Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mt. Gambier to Harrow

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We got up at 7am.  I made a cup of tea, which we had in bed and next we chatted a bit and I did a sudoku till it was time to get up. It was bitterly cold in the wind, so we weren’t in a hurry to go outside!  We made breakfast and had it under cover of a nearby gazebo where we were a bit protected from the wind.  Two young men had arrived from their fishing holiday and were cooking their breakfast on the BBQ.  They were from Melbourne and enjoying the last day of their holiday.  At 9am we left for Port McDonnell, south of Mt Schank.

Port MacDonnell lighthouse in the distance

After some sight-seeing we turned around and went back to Mt Gambier, because we really wanted to see the sunken gardens at the Umpherston Sinkhole, where we arrived at 10am.  They were really worth the visit.  Just beautiful.  They were called ‘sunken gardens’ because we are in limestone country and sometimes the limestone has been 'eaten' away and caves form.  This was a huge cave of which the ceiling had collapsed, together with the topsoil and it provided perfect protected space for plants to grow.  We saw curtains of ivy and the huge cave walls and also very busy bees who made their hives in and on the limestone walls.

'Umpherstone Sinkhole' or 'Sunken Gardens'

Flowers at the Umpherston Sinkhole

Bee hives on the limestone walls at the Umpherston Sinkhole

Patricia and I had our morning tea on one of the benches in the sun with a beautiful view of the gardens.  We chatted with some people from Tasmania, who were filling in time until they could take over the management of a caravan park near Ballarat.  They also told us about a few real nice spots for overnight stays along the Great Ocean Road, which is also on our itinerary.  I took a few more pictures and then it was time to go, because there was more that we wanted to see in Mt Gambier.

Patricia and Marion enjoying a cup of coffee in the sunshine
surrounded by the beauty of the sunken gardens

Peeping through the ivy curtain

There’s another sunken garden.  Much smaller, but also worth a visit. We meet a young couple from Townsville who are also on the road since May and apparently thoroughly enjoying themselves.  I take some more pictures and on the way back to the van we pass a Rivers store where we have a look, and opposite the van is a shop which has cool cotton pants for sale.  Two for $25, so Patricia and I buy one each.  Handy on the trip and nice and cool in the warmer weather.

Beautiful standard rose bushes in bloom

Cave Gardens at James St, Mt Gambier

It's probably limestone rock,
 but they look like vulcanic rock to me

Looking down onto the walk ways

Then we set off to the Engelbrecht Cave, but on the way we discover a nice spot for a picnic and enjoy a quiet moment in the sunshine.

(I am missing these pictures, so will have to wait and see if Patricia has any)

The Engelbrecht Cave, which we visit next, is not much to rave about.  The sunken garden is small and the fee for the cave is too much after we’ve seen it all, so we take a few pictures and leave Mt Gambier behind to drive to the next rest area for the night: Harrow.

Engelbrecht Cave, Mt Gambier

The drive is through the beautiful rolling hills north of Mt Gambier.  We wanted to go via Naracoorte, but found a shorter road through Casterton and we arrived in Harrow after a short two hour drive.  I would almost call it a dainty little village!  We found the information centre, where we were shown a lot of interesting information about the local cricket in the early years when the aborigines were taken to England on a sea voyage because they were such excellent cricket players.  We were also looking for the general store where we paid our dues for the night, because we were able to pull into a campground with power.  We were able to charge all our gadgets and Patricia even discovered a washing machine, so she got all her washing done as well.  And I took the opportunity to update my blog.  Unfortunately no internet, so the uploading of story and pictures will have to wait a while longer.

 Rest stop for the night is  #509 Johnny Mullogh Park at Harrow (on the Glenelg River)

A well-deserved rest

Beautiful views of the Glenelg River

A pitch-black wallaby
(well, it looked pitch-black,
and they are called black wallabies or swamp wallabies)
and a moorhen in the front

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