Flies, salt, diesel
21.11.2012 - 21.11.2012 23 °C
Victor Harbor has the only remaining horse drawn tram in Australia. It takes passengers from the town over the jetty to Granite Island. There are penguin colonies on the island. We are too early for the tram as it doesn't start until 10.30 and we discover once we get across to the island that the penguins only show up at dust.....too early for them too. The results of a lack of research and planning on our part.
We take the 1.5km round the island walk which starts with a double buggy lift up about 10 flights of boardwalk steps. The strong wind brings crashing waves on the Southern Ocean side, the sheltered side brings flies. Lots of flies
It's only once we get back to the town and set the satnav that we realise just how far it is to Robe, 328kms and its already 11am. Our longest drive to date if we make it.
The route down to Robe allows us to follow the coast through Port Elliott and Goolwa (not the French cigarettes) for a while, but then we have to head inland up through Strathalbyn and on to Wellington. The landscape is typically South Australian, endless vineyards and crop fields.
At Wellington there is a cable ferry across the Murray River. Our second of the trip. No risk of crocs this time round.
We have to head inland because of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. The lakes have been created by the 130km sand spit that covers the Murray River estuary and it is this massive sand area that is the Coorong National Park. Once across the ferry we will spend most of our journey today driving down the edge of the Coorong.
Heading South from Wellington the road passes by several salt lakes that look just like a frozen lake with a layer of snow on it. Except that some are slightly pink in colour.
You saw the kangaroo road sign from a couple of blogs ago, well you get the same thing for wombats, cassowary, koala and lizards, trouble is, so far we haven't actually seen much. So imagine our surprise when heading out to Parnka Point on a dirt track (not allowed by the van hire company, but couldn't resist) and an emu runs out across the road in front of us.....without any warning sign!! We ended up seeing 4. Well happy. We see pelicans at Jack Point too.
We know we are pushed for time, the campsite we want to stay in is only open until 6, but we now have a bigger problem. Salt Creek fuel station is closed as it has a power cut and we needed diesel here. Not good news. We speak with the local cop as he pulls in to Salt Creek station. He was also running low on fuel and was in the same boat as us, so he was no help. Kingston SE is about 80kms South and is the nearest fuel stop. By our calculations we have 49kms left in the tank. Oops! The VW manual, or should I say Boris' manual (that is his official name) tells us that there is a reserve in the tank of some 50km but its not clear if it is when the fuel light comes on at one tenth of the tank left or once you get to zero. We drive through the flashing fuel light at one tenth and eventually drive through zero. For a moment I am thankful that these Germans build vehicles like Boris that run on air. Dead clever these Germans. We are running beyond zero so the reserve must only kick in then. We celebrate. It's short lived. We splutter to a halt. Dieselless!! I consider myself an extreme muppet!!
Thankfully my phone has charge, and thankfully I have a signal (for once), and thankfully Maui pick up the phone and sort a garage at Kingston SE to drop us some diesel. It takes 30 minutes before our saviour arrives, pours in 20 litres of gas and only charges us for the fuel, at the normal going rate.
We don't have change to pay him so arrange to meet at the Shell station in Kingston SE. On the drive there Nat and I have a bet on his name. He was such an Aussie. I go for Jim, Nat goes for Bob. We pay him at the Shell and of course it's Bob.
It's 7pm by the time we make camp, but we are right on the beach and its worth it. We rang ahead and let the campsite know we'd be an hour late and they very kindly waited for us