Showing posts from April, 2014

Mt Gambier! The Portland of Australia

Ahh, Mt Gambier.  The second largest city in South Australia.  Believe me, that's not saying much.  South Australia is not exactly a thriving metropolis kind of state.  But Mt Gambier is really quirky, and that's why I love it.  It's about a 5-hour drive from Melbourne, and we stayed there overnight on our way to Kangaroo Island.  I had been there once before with friends and couldn't wait to show Phil its wonders.  The drive there is a bit boring, other than the Grampians there's not much but paddocks and trees.  Throw in a holiday weekend and even the sleepy fuel stop towns are all closed up.  The Maccas (McDonalds) however was complete chaos. Mt Gambier and the Limestone Coast region is in an extinct volcanic area, giving it some interesting topography.  Lots of conical mountains over a bed of old limestone, and then throw in a few caves - over 600 to be exact.  We decided to explore these unique features, and first up was the Engelbrecht Cave.  The original cave…

An Aussie Birthday Party

My parents arrived at the beginning of April and we took the opportunity to have an Aussie Birthday Party for my mom.  We invited her Aussie friends over for dinner and they enjoyed the chance to catch up.  My mom met these friends through a painting convention they teach classes at in Vegas.  Year after year she kept taking their classes and they became great friends.  The convention is now a yearly tradition for them, and they fit in plenty of fun before and after.  They had just been over for a visit in March, so it was nice for them to get together and laugh about their trip without all the distractions.  I made an echidna cake for dessert that went down a hit, even with the very American peanut butter filling.  After the party they spent a few days with Janice and Ted and then had a visit with Karen and family before heading to Kangaroo Island with us.  All in all it was a great way to begin their visit over here. 

Organ Pipes National Park

This morning we finally explored Organ Pipes National Park near the Melbourne airport.  It was a crisp morning, and besides a few wallabies we had the trail to ourselves.  The park is right under the flight path so every few minutes a plane would take off through the clouds but the noise didn't detract from the serenity.
It was a fairly easy hike, the path is wide and took us straight down into the canyon.  The first stop was the Organ Pipes, a large wall of hexagonal rocks standing tall against a babbling creek.  It was neat to see the unique shapes of the rock faces scattered next to the pipes.

The next stop was the Rosette, which as Phil said looked like an exploding volcanic turd.  It was a strange rock formation, it looked like the rock had exploded and this action was frozen in time.  The nearby canyon was a pretty scene next to it.
The final stop on the path was the Tessalated Pavement.  It's basically the top of another organ pipes formation burried deep in the ground.  …