Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200302 Australia-SA Vic

SATURDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2003  All head off to the shopping centre at Noarlunga.  Once we’ve done a big shop we return for lunch then Steve & George play pool whilst Nicole & I mess around on the computer.  Take a very pleasant early evening stroll along the beach.
SEAFORD 2
SUNDAY 2 FEBRUARY  Steve and George head off with the metal detectors to do some fossicking.  They soon return having forgotten to charge the batteries and not taken any spares.  I’ve been invited along with Nicole to Paula’s (George & Nicole’s daughter) baby shower.  Drive to her town house which is almost in the city.  With only 3 1/2 weeks to go Paula looks incredibly slim with the only sign of a baby being a football sized bump on the front.  Her sister Leah is also there so it’s a great chance to catch up with their news.  There are over 20 guests and we play appropriate games such as tasting baby food and guessing what it is. The Moroccan chicken with couscous fools us all.  Nicole has enjoyed a few glasses of wine so I drive back. 
SEAFORD 3
MONDAY 3 FEBRUARY  Nicole goes out to work very early followed by Steve & George on the fossicking trail.  I drive up to Noarlunga shopping centre and get my hair cut $22 (£8) then catch the bus to Marion shopping centre to meet Nicole.  The $1.90 (70p) bus fair entitles me to travel all over for 2 hours but my journey takes less than 1 hour.  Meet Nicole and manage to get myself some new reef sandals.  I particularly like the Merrell brand convertibles where you can remove the backs and wear them as slip ons.  The only problem is that it’s hard to find anywhere that stocks them and they cost $125 (£45).  Fortunately each of the last two pairs have lasted me 2 1/2 years.  The lads are back before us and Steve has had a great time despite not striking gold.  
SEAFORD 4
TUESDAY 4 FEBRUARY  Off down to Maslins beach (the first official unclad beach in Australia).  The weather is just perfect and there are a good crowd of people at the nudist section.  The water whilst cold at first becomes very welcome as the day heats up.  Even more welcome is the ice cream man who drives past mid afternoon. 
SEAFORD 5
WEDNESDAY 5 FEBRUARY  It’s a cooler day which means we finally get round to doing a few jobs prior to Mum & John arriving on Friday.  Drive up to Colonnades shopping centre and rent "The Dish" on video.  It’s a good film made even better as we recently visited Parkes and Forbes where it was filmed.. It’s quiz night at the Seaford Hotel and we meet up with Paula and her husband Jason to pit our wits.  6 heads may be better than one but just not good enough to win anything.
SEAFORD 6
THURSDAY 6 FEBRUARY  Early start to Maslins beach where the time flies and it’s soon time for us to head into Adelaide.  Our friends Cath and Lew live in North Adelaide and we are staying the night.  We have a lovely evening meal and chatter until well after midnight.
NORTH ADELAIDE
FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY  8.00AM and as Lew sets out to take Cath to work we head to the airport.  The flight is delayed by half and hour and then it’s a long wait for Mum and John to appear.  Almost no one is coming through and I’m just starting to panic when Mum appears escorted by an immigration officer.  She needs to know the address we shall be staying at in Adelaide but also tells us John was poorly in Singapore.  She goes back into customs but it’s ages before they emerge.  They are delayed when a sniffer dog smells food in one of their bags.  The bag is opened and apples are found.  Having declared that they were not bringing any food stuffs into Australia this is quite an offence.  They are severely reprimanded and told they could be fined $120 (£45) per item but in this instance will be let off but their details will be stored on computer!  We finally get to leave and hear that in spite of Johns leg problems the journey has gone very well and they are both OK.  Head out to the beach resort of Glenelg for a stroll around in the sunshine.  Down the coast through Brighton before returning to George & Nicoles.  Once the un packing is done I take Mum & John down to the local beach for them to soak up the sun and the atmosphere.  They are already raving about Australia but they ain’t seen nothing yet.  Return via the shopping centre for John to buy a walking stick.  Back at George and Nicole’s we celebrate their arrival with champagne.
