Archive | February, 2013
26 February 2013

Victor Harbour

From Cape Jervis and the ill-fated ferry journey to Kangaroo Island we drove on to Victor Harbour. SA roads are not very good so it was a fairly slow trip. As we had been invited back to the Pattersons at Normanville for Saturday dinner and a sleepover we didn’t want to stray too far from there. Victor Harbour as it turned out was such a nice place we ended up staying on until Tuesday.

We didn’t make Kangaroo Island this time but we experienced the next best thing – a walk around Granite Island off Victor Harbour. A beautiful nature walk and sights – also notable for little penguins and seals and its horse drawn tram…….IMGP1239 IMGP1243 IMGP1251 IMGP1238IMGP1255 IMGP1261






Jude was quite sure the old horse was overloaded and looked more than unhappy about his lot so she wouldn’t  let us ride the tramcar. After a 3 or 4 K walk around the island I can tell you who was more buggered, but she slogged back on foot regardless. Good for us I said!!!

Dined out in VH Friday night at the ‘pensioners’ pub and had quite a good meal for not a lot of money – apparently though we came in too late as we missed out on a lot of the buffet sides. We now understand that these sides are a pensioners main fare but you have to get in early before the full ticket diners get in, so on Sunday we got in earlier at another local but still missed most of the sides. Might have to get to dinner by 4.30 in future just like the old people.

Saturday saw us at Goolwa for the bi-annual “Wooden Boat Festival”. Spectacular array of old wooden boats, mostly from the Murray and the Coorong and other local areas but a very well attended event on what turned out to be a beautiful day. Prior to this had spoken with Mandy Stokes who with Richard lives in Goolwa. Richard as it turned out was ‘officialling’ at the Festival but despite phone calls, paging and CB seeking we didn’t manage contact until we got back to Normanville later in the day. Arrangements were subsequently made to catch up at their place Monday night.The Festival though looked like this…….IMGP1267 IMGP1268 IMGP1270 IMGP1273 IMGP1280 IMGP1282






and this 








Saturday night back to Normanville for the magnificent hospitality of the Pattersons who look like this……PICT0012 - Copy - Copy - Copy






and live like this……PICT0018 PICT0025 - Copy PICT0028 - Copy PICT0037





Terrific outlook, lovely home and great company – thanks Sue and Pete.

Sunday neccessitated a bit of R & R so after a liesurely drive back to VH from Normanville we shopped, walked and sat and house kept until dinner at a previously mentioned (other) pensioners public house, but still not early enough.

A strange thing happened Monday – it rained. We have not seen water from the sky since well before moving from Ringwood. Put a bit of a dampener on activity but on clearing later in the day we took off for Hindmarsh Island to look for secret womens business. Its still secret. We did peer up the mouth of the Murray and explored a lot of the island. Wasn’t hard. Dunno what secrets there could be.

Back to Port Elliott, picked up with Mandy Stokes at kindergarten who led us unflinchingly back to their place at Goolwa where we enjoyed another great night of old friends hospitality. Richard was his memorable ebullient self and  Helen King  joined in the night of reminesences all over a great barby surrounded by a beautiful garden and not a few bottles of red……PICT0073 PICT0075 PICT0077PICT0076






….and I’m happy to report that the Midget once known as the ex-Boyd car is now unquestionably the Stokes’ car. Its pristine and belies its age. Enjoy guys and thanks for a memorable catch up. Gotta do it again next trip!

Now in the heart of Langhorne Creek but more on that in due course.

21 February 2013

Mt. Barker onwards

The Winnebago Adelaide Hills Safari finished Tuesday morning and we saw off 15 or so of the participants. Received an invitation to attend the launch of the new brand mobile home “Avida” (Winnebago by another name). Adelaide showgrounds early Wednesday took some effort but for free entry to the Caravan & Camping Show it might have been worth it. Spent the day looking at  camping things, even bought some. Dunno what to do with them but they were bright and shiny. Still don’t know how to put up either of the two tents we’ve got but Jude wants to buy one thats easier to put up anyway.

