Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Syd - Adelaide Part 2 - Barossa Valley and Gluepot Reserve

Day 3:
After a reasonable nights sleep we pack up and make our way back out towards the Barossa Valley and stop along the way to pick up step-mother-in-law (SMIL). She's all packed and ready to jump in the car. SMIL was born and raised in the Barossa and we're going to tour the sights on the way up to Waikerie and our birding tour of Birds Australia Gluepot Reserve with Peter Waanders.

Our first town feature is Lyndoch. The village is very pretty with plenty of stone buildings and it's not too crowded. We don't stop other than to photograph a couple of almost impossibly pretty little scenes we pass along the way.
Again we just pass through Tanunda but again it looks a nice little place.

We head across to Angaston and make a stop at the Sunrise Bakery for some Beesting and German Apple cake and some pasties as well as a cob loaf for our lunch tomorrow. Here we also tried Nippy's lemon drink with 25% lemon juice - quite a sharp fresh flavour. Next stop, Schultz's Butchery where we sample the twiggys and bierstichs. Very yummy. Then it's off to the cottage industries shop for some home made jams, a few parfait glasses and a very nice crocheted tea cosy covered in colourful pansy flowers for daughter 2.
We get the run down from SMIL on how things were about 50 years ago. Where the book store is now was once an electronics store and SMIL's first job as a young thing. An obligatory stop at the Angus Park shop. We thought it a bit of a tourist trap and incredibly stingy on the taste test front despite prominent signs outside spruiking the taste tests. It was just a bowl of sultanas. Pathetic. We asked to try dried nectarine. Nothing doing. "True to taste" she said. The stuff for sale not cheaper than you'd pay in the supermarket. All in all quite disappointing.

A little way out of Angaston we come to SMIL's childhood home. Now a B&B with beautiful views of the Barossa Ranges. Up the hill behind the house SMIL gives us a run down on how they lived.. here was the pigs, there was the cows. It was hard work making a living and the kids worked hard alongside the adults. The house across the road is now fairly ramshackle, but back in day the owners kept the place spick and span and would be heartbroken at how the old place is now.
We next do a loop back to Nuriootpa, where SMIL attended high school. Here is the Linke's Butchery and Bakery, but we don't need more food at the moment. SMIL directs us towards Truro and we take an impromptu turn towards Kapunda to check out the Kidman sights. Many of the buildings in the main street are Kidman buildings and the site of his first offices and the famous horse sales is there in and around the main street. We pay a visit to the information centre and pick up a Kidman trail brochure. I'm keen to see his house that he donated as a high school back in the day when there were only 50 students in the town. It is a very beautiful building and would have been a great school for such a small number, but these days it's encased in asphalt. I try to imagine what it must have been like a century ago. It appears to be used as the school library now which seems an appropriate use, but I couldn't help feeling that surely the landscaping around the building itself could be done more sympathetically to it's original purpose as a fine home and garden. I play games with a white backed magpie that simply does not want it's picture taken before we picnic in the car outside the school which is now on holidays, and partake of some bee sting. Nice, but not a patch on the bee sting they used to sell at the bakery in Mittagong years ago. Now THAT was great bee sting this one is really just a mass produced imitation of the real thing... enjoyable though.
We back track across the route to Truro and make a stop at the Barossa Olive store. Here we found a broad range of oils and olives to taste and a hospitable host. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and bought olives, oil, caramelised balsamic and dukka for our Gluepot picnic lunch tomorrow.
On to Waikerie, our first stop is a fruit stall with an honesty box. Ah, thinks I, we can give those kiwi's a run for their money with their adds spruiking the idyll of an age they claim still exists in the land of the long white cloud where people can be trusted to use the honesty box... we snap a photo and then we look more closely at the signage. .. just this morning someone didn't pay. Please note there is a video camera filming your every move. Stealing is a crime.. a wry laugh and we depart without purchase as they didn't have a combination of product that met our needs.
We take a turn around the town and along the river front area where we note a small enclosure with kangaroos and emu. We felt for the poor creatures on their bare dirt as they try to reach the green grass that grows all around their "petting prison". We locate and check in to Kirriemuir Motel. Apparently the Kirriemuir hosts a steady stream of people making their way out to Gluepot. The months throughout spring certainly keep Peter quite busy and there are no doubt others who venture out under their own steam.
The Kirriemuir is clean and comfortable, but perhaps a little tired. An odd bathroom /kitchenette arrangement that we are doubtful would be allowed in NSW. Toilet one end of room, shower the other end and sink and fridge in between. The proprietor warns us off drinking the water from sink tap or shower which comes from the river. Jugs in the fridge for drinking and these are filled from the rain water tanks out the back. There is a strip of mallee across the road with lots of flowering gums and abundant bird chatter. In the driveway a large and elderly loquat tree, which in abundant seasons supplies to the Sydney market. We make our call to Peter, our guide for the morrow to finalise departure arrangements then make our way to the local pub for dinner. Daughter and I opt for the special, which is a rib steak in native dukka. Others had schnitzel which was beautifully cooked, although noone was much pleased with the gravy applied. Our steak was lovely. Great value.

