Yankalilla, The exHMAS Hobart, Leafy Sea-dragons.
The dives were excellent on the Hobart. The ship has been so thoroughly prepared that there was no problem at all going inside and through the various decks. More detail can be found in the dives section.
We returned to the accomodation for a BBQ dinner, and after that was all squared away, went for a night dive, trying to locate the Leafy Sea-Dragons. Success!.
Adelaide to Yankalilla (diving)
The dive lodge is awesome, easily the best setup lodge I've ever stayed in - comforatble and spacious, all facilities, fully stocked beer fridge...
No images today. I basically had a day off and kicked around reading.
Went and kicked around in the city for a while, had a nice lunch and lay in one of the great inner city parks and read my book (I'm re-reading 'The View from the Mirror - Ian Irvine' Great! Fits my current quest nicely).
Came back to Mats house and was altruistic - replaced a GPO for the laundry.
I spent some of this afternoon overcoming my fear of snakes. Sean brought out his pair of Rainbow Serpents and his Carpet Python (Neo, Trinity and Britany) so they could stretch their legs in the sun. Such beautiful animals.
Flinders Ranges to Adelaide
Drove down through Hawker, Pt Adelaide to Adelaide. Got in touch with an old friend Mat, and had some dinner. Thai! Finally!. Was a great night.
We also stopped by the Fringe Festival, and took in some of the side show acts - Captain Frodo, the Amazing Rubber Man, and the man that can breath through his eyes. Disturbing but fun.
Wilpena Pound NP, Brachina Geological Trail
The gorge is quite beautiful in its own right as a scenic 20 km drive, but every now and again along the trail a sign and an information board gave detail on the rock formations, occasionally pointing out points of interest, fossils, etc.
I spent a couple of hours doing it, taking the short walks to points of interest, looking at the campsites along the way.
On the way back to the start to head back to Wilpena I hit a pot hole far to hard and burst a tyre! Argh!. I changed to the spare and then was faced with a very rough dirt road drive of about 50 km's back to the paved road to be increadibly careful on - I hadn't seen a soul all morning.
Anyway, I eventually and carefully got back to Wilpena and went straight on to Hawker, the township at the start of the flinders ranges and arranged a new tyre.
I attempted to get some sunset photo's of the cliffs near the campsite, but it was a washout, I was in the wrong place. Still, I could watch the kangaroos and got to see the solar station for Wipena.
I spent the rest of the day reading and watching the stars.
Wilpena Pound NP
Cesna's are hair raising at the best of times, but the early heat of the day over the rocks and escarpments had created a lot of thermals - it was a bumpy ride!
A delightful view though. I was able to see the entire pound at once, and also get an idea of the Gorge I am planning to drive tomorrow - the geolgical trail that covers a period in time from 150,000 years ago to about 650 million years ago, all in the space of a 25km drive.
After lunch, I headed out to the Waranga lookouts on foot, a 6.9km round trip. The view was also excellent (a good panaroma), but the walk itself was very nice. Lots of big spotted and red gums over hanging the trail for most of the way along the creekbed, and thining to wattle and smaller gums on the rocky slopes of the pound.
I got a good close look at my favourite of Australian wildlife, the Gecko :)
Mildura to Wilpena Pound.
I headed off to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges via the Sturt highway.
The road generally followed the Murray River, from time to time I would come back to it and then vear away again. Since I was always north of the River, I was in NSW most of the time.
I crossed the border into SA at around midday, and the surly twit at the fruit fly inspection zone somewhat upset my otherwise good spirits. Didn't last too long though.
I stopped in Morgan and had lunch at the Red West pub. I had the Roast Beef and was astounded at how good it was. It was fantastic, and so was the service. Its taken a while, but I think I'm finally getting to places where old fashioned service isn't.
The final 30 minutes to Wilpena from Hawker was great. I must have passed about 50 kangaroos today. The rain seems to have brought them out, or maybe they're just everywhere here. Will soon find out.
I booked in for 3 nights. The campsites at the Wilpena resort area are excellent, large and spacious, amongst lovely big red and spotted gums. There is supposed to be about 15 groups here, but I can only see (and hear) one of them.
It rained all day, and its still raining now. I put up my tent in the rain, now THAT brings back some memories. I know they really need this rain, but I hope it goes away soon!
Mildura, Murray River
I kicked around Mildura today, went on a Murray River 2 hour cruise and essentially avoiding heat was my only goal. Hell, I even watched some TV.
Port Campbell, Grampians, Mildura
Sleepy Port Campbell doesn't offer a lot in the way of breakfast at 8am... but I found something eventually. I popped into the dive charters shop - but the weather had turned for the worst - no boats going out.
I headed directly north, aiming for Mildura. I put a goto into the GPS for Mildura and found that the heading was directly north.
I tried something different and tried to stay as close as possible to the path by following backroads, dirt tracks etc. I had an absolute ball! Some amazing sights and the driving was much more pleasant than the highway. I made a couple of mistakes and went down dirt roads that only went to homesteads on properties, but generally I kept a pretty straight line.
The temperature slowly climbed as I headed north - eventually maxing out at 42 degrees in the last 50km's into Mildura. It was still 40 degrees at 8pm!
Port Campbell, Great Ocean Road, Twelve Apostles
Once I hit torquay, the Great Ocean Road started. I stopped briefly at Bells Beach. I had to. Its famous. Well, sort of.
The Great Ocean Road deserves its name, certainly. An airy and lofty winding road hugs the side of the clifs for a couple hundred kilometres, with a stunning ocean view around every corner, and most of the time rainforest on the other side. Perfect sunroof weather made it all the sweeter.
I stopped in Apollo Bay for Breakfast about 10am at a place called Kaos Kafe which was excellent. They even had Chai tea (loose leaf tea!).
I had read about the various helicopter tours of the twelve apostles and was keen to try it. The one I wanted to go with was in Port Campbell, so I actually drove straight past the twelve without stopping.
The helicopter ride itself was great - certainly something one should experience (my first ride in one). The view was also excellent, but the coverage and time left a lot to be desired. I came away feeling somewhat pickpocketed... I did end up with a tail mounted video of the whole ride though - its short enough to download over the internet, here.
I headed into Port Cambell, arranged a campsite for the night, enquired as to the availability of scuba dives on the morrow (I'll have to call back in the morning) and had a delightfull fresh seafood lunch, including the local crayfish.
I finished the afternoon with a visit to the twelve apostles and walked around the various sights. I think I might have built it up in my mind to much - it was disapointing... The best vantage to see the rock stacks was 'closed for my safety' - which I'm getting dreadfully tired of hearing :).