8.00am and turn the phone on incase we get to a reception area.  Ten minutes later it rings and we chat to Marion from New Zealand and agree to exchange with them.  We will pick up their van in Nelson on the South Island in December and return it either there or to Auckland in June.  They will be using our van from April until September but only to visit Great Britain and possibly France and Spain.  Dutton Bay has good facilities with toilets and cold showers but still seams very busy following the  Easter Fair.  Farm Bay is where parts of Gallipoli were filmed but when we arrive we are disappointed with the beach area with dozens of gypsy type caravans.  Loads of old rusty tractors are lined up to haul the boats out of the water.  Shelley Beach (made up of millions of tiny shells) is more our scene and apart from one car of people coming for a picnic we have the place to ourselves.  Back to Dutton Bay in the evening to make use of the toilets etc.  Just two other couples here now so we chat to them.  Plenty of wood and lots of pine cones so we make a bonfire near the van door to keep us warm.  Big mistake as the wind changes direction and we are nearly smoked out. 
Tuesday 6 April    Into Port Lincoln and up to Winter Hill lookout for a view over the town to get our bearings.   The loading jetty with the huge grain silos stands out along the town beach.   A nice size town with a holiday feel and some reasonable shops enabling us to stock up on groceries.  Book a yacht trip for Thursday to take us out to the tuna farms.  Heading up the coast we spot some of the houses on snob hill.  One has gates coated in $8000 (£3200) worth of gold and at the same house the wife didn’t like reversing down the drive so her husband had a turntable fitted in the garage.   Most of these are owned by the rich tuna farmers and ones an exact replica of South Fork.   Louth Bay has a lovely free camping spot between the golf course and the beach.  Steve slams the anchors on as he reads a sign saying $2 (80p) green fees per day.  He trots off to find out about it and returns with borrowed clubs and balls enabling him to play a round or should I say play around!  I enjoy our secluded parking spot where I sunbathe in peace and quiet without any wind or bugs.  In the evening we get a phone call from Peter Clark near Adelaide who has seen our advert for our second Australian swap and we arrange to meet him next week.  He is English and used to be stationed at Cosford – small world.
Wednesday 7 April   Cloudy morning so Steve goes out for another round of golf.  Dianne Ross phones from Sydney but she wants our van when it is already going to be used by the NZ couple.  Our advert has just gone in the April Motorcaravan magazine so we may get more enquiries now.  We enjoy chatting and she invites us to stay with them in Sydney if we go there en route to New Zealand.  Manage a fair bit of sunbathing between clouds and when Steve goes for another game of golf late afternoon I caddie.  What a golf course, mainly scrub and dirt and the greens are a mixture of black tar and sand.  The small green parrots are very tame and only move when we are very close.  The links crosses the main road and as we are walking along one of the paths we see a sign warning us of camels for the next 2km!   We manage to get back before dark and that was just doing 9 holes.  Good job Steve isn’t thinking of taking it up seriously as he would need to pay for a lot of coaching.
Thursday 8 April    Back to Port Lincoln for the boat trip.  Max and Charlie take us and a family of 4 out to the Tuna Farms.  These are southern bluefin tuna which the Japanese buy at $80 (£32) a kilo hence the rich farmers.   Enjoy a sail around Boston Bay the largest natural harbour in Australia.  Lincoln Hotel has been recommended for lunch and for $7.95 (£3.20) you get a main course, dessert, wine or beer and tea or coffee + $2 to spend in the pokies.  The tea and coffee are in the casino area and you help yourself whilst throwing the $2 into the slot machines.  Out to the library to use the internet and catch up with our correspondence.  Nice parking spot at Billy Lights Point overlooking the rapidly developing marina.