Day 4:
An early night somewhat disrupted as I feel a need to rotate the freezer blocks to ensure max coldness in the esky tomorrow.
We're up bright and early about 5 am for a 5:45 am collection by Peter. About 5:30 I sneak across to the mallee remnant to photograph a lovely sunrise.
All in Peter's car we make our way to the vehicular ferry across the Murray. As we drive out of town roos are still about. One big red bounds away before stopping and looking back to what we're up to. It's always a thrill to see roos and most especially the big reds. A little further on a group of three roos bounds along in the paddock parallel to our car so we get to enjoy them for quite a while. We're in raptures of course and as we watch one of the three manages to hurl itself smack bang into a tree. It bounces off and does a sort of back flip taking out his mate with him before sitting somewhat stunned on the ground. His mate recovers and the hops off with the other roo. Not really what you expect is it, a roo jumping head on into a tree... reminds us of a friends puppy that recently ran full bore into a tree on their property and managed to kill itself.. just not what you expect..
Our first birding stop is in the mallee before we actually reach Gluepot. Quite productive with gilbert's whistler, white fronted honeyeater, chestnut quail thrush, masked and white browed woodswallows, brown treecreepers and white winged trillers. The bird watching is made a lot easier for people by Peter's expert use of his spotting scope. He can quickly get most birds in the scope so that newbies or the elderly can have a look and not have to find the bird for themselves in their binoculars.

