27 June 2011

Epiblog
As most of you know Trox and I are back in the states. I wanted to come "home" and so we decided to leave Bunyip in storage and come back to the states for a year. We will return to Australia next May or June and continue our travels. Our final trip ended in the Adelaide area. We had to return to Melbourne to fly to the states so we took the train after dropping Bunyip off at his temporary home. When we return we hope to go up the center of Australia to the Darwin area (through Alice Springs and via Ayers Rock) and then west to the coast and southward to Perth. I'm thinking that will take about 4 months ending in Perth when the wild flowers will be spectacular. From there who knows. As you can see from the following maps we really only scratched the surface to this huge beautiful country. We did about 10,000 miles during the 9 months we were there. The next trip will be way more than 10,000 because of the huges distances from north to south but will not take as long as there isn't much to see or do in the inland areas. So this is goodby on this blog until next year when we return. I will let you all know when we head back down under.
The final trip in South Australia
As you can see we didn't
even scratch the surface

14 June 2011

Decision Reached

10 June 2011
A consensus has been reached; plans have been made; tickets purchased; and logistics figured. In other words - we know our next destination. In the meantime we have made a number of day trips from Carol and Robin's and are now out for four days or so traveling the Yorke Peninsula.

12 June 2012
Before leaving for the Yorke Peninsula we made some day trips. One was to Hallett Cove north of Carol and Robin's. There are kilometers of boardwalk there along the cliffs above the shoreline in and around some pretty amazing geological formations. We spent a number of hours walking around looking at the rocks and the sea and the birds. Boardwalk makes for very easy walking even when having to go up and down.
Glacier waters melting and freezing
along with erosion make for spectacular formations
known as the sugar loaf
we had been watching this raptor
for awhile when he took off
the boardwalks go on forever
We also went to Willunga where I explored the town and walked part of the rail trail and Trox made a 55k ride along the same trail. We also checked out Myponga Beach - the closest one to Carol and Robin's.

Myponga Beach
On Yorke Peninsula we stopped at a caravan park the first night in Port Victoria. An orange tom was working all the people looking for suckers and handouts.

Finished my milk now wondering
if you have anything interesting
May I come in?
Oh, this is an exciting place to explore!
We stopped for lunch a little further down the peninsula where we were able to watch the birds and walk the beach.
This guy was sitting on the light pole
The gulls kept harassing him but he wouldn't leave
We went on down to the tip of the Peninsula for the second night where we stayed in the Innes National Park at the Pondalowie Well Campground where we were the only campers. Next day we hiked out to one of the light houses in the park.
the scalloped cliff edges were cool
this light house is stainless steel!
video
360 degree view near lighthouse
the water was amazingly clear
the wind and water can make wonderful rock formations
We spent last night at Hillocks Drive camp area way up on a bluff. Hillocks Drive is an old homestead with about 15 kilometers of water front that has been fenced off to control access. We were in a camp area with no one else in sight with wonderful views.
View from our back window of Hillocks Drive
Bunyip at Hillocks Drive
Tonight we are in a caravan park in Port Wakefield. Tomorrow will find us once more at Carol and Robin's where we will stay one night and then on the 14th we start the next phase of our trip.

That brings me full circle to our decision, plans, etc. We leave on an airplane the 14th for Melbourne and then on the 18th we head back to the U.S. where we will arrive in New Mexico on the 18th. Bunyip is going to stay at a very nice storage facility where they will plug him in once a week or so and start him every fortnight. He will await our return next May when we will head north towards Darwin through Alice Springs via Ayers rock.

And so this blog comes to a close with just one more update to let you know we have arrived stateside safely. Thanks for following us and keeping in touch.

03 June 2011

Where should we go next?

2 June
We made it to Carol and Robin's on Monday the 30th. They have a wonderful place. About 105 acres with beautiful views of the Myponga reservoit to one direction and Bay St. Vincent to the other. There home is very nice and they have updated a 150 year-old cottage into a guest's quarters. Carol is a fantastic hostess and exceptional cook. Tuesday Trox made a ride around the area and I went into town with Carol.
spotted in front of Carol and Robin's
Yesterday we all went in together and saw the house they are building in the city and then up to the top of Mount Lofty where Adelaide stretched out below us. There we did a short walk and then drove to Hahndorf where we played tourists walking along the Main Street window shopping.

Today Trox and I are making a short excursion back along the coast to see some things we missed but will return to C and R's for the night. We don't know for sure how long we will stay with C and R and are not sure what we will do when we leave here - head north? west? or east? Not south - that is for sure.