Friday 9 April   An early morning stroll round the point then into town to make some phone calls.  Freedom Air are a charter company with flights to New Zealand.  Until 10 December we can buy a return flight from Sydney for $419 (£168) or Brisbane for $449 (£179).  This is much better than the flight from Perth – NZ – Sydney/Brisbane which is $900 (£360).  We may have to consider returning this van a bit earlier to give us time to pick up a motorhome rental to be returned to the East coast.   Inland and North to Cummins where the world kalamazoo classic races are being held tomorrow.  We have arranged to park in the town and stay for the weekend and Leanne at the council offices greets us like celebrities.  They are amazed that someone from England has heard about the races and made the effort to come and watch.  The event only started last year as the town was dying and someone realised they could set up these races and qualify for a Guinness book of records entry.  The Kalamazoo is a rail handcart like Laurel and Hardy used to use.  In the races there are 5 people per cart – 4 providing power and the 5th operating the break.  She asks if we would mind being entered into a race if there is space and game for a laugh we agree.  She also asks if  the video film crew can interview us and could we possibly say that we had come from England specially for the races.  Agree to the interview but don’t think they would buy the fact that we came to Australia just for the races!  Brian helps us settle in behind the church where there is a toilet block and a scrub area where we can sit out.  He sorts out electric hook up and makes us most welcome.   Spend a couple of hours walking the old town trail which isn’t up to much but makes a pleasant orientation walk.  Look in on the local bowls club and end up playing a couple of games and then being bought a drink in the bar by even more friendly locals.   Pop to the local pub in the evening.  It is part of the town Hotel which is also a restaurant, betting shop, off licence and has a room with pokies machines.   In Australia your empty glass is automatically refilled unless you lie your glass flat on the bar. Fortunately we cotton on to this after the second refill!
Saturday 10 April  Cloudy but pleasant morning, perfect for the races.  There are loads of food stalls and a separate area with kids entertainment.  The morning starts with kalamazoo heats, mid morning flour factory tour and aerial stunt flights over the track.  We tour the food stalls eating steak sandwich $2.50 (£1), 1 dozen oysters kilpatrick $9.50 (£3.80) and a tuna steak sandwich $3 (£1.20).  I join the kids for the movie "A bugs life" $5 (£2).  Think there must have been an advert in the press advertising our arrival as many people come and introduce themselves to us and welcome us to the town.  Apparently our visit to the bowling club stirred up a lot of interest.  A bus takes us out for a tour of the grain storage bunkers and later the plane flies over for another stunt display but this time with a passenger who won the flight as a raffle prize.  The kalamazoo racing continues and the local Police help out by setting up the speed cameras on the track.  I end up in the race between the Police and civilians but fortunately only have to work the brake.  We win easily but it was only in the fun section.   Not sure if we smell or what but we are offered the use of people’s showers on more than one occasion but settle for using the vicarage one as it is nearest.  Colleen has left a note on the door to say the house is open and to go in and help ourselves.  Start to walk out to the football club but two men stop us to chat and Terry gives us a lift.  He comes in to join us for just one drink.  We are immediately greeted by some people we met at bowling yesterday.  I am introduced to the circle of wives and the men congregate in a different area.  $1 (40p) buys a hot dog, dessert and admission for the evening entertainment – bargain.   I tell people we are leaving tomorrow morning but Debbie says we must stay longer and she will organise a BBQ up on their farm.  She arranges for someone to pick us up and starts inviting loads of people along.  The band have an African didgeridoo player and everyone agrees he is one of the best they have heard.   We dance a bit and feel a little weary of being asked the same questions each time we are introduced to someone.  It’s very unusual for someone to visit here so coming from England we are of great curiosity.  No one can believe that we are retired and have a grandson even though some of the people here had kids younger than we did.  At 11.30pm we are starting to flag.  Terry has to phone his wife up for a lift home as his one drink has lasted a few hours!  Start walking through the town and at midnight on a Saturday night the only person or vehicle we see is the Police car cruising past and he waves to us!
Sunday 11 April  A glorious morning.  I pop to the deli to try and buy something for Debbie as it is their wedding anniversary today.  Rosie suggests I get some flowers from the farm 4km out of town.   She drives me out there and I get a big bunch of carnations but she is rushing out so drops me back on the edge of town but after two paces a truck stops and I am offered a ride the rest of the way.   Lyle the local newsagent picks us up at midday and we head out up the tracks to the farm.  Lots of people and vehicles are already there.  Over 10 families make up the party.  In Australia it is custom to take your own chairs, glasses, cool box FULL of booze and box of food with you.  The party host just provides the BBQ and location and everyone mucks in.  Apparently the Police were only around town yesterday because of the races and today no one seems to worry about drinking and driving.  The kids pile into a very battered old truck and a 13 year old drives them out to the dam to fish for yabbies.  These are small freshwater lobster and we are having them for tea.   Again the men and women set up separate camps and the kids are just left to roam around which includes going off in vehicles and on scrambling bikes!   After lunch Debbie takes me and a few women out to the dams. One has quite a lot of water but the other is just mud and the kids are up to their knees in it pulling out the yabby to transfer them to the other one.   Have a great time and return to sit around the bonfire.  The yabbies are good and we all sit together in the dark around the fire chatting, drinking and eating.  Don’t think we have ever been made so welcome so quickly in a place before.  Lyle drops us off late evening and we are absolutely shattered.
