Monday, 11 May 2015

The drive to Adelaide

Griffiths Island Lighthouse

From our saving fuel stop in Allansford we drove on to Warrnambool, the last official town on the Great Ocean Road.
Warrnambool was pretty but not much so after a visit to the information centre, as usual, we went to the store for some food basics we drove on to Killarney where we found a cheap beach caravan park with hot showers and free laundry which was quite welcome.

The next day we stopped at Port Fairy where we found this little lighthouse after a walk through the dunes.
It had cleared up to become a beautiful day so we walked around the island a bit enjoying the views and the little beaches.

After our stop at Port Fairy we took an alternative route to Adelaide which was much closer to the ocean and was surrounded by national and coastal parks which was pretty awesome to drive through with Emu's casually walking across the road and a koala casually laying on a tree branch up high enjoying his sleep in the warm sun.
We stopped at a magnificent viewing point somewhere along the Winnap-Nelson Rd where we had a view of the endless looking forest sea we had been driving through for some hours already.

After another hours drive through those endless seas of trees we felt a bit adventurous and decided to follow the signs toward the Princess Margaret Rose Caves. 
So after a long drive through some more forests, deserted roads and some dirt roads we arrived at the caves. 
We didn't go into the actual caves because it was paying, of course and because the next tour wasn't due for another hour or two. We did do a small walking trail which took us through the woods toward a very nice view of the Glenelg River.

By late afternoon we ended up at the rural township of Dartmoor where we set up camp at he Fort O'Hare free campground. 

Back on the Princess Highway we followed it, driving into state n°6 for me, South Australia with the ridiculous time difference of 30min behind of VIC, NSW, TAS, ACT & QLD in the daylight saving times. Anyway passing tiny, small and bigger towns like Mount Gambier and Millicent we ended up in Kingston SE for the night. 
Kingston SE's big thing is that it has a 17 meters tall lobster sculpture dominating the northern entrance. Somehow we managed to pass 'Larry the lobster' without noticing the poor thing as we drove out of town the following day after a good sleep at the free jetty parking area.

Larry is incidentally also known as one of the most impressive of Australia's Big Things. Now, I should probably inform you about Australia's Big Things now. 

You see Australians have something with BIG things, apparently. It all started in 1963 with the Big Scotsman in Medindie, Adelaide, by now each state has quite some of the things which could be (and are, for that matter) anything. From a Giant Mushroom in the ACT to Worlds Tallest Bin in WA. The current amount of Big Things is estimated to be over 150 according to Wikipedia. As far as I know I have seen about 3 I think, The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour (NSW), The Big Lobster in Kingston SE (SA), The Big Winch in Coober Pedy (SA), Public Purse & the Giant Pocket Watch in Melbourne CBD (Vic) and The Big Hard Rock Guitar in Surfers Paradise (Qld) so that adds up to 6 big things I did see on my travels and about a dozen I should've seen but somehow managed to miss. 

Moving on the next day we drove up to Narrung. Why, you could be asking yourself well, because someone in Kingston SE had recommended the free camp spot next to the free ferry service that brings you across the narrows between Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and because it's a pretty spot to stay the night and it's just a 10 min drive from the smal Australian Aboriginal community Raukkan. This community was the home of James, and his son David Unaipon. James was the first Australian Abroginial Deacon and his son was a writer and inventor who ended up, along with the Raukkan Church on the Australian fifty-dollar note. 
Point Malcolm Lighthouse
Oh, also note worthy is this little lighthouse. This is the only inland lighthouse in Australia and probably in the Southern Hemisphere! the 7 meter high lighthouse was built in 1878 on the eastern side of the narrows between Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
We found a couch surfer in Adelaide to stay for a couple of days but it was Monday and we had said to be in Adelaide on Tuesday so we had a day to kill before getting to Adelaide. 
Luckily we got talking to some grey nomads in Narrung who told us about Victor Harbour and Port Elliot and how beautiful it was so we made a left turn on the Dukes Hwy in Tailem Bend toward the Fleurieu Peninsula instead of heading straight up to Adelaide.

-- Grey nomads are (often) retired Australians who travel around Australia in a caravan often for years at a time. --

Although the weather wasn't really on our side with heaps of wind and occasional rain it  was still a very pretty place indeed. Unfortunately we didn't see any of the shipwrecks, apparently in summer you could see some parts  popping out of the waters because the tide is lower but alas we were out of luck and saw nothing.

After spending the night in Victor Harbour we made our way up to Adelaide at last.

With being the capital city of South Australia and being the fifth-largest city in Oz you would expect something like Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane. If you go to Adelaide with these expectations however, you will be a bit disappointed.
Adelaide is a very nice city which is why it was ranked as the most liveable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia for 3 years in a row from 2011. 
Adelaide is a city with a plan, literally. The Light's vision plan arranged the city in 5 squares with the CBD in the middle and the Adelaide Parklands surrounding it 360°.

What I really love about the city is the free bike hire service.  Such a great way to see a city time and again.  We took the bus from our couch surfers place to the CBD and walked to the Adelaide Zoo where there was one of the many places to hire a bike. And so off we were with our bike and helmet.  We had great fun cruising  through the city and on the banks of the Torrens Lake River. We wanted to bike all the way to Port Adelaide but thought better of it when we found out it was quite a bit further away than we thought, just as everything in Oz ha! So we cruised around the city and through the botanical gardens in stead. We had a good full day in Adelaide and were happy to be able to sleep in a real (separate) bed for a change. 

Because Katrien had delayed her flight for another 2 weeks and changed it to fly out of Melbourne in stead of Perth (because we bypassed Melb's earlier this month) we had to make a decision as to where and what we wanted to go and see. 
Would we head north and drive into the outback or would we keep on driving west and cross the Nullarbor toward Perth.
Anyway we had put of this decision for a almost a week and had said to each other that we had to make a decision in Adelaide, but as we were talking about our vage plans with our host he told us that we, in theory, didn't have to decide yet as the actual north-west/ Perth-Darwin junction was in Port Augusta, another 308km north-west up the coast.

So, happy to put of the decision as to where and what to do we drove out of Adelaide toward Gladstone.
Which will be for the next post!

talk to you soon,
xoxo Lizzie 

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