SEAFORD 1
SATURDAY 8 FEBRUARY  Leave Mum & John to lie in until after 9.00am.  Whilst un packing their bags they have found at least a dozen other food items which they didn’t declare, reckon they would have been in jail if they had been found out.  John’s leg is still playing up so just Mum & I go out to explore every shop in Colonnades shopping centre.  When we get back John has been for a trip out to the Rock Club with George.  Mum, Steve & I spend a few hours on the beach in the afternoon but unfortunately Mum can’t pick out the dolphins which we see swimming past.  Mum & John have bought us a 2 litre bottle of Gin so we have a Gin & Tonic session before heading out.  George & Nicole’s friend Dave is having a BBQ for his 55th birthday and in true Aussie hospitality style we have been asked along as well.  They live in a bungalow with super views over the Adelaide Hills.  The men gather in the garden whilst the women sit inside chatting.  Freshly caught snapper is on the menu and it tastes delicious.  Mum & John do a great job of staying awake until we get back at 10.30pm.
SEAFORD 2
SUNDAY 9 FEBRUARY  Out early with Steve, John & I in Billy and George, Nicole and Mum in George’s car.  The rock club are running a treasure hunt which we are taking part in.  Collect our clue sheets and set off into the Adelaide Hills.  There are few clues but the scenery makes up for that.  Almost 2 hours later we arrive in Mannum on the Murray River where the group meet up for a picnic lunch.  At 107km this is the end of the rally but we still have the same distance to go to get back!  One of the clues was "—– on you" and as we couldn’t find anything in the village to fit in I decide to put in shame as it has the right number of letters.  A lucky guess as it wins us the competition and a bottle of champagne.  Next we all head off in convoy for a tour of the pumping station where water is pumped from the Murray River then 100km by pipeline to Adelaide.  After that we visit the largest gem collection in South Australia which is very interesting.  Arrive back at 5.30pm after covering 226km. Can’t imagine anyone taking part in such a long treasure hunt in England!  Paula & Jason drive over and join us for a BBQ.  Stroll down to the beach to watch the sunset whilst battling against the cool sea breeze.
SEAFORD  3
MONDAY 10 FEBRUARY  Head off down the Fleurieu peninsula coast then up over the hill by the Myponga reservoir for sweeping views.  Devonshire tea at the cafe by Selwyn’s Glacier Rock.  Reach the south coast by Victor Harbour and continue round to Goolwa where we pick up fish and chips $3.50 (£1.30) for lunch which we eat on Hindmarsh Island whilst watching the pelicans.  Along the Coorong we stop for a stroll by the barrage where Mum falls in love with the graceful black swans.  Scenic drive back along the coast via Horseshoe Bay then park up in Victor Harbour.  After exploring the town we have a sandwich and wait until 8.00pm when Mum and John are booked to go over to Granite Island.  4 years ago we walked over and were able to wander round to see the fairy penguins after dusk.  Sadly some have been kicked to death by hooligans so now the only way to visit the island at night is on a guided tour for $10 (£3.70).  First you can take a bus over $2 (75p) then you go round an interpretative centre before being met by the tour guide.  When Mum and John arrive back just after 10.00pm they have seen lots of fairy penguins, some possums and a seal.
SEAFORD 4
TUESDAY 11 FEBRUARY  John is still struggling with his leg and can’t walk far or fast so Mum, Nicole & I go to the city on the train from Noarlunga $1.70 (65p).  Head straight into the casino to try our luck then out into the sunshine and up to Rundle Mall where we visit lots of shops and the old arcades.  Meet Leah for a long lunch then walk out to the Botanical Gardens.  It’s quite hot so we rest and cool down by taking the free city loop bus.  Get off at the railway station but explore the Festival Theatre and dow it’s no problem to change it to take into account John’s difficulty walking.  With this in mind we set off at 8.15am for our drive up to Mount Lofty where we get splendid views over Adelaide.  Hahndorf village keeps us occupied for a while wondering round the small shops before visiting the Old Barn for the buffet lunch $13.95 (£5.25).   Claiming to be the biggest buffet in the hills we’d agree.  Check out the Melba chocolate factory at Woodside and the Mill shops in the same area.  Next it’s out to the Big Rocking Horse toy factory at Gummeracha.  In the gardens there are lots of birds and we are amused by one which waves it’s claw.  Spot a couple of emu’s at the side of the road as we drive along.  Into the Barossa where the whispering wall on the dam exceeds expectations carrying a whisper from one side to the other and amplifying the sound.  By the time we booked the Cliff tickets there was almost no accommodation left in the area so we accepted a workers caravan at the Barossa Caravan Park, Lyndoch.  For $28 (£11) per couple 2 plus $4 (£1.50) for each extra person it’s good value.  Mum & John are pleased to find that it is clean and has a double bed, bunk beds, dinette area and kitchen.  We’re not keen on the bunk beds so sleep outside in Billy.