Monday 12 April  Walk round town to say our Goodbyes and Thank You. Head back to the East coast to Tumby Bay a pretty holiday town with a sandy bay.  We have been told to try the king George whiting here so at 11.00am we sit on the grass eating fish.  Lipson Cove a bit further North is a lovely spot with a small island opposite which you can wade over to at low tide.  No one around so we strip off and I enjoy a nude walk around the bay.  Daydreaming on the way back I am a bit surprised to look up and see four fishermen have arrived – good job I was carrying my sarong.  Light a bonfire at dusk and sit out gazing up at the amazing starts and reflecting on how lucky we are in our life style.
Tuesday 13 April   Another beautiful hot day.  A bit breezy and cloudy in the evening which prompts us to move on in the morning.
Wednesday 14 April  A windy night and morning.  First stop Cowell Steve we buys 1 dozen fresh oysters for $5 (£2) – hope he knows what to do with them!  Whyalla is the second largest town in South Australia and a close contender to Adelaide for state capital.  A huge ship has been bought on land here to form the maritime museum $6  (£2.40) where we pass an hour or so.  Up to Hummock Hill lookout before deciding we don’t like the town very much and will push on North to Port Augusta.  Tank up with fuel at Woolworth’s where we get 2c litre discount because we spent $30 (£12) in the store.  This makes it the cheapest diesel so far at 67.8c (27p) litre.  So many things here seem to cost the same price in cents/dollars as you pay in pence/pounds in England which makes it very reasonable to us.  The petrol station recommend a nice parking spot by the Pink Lake with toilets and BBQ facilities.
Thursday 15 April  Must have slept well as we wake to find another campervan and a tent have joined us.  A lovely hot morning with clear blue skies.  Into Woolworth’s at 8.00am for more bargain shopping as loads of things have been reduced to half price.  Fill the trolley for $33 (£13) which gives us another fuel discount voucher.  Still can’t get used to how cheap food is here and we are eating like Lords.    The library offer free E-mail service so we pick up our mail which includes a very funny letter from Paul Evans.  The Wadlata Outback museum $7 (£2.80) is brilliant and we spend over 2 hours learning about the aboriginals, the outback and life in Australia in the early days.  The local Health centre is having a re launch open day and we get blood pressure checks (both normal) stress level checks (non existent) advice on lifting (handy for the cases of beer) and free food and drinks.   In conjunction with the opening there are street stalls offering special deals.  Steve picks up a pair of suede walking boots reduced from $85 (£34) to $20 (£8) and we get an Australian cricket shirt for Daniel.  Great atmosphere and we really like the feel of the town which we will call back into before heading to Alice Springs.  Drive East and into the southern end of the spectacular Flinders Ranges.  I spot a short cut which takes us down a single track road.  It has lots of dip warning signs which have been amended to include cheesy, onion and skinny dip!  Stop in Murray Town with a population of 50 and a nice parking area with toilets and BBQ.  One of the locals confirms that we can stay overnight.  Steve opens the oysters and I make up a kilpatrick filling (bacon, cheese and Worcester sauce) before grilling them – delicious.  
Friday 16 April    Back to hot summer days again which suits us fine as I   phoned Netty early this morning and she said they were having snow.  Gladstone old prison tour $3 (£1.20) is good.   Wish we had arrived last night as for $10 (£4) you can stay here overnight in a cell.  Sounds pretty grim but the set up is such that lots of groups stay here and you get the full run of the prison including the dining room, kitchen, library with T.V. and modern bathroom facilities.  People have been married in the prison chapel and held the Wedding reception here.  Receive a strange phone call from a man called Don who lives near Perth.  He originally came from Yorkshire and has heard about us and wants us to visit him when we are back in that area!  Clare is the pretty gateway town to the Clare Valley wine region.  Sevenhills vineyard has lovely grounds with a picnic area and church.  The Wilson vineyard is closed but we visit a few others in the area.  Arrive at Peter and Irene Clark’s near Gawler in the evening.  Unable to do an exchange as they a van for 3 weeks next September they wanted to meet us to chat anyway.   An enjoyable evening and we stay on the drive overnight. 
