Thursday, 31 December 2015 – Sunday, 17 January 2016
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Where we stayed: Moss Vale Showgrounds
We set off on our two week South Australian adventure on New Years Eve!
Moss Vale Showground was our first overnight stop. We had planned on staying here when we brought the caravan home from VIC in October but when we arrived there was a huge scout camp weekend on and no availability so we said next time! This time it was very peaceful…
The next morning we headed towards Picnic Point to Murraybank Caravan Park. We stopped for a short break at Gundagai and took the mandatory picture with the kids sitting beneath The Dog on the Tucker box.
After a lunch stop we made our way further south west and through Deniliquin. This little town happens to be the place Justin was born and lived until he was two so we did a drive by his old house and took a quick pic for his parents…
We arrived at Murraybank Caravan Park (near Mathoura NSW) mid afternoon. First on the agenda – a swim!
CAMPING ON THE MURRAY RIVER!
Where we stayed: Murraybank Caravan Park, Mathoura, NSW
Murray Bank Caravan Park was a beautiful spot at Picnic Point right on the Murray River.
Although the park was quite full it was still a lovely spot for a couple of days. The kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and riding their bikes around the park.
When we arrived the owner had told us if the kids had life jackets, floating down the river was a must. With the kids in their blow up boat and wahu vests on, we grabbed their kick boards and we all peacefully floated down the river for a kilometre or so.
A FUN DAY IN ECHUCA!
We left the beautiful Murraybank today and headed to Wedderburn via ECHUCA!!
It was only a short 30 minute drive to Echuca and we were set for an exciting day exploring the historic Port. We parked the car and van at the Tourist Information Centre and grabbed a few brochures on the way passed. First stop was TwistED – an interactive science play space! This place was amazing…the kids (and us) loved it and we spend the best part of two hours playing here.
After a quick bite to eat at one of the local pubs we headed to the Wharf, collected our tickets and hopped aboard the PS Canberra for a cruise up the Murray. The kids were lucky enough to have a steer of the Paddle Steamer which was very exciting, especially for First Mate Tyler.
The PS Canberra is the oldest river boat in the Murray River Paddle Steamer fleet. After twelve months of restoration during 2002-2003, Paddle Steamer Canberra is to date, the only known vessel along the Murray River to have been converted back to steam.
The amount of houseboats that line the Murray is a sight in itself. Jet skis and boats sped by as we slowly chugged along – every time the steam whistle blew the kids jumped a little and covered their ears, it was quite loud!
We wandered through the Echuca Discovery Centre which took us on a journey back in time. The kids were given a list of items to find along the way and the lady promised a lollipop at the end!
It started to rain as we were finishing our Discovery Centre Tour so we had a quick walk around town, stopped at the Echuca Chocolate Company for a few supplies 😉 and then back to the car to head for Wedderburn.
We arrived at Wedderburn and set up camp at Hard Hill Tourist Reserve which we had found on Wiki Camps.
A QUIET DAY IN WEDDERBURN THEN ONTO HORSHAM
Where we stayed: Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, VIC
Justin had booked into a Rally Navigator Course today so the kids and I had a lazy day around the caravan.
Hard Hill Tourist Reserve was a quiet bush setting and located at the site of an old Gold Mine. We were able to walk up to the entrance of the old mine and have a look. There was also a Eucalyptus Stew Pot we could view and read about – it is still in working order however only on certain days.
That afternoon we headed to Horsham for an overnight stay.
HORSHAM – A BRIEF BUT LOVELY STAY…
Where we stayed: Horsham Riverside Caravan Park, VIC
Just a short stay at Horsham before heading to the Coonawarra Region.
We stayed at Horsham Riverside Caravan Park and we had a river site which was beautiful. The kids were excited with the park next door in the Botanic Gardens – hours of fun!!
After shopping for some supplies we made our way to Coonawarra…
THE COONAWARRA REGION!
Where we stayed: Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park, SA
Our base for a few days was Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park.
We arrived and found a large gum tree to set up under to ensure we had some shade.
This is a fairly new park in a bush setting with ample space and grassy sites. They have a new amenities block which consisted of several ensuites. There is a large shed in which the owner lives in one end and the other end is made up of the ensuites, laundry and a common area with BBQs, tables/chairs and a tv. You can swim in the dam and apparently it is stocked full of Marron (although we only caught one!!). Fire pits are available – unfortunately our three nights here were quite windy so we were unable to have a fire 🙁
The owners also grow their own fruit and vegies and they allow guests to help themselves to this delicious produce. And it certainly was delicious – we were give some tomatoes on our second day and they were huge (check out the pics below).
Our time at Coonawarra was very relaxing. We lounged around the dam on day beds, read books, attempted to catch Marron and did a spot of wine tasting at the region’s finest!
ON THE WAY TO GOOLWA…
Where we stayed: Goolwa Camping & Tourist Park, SA
Today we left the peaceful Coonawarra Region and headed further north west to Goolwa.
We decided to take the coast road rather than inland. Although we still saw just as many bales of hay on the coast as we did anywhere else!
We headed in the direction of Robe and then North to Kingston SE where we stopped for morning tea. We found yet another awesome park for the kids and made a cuppa while we watched them play. On the way out of town we spotted the BIG LOBSTER which the kids thought was pretty cool!
The countryside is very dry over here, not much green in sight. There were lots of lakes on the side of the road today but most were dry.
We stopped at the little town of Meningue and made lunch before heading North to Wellington East where we caught the ferry across and continued to Goolwa.
We arrived at Goolwa Camping & Tourist Park mid afternoon and the kids were straight to the playground and jumping pillow!