BAROSSA CARAVAN PARK
FRIDAY 14 FEBRUARY  Begin our tour of the Barossa vineyards at Yaldara where Mum, John & Steve are tasting wine just after 9.00am.  Drive into the Chateau Barossa to look at the rose gardens.  Pick up some black forest cake at the Lyndoch bakery.  Check out the area for the concert tomorrow night.  Into Jacob’s Creek for more wine tasting then a break for coffee and cake.  Quick look around the keg making factory.  At Tanunda we make our first purchase with a case of Chardonnay at half price $48 (£18).  Mengler Hill Lookout gives sweeping views over the vineyards.  Picnic stop in Nurioopta before a visit to the shops.  Mum & John are struggling with the heat and John is still having difficulty walking but we press on and taste wine at Penfolds then look at the murals at Chateau Dorian and sample mead.  It’s too hot to walk up to Seppelts mausoleum but we do fit in a final wine tasting before returning to the caravan park.  There’s a BBQ on site and whilst cooking tea we meet Bill & Laura from Perth.  We have lots in common and by the time we say good night we have been offered a place to store Billy when we get to Perth.
BAROSSA CARAVAN PARK 2
SATURDAY 15 FEBRUARY  A quiet morning sitting out reading the papers etc.  John makes good use of his walking stick as an ant killer.  The star of this years Barossa Under the Stars concert is Cliff Richard and we have unseated tickets at $95 (£35).  Set off to Rowland Flat after lunch and soon join the traffic queue.  The gates open at 2.00pm and by 2.10pm we are moving and soon parked up.  Armed with food, chairs, picnic rugs and other things we walk to the concert area.  There’s a huge outdoor stage and by being early we get a great spot just beside the seats which people have paid $160 (£60) for.  Behind the stage is a village where you can buy food and drinks (wine from $10/£4 bottle) and a small stage with lots of different bands.  We particularly enjoy the Fab Four.  After yesterdays heat we are grateful that today is cooler and cloudy and glad that the forecast rain amounts to no more than a few spots.  Promptly at 8.00pm Cliff appears on stage singing "We don’t talk anymore".  He then belts out a good selection of songs and tells a few quirky stories.  The acoustics in the outdoor setting are not perfect but he still sounds superb and we really enjoy it.  After a half hour break he sings right through until 11.00pm.  No real problems getting off the car park and we are tucked up in bed by midnight. 
LYNDOCH – BAROSSA CARAVAN PARK 3
SUNDAY 16 FEBRUARY   The rain which started in the night continues as we set off but this gives Mum & John their first kangaroo sighting of a mob of 4.  Nairne are celebrating founders day with lots of events and Mum & Steve catch the end of a special church service then watch the street parade.  Mum comes back having nearly wet herself laughing at it.  The whole parade must have lasted about 5 minutes and contained a small band, 3 vintage cars, a fire engine and some Morris Dancers who look like a bunch of fairies. In Murray Bridge we stop on the banks of the river to cook lunch on the BBQ.  For $1 (35p) we view the legendary bunyip monster who pops up out of a murky pool.  Along the river is a paddle steamer which used to be a trading antique shop but now stays permanently moored but is full of interesting stuff.  Mum & John spend a good couple of hours looking round Old Tailem Town historic village.  Take the free ferry across the river to Wellington Caravan Park where the on site van costs $25 (£9) + $5 pp. Steve and I get to sleep in the beds in the annexe.  Mum & I take a stroll and explore the Old Courthouse and the area by the river.
WELLINGTON CARAVAN PARK
MONDAY 17 FEBRUARY  Head off south on the Princes highway past the Pink Lake and along Albert Lake to Meningie where we stop for coffee.  The "cheese museum" contains lots of old memorabilia and passes 1/2 hour.  At Kingston we take photos of the enormous Larry Lobster and check out the anatomical clock.  Final stop is Lakeside Caravan Park in Robe $30 (£11) caravan + $5 p.p.  Drive round town to a couple of beaches for glass and shells, past the old jail to the obelisk and up to the lookout.  A windy cooler night.