Saturday 17 April   At Tindo Naturist Club Gordon lets us into the site in Cockatoo Valley (reckon cock or two would be more fitting!) and his wife Betty makes us coffee.  Like Peter whom we were with last night he was also stationed at Cosford many years ago.   Park the van and set up our stall to enjoy the hot sunshine.   Loads of people introduce themselves to us and keep inviting us to their chalets for drinks.  Play boules with 3 other couples and Steve also plays miniten.  Everyone congregates in the club house in the evening for table tennis, pool and darts. 
Sunday 18 April  Another scorcher and we relax and have a lazy day.
Monday 19 April  Another nice day.  An ex Scottish couple George and Jean come round for coffee and we are the only people here today so it is lovely and peaceful.  Enjoy spreading out to sunbathe on the trampoline in the afternoon.  Get a surge of energy and give the van a thorough washing with the hose pipe.  There’s something about nude van washing in the sun which makes it a much nicer prospect than doing it clothed in the cold weather.
Tuesday 20 April  Some rain through the night but a dry though cloudy morning.  The Barossa reservoir has a Whispering Wall.  An acoustic phenomenon allows messages whispered at one end of the 140 metre dam wall to carry audibly to the other end.  Into the famous Barossa Valley wine region with over 50 vineyards.  We have selected a few to visit based on the most interesting buildings.  Chateau Yaldara is a lovely building and we buy a triple presentation pack of wines for George and Nicole.  We notice loads of elaborate scarecrows around and at the Tanunda tourist office we learn it started out as a school competition and escalated to the stage where there are now thousands.   A big German influence here in the buildings and the wine names which stems from the early Lutherans who fled here from Germany.  In Angaston "the Lego man" Tom Lucieer  has one of the biggest collections in Australia worth about $90,000 ($36,000)  He lets us in through the garage door and takes us on a personal tour.   A real character – he reckons the Queen visited a few years ago but she has never been to the town!  Take a lot of what he says with a pinch of salt and have a good chuckle to ourselves.  In Nuriootpa we see the oldest home made Motorcaravan in Australia which looks like a Disney creation of a miniature real house on a truck.  In 1929 the owner travelled around Australia on dirt roads with his wife and 3 children and wrote a fascinating trip diary. Chateau Dorrien has a great display of murals on the vats telling the history of the vineyard.  The hot mead is good and another purchase made.   Seppeltsfield has an unusual Greek temple style mausoleum and huge palm trees lining the estate roads.  Could do with 2 or 3 days being driven around here to take in all the wineries and enjoy the free tasting.  Off to Adelaide where the A13 South road gives us our first taste of city traffic.  A new reversible 3 lane motorway has just been opened and  in the morning it takes traffic into town and in the afternoon out again.   Easily find George and Nicole’s house in Chrisitie Downs.  They makes us very welcome and it is good to receive loads of mail again.  Just manage to fit the motorhome under the car port and settle in for a good chin wag and meet their daughters Leah and Paula.
Wednesday 21 April  George works for the Ambulance service and his shift is 2 days then 2 nights followed by 4 days off.  Today he is off and takes us down to the local dog walking beach along with Taffy.  He drives us down the coast and then returns to drop Taffy off and pick Leah up for the next outing.  The McClaren Valley is yet another wine region and George takes us through the Valley and the adjoining Flats.  His hobby is Gems and Fossils and he takes us to a forest where we do a bit of gold panning and learn a lot more about it.  Back home and  late afternoon Nicole joins us to go to the seaside area of Adelaide called Glenelg (a palindrome).   A bit like a very small scale Blackpool in the Winter and a nice place to wander round.  In the posh Stamford Grand Hotel Steve notices that the Stylistics are performing a week on Monday and for $70 (£28) you get the show, 4 course meal and all drinks included so he books us in.  Paula joins us after work catching the old tram from Adelaide.  Eat at a local Hotel before returning to George and Nicole’s for an early night.  Most people seem to go to bed early here as they set off for work anytime from 6.00am onwards.
