We decided on a leisurely day, taking in a few of the sites Mildura has to offer before going back to the camp for nibblies & Brendan to have a play & run around.
We walked to the local bakery which is located behind the park, we had a nice breakfast consisting on either sausage rolls or cheese & onion roll, coffee & milk. As we walked back we stopped at super cheap for a few things – including a new CB/UHF aerial. We also stoped in at a large variety place called Cheap as Chips, this is similar to our reject shop but was a lot bigger.
We firstly drove out to a place called Woodsies Gem Shop, this is one of Australia’s largest gemstone cutting & Jewelry manufacturing complexes.We saw a display of the casting process of jewellery manufacture (The Lost Wax Process) and then the cutting, grinding and polishing of the gems, The Aladdin’s cave look of the shop gave a spectacular display of the crystals, fossils & carvings from around the world. Out the back is the Garden Crazy Maze which is one of the largest mazes in Australia covering an acre of ground, Brendan decided he wanted to try, he took around 45 minutes, he was told that this was a good time by one of the owners, Chris Woods. We purchased a few agate caves, (a bluish/ greenish & pinkish coloured) for Brendan to put with his collection.
We then drove out to Trentham Wine Estate for a wine tasting & lunch, as it was recommended by the staff at the caravan park. It was an absolutely beautiful spot, tranquil & picturesque. Situated right on the Murray river, with its towering river gums scattered along the winding banks. We tasted a few different styles the winery had to offer then sat outside alfresco on the balcony overlooking the stunning river view for our lunch. David liked the “Petit Verdot Tannat” and I liked “Noble Taminga”, so we bought a couple each. Then with lunch David had a glass of “La Famiglia Nebbiolo”, which David also liked, so he got a couple of them too! We had spectacular weather, sunny & nice n warm.
Later we drove along the river road, on the Victorian side of the Murray, which followed the banks of the river along the out skirts of town. We came to the port of Mildura Wharf, where the house boats & Paddle Steamers are moored. We saw a family of Black Swans slowly making their way down the river. We then drove to the lock and weir- which is Lock number 11, we were in luck the Paddle Steamer Rothbury was coming in, we saw the water fill the lock so it could then continue its way up the river. Then a small tinny came the other way so we saw the lock go down for him to proceed down the river, the process was much easier to understand in action rather than theory at yesterdays lock which was flooded.
Brendan braved the ice cold waters of the pool for a while,
David studied the maps & looked up on the internet, while we had breakfast, to check for road closures in the area. There were plenty in the area! Once we had decided where we were going to go today – we are very organised! we packed up and left Broken Hill at around 10am, it was already starting to get warm.
We travelled out towards the historical river port of Wentworth, sighting many Emus on the way but still no Kangaroos. We stopped at the Tourist information centre & got a few brochures & some local insight.
We checked out where the Murray & Darling rivers meet, you could see that the Darling was in flood as it was all murky, where the Murray was quite clean in comparison.There was a elevated platform which you could walk up to get a better view. And with the old gum trees offering many shaded picnic areas, quite a few people were there. We also saw a few small colourful parrots which looked similar to buggies.
We visited the Lock & Weir which is number 10 along the river system. David was explaining to Brendan about the different levels in the water & how the boats go into the lock area & the water drops so they can then continue on, unfortunately the river was in flood and the water level was all the same. Brendan was certainly getting an education – whether he remembers all this will be another thing !
We crossed over the Murray river once again, then stopped at Fotherby park – recommended by the TI centre, the toilets were locked & there was only 1 table available to picnic at and this was taken, you could see the old paddle steamer, but it was behind a mesh fence. This was definitely not a great area to have lunch, there may have been plenty of room to run around in but not for lunching! and we weren’t going to go back across to the other river area.
We arrived in Victoria once again this time at Mildura. We found the Big 4 camp ground at a reasonable hour for a change. We set up our home for the next 2 nights. Our site was looking over the pool area and were on a beautiful grassy spot, we had a lot of dirt/ dusty not so green grass areas previously…Once we were done with our chores we put our feet up & with a champagne & beer, as well as some cabanossi & cheese to relax, we watched while Brendan froze his little butt off in the pool – it was a hot day, but the water was cold.
We cooked our dinner in the camp kitchen, and cleaned up. After we ventured over to the local Woollies ( 5 min walk) and bought some ice cream for dessert.
