Saturday, December 31, 2011

1 January 2011 - Haythorpe Reserve, Mannum, South Australia

The birds were the first to herald in the New Year for me, having slept through all the festivities of New Year’s Eve. Apparently the nearby campers and those on the houseboat moored on the river’s edge were revelling long and loud into the next year, and there was fireworks going off all around despite the absolute fire bans in place and the fact that the fire conditions in the State are currently reported as being extremely dangerous. It was therefore just as well I was dead to the world or I would have been stressed out to the max. Such a worry wart I am, if there is an excuse to be.

In these past eleven and a bit months our long planned dream has materialised on schedule.  Since leaving the Sunshine Coast where our friends and mentors, Neil and Pauline, put us on the right track, we have travelled just short of thirty thousand kilometres, from the Sunshine Coast inland through to Newcastle, down the central coast to Sydney, where we spent many weeks soaking in civilization and this wonderful city, then northwest through to the cotton country around Moree. One hundred kilometres north of there, Chris spent a month working on a cotton farm, building cotton modules, until the end of the harvest, and then we set off again, this time seeking warmer temperatures. We hit the coast at Brisbane and followed it northwards all the way to the tip of Cape York that more desolate and remote part being done without the caravan, roughing it in a small tent. From there we crossed to the Gulf of Carpentaria, came down to Mount Isa, then through to the Stuart Highway, turning south to Alice Springs, spent four weeks in Adelaide touring out from there, and then finally after Christmas headed back up to Gawler and east across to the Murray Riverlands.

We have camped in cities, beside billabongs, in the bush, beside dry creeks and beside highways. We have seen most of the wild life that roams free with the exception of echidnas and bilbies. (Those in zoos or similar places do not count in our tally.) We have woken with all kinds of wonderful birds announcing the day from the trees about and have not tired of it all yet, and cannot even imagine doing so.

Our family, three “children” and their partners are all managing successfully without our intervention. Our grandchildren are growing up; five now with another arriving in March. We try to keep in touch regularly and with today’s technology, there is little excuse not to. We did slip back to New Zealand in September to attend to business matters and to make sure the wee one’s were able to remember us, but in the meantime there is Skype.

And so it was this morning that we caught up with everyone, leaving messages where personal contact could not be made, before striking camp and venturing into Loxton, whose swamps and lagoons we had camped beside overnight. Loxton was clean and tidy and still deserted mid-morning except for the friendly staff in the local Foodland where we purchased fresh bread and the day’s newspaper.

We felt there was little point in lingering longer and headed west toward Swan’s Reach. The ninety five kilometre road crosses an expansive plain, most of it cropped for cereal and some grazed with sheep. But where there is not intensive application and irrigation, the land is the same arid salt bush land of northern South Australia.

Swan Reach was settled as late as 1899, when the station owner, one Paul Hasse, subdivided a portion of his land. The first half of last century was spent fighting flood, most of all the Great Flood of 1956, which washed most of the main street away and of course has been a historical highlight of every settlement we have passed through on this mighty Murray River.
And still the river flows

We then followed the river south, not tempted by the bags of oranges for sale on the roadside, stopping at a lookout high on the steep cliffs from where we could see both up and down river, to have our lunch. This rest area had been recommended to us by Ann and Bob, met in Toowoomba last year, as a good place to stay, and we would have thought so to had it been later in the day. But a roadside camp so early, with nowhere to wander, did not appeal.

Apart from the lovely views, there was a notice board giving a few important facts about the Murray River, which are worth reprinting here, even if some of them have been noted in my earlier postings:
  • The Murray River is the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and the Nile.
  • Its total length is 2,656 kilometres from its source in the Upper Murray and the Kosciusko National Park.
  • The Murray River is continuously navigable for 1986 kilometres from Goolwa to Yarrawonga.
  • It spans three states: Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
  • The river has 4 major dams, 16 storage weirs and 15 navigable locks.
  • Is the major domestic water supply for over 1.5 million households.
  • Along with its tributaries, the Murray is part of the third largest water catchment on earth.

After absorbing these facts once more, we moved on to a reserve at Purnong, listed in the Camps 5 Bible, right next to the ferry. It was indeed a charming spot, the grass green which is always a bonus, right beside the river with its busy recreational activities to keep the laziest busy, but twenty others had found it before us and didn’t look like moving in a hurry. So again we moved on.

Here we passed bags of onions for sale, good value at $4. We were momentarily tempted but the thought of ten kilos of pungent vegetables in the 40 degree heat of the caravan, day after day, was too much.  The road continued to follow the river, then cut east, through rolling hills of grain growing. Finally we came down toward the river again, to the ferry crossing for Mannum and found this reserve, again listed in our Camps 5 bible. It is busy with day trippers, some of whom have their car radios at 20 decibels, however they will be gone in a while if their alcohol intake allows. A few other campers will be left but it will, I think, be one of the quieter camps apart from the last minute travellers for the ferry.

31 December 2011 - Thiele’s Sandbar, Loxton, Central Riverland, South Australia

Here we are at the end of our first calendar year in Australia and we are once more set up on the side of the Murray River, a little before dinner and the thermometer still reading 40 degrees. I started this year remarking on the unladylike manner of perspiration. This will not be spoken about but remain in the imagination of the reader. Thank goodness we are organised enough to have many changes of clothes before requiring laundry facilities. One may well ask why we don’t swim in the river; hundreds of others are doing so. However, when we were at Murtho’s Forest Landing, my other half lovingly washed the caravan with water from the same river, albeit further upstream and the dirty water marks are enough to convince me that I will stick with my one litre shower in-house.

We left our camp this morning before the bus residents had stirred, even though we delayed with a round of Sudoku and all the household chores being attended to. Chris had already tried the hacksaw he had in his toolbox; but this had proved inadequate. We checked out the Fire Station at Renmark, hoping they might have a spare set of bolt cutters, but it was closed as was most of the town. We found a Mitre 10 and Chris purchased a hardier version of the disappointing tool, while I hunted out some excellent French bread and the day’s newspaper. After the padlock on the gas bottle was sawed through, we had it filled, topped up the water tanks and set off to our next destination.