We move on to Gluepot itself. It's still only about 7 :40am. Peter shows us an emu's nest from which the chicks hatched about 3 weeks ago. One egg was a dud. the nest is a discrete circle from the male pecking away the leaf litter from all around the nest. Around this area we also see Grey currawong, babblers nests, numerous southern scrub robins hopping about the ground everywhere and a cranky restless fly catcher with his crest very much on display.
We adjourn to the visitor centre for morning tea and a comfort stop. Blow me down if we don't run into a birding friend from Sydney! What a pleasant surprise! They've been out here banding (that is collecting data on the birds) for a week and have had dreadful weather. Cold and windy. Not great for banding.
We press on. SMIL announces she's going to hang around the visitor's centre with her book and some snacks while we continue birding. In the period before lunch we spot Chestnut rumped thornbills, mulga parrot, white browed tree-creeper; chestnut browed babblers; collared sparrow hawk; red capped robins including a female feeding two fledged chicks; white winged choughs; feral goats - including a virile and fat billy goat. Gluepot has initiatives to control the feral goats but apparently neighbours don't, so they keep coming in. There's also a very active fox baiting program. Cats are less of a problem though they do deal with them when they discover them. It seems the country may be a tad too dry for the cats. The bores put down are being capped and the dam that supplies the visitors centre and administrative buildings is fenced to keep ferals and roos out. If the roos get access to the water they over-graze so as the intent is the manage the reserve as it was prior to white settlement, that water is isolated from the native inhabitants as much as possible.
The great birds keep on coming, with hooded robin; jacky winter; crimson chat; Australasian Hobby (a bird of prey); crested bellbird; spiny cheeked honeyeater; black eared myna (on the wing and calling). Our final stop before lunch Peter took us to a mallee fowl nest under construction in an area thick with old growth spinifex. The birds started it after the rain in April, but no follow up rain so they abandoned the nest half constructed. With recent rain it's possible the birds might spark up and finish the nest. The mallee fowl has a special organ in it's foot to tell the precise temperature of the mound and they rake litter on or off to make sure the eggs stay just right for hatching. The young hatch and receive no care whatever from their parents.
On the way back for lunch, we dip on (don't manage to find) Splendid fairy wrens, though the scenery is pretty. Peter raises the possibility of a stop for a look around a fairly distant clump of shrubs that often has good birds. Is mum up to it? Not sure. Well how about we do a quick scan with the scope and see what we find. There's a nice little bench in the shade. Looks promising. A short time later Peter declares he's got orange chats. WHAT? I NEVER thought I would ever see an orange chat. Quite rare and highly nomadic, this is a species twitchers travel great distances for the chance of seeing. And here we are we have TWO males all coloured up for breeding and hopping around here looking spectacular. Brilliant yellow and with the colour intensifying to orange on the breast. A shining black face. Stunning stunning birds.
With the excitement level running at full bore we collect SMIL and head for the bird hide to have lunch. The hide overlooks a raised watering trough. Not likely to much action at this time of day, but some grey butcherbirds are going absolutely berko the whole time. We fail to twig that there's a reason for this until eventually as lunch winds down, I notice a large bird in a nearby tree. A collared sparrowhawk! No wonder the butcherbirds are less than happy! We also see yellow plumed honeyeater here and a cute little lizard who emerges from behind the bench at the back of the hide. We pack up and move on, beginning the drive back to Waikerie. The light is deteriorating but we spot a small flock of varied sitellas, brown headed honeyeaters and the next comfort stop; more mallee ringnecks; red wattle birds and drum roll, three wild budgies!! Budgies are also very nomadic and though they can accumulate in very large flocks, these are the first wild budgies we've ever seen and like the orange chats, the first sighting this year. Neither bird is a guaranteed annual visitor so this is a special treat.
We say goodbye to Gluepot and drive back to a spot along the Murray. Here we dip on regent parrots but we do see little black and pied cormorants; little corella; yellow rosella; a darter; and pelican. Next stop is the wetland next to the vehicular ferry terminal. A dust storm is blowing up but so far it's not too bad, just a slight deterioration in visibility and we continue with our birding. We add pink eared duck; black winged stilt; black fronted dotteral; grey teal; 6 black tailed native hens (swamp chooks); and shelducks to the list for the day. Peter has us back on the ferry at the perfect timing. You can tell he runs this day trip often! He has supplied us with a site to go for mallee fowl this evening. The same place David Attenborough filmed the mallee fowl for life of birds. However we somehow manage to turn the wrong way on the highway and it wouldd too late to go rocking up now. Maybe disturb the birds and greatly annoy the owner of the reserve, so we decide to leave it for another time. A fabulous day's birding. We all agree Peter's fee was well worth every penny. No way we would have seen even a tiny fraction of what he showed us. None of the birds was obvious from the roads. Peter clearly knows Gluepot like the back of his hand. Highly recommended.
Dinner is back at the pub given the great meals they dished up last night. It's not as good tonight. Must be different staff in the kitchen, but it's OK. Home for an early night. It's been a long but wonderful day.

Day 5:
Thismorning we have decided that we will head back to Adelaide by exploring some more of the Barossa Valley. We had thought that we might go up to Burra for a quick look, but we're all a bit tired and we are sure there's more to be experienced on a leisurely wander through the valley.

It has rained overnight washing the dust of yesterday evening from the air - and all over our car. Passing showers and overcast, but we don't mind that at all. We have in mind a visit to Maggie Beer's farm shop and the Bush Garden in Nuriootpa - or Nuri - as the locals call it. As is our specialty we miss a turn to the bush garden and do a bit of wandering around out towards Penrice which although unecessary was an interesting detour. After this little jaunt we find that it is 10:15 and by the time we get over to Pheasant Farm Rd the farm shop will be opening so we go there directly. There's quite a few cars in the car park already and the staff are just opening the doors. We head in and find that all of Maggie's products are available for tasting. Pate's; savoury biscuits; sauces and chutneys; vino cottos of various flavours; fruit pastes; verjuice.. and abundance of opportunities. The difficult thing is what to buy as everything is great. The older folk aren't too keen on sitting down for a bite, but daughter and I definitely are. We order a pheasant terrine and a cheese platter and get a few sweet things for take away. Coffee or Hot Chocolate for all but me arrive first up, served in nifty Bodum double layer glasses. It is pronounced delicious and for some it is consumed with an accompaniment of hand made chocolates mmmmm. Then daughter's cheese platter arrives and we share two little loaves of bread sliced and decorated with some of the supplied Maggie's chutney or fruit paste and some of the cheddar style cheese which is the current seasonal selection. Delicious.
My pheasant terrine comes over. It is hot and wrapped in a golden roll of pastry. Sort of like a gourmet sausage roll of ample proportions. It is accompanied by a salad with a simple dressing which is nice, but the wooden cutlery supplied make it almost impossible to pick the salad up, so we largely give that a miss. The terrine was interesting, but I probably wouldn't be keen to have it again.