An early night so we can have a good look around in the morning.
An early (well, not really early) morning trip to the tourist info centre for some maps & brochures on the area, is going to be a nice day , around 29 degrees.
We left for Day Dream Mine tour located 33km from Broken Hill out towards the township of Silverton. The road was unsealed & gated so we can finally say we actually went off road this trip. We reached the mine area, which had old relics of machinery on display and were advised that they were just about ready to start a tour – lucky timing for us. So we all put our trusty hiking boots on ( sturdy footwear essential) & signed in – for OHS. We were taken on a quick tour around the surface area by our guide Boss Kevin who called every man boss & every female cookie, kids were small bosses or small cookies, we viewed different plant life found in the are such as Deadly Nightshade & poppy, and some fenced off mine shaft entrance’s. We were also shown a ruin section of the living quarters- most men usually slept sitting up due to lung issues. There was also a section for the single men as well, tiny entrances along the front facade of the building which made it look like a shanty town – luckily most were Cornish and short enough to fit. We then donned our belts, batteries & lights & set off down the mine for a hard days labour seeing the harsh working conditions the miners worked in . The entrance was quite steep and small, once down you had to bend slightly over so not to hit your head and hang on to the hand rail while carefully navigating your steps down the narrow, sparsely lit corridor.. Once fully down in the mine we past various mined corridors and shafts .The original miners would have had to use a pick while lying on their backs, very slowly making the area a little larger- boys as young as 10 worked in the mine, they worked 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. We saw some of the old equipment used and had a blackout when the lights were turned off for a moment before a candle was lit showing the light conditions that was originally used . We saw a section of unprocessed silver still in the wall of rocks, before heading back to the surface thru the small tunnels constantly bumping your head – thank goodness for hard hats. We had to stop for 4 minutes a few meters from the surface to acclimatize, like when diving. Once back up top we were shown where we had walked, which was only about 10% of the mine. It was quite warm, about 30 odd. We signed out & stayed on for lunch – scones & jam.
Next stop Silverton where shows such as Mad Max 2, A Town like Alice , Pricilla Queen of the desert & Mission Impossible 2 were filmed. We drove thru the centre of town before heading out to the Mundi Mundi look out which was only 5km out of town. You could see to the horizon, everything was so flat, it was very picturesque.
A stop at the Silverton Hotel where Mad Max 2 was filmed, taking a few shots of the vehicles used in the film. Brendan liked the horse tether area for some reason.
Then onto the Mad Max 2 museum where there were walls of pictures of the cast, costumes, props etc, as well as a narrated film talking about all the things that happened while shooting – ie both of the top stunt men were injured and couldn’t finish the film
On the way out of town we saw donkeys and camels roaming the pastures nearby.
A stop for a guided camel ride was a must, this was a first for Brendan and he seemed to enjoy it- the flies were really bad, though we had around 30 on each leg alone !
Once we arrived back into Broken Hill we drove out to the Royal Flying Doctors centre – I navigated the streets well ! We were just in time and caught the last tour for the day. We saw a short film, and were given a talk on the area that is covered as well as being shown the day by day procedure’s that take place before viewing a few of the planes in the hanger. We walked thru the museum section reading about past incidents & seeing some of the old equipment which was used.
We couldn’t go to the School of the air as it was closed for school holidays.
A stop at the local woollies to top up a few essentials and back to the caravan park to freshen up
We went to tea at the Democratic Workers Social Club.
We started out for a day in the Barossa valley with uncle john acting as tour guide.
we made our way out of the Adelaide hills first stopping at the world famous Jacobs Creek Winery, this is Australia’s biggest selling winery, the cellar door is very modern, and had bus loads of visitors coming thru, after a few tastings we left, not purchasing anything
Grant Burge Winery
We stopped at Peter Lehmann Winery, tasting more wines and stopping for lunch, with a platter of various meats cheese olives nuts assorted dips and breads. The veranda we sat on had a great view of the beautiful garden area.
Wolf Blass was a stop David wanted to see as he usually drinks the Merlot they produce. The winery and cellar door was very up market and modern we didn’t purchase any bottles of wine.
Last stop of the day was Penfolds, unfortunately David & Uncle John didn’t like any of the wines here. I did though so I bought a bottle of Voigner.
I had to drive thru Adelaide in peak traffic to pick up aunty gay from work, I did well !