ROBE – LAKESIDE CARAVAN PARK
 
TUESDAY 18 FEBRUARY   Back to blue skies.  Continue along the south coast stopping at Woakwine Cutting where over 3 years 2 men cut a chanel through huge rocks to drain their farmland.  Next to Beachport with the second longest jetty in Australia, the Pool of Siloam which is 7 times saltier than the dead sea and a tour along the Bowman Scenic Drive giving superb views of the rugged coast.  Coffee stop on the outskirts of Millicent at Lake McIntyre where we take a boardwalk around the wetlands. In the town we stop for a counter meal at the pub.  $6 (£2.20) buys us salad, main meal plus tea or coffee.  Into Mount Gambier and the Central Caravan Park where we have to upgrade to a cabin $31 (£12) + $6 p.p.  This time we get a bed which folds into the wall and a room with 2 bunk beds.  It’s only a short walk to the town and Mum, John & I stroll the streets.  Evening Swatour around Mount Gambier beginning with views over the blue lake.  Adjacent to this is Valley Lake with the wildlife park.  Whilst walking round at dusk we hear lots of birds and see quite a lot of kangaroos.  Check out the old jail where you can stay in a cell for the night but with no windows it seems very chlostrophobic.  Mum & I walk down into the sink hole in the cave gardens which is very pretty.  Saving the best until last we visit the Umpherston Sinkhole where we see lots of possums.  Unfortunately both Mum has forgotten her camera and Johns battery has run out so we will have to do a repeat tour tomorrow.
MOUNT GAMBIER – CENTRAL CARAVAN PARK
WEDNESDAY 19 FEBRUARY  At the tourist information centre we watch a film about the local area before visiting the Lady Nelson Centre $9 (£3.50).  It gives a history about the area and is OK.  At the RSL there is a good collection of war memorabilia.  Mum needs her hair doing so we call into the shopping centre where she gets washed and blow dried straight away.  Lunch at the RSL then down to the Riddoch art gallery which is disappointing.  Leave Mum & John to stroll the streets for an hour or so.  The evening tour is even better than last night with Mum & John being able to stroke kangaroos in the wild life park and also see a potoroo.  In the sinkhole we take a torch and explore along the ledges and see lots of possums and one with a baby on it’s back.  A rat keeps coming and trying to steal their food.  With plenty of photo’s taken we return knowing we now need to spot koala and find emu’s for them to photograph.
MOUNT GAMBIER – CENTRAL CARAVAN PARK 2
THURSDAY 20 FEBRUARY  Head east into VICTORIA and put our watches forward 1/2 hour (11 hours ahead of GMT).  The small village of Dartmoor used to have the street lined with war memorial trees.  The trees were causing problems so they were all cut down to 10 foot high and a man with a chainsaw came in and carved people into them.  The figures represent locals who were involved in the war and it really is most attractive.  Mum & John enjoy a stroll around the nearby Waterfall Garden $4 (£1.50) whilst we brew up.  Lunch stop in Port Fairy by the river where we toast cheese sandwiches on the BBQ.  At Tower Hill extinct volcano we spot 5 koala, lots of emu’s and millions of flies – didn’t notice Mum & John photographing the flies though.  In Warrnambool we get the last caravan at Caravarna Caravan Park $35 (£12.50).  Drop the bags off then head straight to the Flagstaff Museum for Mum & John to look round for the last hour.  We find out about a cinema and meal deal at $25 (£9) which offers a 3 course meal at Images restaurant followed by a visit to the cinema which is showing Chicago.  Arrive at the restaurant when it opens at 5.30pm to be offered an interesting menu then served good portions of food.  By 6.30pm we are just finishing our main course so arrange to pay then return for our deserts after the film.  Just make it for the films start at 6.40pm.  It’s a great film and although we expected Mum to enjoy it we also do.  As we leave the auditorium everyone gathers round tables where a buffet is provided so we join in and also get free drinks.  Not sure what it’s all about but "when in Rome".  Get back to the restaurant after 9.00pm and just about find room for our desert. 
