Monday night was a disturbed night what with the wind coming up fiercely in the night prompting Chris to go out and lower the awning at some god forsaken hour, and then the rubbish truck coming on to the airfield at about three making a hang of a commotion as it up-ended the jumbo bin. I woke again sometime after and heard rain on the roof and wondered what had happened to the weather, forecasted to be partly sunny for the next week.
By the time we ventured out to make the most of the day, rain was still threatening but came to little more. We had set aside the day for exploring Gawler’s own attractions rather than those in the outlying areas. The self-drive tour of the city looked promising so we started off from the Information Centre as instructed, turning left, then right, then right and left, and then a detour here or there to view this old house and then that, all of which now seemed to have been converted into rest homes for the elderly or infirm. So much concentration was required to follow the written instructions and to drive the maze of twists and turns, it all became less than fun when one of the roads we were supposed to take was closed off for work and we were unable to re-join the route. We gave up in frustration and decided instead to visit the museum.
This is situated in the old Telegraph Station in Gawler’s main street, sharing part of the premises with a flower shop. Alas the museum part of the building was closed for renovations and had been since 1 November. So that was the end of that.
We had also fancied visiting Gawler’s Art Gallery apparently housed in the old Railway Station, but where was that? We popped into the SAA (South Australia Automobile Association) to pick up maps for the rest of the state and Victoria if possible. The woman behind the counter was very friendly and helpful, however not able to tell us where the old railway station was. So we returned to the Information Centre and found the brochure advertising the merits of the art works on display and telling us that the gallery was open Thursdays to Sundays. So that was the end of that too.
We returned to the airfield, popped in to the office to see Peter, the office-dog’s-body, to pay for the four nights already spent and the one to come, chatted a while with him until hunger drove us over to the caravan, whereupon we unpacked the eski and ate our ready-made sandwiches which had been destined for a more exciting dining location.
The afternoon was spent perusing maps of Adelaide, choosing our next camp, and preparing an experimental fish pie using a can of mackerel instead of smoked fish which is my norm. Strangely, smoked fish does not seem to be available here. We have a couple of times purchased what is sold as such in the delicatessen at supermarkets, and while it has been very pleasant, it lacks that real smokiness that one expects. As far as cans of smoked fish go; they simply do not exist! Perhaps this will change when we reach Melbourne; perhaps it is only Victorians who like New Zealand style smoked fish here? Anyway, the canned mackerel was successful, so much so that it will become a repeat on the menu.
While all this inside business went on, outside the wind came up again and hail passed in a short sharp shower. This morning we learned that the same violent gusts had been instrumental in fanning wild grass fires in the state, one up the coast at Port Augusta and another at Gladstone. The only Gladstone we know is that up the Queensland coast so obviously there is another we have yet to become acquainted with.
The wind continued to blow all night, in through the vents and other apertures behind the microwave and fridge. We huddled in our bed hoping for summer to arrive, however in the end just rose and dressed for the colder weather, packed up camp and set off south to Adelaide.
The capital city of South Australia is just forty three kilometres south of Gawler, and reached by busy roads through suburbia. We had examined the city map in an effort to understand the layout of the city, one where Chris briefly spent time working in back in a past life. It is a well-designed city with a population of just over 1.2 million (very roughly the size of Auckland in population).
Our Tomtom led us through the centre of the city, alongside the green belt of parks and gardens and then south to Belair, situated on the lower slopes of Mount Lofty. The camp is privately owned but adjacent to the Belair National Park, and so the wildlife is the same in the caravan park as the national park. Strange to say, the birds have no concept of legal boundaries.
Once we were set up and had lunched, I did a couple of loads of laundry, and then Chris and I set out up the road to find the Belair Railway Station, showing on the map to be just on the edge of the national park. Although we had driven in this way, we had not been aware how far up the hill it was, and so, when we reached the railway station, we found that it wasn’t just a quick hike to catch the public transport, but a major part of one’s daily exercise regime. If we were to spend our days walking about the city enjoying all the attractions, we might well end up too exhausted. We checked out the limited car parking area, and decided to recheck our maps when we returned. On doing so, we saw that there are two other railway stations closer which hopefully will have better parking facilities. We will check this all out further tomorrow when we set out to utilise the free public transport for oldies between the hours of nine and three. This means that Chis will travel free at least one way, and discounted on the return. It will be the amusing situation of asking for a senior and an adult; me being the only adult.