Monday, February 25, 2008

Port MacDonnell, Caves and Lakes .....

Just spent a weekend in the Mt. Gambier area. Stayed at the Port MacDonnell Foreshore Tourist Park, in their on-site flat. A bit old, but spacious and comfortable - only downside was the cleanliness (or lack of it) in the unit. Stove (oven & grill), toilet and washing trough were all putrid - not even up to one star standard. Left for there after work and Ben & Chloe had finished their school days (Chloe's at kinder now) - an easy trip so we could stay that night and get a good start to our touristy things on Saturday.

Started Saturday with a nice walk along the beach (after we all slept in) and then on to the playground at the Brown Lake centre, which made a really good contrast in colour to the Blue Lake. From there it was on to the Umpherstone Cave or sink-hole (which we returned to after dark - much more interesting). We then visited the tourist info centre for some ideas. After Macca's for lunch we checked out the Cave Gardens. From there to the Tantanoola Cave for Ben & Chloe's first caving experience, which we were a bit nervous about, but they really loved it. We had planned tea at the South Eastern Hotel, so headed back to the unit to have a quick break before returning to the Mount.

Checked out the Mini Blue Lake on the way back to Port MacDonnell. Some kids (one named Ben) were diving in there (from about 15 metres height). Really spectacular and frankly, a bit scary, but they seemed to handle it well.

A short rest and then into the Hotel for tea. I had $70 worth of vouchers I had won at poker on some previous visits so this went a long way towards paying for the night. After tea, we went back to the Umpherstone sink hole, expecting, hopefully, to see a possum or two. Well, this was the highlight. Possums everywhere, and really tame. Everyone except Chloe (too nervous) got up-close and personal, being able to pat and feed them. This experience rounded of a great Saturday.

Sunday, we headed home, with a few stops on the way. First was the Princess Margaret Rose Cave. This was much deeper, narrower and bigger than Tantanoola but everyone ventured forth without any problems. From there we had a wander at the mouth of the Glenelg River at Nelson. Ben had a run-in with a tiger snake but handled it exceptionally well. Did everything right. Warned the rest of us, didn't panic, kept his eyes on it and stayed fairly still until it went off into the undergrowth. Aido would have been really proud of him. We had lunch in Portland after getting up close to the Gas Rig moored in the harbour and the whale skeleton in the info centre. Interesting to see a quote in there from John Brabyn Mills, a direct line ancestor of Ben & Chloe. John and brother Charles were pioneers around Portland and Port Fairy.

Plain sailing then back home. A very interesting and successful trip.

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