Day 16 – Mt Gambier (SA) to Mortlake (Vic)

It rained all night and as soon as I woke up this morning I had a feeling that something was wrong – we seemed to be leaning on quite an alarming angle.  I was concerned that perhaps the slide-out had added just a bit too much weight on the side of the motorhome onto muddy ground and that we may, in fact, be bogged.  Inspecting the situation outside I was relieved to see that we weren’t bogged, but certainly on a lean.  We thought that it would be advisable to get going as soon as we could, just in case.

Bertha on a jaunty lean this morning.

Bertha on a jaunty lean this morning.

Mt Gambier was still very damp and unpleasant when we left the showgrounds, so we decided to forego a visit to the Blue Lake and other site seeing places and head east into hopefully better weather.

Leaving Mt Gambier we were at times surrounded by pine plantations, and we could smell the pine.  In places there were eucalypt plantations as well.

Pine plantations near Mt Gambier.

Pine plantations near Mt Gambier.

Logging truck - they were everywhere.

Logging truck – they were everywhere.

At one point we came across some paddocks that were on fire – it looked as though they had been cleared to a certain point after which the residue was burned so that the land could be reclaimed and reused.

Fields on Fire !

Fields on Fire !

We soon came to Casterton, after crossing the border into Victoria and entering a different time zone.  I’ll have to reset the clocks in Bertha again!

In Victoria now! Need to reset the clocks.

In Victoria now! Need to reset the clocks.

Yesterday’s weather had constrained us both to staying inside Bertha pretty much all day but today’s weather was so much better and we went for a long stroll around Casterton and did the appropriate Grey Nomad thing and contributed to the Casterton economy with a visit to a fantastic antique/second hand shop and a very trendy bakery.  There are a few empty shops in Casterton but there is a great feeling about town and we would certainly be happy to stay here for a few days.

Coming into Casterton.

Coming into Casterton.

Scenes of Casterton.

Scenes of Casterton.

Also of interest is Casterton’s link to the Kelpie farming dog – the claim is that the first Kelpie was born and bred in Casterton.  Kelpies are recognised in the town signage, and there is a statue of a kelpie with interpretive plaques in the main street.  The Casterton Kelpie Festival takes place on the long weekend in June.

Kelpie statue in Casterton.

Kelpie statue in Casterton.

Back in Bertha and back on the highway we soon came to Coleraine, where we stopped for lunch at a small park with a very interesting and futuristic sculpture dedicated to the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, when significant damage was done in this area.

Lunch in Coleraine park.

Lunch in Coleraine park.

By the time we left Coleraine Bertha was really dirty and covered in a combination of red dust and black mud.  But the best (or worst) was yet to come.  Outside Coleraine we struck roadworks and the road was being resurfaced.  So not only do I have to clean mud off Bertha, I now have to crawl underneath and clean off bitumen and gravel!

Roadworks.

Roadworks.

Next town was Hamilton where we had a quick stop at Campe’s Motor Museum.  This is an amazing collection which is apparently all owned by the same person.  All cars are on club plates and are driven.  It’s a bit difficult taking decent photos in a big shed like this, but I certainly enjoyed my brief classic car diversion from driving Bertha.

Campe's Motor Museum in Hamilton.

Campe’s Motor Museum in Hamilton.

We didn’t bother stopping in Hamilton so continued on to Mortlake and sought out the caravan park.  As it turned out we scored the second last site as the Geelong Caravan Club was having a long weekend club meeting here.  We’re actually very happy with the site and quickly set up Bertha with power, water and sullage, then headed off for a walk into town.  It only took a few minutes from the caravan park and part of the route was to walk through a nice little Rose Garden with some very interesting specimens.  We again enjoyed some retail therapy at IGA then returned to Bertha to close up for the night, have dinner, and settle in for the evening.

One of the pubs in Mortlake.

One of the pubs in Mortlake.

Yesterday was a pretty miserable day so today was a great pick-me-up.  We enjoyed some great scenery in good weather conditions and on mostly good roads, and visited some country towns that we would be happy to come back to sometime in the future.

Still living the dream ……

Categories: 2016 Short SA Adventure | Tags: , ,

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