We travelled back west along the Sturt Highway, turning south not too far out of Renmark, down to the ferry across the Murray at Lyrop. This little settlement was established by the South Australian government during the 1890’s when economic times turned badly, and still even today operates as an old fashioned community. It does, as an tourist bonus, have a nudist resort to compliment the holiday park in Barmera. Perhaps it is the climate that encourages such enterprises? And yet we were told today that the temperature gets right down to minus 7 degrees. Ohhhh! It doesn’t bear thinking about!!! But then this whole business of public nude exhibitionism is outside our realm of thought. In fact, I am so naive that I had to be informed today by my husband what a “sun-farm” was. I am however able to imagine middle age to older people being patrons of such establishments; not pretty!

Moving on…..

As we travelled south of Lyrop and west across to Loxton, the horticultural lands were lush and dense. I read in the newspaper subsequently that there is an absolute glut of oranges this year and that Riverland orchardists are leaving their crops to rot on the ground rather than go to the expense of harvesting. Had I read this earlier, I would have had no compunction at all in stopping and collecting some of the neglected fruit near the road.

River views
We called in at Lock 5, just upriver from Loxton and spent more than an hour watching boats being brought through, chatting with the locksman and then subsequently having our lunch at the very pleasant park there. The locksman works twelve days on, two off, acts as caretaker to the grounds and buildings in the environs when the boats are few and far between. I asked him if there was ever any bother with the lock users and he told us about inebriated houseboat “captains” turning sideways in the lock, tying up to the side when entering and then not loosening off the tow rope when the water level is lowered and a few other frustrating matters. He said the hardest part of his job was diplomacy rather than any physical effort required. He and his wife had spent months at a time doing as we are, and he was looking forward to retirement in four years so that he can pursue the dream fulltime. Obviously he has not been a diligent saver as we have been, or should I simply say, as tight as we are.

This camp site, again advertised in all our literature, is on the north side of Loxton, so we thought it wise to check it out before pressing on in to the centre of the town. The directions from the northern end of the town were poor and we ended up driving in circles for some time, until entering the co-ordinates into Tomtom. We came down over the riverbank, across rather unattractive scrubby swamplands and finally reached the river bank already packed with more punctual campers. In fact later examination discovered many hundreds of tents  and caravans along the shore, all having found the very best spots.
Our camp at Thiele's Sandbar

Needless to say, we found this spot which is acceptable, set up and have not dared moved since, despite having discovered a couple of more attractive spaces since; all too much of an effort. Our view of the river is partially obscured by stumps and broken cassuarinas, but still enough to observe the comings and goings of the skiers and thrill seekers. Just up river, very closeby, there is a houseboat moored with a fair contingent of holiday makers on board enjoying drinks on the rear deck. “Kiwi Oz” stands out in big lettering on the front. It is a hire vessel and we do wonder what kind of creature these tourists are. We will observe quietly and discreetly from afar.

30 December 2011 - Plush’s Bend, Central Riverlands, South Australia

Yet again we are camped beside the mighty Murray, this time between the river and the Nelwart Swamp. I read earlier that a disease carrying mosquito, peculiar to the Murray valley is on the rampage again. The symptoms and ultimate suffering does not make for pretty reading so we shall be vigilant and generous with our fly spray. In fact, last night the bugs arrived after dark, and although not as numerous as those we encountered crossing the Barclay Tablelands, enough to send us to bed early. We have pulled out the zapper and inverter in preparation for this evening.

The mighty River Murray
We left our camp beside the river soon after 9.30 this morning and found the steep road up to Headings Point as corrugated as when we came down yesterday. In fact more so, because I subsequently found items in the caravan that had come loose as never before, however no permanent damage was done. We paused at the top of the cliffs and climbed the steel lookout from where we enjoyed expansive views over the wandering river and the lands all around.

The largest of the eleven known black stumps is on display in Paringa, so we thought we had better check that out too. The character who found it in the river some thirty years ago, chain sawed the lower part of the trunk off leaving just the flange of roots and with great effort and drama, brought it along the river and up to his residence in Paringa. Now it stands on its side at the end of his house, with a panel explaining the story of its discovery and journey, along with an invitation for donations. The guy, aside from being a woodturner, otherwise earns his living from busking at Country and Western shows, so is not averse to trying it on if he thinks he just might earn a quid. We would not bother to recommend this as one of Renmark’s attractions as the brochure does, but then the world is made up of all kinds.

We found our way to the dump point which also operates as a water refill station. We do not usually use the same tap as that used to clean up the dump point, however it was obvious from the council notice that this was meant so. Out came a bucket, the 99.9% hospital strength germ-killer disinfectant, and a few moments of attention to the tap with the potent solution and we were prepared to compromise this hygiene rule of ours.

Once back into the centre of Renmark, we called into the Information Centre, which houses an excellent centre of information apart from being an agent of commercial attractions which most simply are. We spent time reading through the history of the town and region, and admired the restored paddle steamer moored on the shore outside. The “Industry” was a work boat on the river, originally built down at Goolwa, near the mouth of the Murray, and now serves as a static museum, taking tourists for a slow jaunt on the river about twenty times a year. We were intrigued to see that the trip scheduled for New Year’s Day had been cancelled due to the expected high temperatures. In fact, it is appropriate to mention that the temperatures here are quite high: 34 degrees last night after dinner, 36 expected today (and actually is here in the shade) and 39 degrees forecasted for tomorrow.

We walked about the town, actually surprised how modest it is. Renmark combined with Paringa, has a combined population just short of 10,000 and is not lauded for more than being Australia’s oldest irrigated settlement. It was founded in 1887 (quite late for this area) following a joint agreement between the South Australian government and the Chaffey brothers, engineers from Canada. (These guys were cousins to Chaffey of Golden Bay, New Zealand fame. Co-incidentally, when we were back in New Zealand for a month in September last, I read a book about this Chaffey who lived in the wopwops with his wife, near the asbestos mine in the Nelson Marble Mountains.)

Anyway, back here in Renmark, these Canadian Chaffeys were enormously successful, and the rich horticultural land that surrounds us here is testimony to that. Today, Olivewood Estate, the original home of the Chaffey’s is open to the public and the farm surrounding it is still producing positive outcomes.

Next we headed for the Recycle Depot, the place where one has gas cylinders refilled if you are averse to the Swap-a-bottle as we are. Alas, Chris could not open the cunning little padlock arrangement he has to deter gas bottle thieves and so after half an hour of trying to saw through the padlock and finding the Recycle people had mislaid their bolt cutters, we gave up and came down to this lovely camp, full of others doing just the same.