We buy up on the fruit pastes and the fabulous rosemary and verjuice biscuits, some chutney and off we go.

We then hunted around for the "bush garden" which is promoted in some of the tourist material. There was a cute outdoor chapel, but overall it was pretty crappy and not worth the hunting around for it. Not a sign of any emu bush at all. Just stuff you'd find in any surburban garden anywhere in Australia. There is a beautiful wattle in flower nearby and we snap some photos of that so it wasn't all bad and we did have a bit of a laugh along the way at the signs around the pond.

Next stop Greenock to buy some beer from the Barossa Brewing Company. The very cute shop front is closed during the week but the beer is available from the nearby pub. Daughter and I wander in and are enthusiastically greeted by everyone in the bar, which is just a few local blokes just getting started on a delicious looking pizza. Has to be the friendliest crew of people in a country pub we've ever struck. We buy our beers (souvenirs for our other halves) and head off feeling that Greenock and it's pub are a delightful little spot.

From Greenock we consult our map and opt to head next to Seppeltsfield Estate. Wow. Beautiful grounds, beautiful historic stone buildings on a fairly grand scale. This family had a vision and have created something very special. Nice spot for a picnic when the outdoor cafe is operating. It'd be a great spot for a wedding too. The history tours look really interesting but we've just missed one. We wander into the tasting room. There is a charge for tasting that is refunded if you buy something. We browse the other retail items and the historical displays, buy some dukkah and head off. Our intent was to visit Two Hands winery, but somehow we never make it there. Instead we mosey down a very beautiful little dirt road and are drawn into the charming little winery called Hently Farm. The tasting room is set up in some historic farm buildings that have been very tastefully rehabilitated. The setting is just gorgeous. Frogs singing in the creek. Big old gums with nesting hollows clearly accommodating some local bird couples. It's just beautiful. We're wine ignoramuses really, but that doesn't prevent a hospitable welcome and some wine education from the lovely hostess. MIL is more into the wine side of things and she buys a bottle before we head off.

We continue to just mosey around and decide to stop at Seiber Wines. As we step out of the car and walk up onto the grass outside the tasting room all we can do is look at eachother and say Wow! What a view! Beautiful gardens. It's so lovely it's a bit intimidating to head up the stairs into the tasting room at about 3:20 pm. We disturb our hostess with her grandchild and daughter in law, but we are made welcome though with a warning that they close at 4pm. Daughter comments "oh, well that's plenty of time for a quick taste". "Oh no it's not" says Val. Our hostess is Val Seiber and you'd go a long way to find a more hospitable and welcoming, down to earth and just plain fabulous hostess. Val kept us in stitches for over an hour and we really felt like friends not blow ins at a wine shop. We learnt some about the wines of course but overall we had a wonderful visit. What a treat. A definite highlight of our trip. Thanks Val!!

Getting a bit late, so we head back to MIL's place. Stop for a bit of a visit before heading back into Adelaide to grab some dinner and settle back again at Rydges South Park. Having intended to eat in the Barossa more substantially than we did, I had not spent much time researching restaurants but I remember one on North Terrace I enjoyed when in Adelaide for work. We can't find it but we spot the Balcony Restaurant at the Strathmore Hotel. We have a decided soft spot for the old heritage buildings with huge upstairs balconies. The menu looks good. Claims to have lots of awards. I wander up and sus it out. Looks good. Nice ambience. The downstairs alternative is noisy, so up we go, even though the major part of their chair lift is out of action. Most people seem to be ordering the stone grill. We on the other hand have an objection to paying to eat out and then being expected to cook our own dinner - at least at that price - so we make other selections. For some reason mum chose the steamed fish. Daughter the Suffolk Lamb Saddle and I opted for the pork belly. All very disappointing. My pork belly was downright aweful. Swimming in a sea of oil/butter. Nothing remotely resembling crisp pork skin anywhere in sight. Yuck. Very disappointing. We chalk it up to experience and head to the hotel.

