Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Night on the Murray

I think most people that live in the southern mainland states of Australia eg. New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have a bit of a soft spot for the Murray River. At a total length of 2520 kms it is Australia's longest river. The Murray is also the third navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile. It is continuously navigable for 1986 kms and as it leaves South Australia it becomes the border between South Australia and Victoria. For half a century from 1853, the Murray was a virtual highway with paddle steamers carrying wool, wheat and other goods up and down the river. Yesterday we went for a drive to the location where this beautiful river meets the ocean in Goolwa, South Australia. Goolwa is a historic port on the Murray near the Murray Mouth. The name "Goolwa" means "elbow" in Ngarrindjeri, the local Aboriginal language, and the area was known as "The Elbow" to the early settlers.
The Mighty Murray finally meets the ocean
Jessica enjoyed the Murray too.
Barge Dart built in 1912 under the Hindmarsh Bridge
We are now staying in the small riverside township of Mannum. Mannum was born out of the business bought to this area by the Paddle steamers travelling along the Murray, but declined when the railways were constructed. Today, Mannum is a busy township and a popular tourist destination, particularly during the summer months. To get across the Murray in Mannum you have to jump on the free ferry, which is one of around nine ferries that cross the full length of the Murray. As in other Murray towns there are still some paddle steamers giving tourists a feel of the past.

The only way to cross the Murray in Mannum
As we sat beside the river we were lucky enough to have the beautiful "Murray Princess" paddle up the river on one of it's 3, 4 or 7 night cruises. What a beautifully romantic site it was.
The magnificent Murray Princess

A perfect farewell to the day from the Murray

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Victor Harbour

We are currently staying in Victor Harbour for a few days. We are camped in the driveway of Shane's Auntie Jean and her hubby John. It's a bit weird being set up in a driveway! Victor Harbour is a said to be one of South Australia's premium seaside cities. The cities economy is based on agriculture and fisheries, but tourism is possibly the main economy. With an out of holiday season population of around 14,500 it is a very pretty city with lots of beautiful bays.

Very pretty Victor Harbour
Today we went for a drive to the historic town of Strathalbyn for lunch with Jean and John. With a population of only around 4,000 Strathalbyn still has four pubs, The Victoria, The Robin Hood, The Terminus and The Commercial. Its funny no matter how small a town is they always have a pub (or two).
The Robin Hood Hotel - one of the four pubs in town

I won't ever get sick of taking photos of the old buildings.
The town is also host to an annual collectors, hobbies and antique fair held on the third weekend of August every year, hence the numerous antique stores in town. As with most of South Australian towns you also have a collection of beautifully restored historic buildings.

This porcelain Laurel and Hardy set grabbed my attention.
But at $75 I left them alone.

Shane was happy when he found the local Lolly Shop!

Happy Birthday to Me

Tuesday of this week, 25 March, 2014 was my 61st birthday. Wow how did I get to be 61 already, it seems like only yesterday that I turned 50! I am not stressed about my age being 61, it's a lot better that the alternative. This time of my life is just wonderful, I am content with the life I am living, happy with the person I have grown into and cherish all my family, friends and acquaintances as they all make my life the joy that it is. I received some of the best birthday messages and phone calls I could ever wish for. Thank you for all the love that was sent my way. xxx
Early Tuesday morning we caught the bus into Adelaide for a special night in the city for my birthday. We stayed at the 5 star hotel Stamford Plaza.
Quite different to our bed in Myrtle
It's very nice and very central. After doing a bit of wandering and shopping it was nice to have a bit of an afternoon snooze. After a long hot shower we walked across the road to the Adelaide Casino, to see what restaurants were there for dinner. There was nothing there that really grabbed us so we jumped into a taxi to North Adelaide for a very nice Mexican meal. By the way Mexican is my favourite. My meal was started of with a very yummy Midori Splice - Mmmmm.