We wandered along to the end of the point, where the swamp seems to join the river and came upon a pleasant chap quietly contemplating the scene with his can of whatever, discreetly camouflaged in a foam wrap, as most here in Australia seem to do. Close by was moored a hired houseboat and on it his seven houseboat companions. He had just taken a breather from the “continual buzzing”, but seemed happy to engage with us in conversation.

A little later, after we had consumed some of the cask wine purchased in town, our neighbour in the large bus motorhome nearby came to the door and went through a long drawn out courteous palaver regarding his generator. We welcomed the fact that he had approached us rather than the normal situation of someone simply starting it up and being oblivious all night to the fact that anyone else existed. We asked if he had bolt cutters or a heavy duty hacksaw, explaining our need whereupon  he was most accommodating and agreed that he would be happy to oblige in the morning if the can of WD40 had not been enough to free the obstinate lock.

Dinner over, too much pre-New Year’s Eve wine consumed and too many mosquitos on the rampage, we retired early and were gently lulled to sleep by the equally gentle croaks of swamp frogs, indeed a different variety to other we have encountered on our travels thus far.

29 December 2011 - Murtho Forest Landing, Central Riverlands, South Australia

We have yet again found ourselves tucked away in a delightful bush camp, this time even closer to the shores of the Murray River which laps just ten metres from our doorstep. We remain happy in the knowledge that the forecast is for fine and sunny weather and will not consider that there may be inclement weather further upstream. I also continue to have faith in the series of locks and weirs, and horticulturists who pump cubic mega litres of water from the system, to control any possible floods.

I woke with mobility restored this morning, thankful for the chest of drugs we carry on board. We were soon on our way back toward Waikerie (pronounced Wake – iree) and drove into the river access there to watch the car ferry cross, and view the many large and lovely houseboats tied up to the shore waiting to be hired. There were also quite a few small fizz boats out on the water with skiers and sea-bisket riders in tow, and dozens of folk already set up along the shore having commandeered the picnic and barbeque spots. One thing about the Australians; they do get out early in the day to enjoy their leisure pursuits; none of this lying in late or spending the day tidying the yard!

Although we needed to shop for vegetables, we decided we would wait until we arrived in Berri. Last night we had seen advertisements on the television for shops there and it seemed to be more substantial than Waikerie.

East of Waikerie we passed through acres and acres of vineyards and some citrus orchards, the former apparently more lucrative. We pulled off the Sturt Highway in a couple of places from where we could see the river meandering this way and that, sometimes river-like and sometimes like great lagoons. We left the road just before Barmera and drove clockwise around Lake Bonney, said to be a mecca for all water sport enthusiasts, but surprisingly saw few.

From Barmera, we took the old Sturt Road to Berri which has a population about double that of Waikerie; it is poorly served by supermarkets. We chose from a poor selection of high priced vegetables and regretted not having called into the Woolworths back in in Waikarie. We did however find a lovely park area down at the river where we lunched on some lovely bread rolls from the maligned supermarket.

Around these two settlements we saw a great deal of citrus growing but there was also evidence of large vineyards. We discovered that Banrock Station wine is produced here; a great favourite of ours in years gone by.

It is strange to think of this land all about, arid and sterile, looking little more than a refuge for spindly bushes, can turn green and fertile, producing such a wealth of produce with just a little water regularly supplied from this winding dirty looking river.

We decided to find a camp for the night, spurred on with memories of how difficult it was to find a space much after two or three o’clock when we travelled up the east coast earlier this year. But here,  despite it being the Summer Christmas Break, the travelling population is decidedly smaller than those encountered, or in competition for camp, then.

Our first stop was at Lock 5 on the river neat Paringa, just upstream from Renmark, but another caravan had taken the one level and solid spot. Chris did a few circles to find a good spot, just as a dog will go round and round before it finds that optimum place for a nap. We gave up and checked the map for another place.

Our camp at Murtho Forest Landing
This camp just a few kilometres north of Paringa looked promising and was on the free list so we travelled up about seventeen kilometres of sealed secondary road before descending a couple of kilometres down an unsealed corrugated track to find this huge space with all sorts of possibilities. And just as well because Chris was not too amused by the state of the road (for towing the caravan).

After dinner we walked both up and down river from our camp and found about half a dozen other camping parties, a couple of them teaming with great extended family housed in collections of camper trailers, tents and swags. And two rather smart houseboats tied up to trees on the shore. Now as I close, and dark has fallen, the fizz boats and skiers have come off the river and all is quiet, but for a distant generator and a few kookaburras late to bed. It is indeed a lovely place.

28 December 2011 - Ramco Point, South Australia

We left our camp at Belair National Park yesterday morning, after having spent four whole weeks there, the longest we have stayed in any one place. Because we had been stationery for so long, apart from having moved across the park five days ago, we were a little rusty on procedures, highlighted when Chris realised that he had failed to fit the side mirror extensions on to the landcruiser. We noted with frustration that our immediate neighbours with the yapping cocker spaniels were also packing up; a pity they hadn’t been hounded out days ago. Surely they got the message that they were not welcome fellow campers when no one was more than barely civil to them. Next time they might think to leave the dogs in a kennel before venturing forth to camp with others. However this is all of no concern to us, unless we are unfortunate enough to encounter them further on our journey.

And so after fond farewells to Gary and Deb, the resident camp managers, we set off north, back through Gawler and eastward across the northern reaches of the Barossa Valley, pausing with dozens of other summer holiday travellers to lunch at Truro in a parking area that had little to offer other than its proximity to a bakery, clean toilets and space to pull off the very busy highway. Resuming our route, we soon descended to the Murray Riverlands, flat plains stretching forever ahead. I was surprised to find much of the landscape we travelled across before reaching the river at Blanchetown, was similar to the saltbush cattle stations on the Stuart Highway much further north west.

We crossed the Fruitfly Quarantine Border, comfortable in the knowledge that we had eaten our last pear and apple for lunch at Truro, and restrained from stocking up on further vegetables this morning when we shopped at Coles in north Adelaide. We wondered whether the many travellers all stocked up for their family holiday, stopped at the border, discarded all fruit and vegetables, and then restocked at Waikerie. The quarantine border control office was shut and so the question was fairly hypothetical.