Sydney - Adelaide Part 1 - 2 days driving overnight in Hay

It's been a hectic week and Sunday dawns without me being even moderately prepared for our trip to Adelaide. I throw some things together while daughter runs around to pick up her grandma and we depart at about 8:30 am. It's very windy and cold and in our little tiida sedan we are buffetted around on the highway, making for careful driving. We punch straight down the Hume Hwy to Gundagai. The countryside around the highway is now showing in various degrees of green, cloaking the red soil which last time we passed through this way was very bare and exposed due to the drought. We skip the dog on the tucker box and head in to Gundagai for fuel as I like to give business to the smaller independent operators where I an. We find the petrol station in the township closed. Apparently there's simply not the demand in town on the Sunday now the big road stop is open. I guess it's a bonus that the operators can now have the weekend off.

We head up to the lookout above the town. Mum and I are both playing with new cameras - compact super zoom with HD video and I'm keen to hop out and give mine a bit of a spin. It's still blowing a gale and it is bitterly cold even with my windproof jacket on. Ah, it is so good to hop back in the nice toasty warm car!! The lack of proficiency with the new camera makes for some inadvertent video content along with the spectacular views all around and we have a laugh before we move on.
Our next stop is the Crisp Gallery outside Yass where they have some excellent scrap iron sculptures of Australian animals, spiders and scorpions. I have a rare fit of self control and resist, but I'm thinking they'd look great in the garden! I do succumb to the temptation of a couple of nifty puzzles. One is a puzzle that forms a very realistic christmas beetle and the other a lobster. $55 each I'm thinking they might make good gifts.. if I can bear to part with them!

Straight through to Wagga Wagga were we have a quick look at the National Art Glass collection. One of the long term supporters of the gallery has some of her glass on display. The glass weedy sea dragon is popular among us, and of course Rish Gordon's leopard bowl is gorgeous. We depart after leaving a donation in the box.

Each of us has identified forgotten items so we make a stop at the local woollies and note that it's only 9 degrees C even in the early afternoon.... no wonder we're so cold!

Barrelling merrily along the Sturt Highway heading west, it is all too soon before we start getting the signs featuring large and menacing fruit fly and warning travellers to get rid of any fruit on board before reaching the exclusion zone. We groan and laugh. I've just bought some bananas in Wagga for brekkie tomorrow. We've had lunch but the fruit binge begins.. daughter laughs.. "I told you not to bring those tomatoes!" We think of Charlie and Boots and force down more fruit, but in the end quite a lot goes in the composting pit!

Our destination for tonight is Hay and as we drive across the plain we stop several times for photos. I am very pleased that my ocean loving daughter is finding the plain very interesting and different to any scenery she has experienced before. We stop at some nice roadside areas to snap some photos of the plain and the saltbush. Here on the Hay Plain - the second flattest space on earth after the Sahara Desert - the sky dominates. Today in the late afternoon the descending sun sends sunbeams through the clouds across the plain making a spectacular light show. We are mesmerised and stop several more times for photos. What a great start to our trip!!

Arriving in Hay as the sun is setting we are in the midst of playing for grandma a song that daughter is planning to use in her wedding. While we wait for the song to finish we explore the streets and end up down at Madman's Bend where we take some sunset photos. The river is low but lovely and tree lined. It's great to be back in Hay!!

It's getting colder and we think we've pretty much exhausted our photo opportunities so we go and check in at the (4 Star) Saltbush Motor Inn. The newest of Hay's numerous accommodation options. In reception there's photos of all sorts of celebrities who've stayed - Paul Hogan stayed in room 5 in November 2008 while in town filming Charlie and Boots.. I look around.. Jimmy Barnes and lots of signed sporting memorabilia.. I'm almost bowled over by the powerful blast of eucayptus.. "oh dear, I hope the room isn't like this.. Mum won't be able to get in the door!" As I hop into the car I tell the others about the smell and they say "we know we can smell it on you!" We drive in to park the car and there's a fair number of beautiful Harleys and bikers congregated in the car park. A couple of nice blokes offer to help us with our luggage and we gladly accept their gentlemanly assistance.