Ohhhh Yummm!!
Breakfast was quite a bit healthier but equally as yummy. We then caught the bus back to Victor Harbour to continue our adventure with Myrtle.
My breakfasts aren't always this healthy!!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Day in Adelaide

Adelaide is the capitol of South Australia and the fifth largest city in Australia. With a population of around 1.3 million people it is often referred to as the "City of Churches". I read somewhere that it's not that the city has a lot of churches, but it's the serenity of the city that it gets that name. But from what I saw there are quite a few lovely old churches in the CBD. The beauty of the CBD is also highlighted by being totally encircled by parkland. First off today we caught a bus into the CBD and checked out a few areas, one being the Rundle Mall. There was a few pieces of interesting art in the mall.
Some of Rundle Mall Art
Someones hungry!
I really like this piece
Then we jumped on a tram out to Adelaide Central Market. I love markets and whenever I go to a new city, town or whatever, if there is a market there I try to visit. I just love the foods, the colour and buzz of them. Central Market has the title of being the largest undercover market in the Southern Hemisphere.


.... Fruit....

..... and great entertainment.

 Then it was back onto the tram and out to Adelaide's main beach suburb Glenelg. It's a great area with lots of really tempting restaurants. Today it was Mama Carmela's that tempted us. It has been so long since I have had a great pizza, I was hoping that this restaurant would amend that issue. And yes it did, the pizza was very nice indeed. I think it might be something small for dinner tonight!

Glenelg Pier

Glenelg Old Town Hall

Friday, March 21, 2014

Adelaide Shores

Here we are in one of Adelaide's beach suburbs, West Beach. The caravan park we are staying at is called is Adelaide Shores and is very nice, but the best thing we have a grassed site. It is so long since we have walked on some beautiful green grass. Last night we were treated to yet another beautiful sunset. Sorry if anyone is getting sick of seeing my sunsets, but I just can't help myself.
West Beach Sunset
 Today we had a few errands to run, but I came across a shop I just had to visit. Travelling takes it's toll on your feet. So today mine got a treat.

Ready for a bit of pampering

That's better - Mmmm can you tell I wear thongs all the time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Clare, South Australia

We are now in a village called Clare. Most people who have been reading my blog for a while may know that my first grandchild's name is Clare. It's really weird seeing our little girls name on everything. The township of Clare is situated in the Clare Valley which is one of Australia's oldest wine going regions, best known for Riesling wines.  As with a lot of South Australian townships there are a lot of beautifully restored old buildings.

Clare Hotel
Clare historic buildings
Today we went for a drive through the Clare Valley, spoiling ourselves with beautiful scenery and interesting history. We stopped off at a tiny village called Mintaro to visit the historic house "Martindale Hall". Unfortunately photography was prohibited inside the house, so you'll just have to believe me it was pretty amazing. Martindale Hall was constructed in 1879-80 at a cost of 30,000 pounds. The owner Edmund Bowman Jnr. built this beautiful house to entice his fiancee to come out to Australia and marry him. There are several stories but she didn't end up marrying him and he married a local girl.

Martindale Hall

Bunyeroo Gorge, Aroona Valley and Brachina Gorge

Today we set off on our days expedition of driving through the Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges. According to the signs this area displays the 630 million year old geology of the Flinders Ranges. I don't know about how old it is but the scenery was spectacular. Our first native wildlife visit nearly got ran over as it bolted in front of the car. This was just the first of many emu we saw. 
The first of many Emu's we encountered

Looking across "Blacks Gap"
After driving through the Bunyeroo Gorge with its views and ancient trees we stopped to eat our picnic lunch we had bought along. The silence up in the middle of nowhere was wonderful. Once lunch was finished with we headed off into the Brachina Gorge.
Just spectacular
and again!
At one stop we were greeted by a small herd of Billy Goats. They were really quite large so I was ready to bolt back to the car if they decided they didn't like me there.
They didn't seem to worry that we were there....

....they had their drink and off they went.
As yesterday we had a fair few dry river crossings but this time most of our gorge drive was in the actual river bed. Very weird driving along a dry river bed.

