22nd/23rd May 2015
On the whole, I have been very lucky with the weather on this trip so far. Every day there has been sunshine and little wind. The nights haven’t been that cold, yet! I headed south east from Little Dip. I came down out of the national park to a closed gate that doesn’t say no entry but doesn’t tell you much about what is beyond. You can see a few shacks and hear the waves so I opened the gate and ventured in. It turns out, it’s a very cute ‘Private Settlement’ Called Nora Criena. This is the sort of place real shacks exist. Slap dash, handmade ones using whatever was available at the time. Now they are rusted out, falling down and sort of patched up. On the town message board there was much discussion in relation to the closed gate, the local council wanting it gone. The number one rule of Nora Creina as set by the owners is that the gate must be shut at all times. Also push bikes aren’t allowed as there is too high a risk of injury.
From Nora Creina I took the dirt roads down to Port MacDonnell. I passed a water hole called the Little Blue Lake, It looked very deep with 3-5m cliffs surrounding it. Perfect for a good bit of bombing on a hot summer day. Out of Beachport I discovered the Woakwine Cutting. In the 1950’s two gentlemen decided to turn 450 hectares peat swamp into prime farming land. Over 3 years using a tractor they cut a 1Km long 28m deep drainage creek through the hills. The resulting farm land looks extremely furtile.
It was Port Mac Donnell for lunch. Overpriced burger and undercooked chips. Then a drive down to the Piccaninnie Ponds and the most southeastern point of South Australia. The Piccaninnie Ponds are an incredibly crystal clear serious of ponds. They go down to a depth of 100m with vision up to 40m. If I ever get into diving, I’ll be heading here for sure.
I headed inland to find a campsite for the night. I came upon a beautiful little spot called the Princess Margaret Rose Caves. It was a very well cared for camp area in the Lower Glenelg River Conservation Park. I met Kim the camp manager on arriving to booked in for the night. At the beginning of our conversation it was going to be $24 for the night plus I had to buy firewood if I wanted a fire. But we talked and I listened to her problems: people bringing chainsaws with them camping (it must be a thing,) motorbikes in the park, and she’d dropped $120 somewhere (it turned up.) So in the end she charged me $12 and brought a whole stack of firewood down to my camp. Finally, it got cold. The thermals came out the first night and it was 5 layers the second night with my doona on top of my sleeping bag. Good practice for Tasmania. I woke to frozen tea towels.
24th May 2015
I crossed the border into Victoria and headed for Port Fairy. Port Fairy is a beautiful little town full of B&B’s, cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels. I booked in at the local caravan park. It’s incredibly quiet everywhere I’ve been and it’s no exception in Port Fairy. I had dinner at Portofino after just about everywhere else I looked was shut. I had a set 3 course which was very delicious. House preserved Tuna Arancini, Lamb Neck Rissotto and I think a Blueberry Panna Cotta. All were very well executed but where are the vegetables? It’s so hard to eat out and get a decent intake of vegetables as most restaurants load the plate with meat and starch. Supposedly they grew all the vegetables for the restaurant on the family farm, but that couldn’t have been hard as there were so few in the food. The meal was very tasty and generous and with the wine and coffee only cost $66, so I was happy.
25th May 2015
This morning I headed out for a bike ride along the old rail trail. It was a spectacular day for May. Not a could in the sky, 20 degrees and I was in shorts and a t-shirt. It was a very straight ride up a dirt track for the first 20Km, through picturesque farming land with lots of cows around, to Koroit. At this point I was starting to feel my thigh joints as I really haven’t done that much riding. The second 20Km to Warrnambool was a lot more interesting. It went through scrub land and up into the sand dunes. Awesome looking beaches and the surfers were out and about. I was definitely due for lunch when I arrived at the lovely Pavillion Bar & Cafe. Great spot overlooking the Marina, good food, friendly service. I definitely started to struggle on ride home, I don’t think I’ve ever ridden much over 20Km before and this was a good 70Km round trip. Good training for some rides up in the Grampians later this week. Leftover Spaghetti Bolognaise, Roast Potatoes and a few glasses of Samuel Gorge Mouvedre and that was that.