Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wed 31 Oct - Meningie SA

We are walking up to an overcast and slightly milder morning, but no rain overnight.

Breakfast last day in McLaren Vale and somebody nicked our last milk from the communal fridge, perhaps 200 ml or so from a 1 liter bottle. Bottle gone.

We suspected a couple with some 3 kids who stayed in a big tent just next to this public area and who had left early in the morning before we got up. Piss poor...

Today was intended to be a slow drive south and then east to likely spend the night in a motel and in a place that we hadn't yet decided.

So, we first drove directly west to the coast to Maslin Beach, which is undeveloped and had a distinct West Australian / Perth coastal feel with the sand dunes and the sandstone behind the beach.

We had by now realised that South Australia is not much for coffee shops / seafood and fish / toilets in public areas or along the water. No coffee shop for that morning cuppa to be found at Maslin Beach.

We continued south to Aldinga Beach and Snapper Point where we eventually found a deli of sorts which proclaimed that it sold coffee. Opposite the shop on the beach side was a picnic table and bench which seemed perfect to enjoy that hot drink of choice. Not a person in sight, and great views.
Well, we got our coffee and went out again... only to see that a school bus with umpteen number of school girls in their early teens had stopped next to our intended coffee spot and starting to fill up the available space there. Big laugh. We may have to find somewhere else to sit, which we did some 5 minutes later.

We noticed that you are allowed to drive on some of the beaches here. In fact, there are proper roads and signage leading down to the beach.

Of course, rebels are everywhere and some people work around the rules and find the way to whatever they intended. We saw a fisherman by water's edge, his ute parked next to him out in the water a bit.
And btw, no loitering at night here...

At Yankalilla, we turned east to get to Victor Harbor. Along the way, we passed Glacier Rock in a lovely little village called Inman Valley. It was called Glacier Rock because you could still see the markings on the rock from moving glaciers a long time ago. All very pleasant.
We drove through Victor Harbor without stopping as we had been there before and continued to Port Elliott a bit further east.

Di has read about this nice seafood place by the water's edge at Horseshoe Bay called Flying Fish so we decided to investigate it for lunch. Much pleasant al fresco dining, with fish and seafood baskets presented in milkshake like cones.

Hans asked Di why it was called Horseshoe Bay. Di answered that it was because once upon a time, they were riding horses on the beach and the horses left horseshoe marks in the sand. She is very clever, Di...
After lunch, we walked around along the beach a bit and then took the van up the hill to behind the beach.
Again, a lovely place, with this lovely YHA accommodation that had an old croquet field converted into a small park in front of it.
Great story about how the bay ended up being called Encounter Bay.
At the point, there were these lovely big rocks and Hans had to act a fool again...
We continued east to Goolwa, where both a steam train and a steam boat / paddle steamer are working the tourist and enthusiast trade, mostly run by volunteers and supported by grants from the public.

Goolwa was a major sea and train junction once upon a time as it is the last town along the Murray River behind the Murray reaches the sea.
After a cuppa on the waterfront, we drove across the Hindmarsh Bridge (of "secret women's business" notoriety if anyone remembers this; the bridge itself is a crappy short 1 lane either way kind of bridge) to get to Murray Mouth, the site where the Murray River meets the open sea.

The water is quite shallow at the Mouth and dredging of the sea opening is continuous. It is a beautiful spot with pelicans, various seabirds, and as always fishermen present. There were also some people filming a bit further away from us.
We continue east to Wellington to take the commuting ferry across the Murray to its eastern side and then drove up to Tailem Bend.

Tailem Bend is a junction where Princes Highway and another major road meet and it is just that, a junction town with nil charm. What a sh..hole that was.
We checked the map of the Limestone Coast and noted that Meningie is not far way and roughly on the way towards the Coonawarra region which we want to go to next. So, after a quick phone call to confirm that we could get a motel room, we drove the 30 minutes or so to Meningie, a cute little town on the shore of Lake Albert. The motel is also aptly called... Motel Lake Albert.

Once we arrived, we decided to upgrade to a de-luxe room which was bigger and had a kitchenette so that we could easily make our own dinner and breakfast in the room.

Dinner was pea and ham soup as an entree and then cheese, biscuits and more wine from yesterday's McLaren Vale supply. All very nice and relaxing.


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