We pulled into Blanchetown south west of the crossing and were duly unimpressed with this tired and unimpressive collection of shacks which apparently house those who appreciate fishing and water sports. However when we returned to the highway and crossed over the river, high above the first of the many locks across the Murray, we saw a small fleet of jaded house-boats moored on the riverbank, noted the wide lake like recreational area, with dead gums standing like sentinels in the water and the many water sport enthusiasts creating a mass of vibrant colour on the shore opposite the towering cliffs. Perhaps Blanchetown is not such a disappointment after all. We did not pause to investigate further, but carried on eastward toward the very Maori sounding named settlement of Waikerie. Here we popped into Woolworths and restocked our fruit supplies, now righteously carrying cleared cargo.

Waikerie was established as late as 1894 when the first settlers arrived by paddle-steamer. Experiments with irrigation techniques had proved successful (I shall refer to this again when we reach Renmark) and so these settlers established fruit and citrus orchards, and much more recently, the inevitable vineyards. It is interesting that Waikerie is considered the centre of citrus growing in Australia, which does surprise us.

Our camp at Ramco Point
Ramco Point is just about seven kilometres westwards, down river. The camp spot is listed in both the Camps 5 and the CMCA bibles, as well as having been recommended by Ann and Bob way back in Toowoomba early in the year. Now the boat ramp has signs prohibiting camping, but there are no such signs here further down the sandy peninsula running down the middle of the waterways; a lagoon on one side and the river on the other. We saw another party camping closeby; an accumulation of tents and therefore not as quickly moveable if we were all to be given our marching orders. And best of all, despite the hundreds of tall television aerials reminiscent of Port Pirie, we had good digital television reception and Chris is enjoying the last of Day Two of the India / Australia Cricket Test.
After dinner, as the sun was setting, we walked down river, keeping to the sandy spit lined with old dying or dead trees, and found more than half a dozen other fellow campers, all established close to the river bank, some with their small fizz boats tied to trees and some dangling rods into the slow flowing Murray. We returned to camp feeling a lot more secure about our decision to camp here.

This morning we decided to stay another day. I pinched a nerve in my back yesterday and the codeine I consumed yesterday made little difference. Chris hunted out his gout tablets so I made a start on those after breakfast. We thought there was little point in venturing into new territory if I was feeling more like wallowing in my misery rather than marvelling at the landscape.

We went for a walk back toward the boat ramp, paused to chat with the council workers who stopped to take our rubbish from us, and returned to the caravan even more satisfied that we were in an approved camp, albeit free and devoid of facilities.

The Murray – Darling River system is one of the world’s largest river systems, water flowing from Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria all down to here in South Australia. Its official source is in the Snowy Mountains, an area we have yet to visit, 2,530 kilometres from the Murray Mouth close to Goolwa, visited just last week. A series of locks and weirs were designed by an American engineer, Captain Johnson, and were subsequently built during the 1920s and 1930s, however by the time they were completed, most of the river trade had been replaced by rail and road transport so the plans to extend were abandoned. The river in its natural state would diminish to a chain of ponds through the dry if it were not for this system which allows the river to be navigable right up through the South Australian section.

And a little something for thought and titillation: we stopped to walk over the first of the many bridges across the Murray and discovered a small bronze plaque with the following:

Near this spot in January 1830, Captain Charles Sturt, Pioneer Explorer, had an exciting experience with  natives. Erected in January 1930.

26 December 2011 - Belair National Park Caravan Park, Adelaide, South Australia

We survived Christmas Day unscathed by food and alcohol excess or any other crisis that this time apparently provides for some. We caught up with all three children and their families via Skype and telephone, as well as Chris’s sister and extended family in England and my parents in New Zealand. So all in all a successful family get together albeit by distance.

The morning was spent walking in the Belair National Park, undertaking the Waterfall Hike, a three hour walk which we did within that time including the time to access the beginning and end. This city national park really is lovely and wild, in contrast to Sydney’s Lane Cove National Park, which is wild and has water, trees, birds and dragons but not a lot of appeal. The park here in Adelaide is extensive, has all that Lane Cove has, as well as a true sense of remoteness as one climbs to the top of the peak within the Mount Lofty Ranges, the networks of fire trails and the spectacular distant views over the city toward the coast. The trail we took heads upward for the first hour and then descends following the dry riverbed which has once upon a time carved great ravines out as it plunged over the rocky escarpments toward the sea. Yesterday those “waterholes” at the base of each waterfall were simply lush basins of blackberry and other greenery creating oasis for birds and other creatures in this otherwise wooded park. We looked out for the yellow tailed black cockatoos that apparently inhabit this space but were disappointed. Koalas were no doubt in residence, however when we were able to gaze up into the trees rather than watch very steep footfall, we saw none. But we did see emus in the park as we set off, not too far from the caravan park. As we emerged into the wider valley of the park and returned to our caravan, we felt entirely righteous about having done enough exercise, enough to justify the binge eating that was to come. Our breakfast and the lunch of Chris’s choice, scrambled eggs on toast, were both within the allowable calorie intake but our dinner of roast turkey and a mountain of roast vegetables of every kind imaginable, followed by Christmas pudding and custard for Chris, and a can of peaches, a cup of yoghurt and a ladle of muesli for me, were not. The scales this morning confirmed this, but then that may have had something to do with the fact that all the above was washed down with far too much wine, which is these days a rarity.

This morning was spent dealing with laundry and following the first day of the cricket test between Australia and India. This was all sacrificed after lunch for the more loftier pursuit of cinema; we drove to a boutique cinema close to the city to see the newly released “The Iron Lady” starring Meryl Streep, which we both enjoyed immensely and expect to be nominated for the Oscars and which we would thoroughly recommend.

We had intended to call into supermarket to stock up in readiness for our departure tomorrow. It seems however that Adelaide is closed for Boxing Day. Curiously this reflects the attitudes that were so prevalent in the 1970s when Chris was here.

Our return to the caravan park was early enough to catch the tail end of the first day of the Test; an indecisive game so far, but then, it is a five test, and anything can happen in the meantime.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

24 December 2011 - Belair National Park Caravan Park, Adelaide, South Australia

Here it is Christmas Eve and we have indulged in wine and chocolates, substances not part of our normal diet. The sun is just setting at the back of the camp and all is strangely quiet. Last night after dark, the possums decided to party and like the night before, thought it amusing to drop light objects on to our caravan roof. I have not seen possums since the east coast, so I was somewhat disappointed that this all took place after I was sound asleep. Tonight I intend to go out with the torch and spend time spot-lighting in the trees after dark. While my attitude toward possums in Australia has changed from that which it was in New Zealand, despite my softer outlook, I will not falter from my support of 1080 drops and the like in wild New Zealand.