We enter the room with trepidation.. sigh of relief to find no eucalyptus smell. This, a family room has a comfortable queen bed and two singles and is very nice. Just what you would expect for 4 star. Free Wifi - so daughter can do some uni work during the evening. They even have cables if your laptop isn't equipped for wireless and you've forgotten your own. If you don't have a laptop you can use the internet kiosk at reception. Excellent. Reading through the info folder they seem to have thought of everything. The room has a full sized kitchen sink, kettle, toaster, crockery, washing up liquid. Microwave available from reception. Great for picnic set maintenance. They also have a bbq and a guest laundry with washing powder supplied. My only complaint is that the freezer on the fridge is too small for my 2 litre milk bottle ice blocks. Only big enough for an ice tray or not much more. Frustrating... breakfast service is reasonably priced and daughter opts for some eggs for tomorrow.

Day 2:

We set off directly after brekkie. Fill up the car at the local servo and move once more out onto the Hay plain. More saltbush visible along this route and we stop for photos and play with the settings on the camera for some macro zoom photos of some pretty flowers on the patterson's curse at the rest stop. Barrelling along the highway my companions are soon treated to my cry "EMU!!!......... AND CHICKS!!!" daughter stops as quickly as can be managed safely and we turn the car around and carefully head back on the hunt for our target birdy family all the while to the accompaniment of mutual exclamations of "good spotting" and other excited remarks. Daughter is in the best position in the car for the task so she get's the job of videoing the Emus. Unreal!! this is a first for us all, we haven't seen wild emu chicks before. SO COOL!!

8 kms before Balranald, we see signs directing to Yanga National Park. It's timely as I have been wondering as we drive across the plain whether there is any saltbush plain preserved as it would be in it's natural (ungrazed or cleared) state. We were heading in for a rest stop anyway so we decide to have a look at the Yanga Homestead. Yanga Station operated on the shores of the nearby lake until 2005 at which time it was purchased by the NSW government for its "natural and cultural heritage values". From the park brochure: "Yanga forms part of the Lower Murrumbidgee Floodplain, it includes 160 kms of Murrumbidgee River frontage, wetlands, lakes and breeding grounds for waterbirds. This iconic property includes approximately 76,000 hectares of River Red Gum forest, Black Box - Nitre Goosefoot swamp, Belah-Rosewood woodlands, native grassland and saltbush plains. Yanga has a rich history as a working pastoral, cropping and irrigation property for over 160 years. It has important Aboriginal and historic heritage values such as scar trees, ovens, middens and other artifacts, and historic buildings."

As we enter park we soon come to some large saltbush shrubs with small birds zitting and flitting but we aren't able to identify them before our patience runs out. Some yellow rumped thornbills are feeding on the ground and flitting in and out of some small mallee trees. I wander up the embankment to an old grave. It has one of the loveliest inscriptions I've ever seen. "In Memory of Alfred Morris Parker who was drowned in Yangar Creek on 17 October 1860. He was a fine promising young man and died universally loved and regretted by all who knew him. May he rest in peace and awake to a joyful resurrection." Looking out across the dry plain it seems odd that this young man drowned in the local creek. Southern whiteface are perched on the wooden barrier around some shrub or other and some modest houses are visible across the hump of the hill.

We drive on to the homestead and park, mum jumps on the nebuliser, and we spend half an hour or so wandering about the exhibition and the exterior of the homestead and it's garden. The first item on exhibit as you enter the homestead compound is an old corrugated iron canoe. Later we walk across to the old storehouse and look out across the - currently dry- lake. Almost impossible to imagine that the dry lake bed with vehicle tracks across it used to be usually under water. I particularly enjoy the marks on the wall of the exhibition noting the height of various floods across the years. There's been no floods for many decades now, since they built Burinjuck Dam in the 1928 and Blowering Dam in 1968. The water has to rise over 6 1/2 metres to break the river bank, but in such flat country only a small amount more than that creates a major flood. What a day it would be to wake up and find that Yanga Lake was full again and the plains having a thorough soaking. It's only been dry once in living memory before 2001. One of the park brochures shows the wetland when water is available.. it looks idyllic...