WARRNAMBOOL – CARAVARNA CARAVAN PARK
FRIDAY 21 FEBRUARY  Unfortunately the forecasted rain catches up with us in the night and we wake to a wet day.  After a brief cheese tasting at Cheese World, Allensford we hit the Great Ocean Road.  At Peterborough we are surprised to see lots of police cars and a rescue boat parked up.  The view at the Bay of Islands is superb and the rain kindly pauses.  Stop for Mum & John to enjoy London Bridge and The Arch but at Loch Ard the rain and the walking is getting too much and they decline.  The Twelve Apostles is the most visited and photographed part of the Ocean Road and they have built a huge car park and visitors centre on the opposite side of the road.  The visitor centre is poor and it’s still raining but Mum & John do make it over to take in the view whilst we prepare lunch.  With the rain getting worse, Mum & John not able to walk far and in anticipation of them nodding off we cut the Ocean Road short and head inland.  In Colac Mum gets her second wind and she and John roam the shops.  By late afternoon we make it to Bev & Norm’s at Wallington near Geelong.  Mum & John are delighted to be offered the annexe with sofa bed, kitchen, dinette, en suite and a piano.  We are relegated to a spare bedroom.  We learn that Peterborough has been on the news as two fisherman were out on a boat when it overturned and one man has been lost. 
WALLINGTON
SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY  Whilst John recovers with a lie in I take Mum down to Ocean Grove first to look at the shops and then to show here the coast where a life saving competition is in progress.  Return to find everyone else out on a tour.  After lunch I take Mum & John to the Jirrahilinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary $6 (£2.20) where they see a good selection of Aussie animals and birds.  Have a lovely evening meal eating the snapper fish which Norm has caught.  
WALLINGTON 2
SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY  Drive Mum & John over to Geelong to wander around the Pakington Street festival.  It’s getting pretty hot after lunch and John’s struggling so we return to sunbathe at Bev & Norms.  Norm cranks up the wood fired BBQ for our evening meal.
WALLINGTON 3
MONDAY 24 FEBRUARY  Early morning trip down to Ocean Grove where John visits the doctor ($45 – £17 consultation) to get a top up of his pills whilst we use the internet at the library.  Follow the coast round through Barwen Heads to Geelong to visit the Market shopping centre.  Afternoon down on the Geelong waterfront.  Snapper caught by Bev & Norm for tea.
WALLINGTON 4
TUESDAY 25 FEBRUARY  – Train from Geelong South into Melbourne $14 (£5.60) return.  From Spencer Street station we take Mum & John to Rialto Towers for the view from the top floor.  Walk down to Flinders Street and hop on the free circular tram and do a full circuit.  Walk over the bridge to the Crown Casino then through it to get a really good impression of just why it is the biggest casino in the world.  At the far end by the fountain we meet up with our friends Bernie, Gerry & Anne.  Sit for awhile to take in the music and light show before strolling along the southbank to a food court for dinner. Bernie kindly offers to take Mum & John off in the car for a tour so the rest of us take the tram back to Bernie’s place in Kew.  Over 100km and 3 hours later Bernie returns having taken Mum & John to many places including Williamstown, St Kilda and Brighton.  They have had a great time.  Bernie suggest we all go to little Vietnam to the Thy Thy 1 restaurant in Victoria Street.  It’s very basic but the food is good and very cheap. 
WALLINGTON 5
WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY – I take Mum to the hairdressers then we return to eat lunch outside.  Afternoon tour to Port Lonsdale and Queenscliff ending in Geelong for some shopping.  Drop Billy off at Ultra Tune where Norm picks us up.  At Clifton Springs Golf Club we all meet up with Jo & Kevin for a meal.  Return to Bev & Norm’s to round the evening off with a game of boules.
WALLINGTON 6
THURSDAY 27 FEBRUARY – Spend a lazy morning wit Mum, Steve and John watching a film.  Lunch outside before returning to Geelong to pick up Billy and for Mum to get her last fix of shopping.  Take Mum & John to the airport for their 11.50pm flight to Hong Kong.  We’ve really enjoyed giving them a taster of Australia and know they have fallen in love with it.
WALLINGTON 7
FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY – After a long lie in we join Bev & Norm for a ride out to their 60 acre bush block.  Kev & Jo join us there and we crank up the BBQ for lunch followed by a game of boules.
WALLINGTON 8
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