Thursday 22 April  Ten minute walk to the railway station and $5.40 (£2.70) buys us a day ticket for all trains, trams and buses in the greater Adelaide area.  A cool morning but potentially hot day with clear blue skies.  Arrive in the city at 9.30am and walk to the Festival Hall and St Peter’s cathedral before taking in the panoramic view from Lights lookout.  Very little traffic and a very relaxed city with a compact grid style centre surrounded by parkland.  Hop on the "O" bahn the worlds longest guided busway which takes us to Tea Tree Plaza.  The bus starts off as normal but when it leaves the centre it drives onto a special track where side wheels guide it along like a train at high speeds.  Time for lunch and then back into town to the botanical gardens where we unzip our trousers into shorts and enjoy an hour’s sunbathing.  There are two free city bus services and the cityloop makes a good tour to get your bearings.  Central Market is huge and full of unusual food stalls.  Neighbouring China town makes a good meal stop and for $4 (£1.60) you can fill your plate from the 6 choices.  The central train station is below the Casino and despite our very casual dress we are allowed in.  Loads of people playing on the pokies but many more enjoy the value meals served here with roast dinners at $4 (£1.60) and a half dozen oysters and a glass of champagne for $6 (£2.40).  Don’t think we will ever adjust to English prices again as we feel positively rich out here.
Friday 23 April  Plan to drive down to the beach but find out that the telephone aerial got caught in the car port roof and a light fitting so we will need George’s help to move the van.  Nicole offers the use of her car as she has a day off and we head South to Australia’s first unclad beach at Maslin.   Cliff erosion has made this a very attractive beach and the rocks provide shelter from the breeze until it gets hotter when we welcome it.  Return at 4.00pm and Claire phones to tell us contracts have been exchanged and they move out of "Overdale" on 30th April and on 10th May into:-
74 Walkmill Road, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 1PJ.  The big change of address task begins – we have over 200 people to notify.  Nicole has cooked a lovely roast beef dinner but George has to eat alone as he is called out to a job just before the end of his shift. 
Saturday 24 April   George drives us down to the local shopping mall.  In the library we log on to the 15 minute computer and pick up a long letter from Mick which includes some excellent colour photos of Daniel taken last weekend.  Book a 1 hour session for next Wednesday to give us chance to notify more people of change of address.   A parade to commemorate ANZAC day is taking place in the mall with junior Army, Navy and Air Force taking part.  Back for an afternoons sunbathing in the garden.  George works night shift but Paula cooks Lasagne for the rest of us including Leah’s boyfriend Andrew.  Both girls are buying houses with their partners and the completion for both is next Friday 30th the same as Claire’s. 
Sunday 25 April     Nice day.  Off in Nicole’s car to Maslin Beach.
Monday 26 April  Australian Bank Holiday for ANZAC day.  Planned to go to the horse races with Leah and Andrew but she phones to say they were actually yesterday.  With George, Nicole and Paula we go to the American style Marion shopping mall.  Theme pubs, restaurants and cinemas complete the scene and we stroll around before going to see "Still Crazy" at the cinema.  Reckon Timothy Spall looks a bit like Steve’s brother Kevin, anyone else seen it?  Nicole and Paula decide they will come with us to the Stylistics on Monday night.
Tuesday 27 April   Train to Adelaide and bus to Port Adelaide.  Loads of very old and interesting buildings.  An excellent maritime museum $8.50 (£3.40) mainly about the immigrants and how they got here.  Mock ups of ships and parts of ships including the cabins over the years.  Audio tapes of people’s "at sea" stories and compters showing  passenger lists until 1956.  No Swatmans but quite a lot of Marsh’s.  Emerge a good couple of hours later at dinner time and pick up a counter meal (pub lunch).  A great view from the top of the lighthouse but Steve’s leg muscles cramp on the way down.  This is becoming a big problem for him so he resolves to take more excercise – heard that before.  Bus to Semaphore with more nice buildings but not as good as Port Adelaide and not worth the extra trip.  Train back to Adelaide then Christie Downs.  "Who wants to be a millionaire?" has just started here.  Same format as in England and tonight’s last contestant is Paddy Spooner a 31 year old back packer from the New Forest, England.  He’d seen the show in England so when it was announced here he reckoned his best chance of getting on was to phone before the show was screened the first time.  He made over 200 calls and secured himself a place.  Obviously he has a strategy and although very clever he calls for the audiences help at the first question relating to an Australian poet.  Tonights show ends with him at $250,000 (£100,000).
