Check the last post - both were put up together...
From Lake Elingamite we made our way back to the coast to check out the Bay of Islands. We decided to head to Warrnambool and on the way stopped for morning tea at Cheese World at Allansford - random fact: they make 33,000 tonnes of cheese a year there! Did the tasting and bought Crackerbarrel Vintage and some rhubarb coulis… And lattes…
At Warrnambool we headed to Middle Island where the Maremma dogs protect the penguins (movie Oddball), and yep, the dogs were there and we saw them from the sand. We seemed to be the only ones who saw them even though there were a few families with kids talking about the movie as they waded out to the island. Really pleased to have seen the dog.
Next we headed to Bridgewater Bay, lovely beach, another from the Top 100 ticked off, but we were saddened to see a dead juvenile seal on the beach and amused/perplexed to see that out of 9 silver gulls standing on the beach 4 of them were missing a leg, their right leg - all 4 of them missing the same leg! We also visited the Blowhole, Petrified Forest and saw the windfarm here.
We camped that night at Annya Camp in the State Forest at Hotspur. After finding the camper fridge had defrosted and our Magnum ice creams were melted we spent a lovely night by the campfire but were interrupted by 5 youngish feral cats hanging around. I don't think they have been there long, but I would have loved to have a cat trap to reduce their numbers by 1 or 5. There wasn't a lot of bird life around and we only saw 1 kangaroo and 2 koalas the next morning.
We spent the majority of the morning trying to track down why the camper isn't charging from the car :(
When we got away we intended to head to Adelaide to see a new addition to Julie's family, baby Henry and his mum Jenni BUT just as we got through the Coonawarra wine region and into the town of Naracoorte we heard a thump and a brief squeal from the engine bay. Turns out we broke a fan belt which seems to have broken a second belt and stretched the third belt. The person who owned the house we stopped in front of was helping us and a passing motorcyclist gave us his number in case we needed some fan belts. Glen replaced the air conditioning belt - it was stinking hot again that day - and when we started the car and gave it a rev we had the fan belt squeal. After re-tensioning the one we just put on it made no difference so Glen tried to re-tension the other belt. Couldn't undo the lock bolt so we called the RAA (SA's NRMA) and the guy was there within 20 mins, no tools, we used ours. He wanted to put it on a hoist, suggested we call the motorcycle guy (Bryce) and see if he had any belts because he is attached to the Holden dealer - apparently they don't have fan belts to suit our Land Cruiser. When Bryce arrived with more tools and belts we still couldn't do it and RAA guy, Reg, suggested we stay till Monday and see Toyota and perhaps the air conditioning mechanic to line up the pulley so it wouldn't happen again. Bryce suggested free camping at the showground so we followed the RAA guys car through town squealing almost all the way. While all this was happening Julie removed all but one of her false nails.
Showground was $20 per night but a good place to base ourselves. The caretakers offered us a 10% off voucher for the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves and directions to the swimming lake.
Since we had to dump all our fruit and vegetables at the quarantine bin outside Mt Gambier we needed to head to town to stock up - seems we always break down after places close Friday and have to wait out the weekend in smaller towns - until Monday.
Foodland has a café! We can have a compensatory latte! No, no we can't because although it's over an hour before they close the 16yo manning the café has already cleaned the machine :(
We stock up and since the fan belt gets quieter the further we drive we explore the town then come back for a spectacular sunset, one of the features of this part of the country.
Today we decided to see the caves and went on a tour through Victoria Cave which has the largest concentration of fossils in the world and most of them are still in the cave. The sun was bitingly hot even at breakfast so the constant 17 degrees of the cave was welcome. We really enjoyed the tour then headed back to town for a dip in the swimming lake. 1.1 hectares (roughly 110m x 100m) of swimming pool with chlorinated bore water, concrete with a sandy beach on one side, free to use. A really fantastic facility.
Back to the showground for another stunning sunset, write this, upload photos and then off to bed to be at the Toyota dealer when they open.
14/1/16 Tonight we are free camped at Lake Elingamite, in a volcano crater. It's about 40km inland from Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road. Accommodation: $115, Lattes $104.20
Back on the 11th we took the boat to Melbourne… the same boat that a few days later broke free of it's moorings and was damaged. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-13/spirit-of-tasmania-breaks-mooring-at-port-melbourne/7087150 but our trip was incident free and very boring except that we watched the new (to us) 007 movie "Spectre".
Lesson learned - don't trust Google to know where things are: Searched for "caravan park near Brighton Beach Victoria" and went with the first hit which also had good reviews in Wiki Camps. Turns out Werribee South Caravan Park is an hour the other side of Melbourne. Next time I'll use a paper map… Julie reckons she can see the lights from Brighton across the Bay, but I think she is just being kind… anyway it was a good spot to do the washing (us and clothes - our feet were absolutely putrid from the fine black dirt at Swimcart Beach and our thongs were just as bad, even if we washed our feet 5 minutes in thongs are they were black again!) top up the water and batteries and pantry and even have a paddle. We spent two nights there for the relatively cheap price of $70 but it almost tripled our total accommodation bill! Julie continues to excel in her cooking and managed roast pork with crackling in the camp oven.
After leaving Werribee South we headed along the Great Ocean Road and stopped for a swim at Torquay because it was stinking hot, then had a swim at Bells Beach - there was no surf at all. It's pretty tight for free camping sites along the GOR so we headed to Hammonds Road North and had the place to ourselves. It was beautiful, we even missed the storm that hit The Spirit of Tasmania.
Today we continued (slowly) along the GOR, stopping for a while at Lorne to actually upload the blog. Had a bit of an issue getting photos in the right place and format but (hopefully) you will see that we've sorted that.. We saw the devastation of the Christmas fires at Wye River and the water bomber still being used to quench fires further inland.
Lake Elingamite seemed like the perfect place to fly my new kite as it was really windy. After getting it ready the best place seemed the edge of the lake WRONG… I took one step off the boat ramp onto what looked like dry soil and I instantly sunk to mid thigh. It was so soft it was like stepping on air. I'd probably have sunk deeper if I was more flexible because the foot still on the boat ramp stopped me. Lucky only one leg was stuck and that I was able to support my weight on the boat ramp to get out or I'd probably still be there as Julie didn't know which direction I went.. More kite flying when there is enough space without super soft mud.