Andrew returned a happy but tired Brendan to us but couldn’t stay.
We had another nice tea followed once again by a huge bowl of fresh local Strawberry’s & ice cream, then showed aunty gay our snapshots of the days events.
We left for the McLaren Vale Winery area and arrived at Kangarilla Road Winery for the first winery tasting of the day, they produce both expected wines (Chardonnay, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon) and unexpected wines (Sangiovese, Primitivo and Zinfandel).
The winery was pretty, with lots of Vines around the estate, some of them very old. We tested a variety of wines, David & Uncle John bought a bottle of Sangiovese …..
next stop was at Coriole Vineyards, this was really beautiful, with old buildings & flowering gardens, there was also a restaurant.
Coriole was established in 1967 by the Lloyd family and to this day remains family owned and operated.
It has a reputation for being a premium and innovative McLaren Vale producer. Chenin Blanc, Shiraz and Italian varieties (including Sangiovese & Fiano) are the specialties.
Coriole also produces a range of food products including olive oil, table olives, verjuice and vinegar.
We tasted plenty more wines I had a Racked Semillon.which was quite nice. We purchased a few more bottles.
We finished at Fox Creek winery tasting more wines, but we didn’t buy any. The grounds were well looked after & had a few garden ornaments .
A short drive with me at the wheel and we were at Victor Harbour, we had a nice lunch and then walked over to Granite Island, as the horse carriage wasn’t operational
We stopped at Andrews & Linda’s home before all going to a local club in Murray Bridge for tea. When we left, I followed, what I thought was Andrews car but it wasn’t, so I ended up taking the wrong exit, and crossed the Murray twice more – is now a joke. We left Brendan at Andrews for the night so he could spend the day playing with Hayden while we toured the Barossa – he was very happy with this scenario. I managed to get us back to Uncle John & Aunty Gays in one piece!
After a leisurely breakfast, we decided to go into Adelaide for the day
we visited Haigh’s chocolate factory – and did a tasting. lovely chocolate, of course we had to buy some!
We drove around the city seeing the old buildings such as the art gallery, museum. Then drove thru the Botanic Gardens which had some large lovely trees and was nice and green
we saw the Torrens river where a variety of people jogged / picnicked around the edge
A visit to the zoo was next, it was a good size not too big or small, we saw Hippo’s, Lion, Tigers, sun Bear, Koala’s, siames, gibbons,tapirs etc
and of course, the main reason for the visit..the Giant Panda’s. Wang Wang was in an enclosed glass area before he moved to the outside exhibit, where he roamed around and sat down in front of us, breaking off and peeling pieces of Bamboo, he then also set about playing with a few of his toys.
a further walk to the nocturnal house, bird Avery. before having a quick bite to eat. As the zoo announced that closing was in 1/2 hour before closing we walked back to have another look at the beautiful Panda’s, Both Fungi & Wang Wang were in the glass enclosures eating, so we got to see them again before leaving, a few dollars spent in the Panda shop where we bought a cute stuffed Panda, posters & a magnet for Brendan.
We drove to St Peters Cathedral & saw the Adelaide Oval – was being re vamped
We stopped off at Mt Lofty look out and arrived just on sunset, it started to get a bit chilly but we managed to get some beautiful pictures
After tea we viewed the photos we had taken for the day, Aunty Gay was astounded that the Pandas were moving around, when she saw them they were asleep all day
Bye Bye Mount Gambier,
we drove thru the Coonawarra wine area, we were too early to do any tasting though, and made our way further north to Naracoorte.
Naracoorte is a world heritage fossil mammal site . It is recognised as one of the worlds most important fossil sites. We booked a guided tour of the Victoria Fossil Cave, this cave is world renowned for the fossil deposits, which we saw- they are still actively digging up fossils here.. There was 2 intact skeletons on display in the cave which had been found, one was Leo a marsupial lion & the other a leaf eating Kangaroo . Brendan enjoyed this tour. The centre also has an area that recreates the ancient world of Australia’s mega-fauna with life size robotics in a simulated forest & swamp land – this was well presented.
We ended up stopping at Keith for lunch – eating at a local bakery, where Brendan discovered that he likes iced chocolates.
arrived at Hanhdorf in the Adelaide Hills at Aunty Gay’s & Uncle Johns, we got a bit lost on their actual street but eventually arrived safe and sound. We caught up and settled into our rooms
Andrew ,Linda & the kids came over later in the evening for tea and another catch up which was good.