THE FLEURIEU PENINSULA
A quick stop by the Tourist Information Centre and we were off to explore the Fleurieu Peninsula!
We started with a drive over to Hindmarsh Island. After camping on and floating down the Murray River we would finally see it meet the Ocean. We walked down to the beach, it was a very pretty spot and the kids had fun splashing in the water.
We went over to the Goolwa Barrage. The Barrage stops the Murray River and the Ocean from meeting and it is to maintain the freshness of the River Murray. We walked out onto the platform and watched a boat come in from the ocean and into the holding bay, the gate was shut, the water level adjusted and then the gate on the river side was open allowing him to return to the river. (Mummy had to have a spoonful of concrete as we had to walk on grid mesh – and she just doesn’t like doing that!!! – but happy to say walked out and back without too much drama lol)
We continued along the “Fleurieu Way” passing through Port Elliot and onto Victor Harbour where we stopped and cooked some lunch in the park.
Next on the agenda was Jervis Bay! We started to wind up through hills and then down a rather steep descent into Jervis Bay where we could see Kangaroo Island in the distance. We spotted two ferries taking people over to the Island. The coastline has some rather big cliff lines and quite spectacular to see.
As I’ve said before the coast is so different here to back home. It’s so dry and sometimes quite hard to believe we are on the coast. One side you have dry mountains and then you look the other way and there’s the ocean!
We continued North to Wirrina Cove, Normanville and to Aldinga Beach where we started to turn back towards Goolwa, still following the Fleurieu Way.
Gorgeous beaches and coastline today!!
THE COCKLE TRAIN!!
Choo Choo!! Today we took the Cockle Train from Goolwa to Victor Harbour. The kids were very excited to ride on the old steam train. It was a 30 minute trip stopping at Middleton, Port Elliot and then onto Victor Harbour Station.
Little bit of history on the name “Cockle Train”: In early days of settlement the local residents would take a horse drawn train to Goolwa to collect Cockles from the sandy beaches near the Murray mouth. It was a great day’s outing and thus gained its name.
We hopped off just in time for lunch and found a great pub to enjoy a yummy meal.
After lunch we wandered the streets of Victor Harbour and walked out onto the Jetty and watched the horse drawn tram.
There was a carnival in the main part of town and we took the kids on the dodgem cars which was hilarious – they giggled the whole time!
Before heading back to the train station, the kids had some fun in another awesome SA playground.
We jumped aboard the train back to Goolwa – Tyler couldn’t quite keep his eyes open and had a short nap on the way home!
Today was meant to be our last day in Goolwa before we start to head North and then towards home. However, a check of the weather showed some very high temps so we decided to extend our stay in Goolwa until Friday. Still so much to see, so certainly not disappointed!!
A FANTASTIC DAY IN HAHNDORF!
HAHNDORF – a little German town 30kms south east of Adelaide. What a fabulous day we had – so much to see!! The town basically consisted of one long main street with all sorts of shops; cafes, boutique wineries, cheese tasting, traditional german food, chocolate and lolly shops, souvenir and gift shops.
We popped into the Tourist Information Centre for a quick look and then headed down the street – in and out of shops!
We stopped at a Cheese Shop and tasted some delights – and purchased some to take home.
After lunch we finished the main street and headed to Beerenberg – The Strawberry Farm. We walked in and were a little gob smacked at the amount of jams and relishes on the shelves. They had a tasting section where we sampled some beautiful jams/relishes. The brochure we had said we could go into the field and pick our very own strawberries – so, that’s what we did!! It was fantastic to do with the kids. We took off to the strawberry fields with our two containers (and tasted) and picked some beautiful produce! We came back, bought the strawberries we had picked and a box full of jams and relish and we were on our way – Caitlin thought it would be a great idea to have pancakes for breakfast tomorrow and have all our new jams on them 🙂
After our strawberry farm fun we headed to the Adelaide Hills to sample some grapes 😉 We went to Nepenthe Winery and found a nice Sauv Blanc and Rose so thought we should bring those with us to sample with our cheese we had purchased earlier in the day 😉 The guy at the winery recommended we visit the Chocolate Factory and Cheese Maker in Woodside – so we did!!
Melba’s Chocolates was great! We got to see chocolate being packaging, made and of course we sampled some (and bought some)!
Next door was Woodside Cheese Wrights – YUM!!!! Our arms were ever so slightly twisted again and we sampled and bought more cheese… Just quietly…our nibbles were pretty amazing that afternoon when we got back to the van!
When we got back in the car I jokingly said to Justin – now we need to find a Blueberry Farm as missy likes them just as much as strawberries. I googled blueberry farm so I could tell Daddy where our next holiday could be and what popped up – A Blueberry Farm…. on the way back to the caravan!! What are the chances! So off we went… got there a little too late in the day to pick our own but settled for 500g of the freshly picked beauties and a homemade blueberry ice cream each! Perfect….
HEADING FOR HOME… MURRUMBIDGEE RIVER!
Where we stayed: Sandy Point Reserve, NSW
Today we made a start on our 1500kms to get home (which none of us really wanted to do…we could have easily stayed on holidays!!). Tonight we had a quick overnight stay on the Murrumbidgee River at Hay. Beautiful free camp!!
LAST NIGHT, HOME TOMORROW…
Where we stayed: Gulgong Showground
Another fairly big day in the car today! It was amazing to see the difference in countryside as we came back into NSW. It is very dry in VIC/SA and then so green in NSW – see pic!
We arrived at Gulgong Showground this afternoon and made the most of our last night away with some bike riding and of course nibbles!! Tomorrow we only have around 300kms to go and we will be back home – planning our next adventure!!