We left behind the steady stream of caravans heading into the Port Fairy Folk Festival and within a couple of hours crossed the South Australian border and arrived into Mt Gambier. Like good citizens we stopped at the quarantine station in amongst the pine plantations and ate as much fruit and vegetables as we could before dumping the rest.
We spent the afternoon exploring the Blue Lake and the beautiful Umpherston Sink Hole in Mt Gambier. Apparently it is quite popular in Mt Gambier to get married in the Sink Hole. While the gardens at the bottom are spectacular, the thought of starting a marriage in a Sink Hole doesn't seem quite right...
The next day we headed off to Robe to meet up with Simon, Tracy and Tash for the weekend. We drove most of the way through drizzle and later in the afternoon steady rain set in (thankfully after we had set up).
The next day we explored the beach before breakfast and then headed into town. With high winds and more rain forecast for the afternoon we decided to head inland to the Naracoorte Caves National Park via Penola and Coonawarra. It wouldn’t be right to pass through these areas without sampling some of the local produce and so it was that we stopped at a few vineyards. We had outrun the bad weather and spent the afternoon relaxing in the gardens of the Blok Vineyard basked in sun and warm weather.
We arrived into Naracoorte Caves National Park in late afternoon. They have a small campground with great facilities. We were set up in no time and then headed down to Bat Cave on sunset to watch the bats leave. The next day we went back to the caves to take a tour of Alexandra Cave and Wet Cave and explore the fantastic display of Australian megafauna (think massive kangaroos and wombats). Special mention goes out to Tash, who didn’t let getting hammered by mozzies stop her smiling!
After a stop for lunch in Keith, the Adelaide Bohms headed for home and we headed to Murray Bridge and Monarto Zoo. We spent the morning exploring the zoo, which was fantastic. We normally have mixed feelings on zoos with a concern that we are exploiting the animals. Monarto was different – in part because it is an open plains zoo and also because its conservation mission is so strong. Monarto is undoubtedly one of the best zoos we have visited and the kids had a ball. Thomas liked the African Painted Dogs (the most endangered carnivore in Africa) and Sienna was fascinated by the White Rhino.
From Monarto, it was a short drive to Adelaide. We were greeted with hot weather and temperatures in the mid-30s. Fortunately our caravan park has a huge pool and water park, which has kept the kids occupied for hours.
We caught up with the Adelaide Bohms for dinner. It was great to see Brianna. Tash kicked off Sienna’s birthday celebrations by cooking chocolate brownie and caramel slice.
We have had a great time in Adelaide and have now travelled more than 3,500 kms. We are now looking forward to a short break back home to see family and friends…
Penola and Naracoorte Caves National Park
Murray Bridge and Monarto Zoo