The river bed was a bit bumpy but pretty good.
Seeing this was our last night at Rawnsley Park Station we decided to go to the Woolshed Restaurant for dinner. The meal was pretty good but the sunset and the full moon were spectacular.
Thank You Mother Nature

I had no words then and I still don't

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Parachilna Gorge

Today we took ourselves on a bit of a driving expedition. As we drove along, looking up to our right we could see a rock formation called "The Great Wall of China"

The Great Wall of China
We headed north to a tiny little village called Blinman where I bought myself a nice size piece of Rose Quartz, cheaper than I would have bought it in Melbourne.
My new Rose Quartz Crystal
Then we headed off down the Parachilna Gorge Road. We had been told it was a pretty rugged road with lots of rocks, but as it turned out I think the grader had not long previously graded to track. A lot of our journey was crossing over the dry river beds. The scenery was nothing short of spectacular. Before we knew it we had arrived at our lunch destination – the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna. This pub is well known for its Aussie Menu that includes burgers and other meals consisting of Kangaroo, Camel and Emu. I’m not very adventurous when it come to my meals but Shane got an Emu Burger. I did have a taste of the meat patty and it really only tasted like a spicy meat patty, but it was a really dark meat.

The Prairie Hotel soon lets you know what to expect to eat there.
Kangaroo, Camel and Emu!

Yet another beautiful old country pub.

Shane had an Emu Burger, the meat was dark and had been spiced up.
It was OK but I'm not very adventurous when it comes to my food so I had a good old
Chicken Caesar Salad!
After lunch we headed back to Blinman, but this time along the Glass Gorge. This gorge wasn’t as pretty as the Parachilna Gorge but still interesting. It was a bit more rugged but once again we were lucky enough to have had it graded. It is quite strange driving over so many wide dry river beds.

I don't we would be driving across this river if it actually had water in it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Quorn to Rawnsley Park Station – Flinders Ranges

Rawnsley Park Station has been recommended to us by lots of people, so we just had to stay here.
Rawnsley Park Station is a working sheep property although these days only running about 2000 sheep as it’s main focus is tourism. The Park is situated at the base of one of the walls of the amazing Wilpena Pound.  For some reason I have never been over enthusiastic about visiting Flinders Ranges, but I am now really glad we did visit as the scenery is spectacular.
We took our first day here pretty easy, driving around checking out some of the lookouts.  The views from Stokes Hill Lookout were amazing and to top it off as we drove back down the hill we were greeted by a local kangaroo family. I just love our Kangaroos; they are such a beautiful and interesting animal. Some weren’t to sure about us, but then some decided to check me out as I checked them out.
Flinders Rangers on the horizon

Some True Aussies

Too Cute
Next stop was Appealinna Ruins. The story behind these ruins was very interesting. Built in 1851 and occupied until the 1870's, the Appealinna Ruins is a testament to the early pastoralists hopes and aspirations. The Wills family didn't have it easy though, there was constant conflict between Joseph Wills and the towns miners. Eventually Joseph was killed and it was rumoured that one of the miners had committed it, but no-one was charged. It was also rumoured that Joseph could have been a bit dishonest when it came to which property was his.

Appealinna Ruins

Our last destination for the day was Sacred Canyon. As we walked down the dry river bed the old Red River Gums looked like the old men of the river greeting us. Nearing the Aboriginal Carvings the riverbed got very rocky so off I ventured climbing my way forward. As I was climbing over the rocks it made me think of how I would have been prior to leaving on our Aussie Adventure back in May 2013. I don’t think I would have even tried to climb, I would have thought of some reason why I just couldn’t do it. I am pretty proud of how I have grown over the past 10 ½ months. There wasn’t a huge amount of rock carvings but still very interesting.
The trees almost talked to us
Aboriginal Carvings
The circle carvings represent Rock hole or Spring
and the three prong carving represents Emu.
Not really a nice leisurely walk