Wednesday 28 April    Up early to get loads of washing done.  As I am washing the bedding I manage to get Steve out of bed earlier than normal.  Half hour walk to the shopping centre then onto the Library’s Internet.  Slow progress as there are 4 computers and only one person to help.  A Naturist club in Nelson N.Z. reply to us with details of their Christmas Dinner etc and invite us to join them.  Printing Mick’s photo of Daniel in colour takes ages so we book a 4.00pm session as well.  Collonades shopping mall tavern offers Smorgasbord lunches at $7.95 (£3.20).  About 30 starters with lots of sea food.  Same for mains including traditional roasts and oriental foods.  Hot puddings with custard, gateaux and soft ice cream in a machine.  Steve gets value from the starters and mains and I do from the desserts – 6 different ones.  Brought back fond memories of the "Grand Buffet" on the Canary Islands – ask the Spooners about that one.  Our 4.00pm computer session is more productive and we leave there having notified everyone on e-mail of our change of address and caught up with correspondance.   Paddy Spooner gets a long interview at the start of tonights "Who wants to be a millionaire?" and says he wants to spend Summers in Europe and the European winters in Australia from now on.  He comes unstuck with the $500,000 question relating to an Australian scientist (reckon they fixed the question to stop a pomme winning).  Takes 50/50 then phones a friend but to no avail.  Goes away very happy with the 1/4 million though.
Thursday 29 April  Train to Adelaide to take in the last few things we missed on the previous visits.  Pick up e-mail in the library.  Our friends John and Karen are known as "the pants" and Karen suggests that whilst we are here we should be the down under-pants.  Must get into the habit of printing mail and reading it later as people give us funny looks when we crack up laughing in the libraries!  The South Australia museum is being renovated and closed until next February.  The panoramic picture is closed as there was a fire in the building next door yesterday.  The chocolate factory tour is just a walk along a short corridor looking at signs and pictures and no free tastings.   The unplanned detour to the Japanese gardens is good even if they are small and only take 1/2 hour to walk around.   Bus up to North Adelaide but after a short walk we don’t see anything but shops and cafes so catch another bus to the station.  Back in Christie Downs at 2.30pm.  Nicole is as home as she is having trouble with flibitus and the doctor has put her off work for 2 days.  George helps us with some route planning and then I cook us all Chilli Pasta for tea.  The forecast is for a gradual increase in temperature so we will shoot off tomorrow for a couple of days to visit the coast around Victor Harbour.
Friday 30 April    Back on the road again heading down the coast through Port Willunga and Aldinga Beach.  Over the hills and around Myponga Reservoir with great views.  As we drive slowly along a stretch of dirt of road (never again!) some kangaroos cross over and start to skip along beside us.  Hindmarsh Falls make a pleasant walk even though the falls themselves are very small.  Very much like the waterfall walk at Ingleton in Yorkshire.  Many places here look like England the only obvious difference being the gum/eucalyptus trees.  It’s very green in this region hence all the dairy farming and produce growing.  Glacier Rock is the largest expanse of this type of rock in Australia but still small.  We are more impressed with the birds in this area especially the rosella with a bright red body and purple wings.  Victor Harbor is our destination and we climb to the top of the bluff for a splendid 360 degree view.  Got to get ourselves in shape for the 1km 45 degree climb up Ayers Rock!  It’s a cloudy day but pleasantly warm and we drive back to town and wander around.  Just after 5.00pm another camper pulls up and we chat to the young couple who have been on the road for 2 years working and travelling all around the Australian coast.   We walk together to Granite Island linked by a bridge and during the day traversed by horse drawn tram.  The Island is famous as the breeding ground of fairy penguins and around 750 pairs come ashore each night having been out at sea during the day.  The visitor centre opens at dusk and for $2 (80p) we move through two theatres watching an animated show to learn about the island and fairy penguins which are unique to New Zealand and South Australia.  Emerge just after 6.00pm and it is already dark.  A beautiful full moon reflects in the sea and small lanterns illuminate the shore.  The 30cm (that’s 1 foot to oldies) penguins begin to appear and scramble up the rocks and then cross the road in front of us.  They make strange noises and are just so funny to look at.  We also see rats and a wombat but the penguins are the highlight and just delightful to watch.  I want to pick them up and cuddle them they look so cute.   It’s quite chilly now and we are wearing our coats for the first time since leaving England.  Return to the mainland and drive up to the bluff where we have selected our parking spot for the night where we know we will have a great view when we wake up


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