The Great Ocean Road runs for 243 kilometres between Torquay and Allansford on the south eastern coast of Victoria, Australia. It is heritage listed and is one of the worlds most scenic coastal drives.
We visited Mount Gambier, South Australia, which is famous for it’s Blue Lake that changes colour to a brilliant blue colour in November and remains that colour over the summer each year. Since we visited in winter, the colour was not the same vibrant blue, but it was still interesting to visit the lake which is formed in a crater, and you could definitely see the difference in colour between the blue lake and the lake in the adjoining valley.
The sinkhole was originally on a private property, where the Umpherston family developed the gardens in the 1880’s. Umpherston Sinkhole was once a cave formed through dissolution of limestone and the sinkhole was created when the top of the chamber collapsed downwards. Now the topsoil down on the floor of the cave forms the perfect environment for the sunken garden.
Mt. Gambier is built on the slopes of an inactive volcano and features several other sunken cave gardens as well as nearby attractions such as Tantanoola Caves with it’s pink dolomite caverns. The area is known as the limestone coast and many buildings are constructed from blocks of local limestone, which makes it a most attractive town.
Gypsy and the Trumpet, which actually don’t have all that much to do with each other, apart from happening on the same day…
We are just having a quick winter getaway and camped at Tailem Bend on the Murray River for a few nights. After a stunning sunset it was a bit chilly at night and we were pleased to have a campfire.
It is easy to make photos like this with a tripod, and around a 5 sec exposure at ISO200. I found I needed to focus manually on the spot where the sparkler-holding-person would stand.
We finally made our way across to the east coast and to Maryborough which is a lovely town in which to spend a night. It has been quite a while since we stayed in a town! Being boaties, we opted to put our van next to the Marina on the Mary River for the night so that Peter could look at the boats; he has been missing his boat and the sea. Once we were set up, we went for a walk through the beautifully kept Queens Park, which is one of the oldest botanical parks in Australia. Nearby is the historic court house, and beside it …
And the sun sets after another busy day.
Lara Wetlands came highly recommended by WikiCamps, and since we were passing through Barcaldine we decided to go the extra kilometres, spend a few dollars and find out for ourselves. Jo, who runs Lara, is a delightful and welcoming person who has put so much effort into establishing the camping area and thermal pool. It all looks great and it was a peaceful and relaxing place to spend a bit of time.
Lara is also a working cattle station and is a very interesting and welcoming place to stay.
The longer we have been on the road (over two months now) the more we have come to realise the benefits of finding a decent free camp to set up for a day or two. We use WikiCamps to help us discover what places are suitable then choose according to location and comments from other users.
I have learned to recognise quite a few new birds on this trip, but nothing in comparison to one of our travelling companions who has photographed and identified over 80 species he hadn’t previously seen. It definitely helps to have a bird identification book along on the trip.