Friday, 14 January 2011

Victor Harbor.Granite Island.Hindmarsh River.Murray Mouth.

Another update.
While Australia is in the news at the moment with venomous snakes,crocodiles and Bull sharks happily swimming around that northern state,s flooded suburbs eating tasty things floating in the water I thought it was high time to post the rest of my trips around The wonderful land of Oz where strange and exciting things can and do happen.
The next place I was lucky enough to visit was a seaside town called Victor Harbor over 5 hours drive (about 460 klms) away from Whyalla, firstly up the Spencer Gulf then back down  the coast past Adelaide to the Great Southern Ocean.This would entail  staying for the weekend at a hotel in the town.There were four of us in the car.Myself, my sister Vi, her daughter Joanne and Joanne,s  husband John.Joanne and John had connections to the town and knew the area well so they were our tour guides this time.It was also their car so many thanks again for their kind generosity.Hopefully I can do the place justice here.
This is a view of the Flinders Ranges on the way down.
Victor harbor and its neighboring towns of Port Elliot,Middleton and Goolwa run east along the coast and end at the Murray River,the vast watercourse that drains most of the state starting its journey high in the mountains of New South Wales.Even when I was over in September they were having a lot of rain  and flash floods in New South Wales.What I found mind boggling was how long this  massive bulge of flooding took to travel down to the Murray mouth.Over two weeks to cover the distance.It also has the River Darling pouring into it from the mountains near Brisbane.Although South Australia had just emerged from a ten year dry cycle and the Murray River was at record low levels I think it will be  pretty full now giving the whole state a real lift for years to come.Its just a pity someone else has to suffer under the full brunt of the deluge first.One thing I know about the Australian national character though.Moaning about things just isn't in their nature and neither is giving up.Like Americans,another young country with extremes in climate they just get on with it and rebuild communities without  too much fuss.Resilience just seems to be built into  their DNA as a way of life.Reading the papers despite crippling droughts in many places the attitude  always seemed to be ...No Worries She,ll be right.
This is the Mouth of the Murray as it weaves its convoluted path out of the massive Lake Alexandrina.How big?If you are out in the middle in a small boat I've read you cant see any shores.That's quite big!The whole of  the Glasgow population area could be placed in the middle and not touch any of the sides
But first things first.Victor Harbor and this part of the coastal strip has a wide range of things going for it.Cooling Sea breezes in summer,a mild almost UK feel to the climate.Loads of walks and cycle rides along the coast and through the hills,Bags of activities,several islands just offshore,even one, Granite Island with its own colony of resident little penguins.

As such it is very popular and a mecca for day trippers,folk on holiday and a desirable place to live or retire to.
The evening we arrived  the annual rock and roll weekend festival was on in town with teddy boys and bobby soxers jiving down the main street between classic 50s/60s convertibles.Unfortunately by the time we got booked in and sorted out it was over for another year.From a photography point of view it was a shame.
Never mind plenty more to see.
Next morning I was up before dawn,eager  to get 3 or 4 hours walking in before everyone else had breakfast.I,d discovered in the hotel the night before that a walk round Granite Island was a must see.This is the view from a high point on the Island looking back to Victor.
It was way too early for the tourist heavy horse and tram so I bombed round enjoying the silence, only a few brave joggers out and about.

An unusual car at the hotel.Note the Shark Fin.
Next up was a short coastal walk to the only estuary nearby then up the gorge like Hindmarsh river Which cuts the town in half and has some very exclusive properties on its wooded flanks.It made for a lovely walk,like an Australian Beverley hills with  little fast moving parrots skimming and squawking through the trees.
This is in the upper reaches beyond the houses.I was getting a bit knackered by this point so decided to circle back via the beach front estate.
Seen a sleepy lizard and this Honey eater on the way back.Still no snakes.Yippee!!!
When I returned to grab some cornflakes the others decided to take me on a drive(hooray, a sit down) along the coastal strip of towns to the Murray mouth.
This is Port Elliot, a small but nice town with its own network of scenic walks.I had time for a wee jog round while the shops were being looked at.Shopping's not really my thing.
Next up was Goolwa on the edge of the Murray itself.A steam train runs from Victor to here then ornate period paddle steamers ply upriver through meadows and gorge scenery.This is not the river:o) but the Southern ocean.Big rollers.I love big waves smashing against the coast on a windy day
From here we crossed onto Hindmarsh Island  itself and all the way out to the Mouth of the Murray  where it enters the Southern ocean.

The Coorong National Park covers a large area of tidal creeks, lagoons and swamps as well as the main river.
An interesting feature of Victor Harbor is a Granite Island of the future,The Rocky headland of the Bluff,still connected to the mainland but in ten thousand years who knows?
We all went up this for the view though my sister never got to the top.Aw!   :o)

It was fairly breezy up here.It being still winter.A great view though.
A good night was had in the hotel playing the pokies(winning again.Yahoo!) and a nice meal and a pint.
The next day we went touring returning home to Whyalla via  Hahndorf a little town tucked snugly up in the Hills above Adelaide.
That's the hills behind the city.
Hahndorf has strong Germanic links with its current population still keeping up that connection.Its a lovely place to stop,so we did to sight see and to break the journey.The German arms does amazing and very large traditional meals.(We won again on the pokies!)

Joanne and John out shopping.
A great trip and just a few more pics of the area.Victor used to be a whaling town but now they just take tourists out to spot the marine life .Nice sculpture in the main street.

A very unusual building in Goolwa area.

Interesting Info board.

This poor wee bird was knackered flying into the wind and took a rest on the causeway over to Granite Island.
A great trip and thanks to all involved.Unlike my sister who can type with all  her fingers I  am now off to rest on a bollard as well.Its 12.20 pm in the morning .Wah!.And so to bed.
******* I've Just noticed Victor Harbor is an unusual  spelling so I've had to change this post!Wah Wah!!!The spelling on the pics stays though!Live with it.


The Glebe Blog said...

I never managed to get to South Australia Bob,but I'm getting invites to head back 'Down Under',so it might still happen.
Looks brilliant.

blueskyscotland said...

Main Problem is the cost of flying over Jim.10,000 air miles doesn,t come cheap as you know.Though Perth is only £700 at the moment as its The nearest city to the UK.
Liked your Video and account of your own trip to Western Australia.

The Glebe Blog said...

Cheers Bob,yes you're right about the cost.I'll never get a deal like I got in 2003.£1200 all in for all my world flights.I had the most helpful of travel agents.