Another highlight of the exhibition is a series of edited home movies taken on Yanga over the years, from early to mid last century, and also some more recent interviews of people from Yanga Station.

We've not allowed time for much sightseeing, so although we could happily spend more time in Yanga National Park (and State Conservation Area) we must press on to make Mildura in time for lunch.

As we drive through Mildura the weeping bottlebrush trees are making a brilliant red spectacle. Native frangipani also common and smothered in flowers. It makes up a little for the horribly tortured avenue of gums along Deakin Street. Why have a beautiful avenue of trees if you're going to butcher them like that?

A late lunch at Stefano's Cafe and Bakery. Delicious bread and oil.. pasta for me, chicken salad for daughter and a steak for mum... we realise that I've come without all sorts of things.. no map, no itinerary with all the relevant contact nos on it. Thank goodness for daughter's Iphone. An email or two and the itinerary can (theoretically) be sent through by those at home.. we stop at the local shopping centre once more to buy a SA road atlas and Adelaide street directory.. and pick up some more forgotten items... lord we're a pathetic bunch of holiday packers this trip!! We're loving the scenery and I can't resist trying to capture the beauty of the landscape behind the beautiful swaying grasses.
Off we go to the Vic /SA border. We pull up at the border inspection point. Sure enough, the inspect our boot, ask for our esky and any fruit etc - naturally we've already binned our contraband and have no other plant material on board. You can't take any plant material at all into SA. Someone has cannily positioned a fuel outlet right at the border stop, so we do the predictable and fill up before setting off.
Given that we will be exploring multiple routes between Waikerie and Adelaide over the next few days we decide to take the opportunity for a different route this time and cross the Murray again at Barmera to head along the northern side of the river to Morgan. On the road to Morgan we see our first ever Emu road kill and stop to check we aren't imagining things. Have a look at those feet. Emu can fight quite effectively with them when they have a mind to and can kill a person if they are pressed. Morgan is a sweet little town on the river with the typical South Australian stone buildings. Quaint. Lots of potential.
From Morgan to Eudunda and on to Kapunda - though we don't have time to check out the Sidney Kidman sights on the way through this time. It's getting late and we need to make it to family by a somewhat reasonable hour, but none-the-less we are drawn to a few stops to photograph the scenery in the golden evening light.

We're finding our pocket Adelaide street directory not much help in the dark and with daughter navigating (gets car sick if she looks at books)... so with google as our ifone friend, we take what seems like a rather bizarre route out the back of Elizabeth ending up at the local tip... hmmm.. we get a call from waiting family.. "where are you" "well actually we're in your steet... that's good timing actually, what number house are you?.... oh, OK perhaps you could wait outside in your pink dressing gown?.... see you soon". That pink dressing gown was actually very helpful!!

The usual greetings and tours of the new house (relocated from NSW 18 mths ago)... this is where I was going to put you... apparently the look on my face was priceless. "oh no, I've forgotten the air mattress" "I didn't know you have an air mattress" says daughter. "I was going to use yours!" says I. I knew I was tired (hence the holiday) but this is getting ridiculous! No map, no itinerary with contact nos and addresses, no bed... what's next... Oh well. Too late to do anything else about it now. We'll go get a motel for tonight and we'll pick SMIL (step mother in law) up in the morning to head back up to Waikerie.

Off we go. Again with our friendly ifone, we have identified a Rydges on south terrace that looks like an option. I'm hoping for Rydges dream beds.. we can't just plop our ourselves at any old place as mum is severely asthmatic and sensitive to smells and dust and moulds and things. 4 star is usually the best way of ensuring a suitable room.. we drive up and down south terrace. Lord where IS this place. heading west we near a large intersection we really don't want to get tangled up in, so daughter does a quick uey and back along sth terrace we go.... we get right to the end no sign of Rydges. Another possible, but by now we just want to know where this bloody hotel is. Google comes to the rescue once more. Oh. It's right back the other end where we chucked the uey. Back we go and sure enough, distracted by some people on the street when we were turning around we were actually right out the front of Rydges!! Fortunately they have a family room available. It's getting ridiculously late, but we tuck ourselves in bed, glad we had a late and substantial lunch, and dine on scrape from the picnic kit and hit the sack.