Forgot – last day of Safari included tour of Laratinga wetlands at Mt Barker (a sewerage treatment complex by any other name). Actually very interesting ecological concept. Then on to Hahndorf village for an introduction to two artists works and a presentation on the history and museum of  Hahndorf  and its Academy.IMGP1202 IMGP1205 IMGP1206






End of safari Dinner – a “German experience” – sausages.IMGP1216







Now in Victor Harbour after checking out possible ferry ride to Kangaroo Island. Decided to defer the expense – $375.00 for car and two people. Very expensive day out so we may do it later and take more time staying on the island.

Called in to see Sue & Peter Patterson at Normanville. Ended up spending a very pleasant afternoon and going back for dinner Saturday. Lovely place and loved the 4A (TR that is)IMGP1226













View from back balcony (click to open to full size)

From Peter & Sues

17 February 2013

Robe – Mt Barker

We left Robe am Thursday 14 Feb with the intention of heading to Eden Valley for the start of the Winnebago Clubs Adelaide Hills rally on the 15th but with a stopover in Murray Bridge or thereabouts. Also expected to see some sights on the way which might slow us down but coming back up inland to the Dukes H’way we saw nothing to divert our attention and found ourselves back in Murray Bridge much earlier than expected. So, lets move straight on to Eden Valley and get in a night early and have a rest. Good. What a road it turned out to be. Hilly, winding, narrow – just what you need in a 16m truck. Any way we got to Eden Valley to find half the participants in the rally already there. Turned out a fun night but after a 400 odd km drive it certainly wasn’t late.IMGP1124 PICT0002







(and, no, the Longreach at the front is not ours but just one of three on the rally). Had internet reception but too late to post on Thursday night. Tried to go online on Friday – no reception. Against my better judgement Jude convinced me to ring Telstra. I know I’m a fool but after 3 hours on the phone we did have reception again. Well events had started leading to happy hour so I didn’t get around too posting during the day.Finally got back to it Friday night only to find we had no reception again. After much cursing and stomping I reset all of the changes made by Telstra and by midnight had it all back again. Too tired to care I thought tomorrow was another good day. The rally moved on to Cudlee Creek and there there was no reception for anything. But we went to visit the sights the area has to offer which include the Birdwood National Motor Museum and the Wooden Toy Factory with the worlds biggest rocking horse. Its true – its very rare, so much so that all of the offerings must have already been taken. We’ve seen the museum before and there were still no Spridgets let alone round nose Minis, but it’s still a fascinating collection of automotive memorabilia and obviously a place of  consuming interest for some…….IMGP1156







The Winnebago Club has a mascot –  Kenny the Koala and members opt to take Kenny on various jaunts. Jude decided he should come with us but at last nights happy hour and daily debriefing she was fined for Kenny abuse for this event……DSCF0477 DSCF0481 IMGP1132






and then making him play one eyed bingo. I knew this late life adoption could only end in tears. Kenny went into care last night just to avoid any other unfortunate ‘mishaps’.

We’re now (17th) in Mt Barker where the group will stop for a couple of days while we explore the surroundings.IMGP1140 IMGP1174 IMGP1182 IMGP1196






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I had one, I want one, its cute but I don’t want one, the Fowlers or at least one might like both, it did what we’re doing 105 years ago and Dad had one.

Nearly time for drinks (most important) so…. moooooving on.

13 February 2013

Adelaide – Robe

Robe beckoned. The Coorong was on the way. So was Kingston SE. We know where we would like to be. Since the SA Govt won’t sell me Martindale Hall we will just have to settle for Jude’s choice…….

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Just a pity about the “outhouse” and the fact that we are about $1.2m short. This by the way is in Robe. I might just have seen it being built when I was last here about 60 years ago (not quite – I think it is circa 1880).

Robe is beautiful. Kingston SE is not. The Coorong is interesting and it is evident as to why the Murray needs a flush. All the way the river has appeared green. The Coorong is also green, salty and in parts dry. It looks unhealthy. We can understand some of the ‘greenies’ concerns as it would be a tragedy if it was to worsen or left to dry up. But, like most things environmental its a trade-off.Coorong12Feb13









(double click on any photo t o see greater detail)

We are presently staying in  the grounds of the house Jude wants to buy. The stables are the caravan park office and managers residence. The house was leased out as a B&B but the operator went broke and the owners have taken it back to sell.

