Tuesday 14th October 2014 Day 36
An exciting day today, our first road trip in a hire car. For ease of collection we booked the car from an airport rental site, only to find that the pick up location was in suburban Adelaide. However the internet again proved its worth as we had been able to find the location, although Google earth showed a vacant site at the address, and plan the necessary bus journey. Armed with the relevant information Eric set forth with grim determination to collect the car. The first part of the journey went well but the driver decided that he did not stop where the journey planner had said, but instead drove another few hundred metres further. Still, exercise is good for the soul as well as the spirit so armed with this and thinking only beautiful thoughts Eric strode back along the Anzac highway to the address, now occupied by the car rental firm. A bus load of renters from the airport had just arrived so it took some time for the car to be collected, beautiful thoughts again abounded, and Eric was somewhat discombobulated to find that an extra one way fee had been slapped on to the rental. Beautiful thoughts won out and the car was collected in peace and light. On our arrival we had purchased a GPS (sat nav to us poms), with maps for Australia and New Zealand, and this proved its worth in navigating Eric through the streets of Adelaide to collect Joyce and the luggage, although the GPS did not accept that the road on which the apartment was sited actually existed.
Safely parked in a ten minute loading bay close to the apartment we swiftly transferred our goods and chattels and it was then Hi Ho for the open road, once we had escaped the clutches of Adelaide traffic. To be honest driving in the city was not a bad experience as the traffic volume was relatively low and the traffic flows well. The gps was very efficient in its directions.
We headed south for the winelands and beaches of the Fleurieu peninsula, driving first to the wonderfully named Kangarilla, through countryside reminiscent of home yet still so foreign in its flora and topography. We stopped in a lovely old village called Clarendon, with some beautiful early buildings, before traversing McLaren vale with its extensive Vineyards.
We reached the sea at Maslin Beach and ate our lunch in the car at the top of the cliffs overlooking the surf wracked beach. We then drove along the coast enjoying the views of cliffs and beaches at Port Wallunga and Aldinga Beach. With its hotshot cove and offshore rocky islands the view from Fletcher’s viewpoint was beautiful.
The road now led, via a detour around Mypunga reservoir viewpoint (the viewpoint sign gave no indication that it was 8 km away), to Victor Harbour. We arrived just too late for the last tram to Granite Island but walking across the bridge got us to the island just in time to catch the last one back. This quick turn round meant that we did not have time to visit the penguin colony, but given that dusk was a few hours away we would have been unlikely to see any.
The next stop was Goole, at the mouth of the Murray river, with it old railway and port, complete with paddle steamer. Unfortunately we had missed the possibility of a cruise. We now headed for our motel at Murray Bridge, but took the time to drive to Point Sturt, with its views of Lake Alexandrina.
On arriving in Murray Bridge we found that Eric had failed to programme the gps well enough and as a result there was no sign of a motel. As we drove through Murray Bridge, with still no sign of it, we resorted to asking directions and finally a phone call to the establishment. We were on the right road, we just had not travelled far enough. Crossing the bridge over the River Murray, an impressive structure, we finally arrived. Having checked In we immediately went out to find a meal. There were few places open and we ended up sampling the classic roast dinner in Red Rooster, which proved most palatable.
Joyce was delighted to finally visit Adelaide, having planned to do a work exchange in the late 1980s and taken a promotion instead. She loved Adelaide and its environs and wonders if she would ever have returned. Would she still have met Eric in China?
Wednesday 15th October 2014. Day 37 A tale of Tailem
Our first visit today was to Tailem Pioneer Village, one man’s attempt to preserve the history of rural South Australia. Very much St Fagan on speed, the museum recreates the buildings and their contents from the late 19th and early 20th century. It really was a delight to wander around the site and into many of the buildings, complete with furniture and fittings of the period and kept us enthralled for two hours.
Lunch followed at the bakery in the town of Tailem Bend from where we headed south on the Prince’s highway, along the Murray River to the 170 year old ferry at Wellington. We then drove along the eastern side of Lake Alexandria and Lake Albert, created by the blocking of the mouth of the Murray River mouth by the Younghusband Peninsula, a baymouth bar with large sand dunes. This feature extends south eastward, creating the two lagoons which make up the Coorong National Park. Stops along the way included the settlement of Meningie, Parnkas Point, where the two lagoons meet, Jack’s point, the breeding ground of pelicans, unfortunately in absentia and Chinaman’s well, which makes the route followed by immigrants to the gold fields avoiding the immigration tax.
We arrived in the holiday camp just in time to check in, then headed into town for an excellent steak dinner at the Robe Hotel, enjoying the views of some of the historic buildings as we drove.