I’ll preface this week’s blog with some news that we are absolutely delighted to share ( with those that don’t already know ) – we are going to be grandparents in mid- August ! Our daughter and her husband are expecting and we will take some time out of our travels this northern summer to be home for the much anticipated arrival of the baby. Very exciting stuff for us all. Our daughter is doing well and busy preparing for big day. It does, of course, move things around for us a bit – essentially we’ll now be very focused on the desert part of our trip and the weather dependent regions of Australia in the north between now and August. We’ll then return and focus on the southern part of the country ( as the Aussie summer approaches ). Hence, especially after our long delay in Melbourne, a bit of a “push” now to get to the Outback ! Fortunately it’s already the direction we were heading.

There is of course a more direct route from the Great Ocean Road ( where we left off last blog ) to Adelaide ( our next major destination ) but based on the advice of several folks who’d gone before it was decided that the coastal route offered some better vistas. There were indeed some memorable highlights – the stunning Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, as well as the sunken garden, along with the popular coastal towns of Robe and Victor Harbor ( two on our route that really stood out for us). The coastal route ends up crossing Australia’s mighty Murray River ( in our case via the punt at Wellington ). Much of the first part of the coast ( the “Coorong”as it’s called) is fairly monotonous- low scrub, some really tidal swampy areas and for us, some less than ideal weather to see it in. That said, we did enjoy great wild camping by the ocean in Port McDonnell and again just outside Robe and Kingston SE; nothing like going to sleep with a cool sea breeze, the distinct smell of salt air, and then waking up to the sound of crashing waves..!

Our travels since last post.

View from our wild camp at “Granites” on the Coorong area in SA. Sadly, not such a nice day.
This spot ( “Granites” ) was very popular with travellers!
Sunset, wild camping Port McDonnell
Sunken garden, Mount Gambier.
Blue Lake, Mount Gambier
Blue Lake, Mount Gambier
Blue Lake
Bumped into a Chilean/Australian couple in Mount Gambier who’d done some serious global overlanding !
Typical Coorong scenery. It was not the most exciting part of our travel on the coast.

A little bit of local history I was not aware of.
Coffee break, Coorong, SA.
The obelisk, Robe, a very picturesque and historical town on the South coast.
Coastal scenery, Robe
History of the Caledonian Inn.
Original limestone building, the famous Caledonian Hotel, Robe.

Punt across the Murray River at Wellington, SA.

Australian Cockatoo’s, our campground, Port Elliott, SA
Chatting with fellow campers Craig and Jenny, in Port Elliot. Like quite a few we have met they sold up their home, ordered this custom rig and are currently travelling Oz – then shipping it abroad to travel the world.
Downtown Victor Harbor
The jetty, Victor Harbor. The island is a great walk !
Enjoying a coffee, Victor Harbor.
The cacophony of cockatoos ! Victor Harbor.
Pretty scenery on the Fleurieu Peninsula

At one point the diversion to Kangaroo Island was considered ( being so close on the Fleurieu Peninsula ) but on arrival at Cape Jervis the weather was very gloomy – on sober second consideration it seemed to make more sense to delay Kangaroo Island until we come this way again ( and we likely will ) when the weather is better – it’s also a very expensive short ferry ride so we’d like to see the place at its best. Onwards then, to Adelaide ( and the Barossa Valley ) just an hour away, some great sights and a long overdue rendezvous with a cousin I’d not seen in over 40 years.

My cousin, Michelle, and her husband Michael who hosted us in Adelaide. Checking out our “home”.
Our packages had arrived ! Michelle kindly allowed us to have some critical parts shipped to her home in Adelaide .Here, Lois with Michael, Michelle’s husband.
Downtown Adelaide, from across the River Torrens.
Lois, spoilt for choice in Adelaide Central Market !
Some local specialties ( check the labels closely ).
The famous Bradman Stand, Adelaide Oval. Of interest only to cricket fans !
Barossa Valley, Australia’s most famous wine region, just an easy hour’s drive from Adelaide.
Prophetic words- Chateau Tanunda winery, Tanunda.
Jacob’s Creek vines, Jacob’s Creek – our first wine tasting.
Lois getting what seemed like a private wine tasting, Chateau Tanunda ( we were the only guests at that time ! )
Stopped by Yalumba to pick up a couple of Lois’s favorites.

From the Barossa region it was an easy drive to the Yorke Peninsula where we had a couple of days exploring before driving on up to Port Pirie, for us basically the stepping stone to adventures further north – there’d be some van work to do ( minor repairs ), a little WW2 nostalgia to investigate, some serious stocking up on supplies and the purchase of a two-way radio ( an essential item, we’re told) for life on the long desert roads ahead.

Incredibly there is a walking path right around the Yorke Peninsula – we did not have time to do it ( it’s a very long walk !).
These folks waited by our van in Port Vincent – the lady said her dream was to travel the world in a Sprinter . Her husband inside checking it out.
Silo art, Yorke Peninsula
Port Hughes beach, Yorke Penisula, famous for the color of its sand and the turquoise water.
South Australia has some of the best preserved classic Aussie pubs, two here on the Yorke Penisula.
And the second, Yorke Peninsula.
WW2 photos, Port Pirie gunnery school, 1943/44 where my father trained before sailing to the war in Europe. A bit of a nostalgic visit.
Plaque commemorating Australian airmen who trained at the Gunnery School, Port Pirie. My father was here in 1943.
The fan motherboard needed to be replaced – it took hours !
Fan motherboard replaced – one of the critical parts shipped from the US. Would not want to have been paid by the hour for my labour, but got it done ! It failed days prior to shipping from the US with no time to replace it.
….the new water filter, not so long !
The lady at the tourist information office in Port Pirie said this was “not to be missed”. Hmmmm….not our cup of tea !
A major re-pack while camped in Port Pirie – making room for desert travel essentials. We’ll start organized even if we don’t STAY organized !
“Carry lots of drinking water”, we were advised, in advance of our first foray into the desert.
Classic railway station, Port Pirie,
Downtown Port Pirie.

From Port Pirie we’ll head to Maree, the end of paved roads in South Australia, then the desert tracks beyond.  We haven’t even gotten to the part of South Australia yet that we are most anticipating ( the “Outback” ) but have already been amazed by the beauty, scenic variety and fascinating history of the state-  it’s delivered us some very pleasant surprises.

Till next week….