3 June
Our excursion yesterday started at Second Valley where the geology is amazing. The rocks actually resemble beautifully grained wood.
walking along beautiful cliffs
One of the coves at Second Valley
rock? wood?
From Second Valley we went into Victor Harbor and walked out to Granite Island. You can either walk the 700 meter jetty from the mainland to the island or you can take a horse drawn tram. We elected to walk both ways but the tram looked like fun.
the tram
a covey of quail spotted on the island
Umbrella rock - one of the many granite formations
walking back along the jetty

Catching up:
On the way to Carol and Roger's after crossing the Murray we stopped at Middleton to watch the surfers. The water had an algae because of all the fresh water the Murray has dumped in the sea this year. It made the water look muddy.
surfers heading out to the "muddy" water
riding the waves
Kind of weird watching big brown ugly waves roll in on the sea. We spent the night at Rapid Bay which was very isolated and a beautiful place to be. Rapid Bay is supposed to be great for jetty scuba diving and the home of Leafy Sea Dragons.
the jetty at Rapid Bay
Rapid Bay
The campground wasn't very crowded
Monarch butterflies all over
When leaving Rapid Bay the next morning we worked our way south to Port Jervis where there is a ferry that runs to Kangaroo Island and a big wind farm. We were able to get upclose and personal with one of the windmills before heading back north to Carol and Robins.
up close and personal with a windmill
bunyip at a lookout
the damn wall right before Carol and Robin's

31 May 2011

Sunshine and Mice

17 May
SUNSHINE! BLUE SKY! WARM! SOL IS BACK! We spent much of the day putzing along the coast enjoying the blue sky. We made it as far as Kingston SE where we had lunch and discussed our plans. We aren't real impressed with this part of the coast and so think we will head inland a little. Not to mention the nice weather isn't going to last.

We decided to head inland and are currently camped at Bool Lagoon Game Reserve which is a bird refuge on the order of Cheyenne Bottoms in Kansas or the Bosque in New Mexico. It is huge and the noise even a few hours after sunset is amazing. Tomorrow at sunrise should be spectacular.

22 May 2011
The next morning WAS spectacular with a gorgeous sunrise and lots of birds. During the day we did a number of walks and saw lots of birds and bunnies. There was even a pair of swans with 2 babies which seemed really strange since it is autumn.
sunrise at Bool Lagoon
Egrets
Bool Lagoon with ducks and swans
Australian White and Strawnecked Ibis
along with 4 or 5 other kinds of birds
Bunyip at Bool Lagoon
Trox went on a ride while we were at Bool Lagoon. Not a very technical ride but pretty long. While on the ride he made a friend of a really little quail. Speaking of friends a little bird kept visiting our mirror and yelling at himself while he pecked the mirror. All around the area were board walks so we were able to walk way out on the water where the birds were.
little quail
swan family
snake in the grass near Bunyip
Yellow-rumped Thornbill visiting himself
Echnidna along road at Bool
these guys are pretty well camouflaged
2 swans; 1 egret
boardwalks
walking the boardwalk
spotted this guy in a drain
Once we left Bool we headed towards Naracoorte and then on to Cockatoo Lake which is where we are now. We are going to go back towards the coast probably tomorrow or the next day and from there on up to Carol's. We aren't sure where we'll go from there but we're still looking at crossing the Nullarbor to head towards Perth.

Shortly before Naracoorte there is a park with caves. We toured around the grounds and spent a night there but never went into any of the caves. The grounds were beautifully groomed and nice to walk around. The caves were full of fossils and bones of large animals from many many years ago.
statue of one of the skeletons found
it was a giant Wombat
the banksia were really pretty
Honeyeater on banksia
This Roo was spotted lazing around
in the door to the cave
hanging on a wal
The drive on to "Cocky" Lake was not a long one and when we got here there was another couple and that was it. I had met the couple, John and Doris, at Johanna Beach when we were there but it was Doris who remembered. We have a beautiful spot next to the lake which we're told is fairly shallow (less than 3 meters/10 feet) and last year was totally dry. The first night's sunset was really nice.
sunset at Cocky Lake
sunset at Cocky Lake
Bunyip at Cocky Lake next to Red Gum
It isn't this year and is full of water fowl to entertain us. One we have watched is a Musk Duck but he never gets close enough to photo. Trox got in a ride here and few walks have also occurred. The trees here are mostly red gums which are really old with big gnarly limbs. The kids must love to climb them.
flock of Sulphur Cocaktoos near Cocky Lake
they don't like foxes here

