Majella’s plan for today was simple. We were to trickle down the coast along the Coorong and then along the Limestone Coast to Mount Gambier where we would halt for the night.
My Fitbit woke me at 6:00 am but I rolled over until 6:45 am. At that point we rose, showered, ate breakfast, and packed. Agreed departure time was 8:30 am but everybody seemed to be ready before then and we were on the road a little after 8:00 am.
As we drove south-east along the Coorong we occasionally caught glimpses of the water and the dunes on the far side that protect it from the ocean. A few times we considered stopping for the view but never seemed to find the right place, either missing a turn or deciding that one was not what we wanted. I have some attachment to the Coorong because my MSc project investigated Coorongite, an algal product, as a possible precursor to Torbanite and similar oil shales. Majella and I had visited with Jane and Nick on our 1978-79 trip so I had seen it and was not concerned about a drive by sighting on this occasion.
Just beyond the end of the main Coorong lake we paused to view The Granites. They are are small group of rocks on the beach a little way off the highway north of Kingston SE. We took the road away from the highway, viewed the rocks and then continued on our way to Kingston SE (the SE was added in 1940 to distinguish it from the Kingston on the Murray).
At Kingston we stopped for photos by the big lobster. The restaurant there was closed but we found coffee at the bakery less than 100 m down the road. We took that opportunity to refuel the van and ourselves before driving on to Robe.
Most of us were aware of Robe because it had featured in an episode of the ABC program Back Roads. The story was about the efforts of locals to support military veterans. We found the local library cum information centre and the woman there provided a large volume of information about what we might see. On her advice we drove out to view the obelisk, a navigation aid on the cliffs at the entrance to the harbour, and then on to the Pool of Siloam, a landlocked pool with salinity levels 7 times that of sea water. In summer it is a popular place to swim with enhanced buoyancy but even Majella thought it too cold to try today. She did taste the water to test its saltiness.
We drove on to Beachport, named for a person rather than a beach, where we ate lunch. Both pubs we saw were offering $15 meals but some were tempted more by the roast than Asian meals so we split across the pubs. After lunch we walked the length of the jetty. It is now just 772 metres, reduced from its original 1220 metres, but still the second longest in South Australia and a good way to work off a meal.
From Beachport we drove on to Mount Gambier where we visited the famous blue lake and the Umpherston Sinkhole before checking in at our motel. By that time the sun was low and there were clouds so the blue lake was in shadow and dark indigo rather than brilliant blue. The sinkhole had been developed as a sunken garden in the 1880s and is now maintained as a tourist attraction. Several of us walked to the bottom to enjoy the gardens before climbing back to the top.
Our motel accommodation is two 2 bedroom apartments and a double room. As has become our habit, we had all eaten a substantial lunch so the evening meal was drinks with nibbles followed by sandwiches we each made to suit with the available ingredients. Tomorrow we head north for more adventures.