And speaking of fluffy cuties, I failed to mention in yesterday’s instalment that we had observed a large koala in a gum opposite the Glenalta Railway Station yesterday while we were waiting for the scheduled train. He was totally oblivious to our presence and that of a many waggoned freight trains that past immediately under him, astride a sturdy forked tree, one leg trailing nonchalantly, incorrectly suggesting a rather strange tail. He was still there when we returned four to five hours later, but this time was engaged in busy eating. Busy is actually not a word one should use for these beasts; they seem to move at a pace not unlike that of a tuatara.

Today was engaged in seeing the rest of the Fleureau Peninsula. I say that as if it was such a chore; it was not. On the contrary it was a joy as has been every outing here in Adelaide, in fact, all in Australia. We were on the road by 9 am and soon found ourselves on the Southern Expressway. This is worth explaining further because it is a two lane express highway that bypasses all the tedious series of lights and intersections on the Main South Road, between about Sturt and Noarlunga, constructed to alleviate pressure on that road during peak hour traffic. Uniquely, this is open to travellers by schedule only as follows:

Citybound: Open 2.00 pm – 12.30 pm, closed 12.30 to 2.00 am
Southbound: Open 2.00 pm – 12.30 am, closed 12.30 to 2.00 p.m.

Weekends & Public Holidays:
Citybound: Open 2.00 am – 12.30 pm, closed 12.30 to 2.00 am
Southbound: Open 2.00 pm – 12.30 am, closed 12.30 am – 2.00 pm

Confused? We managed to figure out that today being Saturday, it was most likely open for us to travel south on. And so we did. A much better hassle free trip than that travelled when we drove to McLaren Vale the other day.

We pulled in to Old Noarunga, a delightful old village set on the Onkaparinga River, founded in 1841. Today it sits on the edge of the suburban spread of southern Adelaide, and yet has still retained a certain charm. We walked up and down the main street and discovered that celebrating Christmas in a visual manner was the order of the day (or week). There were two residences which were particularly smothered in kitsch decorations and lighting effects. The rest of the village were slightly more modest, bound up in glittery ribbons and more modest lights. We walked along the river and could see that once upon a time, this might have accommodated vessels larger than pleasure jet boats. We were glad we had bothered to stop.

Intending to stay with the west coast of the peninsular in the first instance, we first stopped at Port Willunga, where we stopped on the top of the cliff above the long sandy beach, an old port on the same river as old Noarunga. One does wonder why this was ever considered a good place for such, reinforced by the fact that this is also the site of South Australia’s worst maritime disaster, the Star of Greece,  an iron cargo ship wrecked in 1888 just metres offshore.

We followed the coast road down, passing lovely houses along the cliff top, on past Aldinga Beach to Silver Beach and then inland up into the lower Mount Lofty Ranges and across to Myponga, a small rural village beside a reservoir of the same name. We stopped in the main street, lured in by the market which advertised over 100 different stalls all under cover. Chris was accosted by the buxom woman in the door way frying sausages and onions, and felt obliged to satisfy her vending ways, and the second hand book stall just inside held our attention for some time, but we did manage to escape without adding to our already wordy book supply. There was nothing in the rest of the market wares that appealed; in fact, in our opinion, most of it was just a big pile of junk, but then that is all a matter of opinion, and one man’s trash is another’s treasure, so they say.

We drove south to Yankalilla, another rural village, well spread out, in fact, stretching fairly seamlessly along the three kilometres to Normanville. Yankavilla boasts a church with an attraction that apparently draws pilgrims and documentary makers from all over the world; an image of  the Madonna and Child that has appeared miraculously on the rear wall of the Anglican Church, alongside the alter. Today on close inspection, Chris explained this phenomenon quite simply as a process of efflorescence (the process of minerals in the plaster reacting with moisture). One would think that this could have been worked out by another since its miraculous appearance in 1994, but then there are financial advantages in being host to such a phenomenon. No doubt there are also lots of gullible people who gain great comfort and joy from believing it. Certainly the village recreational facilities are smart and modern; we took advantage of the clean park and amenities to enjoy our packed lunch.

 Normanville had a lovely beach, today well patronised by families and fishermen alike. From here many enjoy the inshore reefs which were the downfall of many sailors shipwrecked in the 19th century. The resort aspect of the place is certainly understated and therefore, for us, far more appealing than other seaside places we have visited.

We travelled on further south, a little inland, up into the hills which seemed to get steeper rather than more gentle as one might expect the end of a mountain range, blinked and nearly missed Delamere, just east of twenty two large wind mills standing above the cliffs, all but one turning in the breeze, generating electricity for all those Christmas lights and busy cash registers. Just eleven kilometres south west, we arrived at Cape Jervis, the gateway to the sea road to Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island, covering an area of 4,405 square kilometres, one hundred and fifty kilometres in length and between ninety seven metres and fifty seven kilometres wide. It lies just thirteen kilometres offshore and is a popular holiday destination as was evidenced today by all the tourists waiting for the ferry we saw approaching from afar.

We were not tempted to sail, nor had it been on the agenda. Instead, we back tracked to Delamere, and headed east across the top of a high ridge toward Victor Harbour, the land alternatively clear and farmed for dairy or dry livestock, and planted in pine and gum plantations. From on high the views back toward the Gulf St Vincent past the windmills and south toward the rugged coast were spectacular.

The road up into the wide and fertile Inman Valley is very pretty, and one of the loveliest vistas on the peninsula. We zigzagged up the peninsula, east and west, never touching roads we had passed through previously, until we came upon the road across from Willunga to Mount Compass which was familiar. We descended the steep road to charming Willunga, and made our way back to Belair National Park via the winding country roads through McLaren Flat, Clarendon and Coromandel Valley.

The temperature in the caravan on our return was still a warm 37 degrees and the evening has not cooled down much. I hope tomorrow afternoon is a little cooler.

23 December 2011 - Belair National Park Caravan Park, Adelaide, South Australia

We spent the following morning, Tuesday, cleaning the screens on the roof vents and windows with our nifty new little vacuum cleaner. It was quite a mission removing eleven months of dust and bug residue. Perhaps I should not confess that it was the first time. However there are some cleaning jobs that require specialist equipment, and I had been averse to us buying one more appliance to store. This new acquisition rides in the back of the cruiser with the outdoor cooker, the chairs, the table and a host of other bits and pieces that cannot live in the caravan. I do recall many decades ago when we used to pack all sorts of equipment into our little camper trailer when we travelled, however these days I like to have order in the caravan all the time, even when we are on the road.

