Bel and Phil's Adventures

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Posts from the ‘Victoria and South Australia 2021’ category

Coorong Cruise

Wednesday 24th March 2021

Today was the day that we got to go on the Spirit of the Coorong Adventure Cruise. After our plain dinner last night, we were down at the Goolwa wharf early to get a beautiful breakfast. We checked in with the office of the cruise and they suggested Hector’s on the wharf. We are so glad they did. The breakfast here was amazing and the service exceptional.

The day was grey and overcast, although most of the days have started like that. After a delicious breakfast, we boarded the boat for the day. Phil loves being on the water, so we had to go upstairs and enjoy panoramic views. We headed off down the river towards the barrage on this side of Lake Alexandrina. The barrages allow some water to flow into the mouth of the Murray and out into the sea through the Murray Mouth. To get out into the salt water section, we needed to go through a lock through the barrage. We discovered that the seals love hanging out here to catch the fish coming through from the fresh water side.

Checking out the tourists.
Great place for a snooze.

After getting through the lock, we headed past the Murray Mouth. They were dredging again as they had cleared the channel and it had been clear for a couple of years, and then a flood came through, so they had to start dredging again to ensure that the Murray can empty into the sea.

There were so many birds through here. The tour guides were telling us that it wasn’t the breeding season so there weren’t as many birds as at that time.

Just some of the pelicans in this massive group resting after feeding near another barrage out of Lake Alexandrina.

We then stopped in the Coorong National Park. Joel, one of our guides, showed us some of the bush tucker found in the short path through the sand dunes to an old middens. Cockles (pippis) are ‘fished’ commercially on 90 mile beach (on the other side of the sand dunes) in the way that my mother and aunty taught me. Stand in the waves and wriggle while the waves are coming up and then when they go out, you can collect the pippis. When ‘fishing’ commercially, they follow the same procedure but have a net to capture the pippis, before they go back into the waves.

We then went through to the beach with the Southern Ocean pounding on the shore. It was so beautiful but wild. The wind was up as well.

Southern Ocean pounding onto 90 mile beach.

After this, it was back onto the boat and heading deeper into the Coorong National Park.

Cormorant in the Coorong – looking for food.

After enjoying a delicious lunch on board (although we were still full from breakfast), we headed to another spot to stop and stretch our legs. As you can see, the sun has come out and it was a glorious day. This area was a little wilder and the dunes were much taller. We headed up into the dunes and could easily see another Indigenous middens, however this was untouched. It was quite eerie to see the importance of this site to previous generations of Aboriginal people.

The white shells are the sun-bleached shells of an old Aboriginal middens site.

After this, it was back onto the boat for the journey back to Goolwa.

Heading for Goolwa through the Coorong National Park
Mr Percival’s offspring – perhaps.
The Goolwa barrage from the boat in the lock.

When we got back to Goolwa we went for a wander around the town. There was a ‘Scottish’ area of the town where the houses were built to resemble houses back ‘home’, which was Scotland.

We went exploring throughout Goolwa and had a lovely time.


We ended up having a drink and dinner at the Corio Hotel, after shopping at a local art gallery. We really enjoyed the drinks and meal that we had here. We decided to go back down to the Goolwa Wharf and check it out in the evening.

Goolwa Wharf
Near the Goolwa wharf at sunset.

We headed back to ‘home’ at the Goolwa Boat Haven. Tomorrow we are exploring this area. Initially we had planned to explore Lake Alexandrina, however we felt that we had seen enough on our trip in, so instead we are heading to Port Elliott and Victor Harbor.

Robe to Goolwa

Tuesday 23rd March 2021

We got up reasonably early and checked out of our accomodation. Our first stop was the Robe Obelisk. We were disappointed that the weather wasn’t better, but it is what it is. The Southern Ocean was unbelievably beautiful. The water is so clear and beautiful here.

Robe Obelisk, Robe SA
Robe Obelisk, Robe SA

We grabbed a quick, but delicious breakfast at the Robe Bakery and some sandwiches for later. We then headed back on the road, heading towards Goolwa. This route followed the coast with some stunning scenery and also alongside the Coorong National Park. We had planned to go on a road through the Coorong, but it was dirt road and my Mazda 3 doesn’t like dirt roads, so we rejoined the main road again.

