WAY DOWN SOUTH OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
Beachport Caravan Park
JOURNEY: Lower Glenelg NP, Nelson, Port Mac Donnell, Cape Northumberland, Mount Gambier, Beachport
Mileage @ Lower Glenelg NP 14963kms
Weather: 14 degrees, drizzle and overcast at 10.00am.
Overnight: Beachport Holiday Park $22 pn
We reached Nelson, the last town on the Victorian coast at around 11am and realised that we had to get rid of any fresh fruit and vegetables before crossing the border into South Australia. This is because SA is free from fruit fly pests which devastate crops and affect the production of fruit in the state. Sheila packed up our small amount of fruit and vegies and offered them to the lady in the information centre who was very happy to accept them. This was much better than binning them at the border. Nelson is a tiny town at the mouth of the Glenelg River and we lingered only long enough to collect information about the Limestone Coast which stretches from here to Goolwa; limestone was formed millions of years ago along this ancient coast line when shells and crustaceans fell to the sea floor and formed this white porous rock. As the sea retreated many caves and sinkholes were formed along this beautiful rugged coast and the area contains the amazing Coorong wetlands, lush farming and famous wineries of the Coonawarra; further inland is the acclaimed World Heritage Naracoorte Caves, a significant fossil site.
Just past Nelson we took a turn off signed "Ocean Beach" and walked to a deserted spectacular place.
We headed for Port MacDonnell, Australia's Southern Rock Lobster capital and Cape Northumberland. Sadly the wild seas had prevented the fishermen from going out so "fresh lobster unavailable" signs were displayed and we did not get to sample the delicacy. We noticed that the port had recorded 21 ship wrecks in the treacherous Southern Ocean and today was a clear example of its force!
A few kilometres west, Cape Northumberland is SA’s southern most point and is an interesting landscape of rugged cliffs and artistic rock formations.
We drove north through Mount Gambier built on the slopes of a dormant volcano and famous for its blue lake
stopping briefly at the Tantanoola caves to stretch our legs; we didn’t want to pay to enter the caves so we took the circuit loop above with views of the surrounding landscape.
We were happy to get back to the coast at Beachport where we parked the van at the holiday park for the next two nights. Sadly we nick named the female proprietor “the prune” for her pursed, impatient mouth and attitude. You ask yourself why these unfriendly people join the tourist industry and torture themselves and customers.
The weather was still causing a rough ocean and grey skies and we were amazed at how much junk was being deposited on the shore with the heavy surf. We met a local “beachcomber” who told us he was collecting coal on the shore dropped overboard when the boats were unloading and washed up under these conditions. We collected what seemed to be a piece of basalt, shiny, black and feather weight. This must be a gorgeous beach in the summer in fine warm weather; the little town was cute and we enjoyed exploring the area despite the weather.
We lashed out and had a meal at Bompas one night and the lamb was tender and tasty. The 800 metre long jetty was a favourite spot and we were surprised to read a plaque commemorating the first two military deaths on the Australian mainland at this place in July 1941 when the soldiers went to dismantle a German bomb/mine. Kath felt a lack of knowledge about this aspect of World War 2 and promised to read the history at some stage.
The skies cleared and the wind dropped as we prepared to leave this peaceful and pretty town.