After travelling over 40,000kms we’re almost home, and our sensational Aussie adventure comes to an end. But before getting too nostalgic, we need to let you know what we did before unhitching for the final time.
When we last wrote, we had spent some time in and around Melbourne, and we were trying to work out which way we would finally head back home to SA. Not content on taking our normal route home through Horsham and Bordertown, and having previously done the Great Ocean Road, we decided on a “through the middle” approach to Ballarat, and across to Hamilton where we would stop for our last night in Victoria. We found that as we drove, the surrounding area was very much sheep country; it was also very scenic with lots of rolling hills scattered with massive gum trees, and as the road had little traffic, we just cruised along. Taking a morning walk in Hamilton, the town was much bigger than we had remembered – it had all the mod cons needed, but as we left, we found that within 10 minutes out of town, the beautiful open spaces of sheep grazing land was all around us once again. It was just beautiful.
Driving on from Hamilton, we stopped for a morning coffee at Casterton, and then before we knew it, we could see the SA border sign in front of us in the distance. Awww…….Stopping for an obligatory photo, it was evident we were both a little sentimental as we started to reflect on the enormity of our trip, with everything that we had done and seen, and it was now all coming to an end. So lucky for us that we were stopping at the Coonawarra for a few days to drown our sorrows!
Aiming to visit a mixture of new wineries and some old favourites, we spent some time at Penley Estate, Zema, Redmans (a favourite), Hollicks, Majella and Katnook Estate. We had some brilliant cabernet sauvignon, but what we really like about the Coonawarra, is that the prices are so reasonable for some of what we think is the best wine in Australia. Yes a big call, but we absolutely love it here. By the time we left Penola, the poor car and van had even more wine to take home, and it was at this point that we really hoped we wouldn’t come across a weighbridge anywhere soon. Before leaving Penola, we stopped for a look at the Mary MacKillop Schoolhouse which has been restored – a lovely old building which is now used as a museum.
Our next stop was to head towards the coast to Robe. Hearing that the town’s population is normally around 2,000, and within a couple of weeks would swell to 25,000 with holidaymakers, we were appreciative that we arrived when we did. The seaside town was pretty well empty, the weather was glorious, and we found that the town has some fantastic history, with shipwrecks, prison ruins, and many historical buildings. We took some great walks, and enjoyed being entertained by a seal fossicking around some rocks constantly doing what looked like handstands…leaving his back flippers visible from above the water only. Oh, and Robe has some of the best fish and chips we’ve had on the entire Aussie trip. (Here’s a tip….buy them from the Mobil service station)!!
With a brief stop at Kingston for morning coffee, I managed to snap a photo of a European Goldfinch (not that I knew what it was at the time). Seeing this “masked” bird on the ground not far from the car, I frantically grabbed the camera and started snapping, hoping that one of the shots would turn out. Reading my trusty bird book later that day, I worked out what it was, and realised that they’re not that common in South Australia, so it was a great bonus.
Our final stop for the trip was at Meningie. Setting up camp along Lake Albert, the birdlife was prolific, and I don’t think I’d ever seen so many pelicans in flight before. Throughout the afternoon, there must have been at least a couple of hundred flying over at various times – just glorious to watch. With rain coming, it limited our activities for the afternoon, and before we knew it, the rain settled in for the rest of the day, into the night, and continued the next morning. What a home welcoming this was becoming!
Well today was the day….we were finally going to be arriving home. Our final pack up was a bit surreal knowing that in around 3 hours, we would be pulling into our driveway and it would all be over. Taking our usual route home through Tailem Bend and Mt Barker, before we knew it, I was unlocking our gate and with mixed emotions, we were parking and unhitching the van. Ahhh, we were home…..
So we have now been home for a few days, and it’s taking time to settling back in. Grant knows I’m keen not to unpack everything out of the van because as he’s already learnt, he next trip is already in the planning. 😛
Well family, friends, and readers alike, sadly that’s the end of Grant & Linda’s Sensational Aussie Adventure (this one anyway). With more than two years in the planning, and eventually being on the road for over 18 months, it has been an absolutely life changing experience and such an amazing trip. We have made many new friends, taken over 20,000 photos, and we have heaps of wonderful memories of places, sights, and characters that all make this country so special…it’s something that we’ll never forget. So we hope we have inspired you to get out and see some of our great country, and who knows, we may get to see you out on the road one day!
All the best and stay safe,
Grant & Linda.
|Kms Travelled Total 40,063