We also paid a little visit to Guichen Bay. Peter Wehl says to tell Ian & Peter that all is well. Well it is. But the well was dry – no samples. Looks healthy enough though.

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Adelaide to Robe is about 350km by mostly a very ordinary road. We really could only travel at about 80 km/h so it was a slow and draining trip. Now we have to face it back again so will probably take a couple of days given that our next destination is Eden Valley for the Winnebago clubs Adelaide Hills rally starting Friday 15th.




11 February 2013


Moving on from Burra towards Adelaide on Sunday we noted some immense arrays of wind turbines. Some of the shots of turbines in the distance I’ve stitched together to provide a panoramic view of the windmill landsacape – it seems to go on for kilometres. Click on the photo and blow up to see just how many turbines there aTerowie Wind farmStitchre…..


 This was but one run – there were many more.

Somewhere about Black Springs noticed a sign to Mintaro and Martindale Hall. Decided to turn right and review my opinion of Martindale Hall, first discovered in 2001. No such luck – it was closed. Cos we were there we went on into Mintaro which we had passed through also in 2001 and had dismissed as an insignificant little slate mining town. I think we must have all driven by with closed eyes because it turned out to be one of the quaintest places we have yet seen. Lots of slate – yes, but stacks of beautiful little stone cottages with some of the lovliest people yet found. We were even invited in to one of the cottages which had its origins as a miners two room dwelling in 1850 but had been added to substantially over the years to be a honeycomb of perhaps 12 different rooms. The owners, a retired couple, bought it about 2 years ago and were restoring it. I think had they not been rushing off to a local vineyard to work we would have been invited for lunch.PICT0063






COMING SOON:  If you’re interested there are many more photos  of all the places we have been so far archived under the “place” headings off to the RHS of this column.

Ended up spending all morning in Mintaro and then cruised on down to Adelaide. We had booked a park for the priod 28 Feb – 7 March for the time we we will be back in Melbourne and as we couldn’t readily find another van park on the way into town we satnavved our way to the one we knew. Turns out to be a loverly spot in  Mitcham so we have languished for an extra day. Caught up with Justin and Jane and Janes Mum and Dad ( Anne & Quentin Monk) last night and had a very enjoyable dinner and evening with them. Great company. Thanks Q & A.

9 February 2013


From Broken Hill we headed down the Barrier Highway towards Peterborough SA. Had heard the Rail museum was worth a visit. Along the way we passed through some very isolated little hamlets amongst them MannaHill where we were told that the railway station was the most photographed structure along the highway. Well its no surprise because nothing else is worth photographing or visiting. I can’t imagine why anyone lives here. The Mannahill publican told me she had been there for 12 years and 3 years ago some new people moved into an old derelict shop? further down the road and opened a cafe?, effectively halving her business. Now as neighbours they can’t even talk to each other and they’re the only people in ‘town’. She also told me you can’t drink the local water cos its got lead poisoning because of dust from the passing of open ore trains from Broken Hill.

Peterborough by afternoon proved to be as engrossing as predicted. Phil, a very informative guide, took us through the Steamtown Rail Museum. They also run a light and sound show of a night but need a few more in an audience than was there for the afternoon so it was a no show on Friday. Decided to move on and found ourselves  overnighting in Terowie ( Judi Deys home town which explains some things). Stayed in the railyard siding and discovered a treasure trove of history. Terowie was the change over site from broad guage to narrow guage rail and was a hub of activity in the late 1800s to 1972. Walked into “town” this morning and ended up with a guided tour courtesy of a couple of very enthusiastic locals. Thanks to Kenny and Peter who opened up a few of the  displays and took us through with irrepressible enthusiasm and vocalisation. Spent half the day in Terowie exploring.

Moved on to Burra and walked the town, even finding some new places of interest given we had three days here back in 2001 (yes, the year of a Sprite Odyssey gone awry). Love this town – its a fabulous example of history preserved for the future and yet its still a  working town. Bit hard to get into the service station with a truck though and an awful lot of thoroughfares with less than 5 tonne load limits.