We had a stop at Jack Point Observatory and got to see this section of the Coorong. The Pelican Islands were too far to see any pelicans there. It was so peaceful and untouched. Just gorgeous.

Coorong National Park at Jack Point Observatory

We headed to Meningie and went for a drive around Lake Albert. It was pretty but we decided to stay on the main road and headed back to Meningie.

Lake Albert, Meningie, South Australia

We saw the sign for the Pink Lake and stopped on the side of the road. There were some other people there viewing it as well.

It didn’t appear too pink when we were there, which was in the middle of the day. I’m also not sure if there was any water in the ‘lake’. It was just salt crusted mud where we were on the edge.

Back in the car with the next stop at Goolwa. We caught the ferry across the Murray River at Wellington, which was so beautiful.

The ferry crossing at Wellington, SA

We drove around and got an understanding of how big Lake Alexandrina is – it’s huge. It is 649 km2 and was so beautiful. We didn’t have a real sense of how big it was – until we were driving around it for a few hours.

We arrived into Goolwa in the afternoon. We were tired. We found our accomodation and couldn’t believe that we were staying on the banks of Lake Alexandrina. It was so beautiful. We would highly recommend the Boat Haven, Goolwa.

The dock at the end of the pier at Goolwa Boat Haven.
Looking towards the township of Goolwa and the bridge going over to Hindmarsh Island.

This accomodation was amazing. We were able to hear the water lapping on the shore, but were in a solid unit.

We relaxed and had our sandwiches here this evening as we were too tired to go out. We felt so lucky to get to stay here. Rebecca had been so helpful with all of our changes due to COVID.

Off on a cruise tomorrow to explore the Coorong.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria to Robe, SA

Monday 22nd March 2021

After not getting to see the Loch Ard Gorge yesterday, we were up and out there early. The sun rises around 7:20 am at the moment. The weather was better than yesterday with clouds clearing.

We were the first car in the car park at 7:20am. The view was breathtaking. The sheer cliffs meeting the turquoise waters was an unbelievable view that awaited us. Then as the sun broke through of the clouds and washed the cliffs in the sunshine, it became even more beautiful. We spent quite some time here as we walked out along the cliffs and then progressed down to the beach in the neighbouring gorge. We had brought the children here back in 2009 when we did our Victorian holiday with them. We did miss them tearing around finding places to explore, although we didn’t miss them asking if were there yet or do we have to stop again – depending upon which section of the trip we were on.

Just before the sun broke through the clouds.
Loch Ard Gorge
Razorback and looking East along the coastline from Loch Ard Gorge
Loch Ard Gorge in the morning light
Part of the Loch Ard Gorge coastline
The view from the beach of the sheer cliff faces. It was so beautiful and peaceful at this time with the area to ourselves. As we were leaving a few other couples were arriving.

We headed back into Port Campbell to have some breakfast and check out. The town was very quiet. The lady that we spoke to at the cafe indicated that there would ordinarily be 7 – 8 coaches through and there aren’t any at the moment. Having said that, she did say that business was starting to pick up again through domestic tourists.

We checked out of the hotel and headed west along the Great Ocean Road. Our next stop was The Arch. The clouds and rain were coming back so the light wasn’t as amazing.

The Arch, Great Ocean Road

The next two stops were London Bridge (which is not attached anymore) and the Grotto. We were blown away by the ferocity of the Southern Ocean and the beauty of this area.

London Bridge, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
The inaccessible beach at London Bridge with the sheer cliffs surrounding it.
The Grotto, Great Ocean Road, Victoria.

We continued heading west with our final stops at the Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands. We hadn’t been to these two places previously and were blown away by the majesty of these sites. We were also feeling a little blown away by the wind which had also picked up.

We then headed to a quick stop at Port Fairy, Victoria. This place looks so beautiful and will definitely need to consider coming back here when we have more time.

Port Fairy, Victoria

We had another little stop at Nelson, this little town on the banks of the Glenelg River where it empties into the sea. It was so quaint and looked beautiful. Full steam ahead for Mount Gambier, South Australia.

