This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1998 Travels February 2

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MONDAY 2 FEBRUARY     NELSON

Another hot day to start, and total fire ban.

Today marks 4 weeks into our trip! That has gone so quickly.

More sightseeing today. We drove to Piccaninnie Ponds, just over the border into SA, by the coast. This is an area of swamp, pools and wetlands, notable because there are limestone cave formations below the Ponds that go very deep and are very spectacular – if you are a diver!

02-02-1998 01 Picaninnie Ponds.jpg


The main pond at Piccaninnie Ponds

The groundwater wells up from the caves below and forms a sizeable  outlet creek that flows to the nearby sea. It is this upward flow of groundwater that originally eroded lines of weakness in the limestone to form the cave network.

We looked at the diving platform built out over the edge of the water. There was no diving activity here at the moment.

Walked to see the beach and to look at the mouth of the outlet creek. That emerges from the bush, then flows for some distance along the back of the sand, before finding a way to the sea. It looks as if it didn’t used to take this route, because the boardwalk to the beach now drops into the creek, and the driving access track is roped off. But it is all very attractive looking. We picked our way onto the beach and walked a little way, but it was hard going in soft sand. To add to that, there were really persistent March flies around – one had to be very vigilant not to be stung.

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The outlet creek from Piccaninnee Ponds to the sea

Donovans Landing, on the SA section of the Glenelg River, was our next destination. This is not all that far up the river from Nelson. We drove through the little settlement there and parked on the access road near the landing. From there we walked along a path that went behind the boat sheds and river shacks that are actually built out over the river. Here, there is a narrow strip of land between the water and the river cliff. In the few places where this occurs along the river, people have built such structures. Walking between them and the cliff is like walking through a tunnel. Some have even built over the top of that, so the “tunnel” is roofed – very dank and dingy in places. Most of the structures would be flooded downstairs now, with the river so high.

A local told us that one of these sold for $130,000 recently – there is no problem selling them, apparently. I find the price unbelievable – probably more than we’d get for our house in Melbourne! Each to his own – definitely not my taste.

As I was walking behind the shacks at Donovans, something stung me behind the knee. Don’t know what it was, but it really hurt.

Went back to the van and set out to ride the bikes along the Glenelg River Drive. We haven’t ridden the bikes since we’ve been here. It was pleasant riding, in the bushy surroundings, on the gravel road, and the day was cooling down quickly. But after about 3.6kms, John’s back tyre blew out. He wasn’t going too fast and luckily fell on his “good” side. It was scary, though – what if he’d fallen the other way?

We had to walk almost 4kms back, pushing the bikes. I didn’t feel I could ride on alone and leave John to his efforts.

After that abortive effort, John wanted to go fishing, so we drove out to Sapling Creek landing. The afternoon was getting on by now. He had some nibbles from little fish and then caught a decent sized bream. We stayed until dark, but there were no more bites. Except for those the plentiful mozzies inflicted on us!

So it was a very late tea – potato salad, lettuce salad and tinned tuna.

A cool change had come in earlier than forecast, and by night time it was quite chilly. This will be welcome across the State as there have been bushfires today around Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, many caused by lightning during last night. To date, I think we have been very lucky to avoid fire areas.

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