We said goodbye to Warrnambool and Victoria headed to Mount Gambier in South Australia.
We drove the inland route, and stayed on the Princes Highway
We arrived at Mount Gambier fairly early &, booked into the big4 caravan site – booked a cabin this time. We emptied out all the stuff in the car and went to the info centre – the Lady Nelson which has a full size replica of the HMAS vessel for some info.
We went to Umpherston Sinkhole also known as the sunken garden featuring a beautiful terraced garden full of beautiful flowers and shrubs.This was once a cave, the sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber fell to the floor, The gardens were originally beautified in 1886
The cave garden another sinkhole in the middle of town, this wasn’t really pretty but was interesting.
Engelbrecht cave – we did an underground tour here,this is a huge complex of limestone caves underneath the streets of the city. We were shown an area where divers go cave diving, the water looked as though it was only of a few centimetres deep but was actually meters, the reflection in the water were very deceptive, we were also shown another cave diving entry this one was classed as a grade 3 dive as it was in a small hole entrance and very dangerous, the guide on our tour was very knowledgeable.
We drove around the rim of magical Blue Lake, a limestone crater with iridescent blue water , we stopped at various lookouts , for a different view . The water is also the towns only water supply.
We viewed the Leg of Mutton Lake Crater- this was dried out and overgrown with grasses, so we couldn’t really see much.
Last was The Valley Lake Crater & Brown’s Lake in Valley Lake, this was a large lake where we saw people wakeboarding and picnicking, green grassy areas well maintained.
We grabbed a pizza for tea and had a relatively early night.
It was overcast but thankfully not raining when we got up. We farewelled Apollo Bay and started out for a day travelling along the Great Ocean Road.
We stopped at..
The Twelve Apostles – formidable giant rock stacks that rise majestically from the ocean
Gibson’s Steps – you walk the 86 steps down to the beach below to be dwarfed by the 70 metre high vertical cliff line, the walk along the beach to see the offshore rock stack – Gog & MaGog
The Grotto – you follow the steps leading down to a geological formation created when sinkholes in the limestone cliff met with a receding cliff line. the waters are still compared to the harshness of the ocean on meters behind it
London Bridge – this was originally a natural archway & tunnel in an off shore rock formation, however it collapsed in 1990 and became a bridge with out a middle
The Arch – an natural rock formation – an arch, formed thru erosion
Bay of Martyrs – a viewing area of the Bay of islands
Bay of islands – rock stacks that tower up from the ocean
By this stage Brendan had had enough of walking and stayed in the car while David & I finished the last walk. We stopped for lunch at Port Campbell where we picked up some brochures of the local area. We noticed that there was a sound & laser show about a local 19th century sailing ship shipwreck at Warrnambool in 1878 the ship is destroyed and 52 lives are lost. 2 people actually survive,this sounded interesting so we decided that we would make our way further around the coast and stop at Warrnambool for the night..
Warrnambool was quite a pretty town, lots of grassy areas. Near our caravan park was a large park area where people were exercising/ playing with their kids & walking their dogs.
We booked into a cabin at the local big 4 camp ground for the night and while David & I relaxed Brendan went for a swim in the heated pool.
We went to Taco Bills for tea, Brendan had a Niño Raspberry Margarita & I tried a fruit tingle margarita. We waited 1/2 hour before our entre came and we were now pushing for time, we had to be at Flagstaff hill maritime village at 8.10. At 8.00 we cancelled our main meal as we wouldn’t have had time to eat, we weren’t impressed with the service at all.
At the village, when our group was called we made our way to a theatre to watch a short introduction movie about the people who were on the ship, “Loch Ard”. Once this was finished our guide took us outside where we collected our lanterns & walked thru the old fishing village .We came to the wharf theatre,and watched as the wall slides away to reveal the villages quite port, chimneys belch smoke, lamps glow in windows and the inn is packed with merry drinkers, before long, a storm is brewing, rain sweeps the scene. Thunder & lightning rage and the air fills with the smell of the sea. Suddenly you were on board the ship, your seat moving in time with the action as the pounding ocean claims the stricken vessel & its passengers and crew, commentary & lasers were shown to finish the story, the “Loch Ard” struck at reef off Warrnambool, only 1 day out of getting into Melbourne, after a 13 week journey from England