We were recommended to make sure that we stopped here. When I started researching, we discovered two features that we definitely wanted to see. The first stop was the Umpherston Sinkhole. It was amazing. The gardens were stunning. When we went down to the bottom, there were so many bees as there was a hive in under the rock.

After exploring the Sinkhole, we then headed to the ‘Blue Lake’. Our first glimpse of this lake left us speechless. We were trying to work out where we could park, then found the lookout carpark on the right hand side. We then realised that there was an underpass to a lookout of the Blue Lake where we took our photos. It was such a gorgeous blue when we were there and with the autumn colours of the trees near the lake – such an amazing view.

Back into the car and we headed to Beachport, SA. We were initially going to stay the night here, but wanted to get a little closer to Goolwa, to reduce the driving time tomorrow. When researching the area, I decided I wanted to see the Beachport Jetty so we did a quick detour.

We arrived there as the sun was sinking lower. It was massive!

On our way away from the jetty, we decided to go along the Bowman Scenic Drive. We were SO glad that we did! We came up the hill to this breathtaking view. Luckily Phil is getting better and better at stopping the Mazda quickly.

Bowman Scenic Drive, Beachport, South Australia
Bowman Scenic Drive, Beachport, South Australia

We continued along this drive and discovered the Pool of Siloam.

This was our last stop as we headed to Robe, our overnight stop. As we were driving into the town, the weather went so weird. We essentially went into like a pea soup fog and could hardly see ahead. We found our accomodation and unpacked. I went out to take some photos.

Phil and I then went across to the hotel for dinner, taking advantage of the setting sun on our way.

We have had a fabulous day and spending our first night in South Australia tonight. Heading to Goolwa tomorrow.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Saturday 20th March 2021

We left Sydney, just as the rain starting pouring down – literally. This was our 3rd attempt to do this trip, so nothing was stopping us – short of closed borders!

Our sons were holding the fort at home (and looking after the family dog) so we were off. The weather was dismal until we were 3 hours south of Sydney heading along the Hume Highway.

We stayed overnight at Ballarat, as we had wanted to avoid Melbourne, in case of an outbreak of COVID cases. We drove through Daylesford / Ballarat region and have earmarked this beautiful area of country Victoria as a definite place to come back and explore with more time. The drive ended up being close to 12 hours including stops, so we were exhausted.

Sunday 21st March 2021

Our plan today was to drive from Ballarat to the beginning of the Great Ocean Road today. The weather wasn’t great – but it was better than Sydney! We started at Bells Beach at the southern end.

The weather was wild. Our next stop was Urquhart Bluff. We enjoyed this stop and went down onto the sand to experiment with some different camera angles.

We then continued our drive. The next stop was the Airlie Inlet and Split Point Lighthouse. The whole area was beautiful, even in the wild weather. The lighthouse was the used for the Round The Twist series.

We had quite a long stop here and enjoyed some beautiful scones and sandwich from the coffee shop behind the lighthouse. It was so pretty and stunning, even in these weather conditions.

Our next stop was the Great Ocean Road Memorial. I found out about this through doing some research and reading other blogs. There is an area where you can pull off the road to take photos and read the information provided. We learnt about how the returning servicemen were used to help build this road.

We stopped to take some photos on the way to Apollo Bay. When we got to Apollo Bay, it was raining, with the rain coming straight at us, so minimal photos taken.

Somewhere between the Memorial and Apollo Bay.

We made it to the Twelve (although there aren’t 12 anymore) Apostles, with rapidly diminishing light and the rain coming down. One advantage was that there weren’t many people there at all and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. This meant that we could experiment with different settings. We quickly realised that we weren’t going to make Loch Ard Gorge this evening, so decided to get up early tomorrow morning instead to go to Loch Ard Gorge. These are the photos from the Twelve Apostles.

We stayed at Port Campbell overnight and had dinner at the hotel in town. Everyone we met was so welcoming. The food was beautiful with very generous servings.

Although this day was huge, we had so much fun exploring this beautiful, wild coastline. More of the Great Ocean Road tomorrow.

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