The afternoon was spent sitting about a doctor’s surgery; Chris had relented and decided that a health check was a good idea after all. Unfortunately his details were lost in the computer system there and he was telephoned after sitting in the waiting room for an hour to remind him that he was late for his appointment. We were not amused, however everyone was most apologetic and after all, what else were we going to do on this sunny afternoon?

On our return to the camp, we managed to catch up with my parents, Kit and Olly so it was a very successful catch up day.

Wednesday morning dawned even better than the day before, in line with our expectations. Lunch was already cut and in the fridge and the salad for the evening’s entertainment prepared in advance.

We were on the road heading south soon after nine, joining the masses on the Main South Road. We detoured east to McLaren Vale, delighted to discover that the Vale was indeed a wide fertile valley, green and lush with grapevines, serviced by the modern rural centre of McLaren Vale. Already road markings and signage herald the coming of the Santos Cycle Tour Down Under which will put the spotlight on this location and many more we have travelled through over the last couple of weeks. It will be a wonderful race route and we will delight in following the tour on television once it is underway in January.

The detour took us on through Willunga, on the edge of the valley. This is an older settlement, established in the oh-so-popular-date of 1839 and much more quaint and delightful than McLaren Vale.

We rejoined the southern highway, wending our way through rural pastoral lands, over hill and over dale, noting the occasional vineyards tucked in amongst the sheep farms, and the odd large herd of alpacas, finally descending to Victor Harbour, on the southern coast on Encounter Bay. The Bay is named for the fact that the English explorer Matthew Flinders and the French explorer Nicholas Baudin met amicably here just at Victor Harbour in 1802. Very little else is mentioned in dispatches about this meeting however it would seem that no shots were fired, and that both parties were more interested in botanic discoveries than laying claim to any piece of land. The reality however is that whalers and sealers had been active in this area all though the 1790s, subsequent to Captain Cook having publicised the existence of the continent. Whaling remained the raison d’etre for settlement on this southern coast right up until it was banned in 1931. It is also a lovely sea coast, and people have always sought out places of leisure, so it did not remain only a centre of whaling through the centuries.

We walked about the town and along the foreshore busy with sideshows and fairground machinery; merry go rounds, bumper cars and ferris wheels, and watched as the crowds of family holidaymakers grew during the course of the morning. Chris patronised the local barber and I soaked up the warm sun while watching the passing shoppers.

Here at Victor Harbour, there is a horse drawn tram that runs between the main land and Granite Island, just 700 metres across a causeway where there is a permanent population of Little Penguins. There is also a steam train that runs from here east to Goolwa which in turn connects with a 100 year old authentic paddle steamer, which in turn plies the Lower Murray River.

We drove west along the southern shore and parked at the western end of Rosetta Head (aka The Bluff) and watched surfers while eating our lunch. This small bay is surrounded by rugged rocks and we wondered at the wisdom of their efforts.

From Victor Harbour we then drove seventeen kilometres eastwards to Goolwa, through the very lovely Port Elliot, which we considered more attractive than Victor Harbour. Port Elliot was earmarked in 1854 as the major export port for Murray River produce, however this all turned to custard. A battered breakwater is all that remains of the failed attempt to construct a safe shipping harbour. But Goolwa did become a thriving river port, the last on the Murray River before it reached the Southern Ocean. It does have a history of a successful wooden boat building industry which apparently continues today.

Goolwa is also the far western end of the Coorong National Park. This rather peculiar national park is a 145 kilometres stretch of coastline, recognised internationally as a vital breeding ground and refuge for waterfowl and migratory waders. It is a string of salt water lagoons and sand dunes on the southern perimeter of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert, the catchment of the Murray River which would essentially be more like a delta if it were not for the barrages linking the islands damming the river outlets. These were constructed back in the late 1930s to establish reservoirs of fresh water for irrigation and other uses. Over the years of drought and / or flood and redirection of water further upstream for irrigation, when in some years there has been not even enough to reach the barrage in askance of discharge, the captured water has become brackish and unacceptable for healthy biology. This is the essence of the problem that is being furiously debated through the three states the Murray River flows today. Determined not to enter the debate, Chris and I wondered whether the water I watched passing by in the McIntyre River when I went for my daily walks on the cotton farm had yet reached this reservoir. We recalled that we had learned just days ago in a documentary on the television that it took four months for water to reach Lake Eyre from the headwaters when flood waters are running with flood time vigour. Was seven months enough for water to flow from Boomi to Goolwa?

Hindmarsh Island off Goolwa, just 15 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide, is reached by a bridge across the Lower Murray. To view the Murray Mouth, one needs to cross to the island and drive almost to the eastern end of the island. This we did, detouring to the marina development on the south western coast of the island. Grand modern buildings are shooting up everywhere; however there are an awful lot of sections still for sale around the marina canals. It is a lovely development, as all such are. It came as no surprise that the bridge across from Goolwa had only been opened in 2001, hence the fact that all buildings, apart from those in this development, are baches previously reached only by barge or ferry or those relating to the grazing over many years.

We returned to Goolwa, and headed further east across the pastoral and grain growing land to Milang, situated on Lake Alexandrina. In the late 19th century, this was the largest inland port in South Australia, providing a busy trade and produce hub for road transport from Melbourne. Today it is a quiet backwater for fishermen and birdwatchers.

Heading north for just more than twenty kilometres, we arrived at Strathalbyn, a town established in the magic year of 1839, but this time by settlors from Scotland. Here there are some delightful old buildings, many appropriately housing antique shops. The town is situated on the banks of the sluggish Angus River, with beautiful manicured gardens and the impressive St Andrews Church, built in 1844,  added to in later years, previously Presbyterian of course, now a United Church. We walked about here, surprised at the busy pub mid-afternoon and mid-week and put it all down to the need to celebrate pre-Christmas.

Once again on the road, we headed for Mt Barker twenty seven kilometres further north, stopping at the Scottish restaurant for ice-cream sundaes before heading back to camp via the Princes Highway, now a well-worn route.