23 May
MICE! We have so far trapped FOUR! First one we got was about a week ago and it was big - not rat big but BIG for a mouse. Then the next day/night we trapped two more little ones (kids?). All was quiet for a few days but this morning we found another one in the trap in the front. Not sure if today's is a new one or related to the others - probably new since we haven't seen indications of mice for a few days. Ends up that this part of Australia is currently having a mouse problem - probably because the population exploded during the wet summer when there was lots of food and now as it gets cold they are moving inside looking for easy food. Wish they would leave Bunyip alone!

24 May
After we left Cockatoo Lake we headed for Keith to buy gas (propane in American) and spent the night here. A little was out of the Lake park we spotted a herd of Elk (ELK?). They were pretty small but definitely elk and fenced.
Elk north of Cocky Lake
Now we are going to head towards the coast (I think).

25 Mary
Yesterday we made it to 42 Mile Crossing Campground. We are in the Coorong National Park along the Husband Peninsula. We spotted Emus on our way into the campground as well as Roos. Once here we met a couple from Eildon who own a houseboat at the marina just up (or is that down?) from Doug & Eileen's. We didn't get their name before they left but the name of their boat is "Beyond Belief" and it is a "hire boat" which simply means they rent it out. Last night on the walk back from the toilet block we spotted the local wombat and he let us get really close.

spotted on our walk before dark
now that IS a boodha belly!
These are BIG birds!

This morning we traipsed up and over the dunes to the Southern Ocean. Along the way we spotted birds and emu tracks. On the beach the shells were amazing. Where the tide has washed them up they were feet deep. Along the walk Trox found a compllete Conch shell about the size of my fist. We did a short walk yesterday before it go dark and got to see lots of Roos.

the board walk up and over the dunes
a shell bed
walking back on the 4WD track
Ring Necked Parrot

26 May
After leaving 42 mile we worked our way up the Husband Peninsula to Meningie. On our way we stopped at a point with an observation building over looking a group of islands -0 the home of the largest permanent flock of Australia Pelicans. Pretty amazing to just sit and watch them fly about and fish.

each one of those white dots is a Pelican
Musk Lorikeet

Once in Meingie we had a nice dinner next to Lake Albert and then spent the night parked next to the local cemetery which we explored early this morning. We then went back to the park where we had breakfast and spotted a Musk Lorikeet which we had heard making lots of noise last night but didn't get to see. We are now headed towards Long Point back on the Coorong on the other side of Lake Albert.

they don't like Fox here either
Cormorants on the wharf at Long Point
Scabius
Scabius
Eucalyptus

28 May
We had a wonderful spot at Long Point and were all alone except for birds galore. Pelicans and gulls and Ibis and Egrets and Pied Cormorants and Caspian Terns and swallows and honey eaters and Shrikes and Hoary Headed Grebes .... Trox was in heaven as he found new birds he hadn't seen yet. We had a nice walk and Trox got a ride in. The weather was wet and cold one minute and then the sun would come out and it would warm right up and rainbows would appears.

beautiful rainbow near sunset
sunset
a Pelican coming in to land near sunset
Australia Pelican come to chase away the gulls
Crested Terns
A White Faced Heron and Oyster Catchers
White Faced Heron
a mob of Pelicans
these cormarants were just resting on the power lines

Later
Bunyip just made his first ever ferry crossing on a punt - a cable drawn flat barge - at Narrung. We crossed "The Narrows" which is the channel that connects Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina. And one more bird - spotted after we got off the punt Trox spotted a Reed Warbler. It is Saturday and we are expected at Carol's on Monday so we have some of today, tomorrow and some of Monday to travel about 150 kilometers - I think we can make that.

boarding the punt ferry at The Narrows
Cuckoo Shrike
Reed Warbler
The only inland lighthouse in Australia - also the smallest
Scotch Thistle

Even later
Well, Bunyip has now done TWO punt crossing. We crossed the Murray River at Wellington and worked our way to Strathalbyn. Along the way we stopped at a wet lands where we spotted even more new birds. We saw a Black shouldered Kite which was really pretty. AND on the way to the wet lands we saw CAMELS! They were in with some sheep and it was really easy to get a feel for absolutely how huge they are!

boarding the punt ferry at Wellington
Camels
Black Shouldered Kite