Sunday, September 30, 2012

Adelaide to Cape Bridgewater

We left Robin in Adelaide and set off for our two day drive to Wombat Bend near Melbourne. Robin flew back to Sydney later in the day.

The highway that climbs up the hill out of Adelaide. It used to be a dangerous two lane windy road. Now it is a much wider road with fewer bends, but there are still accidents with vehicles coming down the hill too fast.

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We could have taken the direct route to Melbourne via Nhill that takes a day but instead we took the more scenic coastal route that takes two days.

We stopped at Tailem Bend to get fuel for the car. The petrol station overlooks Australia's largest river, the Murray River.

The Murray - Darling river system drains the inland eastern side of Australia and performs a similar role as the Mississippi does in the USA. The recent ten year drought caused major problems for the river system with reduced water flows and increased salinity levels. Fortunately the rains finally came and the drought came to an end and the river is back to a healthy state.

We then continued south. 

There was more water than normal. Usually, lake beds are dry.

Unfortunately the photos don't seem to show the pink colour that you can see in these lakes.

Lake Albert at the small town of Meningie. Lake Albert is joined to Lake Alexandrina which is the lake the Murray River flows into prior to entering the ocean. The drought got so bad that the entrance to the ocean almost shut and the lake became very toxic. Now that the drought is broken, the lake is fine.

Interesting cloud pattern.

The main street of Meningie.

If you go back to the Google map and zoom in, you will see a long thin lake named Lake Coorong that runs next to the ocean. 

It's a wonderful drive along the side of the lake. If you stop you can hear the sound of the ocean waves breaking on the beach on the other side of the  sand hill on the other side of the lake.

There is very little traffic, perhaps a car every five or ten minutes.

The big lobster just outside Kingston. The locals call it Larry.

We had lunch at Robe, a small town by the sea.

The foreshore is lined with Norfolk Pine trees that drop these curiously shaped leaves.

At certain times of year the beaches can be clogged with seaweed but they were pristine this time.

The Norfolk Pines. They are quite popular in Oz.

Robe has quite a few old buildings from the middle of the 19th century.

It is also a port with a small lobster fishing fleet. 

We were thinking of Robe as a possible location for us to move to in Australia, but it is just too far from the nearest big city, Adelaide. It is a really nice town however.

We also visited the nearby town of  Beachport. There were lots of shipwrecks along this stretch of coastline so there are lighthouses all along the coast.

As in Robe, there is a fishing fleet.

The jetty at Beachport.

The above three photos show a salty lake called the Pool of Siloam

We reached Mount Gambier about 3pm and as usual, visited the volcano at the southern end of the town.

The extinct volcano has several calderas. Those to the west have trees growing in them.

The eastern caldera is filled with water. The lake is 70 meters deep and is fed by an aquifer.

In winter the water is steely-grey in colour but in November it changes to cobalt blue. It was only the end of September but this was the bluest I have ever seen it.

We headed east and crossed the border into Victoria.

Huge pine forests line the highway. They are used for timber and paper pulp. In the past we have always seen kangaroos in the grassy strips beside the road but this year we did not see any.

Eventually we arrived at Cape Bridgewater which gets its own blog.

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