We were back in time to tidy ourselves up for our own pre-Christmas party, the caravan park sausage sizzle, which turned out to be an excellent do, generously hosted by the management who turned on the meat, pavlova and trifle. We all contributed toward the salads and provided our own drinks. It was an opportunity to meet other residents here; some long term and others doing as we are. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely and I enjoyed the opportunity to dress up and apply some effort to this often neglected face of mine.

Thursday morning saw us moving to another site in the park, because the one we have been on since we arrived has been booked for Christmas. This turned out to be more of a mission than it ought to have been. The new site is not really a caravan site, but simply a car park for a cabin currently out of service. Chris backed into the uneven spot, I chocked it high to level the caravan, Chris unhitched and then the caravan started to roll forward over the sharp edge of the large plastic chocks. After some rather foul language for once used in context and much scurrying about, we hitched back up and started all over again. Finally set up, perched on high legs and blocks, we decided that it actually is a better site than that we left, providing an illusion of privacy we lacked before. There are however some rather large ants about which may need to be fenced out with talcum powder.

After settling in, we drove up to the Medical Centre in Blackwood, chasing results from Chris’s tests. This time he was in and out in a reasonable time for us to then head for the Wittunga Botanical Gardens just down the road from the village centre. After lunch, we wandered about the fourteen hectares of parklands, planted out with both Australian and South African natives, generously donated by the Ashby family in 1965. There are a couple of small lakes filled with rather dubious looking water, however the birds don’t seem to be too fussy about it nor the frogs we tried to spot, drawing us toward them with their booming drum like calls.

I learned a few interesting facts about agapanthas, lovely purple headed flowers that engulf our garden of the house we once lived in and hopefully will be currently delighting our tenants. Their common name is “Lily of the Nile” and there are ten species all native to South Africa. They have been in cultivation as garden plants for the last three hundred years.

We were back in camp by early afternoon where we spent the rest of a rather warm afternoon, the temperature at about 34 degrees, sitting reading under the awning, something we don’t seem to have done for a while.

This morning was again spent dealing with medical issues; however we were at the Glenalta Railway Station by 11 am, soon heading into the city of Adelaide. We sat in the gardens of the State Library to eat an early lunch before venturing inside to find out why tourists are encouraged to visit. We wandered through an art exhibition of very modern aboriginal art but skipped the exhibition of aboriginal basket weaving in the same room, then found ourselves in a great hall of history. The floors above were lined with books, but the walls all around the ground floor were covered in exhibits, stories and memorabilia explaining once more the history of Adelaide. It was very well done and most enjoyable, but so cold in the air-conditioned hall.

The last place of education on our must-do list was the Migration Museum, separately housed behind the Library and Museum of South Australia. This was also excellent, however by the time we had explored this from one end to the other, we felt rather saturated with South Australian history.

We caught the train back to camp, finding an influx of caravans on our return. Gone is the peace and quiet of this bush side camp on the edge of the city; it is now a family summer holiday camp full of yapping dogs and crying children. Alas, the grumpy old woman is here again.

As is so often my habit before dinner, I picked up our emails and found that Christchurch had been again hit by another earthquake 5.8 on the Richter scale and that Darwin is quietly sitting waiting for a cyclone to hit on Christmas Day. The television news confirmed that there had been no loss of life in Christchurch this time and further emails and Facebook confirmed that my nieces had safely arrived in the North Island for Christmas. It makes our annoyance with the spaniels seem so trivial.

Monday, December 19, 2011

19 December 2011 - Belair National Park Caravan Park, Adelaide, South Australia

We spent Saturday quietly about the camp, waiting for the terrible weather to arrive and pass by, not wanting to venture out somewhere special only to have it spoiled. A few light showers passed over, and a few wilder squalls, but nothing that would have lessened our enjoyment of exploration of Port Adelaide. But there you are! Perhaps one should simply disregard all weather reports and venture forth no matter what. But then at about five, the storm came and dumped a fair bit of water amid thunder storms. Later we heard on the news that there had been flash flooding in other parts of the city and thought we had done quite well to avoid the worst, and then after we retired for the night, the storm returned with force.

We woke yesterday morning none the worse for wear but the skies were still grey, promising little more than yesterday. Buoyed by the internet forecast, we set out with our lunch packed in the eski, heading initially for the Westfield at Marion to source a USB to record TV programmes, having figured how to do so without the aid of any instruction manual. We succeeded in that endeavour but when we emerged from the very busy shopping centre, the rain looked set in for the day and so we decided to cancel our outing and return to the caravan to see the weather out.

Alas, on our return, we found that the memory stick would not fit the gap and so after lunch we returned to JB HiFi for another that would. Their service was excellent, amid dealing with the Christmas shopping masses, and we decided that the profit downgrade read about in the business pages of the newspaper was unlikely to prove correct given the level of trade observed today.

And so we spent a second day, having done little but wandered through urban malls, engaged in otherwise sedentary tasks.

This morning we woke to clear skies and no hint of bad weather so were off out before anything or anyone could discourage us. It is not very far in a straight line north to Port Adelaide, but the busy city streets intersect the roads that take us there, and so it was not until 10.30 am that we had found a car park. The streets on the river edge of the city are full of beautiful old stone heritage listed buildings which we admired and photographed as we walked about, directed by the brochure that details each one. We also visited the South Australia Maritime Museum, one of the must-dos on our list for Adelaide and spent over an hour and a half there. It is an excellent museum, but much of the exhibits duplicated information and displays we had encountered at the Museum of South Australia or the Discovery Centre at Glenalg. That is not to say we did not enjoy it; on the contrary, we did so very much but would not necessarily say it should be on everyone’s list of must-dos.

The museum was established way back in 1872, begun as a general museum and part of the Institute. These Institutes provided the first libraries and adult learning centres right throughout Australia and as we travel about, I am learning more about these and understanding the part my great great great uncle Joseph Bevege played in this process merely by being the librarian in the Mechanic’s Institute in Maitland, New South Wales. These immigrants, my ancestors among them, were obviously hungry for education and understood the need for this to progress and succeed in this new land of opportunity.

Here there is a full size replica of a ketch, one of the Mosquito Fleet, (so called because they buzzed about) that plied the waters around this part of Australia, and as always when one boards these vessels of the past, it is rather terrifying to consider how life and work on these very small ships must have been once they left the safety of the wharves. But then, I am a landlubber who does not like confined spaces, so hardly the right person to be commenting on such matters.