We’ve now covered some 1400 klms and show a consumption average of 22.2 l/100km which equates to 310 litres at an average cost of $1.55, so some $480.00 has got lost on fuel. The frightening part of our expenditure so far though has been trailer repairs – some 1600 odd dollars. I sure didn’t budget on that. Just means eating is a secondary consideration. We have done reasonably well on the accommodation front though with only about $265.00 spent so far for park fees over 13 nights (8 of those nights in paid caravan parks). We are right now in the Burra Showgrounds –  $15.00 with power, shower and loos.

Some sights but no sounds follow………IMGP1050 IMGP1051 IMGP1052 IMGP1055 IMGP1065 IMGP1071 IMGP1073

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8 February 2013

BH Still Still

Actually departed Broken Hill this morning but had not posted sightings and events of last couple of days, so here comes an update. On Wednesday we traveled firstly to the Daydream Mine for a real life vintage trip down a real mine shaft. Jude was distinctly advantaged as a height challenged person, although we were advised still some inches taller than the original miners. We were all rigged up with helmets and head lights and ventured down some fairly daunting mine shafts where miners actually worked lying down, working by candlelight. Not for the faint hearted, but interestingly, according to our tour guide, well paid by the standards of the day. A stockman was paid about $2.00 a day whereas a miner got perhaps $5.00. Life was short with many dying by 40 from silicosis or lead poisoning.

Later we traveled the 110 km to Menindee which is  notable for its lakes complex from the damming and redirection of the Darling River and its seedless grapes. The lake complex is massive, supposedly 3 1/2 times the area of Sydney Harbour. But, no wonder the grapes are mostly green cos so is the water.

Thursday saw Mike depart to head back to Melbourne, Jude get some “housework” done and me do something else. It reached 42 by early afternoon and the Winnie air was not coping well so we went for drive and found some points of interest like – emus growing on a diet of golf balls, air navigation antennae directing all air traffic away from BH (presumably), the local drive in theatre with a paucity of entertainment (gotta wonder what the love generation does for its jollies now) and  a model aero club next door to  the local shooting range (dunno what they used for targets huh? – or did the models bomb the shooters?)IMGP1045

We also attempted to follow the ‘Heritage Trail’ but someone stole the signs so we made our own. Interesting though – this town has a remarkable history but it is not preserved like so many other historic mining towns. Perhaps the highlight in terms of preservation was a visit to a photo gallery of  historic prints and descriptors but a couple of hours had the head spinning with a surfeit of information. We’ve subsequently been given a DVD of the history of BH but as yet haven’t had time to review it. This by the way was given to us by Gary and wife staying in the caravan park but who was a past resident of BH (I’m becoming as grammatically challenged as my son – its hereditary – you get it from your kids).

Were now past Peterborough having spent some hours on a guided tour of the steam/rail museum. Fabulous and I think Jude even enjoyed it too.

Some happy snaps follow….

……. Daydream IMGP1020IMGP1021MenindeePICT0003 OOOH! Sunset Stripwhere there was once a very high tide and BH people take their annual leaveSunset Strip Menindee

Off Sunset Strip Menindee

It is altogether a fascinating part of this country, one which it is difficult to comprehend when you take in the hostile environment surrounding all of it.

4 February 2013

Broken Hill still

Trailer in for repair again, then into town to Rail Museum. Fantastic collection of locally used rail items. Luv it!

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Trailer fixed, just more money. Afternoon hot, we’re relaxing in aircon waiting on neighbours to return for happy hour.

4 February 2013


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Around Silverton

4 February 2013

In & Around Broken Hill

Explored Silverton about 25km north west of BH on Sunday (3rd Feb) notable as the backdrop to Mad Max 2. I’m guessing they did not need any traffic control when shooting the road scenes. Plenty of picture galleries featuring what you might least expect – pictures of nothing, although there were some comedic interpretations. I got lots of illegal photos (no photos allowed in the galleries) but lost the lot (love computers/technology) and didn’t have enough guts to go back and shoot again.

Anyway plenty of outdoor shots of every painted scene – IMGP0989

Saw camels, emus and Mad Max memorabilia but very little reason for people to live there. Fascinating old gaol loaded with historic memorabilia and still good isolation cells but they wouldn’t let me move in. It never ceases to amaze me as to why peple choose to live and work where they do, let alone why anyone went there in the first place. Aaah … the power of the dollar.