Day 10: To Kangaroo Island

Waking up in Robe means, once again, an overcast sky with lots of wind and the chance of showers. But today, it doesn’t matter much, as we have a big day of driving in front of us, about 400km. While we are quite unfamiliar with these kinds of distances, it is not a strange occurrence over here as this country is just too big!

Along the way, about 100km in, we drove alongside the Coorong National Park, a very long (150km) stretch of coast where the dunes shelter off a thin strip of brackish lagune from the rough ocean. This NP is home for a large variety of wildlife, mostly water birds. We had some time to spare today, and so we visited some of the highlights of this park, specifically the ones you can drive to and don’t have to spend hours to see anything. 🙂

One of these is called Chinamans Well, and it tells the gruesome story of the Chinese migrants traveling along these coasts back in the 1850s to get to the goldfields in Victoria. Their story is a harsh one, where the weak wouldn’t make it to their destination or wouldn’t make it at all. This Chinamans Well is a water well constructed by the Chinese to provide water along the way, and is an interesting part of the local history over here. For the brief period of time we were out of the car and enjoying the scenery it was dry, only to start pouring down again the moment we sat back in the car. Lucky us!

Due to this weather, we arrived a little early at Cape Jervis where the ferry for Penneshaw leaves from, so we had a (terrible!) coffee at the local sports bar. We wouldn’t have visited it if it weren’t the only place open in this town. But it was, and so we spent the time there until it was time for us to board. The boat trip itself is only 45 minutes, but as the weather still was quite rough, the crossing was rather choppy which gave a few green faces on board. The funny thing was, that this wasn’t our first ferry today, as we unexpectedly found ourselves on a road leading towards a much smaller ferry to cross a river. Our GPS lead us to this ferry, as it reportedly were faster, and it probably was. It also gave us a nice interruption from driving, so all is well.

On Kangaroo Island we hope to visit Flinders Chase National Park, which unfortunately is on the other side of this 150km island, so we’ll probably drive quite a bit tomorrow as well!

Day 9: To Robe

A lot of driving had to be done today, while we had about 350km to cover in total. Starting off at Halls Gap in Victoria, we had to cross into South Australia to get to where we neded to be that night, which is Robe.

The weather now definitively turned for worse, as there have been gail force winds all night long. When combined with rain, one can imagine the night was quite restless. In the morning however, it lightened a bit, and we were lucky enough to wake up to the Kangaroos feeding on the grass lawn in front of our cabin. That is a sight for sore eyes! Right after we went out for our breakfast (pancakes!) we stumbled upon a field filled with a few hundred Corellas. These are a small white species of Cockatoo with a blueish eye patch and a red cheek, but without the tell tale Mohawk on the tops of their heads. A great start to the day after all.

Leaving the Grampians, the weather again showed its ugly face, as it started raining, and kept on raining for about an hour, after which we continuously had small showers interspersed with the occasional sunshine. When driving on Australian Highways, you have to drive on a two lane narrow road where you are on the left lane, and the right lane is for the oncoming traffic. And yes, you most of the time are allowed to get up to 100 km/h. Even if you do not go that fast, you can bet on the fact that the other traffic is, including the ones driving on the other side of the road. With very high winds, and limited visibility due to the rain, this was not a comfortable drive down to the coast.

Everything went well eventually, and we safely arrived at our destination within the time we had estimated it would take. Because of the fact that we changed States, we also changed time zones. We were in +8, right now we are in +7,5 from the Netherlands. Weird.

The town of Robe is pretty deserted at this time of year, which makes it hard to get something to eat. Most restaurants are closed, or close after lunch, but we managed to find a nice Malaysian restaurant (Don’s), who actually served good food at reasonable prices. And with our stomachs filled, we are preparing for an even longer day of driving tomorrow, going all the way to Cape Jervis to catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island. The rain has let off since this afternoon, and let’s hope it will stay away tomorrow. Even if it only is for the pictures. 🙂