Interestingly the original ship, the Active, which was built in 1873, came to grief in 1889 when it collided with another ship, and was crushed and sunk. It was rebuilt and resumed work along the South Australian and interstate coast until 1959, when it was proclaimed derelict and demolished. The replica, now in the museum, was built in 1985.

We were both surprised that these sail powered craft plied the seas right up until 1982! Who would have thought that, when steam and fuel driven ships had been around for 130 years or so.

A large section of the museum is entirely given over to the history of shipwrecks, there being at least 850 along the South Australian coast. These are heart wrenching stories and while I have often considered the tragedy of those who did not make it to Australia, there were also reports of exports of grain and the like which never got beyond the Australian waters, thus a huge waste of labour and effort on the part of the settlors who did make it here.

There was also an excellent display of the ship berths of immigrants to these lands covering the early to mid-19th century, then those who came immediately after the First and Second World Wars, along with diaries and letters, some in audio form, to relay to us moderns how hideous the experience of our forebears was.  

We lunched on a bench on the wharf, alone except for some very disinterested seagulls, finished our walking tour and then headed back home through the traffic. The weather had held out all day and our immediate neighbours in the park have been replaced by others. I have yet to discover whether they too have a dog. The kelpie who was in residence there before was so good whenever its owners left it all alone, for long hours in the day, tied up and sheltering under the caravan – poor thing. But when they were there, she became so excited, she forgot her good behaviour rules. Dogs should not be allowed, least of all in National Parks! Grumpy old people that we are!

Friday, December 16, 2011

16 December 2011 - Belair National Park Caravan Park, Adelaide, South Australia

The day dawned clear and warm again, and we decided to make the most of the good weather, having learned that worse was soon to come. By 9.30 am, we were on the road across to Crafers and on to the Princes Highway, heading to Mount Barker, ready to resume our unfinished exploration of the Adelaide Hills.

We stopped firstly at Macclesfield, yet another pretty village in the middle of farmland and walked from one end of the village to the other, pausing to sample the plums from a well laden tree over hanging the street. A large group of mothers and small children had gathered even this early at the park, with baskets of goodies, obviously to enjoy a Christmas picnic. There was an air of business and good cheer all about.

This town’s history echoes so much of those we have learned before: in the same year that lovely Hahndorf was established, an Oxford banker, George Davenport, together with his sons, took up 1,600 hectares at Macclesfield and went on to rent the  land to German and Irish immigrants. After 1850, the town grew rapidly because it was situated on the route through to Victoria, that which gold seekers and the mail coach used. Stores for resupply and more importantly a pub for refreshing weary travellers all sprang up, and those buildings are still standing and operational today.

We drove on south and west to Meadows, still crossing rolling hills and often through long avenues of large ancient gums. The countryside was quite lovely, but also quite different from the more northern parts of the hills. Here the rural scenes were of either open woods on good grazing land, or cleared paddocks, most covered in recently baled hay.

At Meadows we again walked the main street and admired the old buildings. Here again in 1839, 1600 hectares was taken up by Charles Flaxman, and subdivided for the building of the town, soon to include an inn, two stores, a flour mill, tannery, blacksmith, butcher, carpenter, three shoemakers, a surveyor, school and two churches. By 1889 the dairy farmers had pooled their resources and as a Farmer’s Union, opened a cheese and butter factory.

The horrific bush fires of 1939 destroyed much of Meadows and much of the surrounding countryside; it is fortunate that any of these old buildings survived.
On impulse we decided to take a loop side trip, further south through Prospect Hill and through to the Kuitpo Forest. Established in 1898, Kuitpo was the first of many forest plantations to ensure sustainable timber supplies. Today the Forest Reserve covers an area of about 3,600 hectares. We found a picnic spot in the pines and ate our lunch in the company of hundreds of lovely orange and brown butterflies, a melodious magpie and numerous centipedes.

 Our journey then took us back to Meadows and then north toward Jupiter Creek with the intention of walking the advertised Jupiter Creek Heritage Trail. The road through from Meadows to Echunga is the Battunga Road, a name that is also used to include the country all about here, being the aboriginal word to describe tall trees and rolling hills, and is entirely appropriate.
When gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851, gold seekers poured out of South Australia, threatening the State’s economy. The government offered a reward for discovery of a payable goldfield in South Australia. Concentrated mining attempts were made through 1852 to 1858 in the Adelaide Hills near Echunga, but it wasn’t until 1868 that payable gold was discovered in this, the Teetulpa Goldfield. Within months there were 1500 people on this field.

A chimney associated with the Beatrice Mining Company working the area in 1869 still stands as a reminder of times past, as do numerous great shafts, some 45 metres deep, all carefully fenced to keep the curious out. This particular company proved to be unsuccessful and closed for business in 1871.

The area was reworked in the 1930s during the years of the Great Depression, when a sixty metre tunnel was dug into the hill. Part of this is still open for tourists to venture through today.

We found our way back to the car, via a portion of the Heyson Track, the same we had walked part of through Wilpena Pound up in the Flinders Ranges, and of course named for the artist who so loved and recorded the landscapes in this part of South Australia.

It was just a short trip down the hill to Echunga, a small settlement also founded in 1839 by an English Quaker, who established an estate of dairy herds, wheat fields, orchards and a vineyard. South Australia’s first export of wine was from here; however Mr Hack’s fortunes did not last. By 1843 he was bankrupted, the lands taken over by another and subsequently divided up for the village and smaller holdings.

Farmers in the region continued to grow crops until 1939, when that same bush fire swept through the area devastating their lives and incomes. In recovery they turned to dairy and mixed farming and while cropping and orchards are being returned to in these more modern times, the bulk of the land around here is still pastoral.

Interestingly, contrary to nearly all the other villages and settlements throughout the Adelaide Hills, the name Echunga has an aboriginal base; it is derived from the aboriginal word “eechungga” meaning “close by”.

From Echunga, it was really a straight run home, however we had read more about Stirling after visiting it the other day, and decided we should have a second look. This time we stopped, shopped for a newspaper and some capsicums, and had a good look around. The impressions we had when we drove through the other day were confirmed; it is a lovely village, and as Chris said, rather understated with its lively business all going on behind the many trees lining the streets.

Now after three attempts, we can say we have explored the Adelaide Hills, but cannot say we saw everything there was to see. It would take much longer to really do the area justice, and I just hope that those who live in the general area of Adelaide do appreciate the lovely landscape they live in.