Our plans today were to go for a walk around the rim of the Blue Lake, check out the native animals at the old railway yards and see the Endelbrecht Caves. The weather impacted on our plans though. When we set off for the lakes it was already getting hot and windy so we drove to a lookout up near the Big 4 Caravan Park. We saw Valley Lake and looked out over Leg of Mutton Lake then drove to Brownes Lake where we walked around. There was no problem with getting wet feet, there’s not a drop of water anywhere and hasn’t been for a long time! By then it was too hot for me to consider a walk around the Blue Lake rim because when we drove around we saw it wasn’t a nice little track as I’d imagined but a concrete foot path frequently with limited view of the lake. We parked and walked to a lookout which gave us a very good understanding of how far the lake has dropped over the years. You can clearly see the change in rock strata. Although we’ve read that the lake has a limitless supply of water people now understand that isn’t the case and there are posters displayed reminding people that the water is precious and shouldn’t be wasted.
If you click on an image it will show you a larger view.
Leg of Mutton Lake – no longer has water
Centenary Tower from Brownes Lake.
Alex walking on Brownes Lake
A Disc Golf “hole”
The Blue Lake
When we left the lakes we went to find the echidnas we’d been told were at the old railway yards. The area has been developed as a Nature Play area and looks great but we didn’t see anywhere echidnas could be seen. I’m sure none would have shown their face today anyway because by then the wind was blasting and it was very hot.
Old Railway yards, Nature Play area.
After a refreshing drink at the “Dining Car” we decided a cool cave was the place to be so we set out to find Endelbrecht Caves. It feels quite odd to me to be driving along the main streets of town close to the city centre looking for great holes in the ground. The caves actually run under the Jubilee Highway and divers can hear the logging trucks passing overhead.
The Endelbrecht Caves are dry ones so there are no stalagtites or stalagmites but the rocks have been sculpted by the water being at various levels over time. In places there are big holes on the surface where water has collected in depressions and eaten its way through the limestone. One of these big holes was used by Carl Endelbrecht to dispose of the waste from his whisky distillery and also, at a price, the butcher’s waste. Until the mid 50s the town rubbish was also disposed of down the hole. Later the Lions Club took on the job of clearing it out, it took them 6 years to recover the tons of waste. Luckily there was no synthetic waste to deal with.
Whisky waste stained the hole
Wave formation in sandstone,
Different layers in the Sandstone.
Fossil bones in the sandstone rocks
Old bottles, rabbit trap, axe head etc
Old bones and a demi-john.
1980s style diver
A narrow entrance where the divers come into the cave.
At the end of our day we went for dinner at Jens Hotel, it’s a lovely old pub and the meal was very tasty. Afterwards we were treated to a wonderful sunset then visited the possums at Umpherston Sinkhole again, a great end to the day.
Glorious sunset behind the town.
Today we decided to visit Port MacDonnell but first Alex needed a map, he wasn’t going to rely on the GPS. We called into the Tourist Office which has the “ship”, The Lady Nelson on display. It must have been terrifying sailing on that small vessel to Australia across the vast oceans.
Usually when we’re travelling we stop at very few signposted points of interest but this time we’re taking many little diversions. Our first one today was to Mt Schank volcano crater. There was an interesting old cottage near the base, its overgrown garden was home to Blackbirds and hundreds of noisy bees. Someone had tried to make a go of a tearooms there but only a very sad poster on the door remained of it.
Old cottage garden
We decided to take the walk to the top of the crater, several stops to recover our breath were needed before we made it to the top. It would take a 3D camera to do justice to the wonderful views down into the crater and across the plains.
Mt Schank crater
The next sign we saw pointed us towards Dingly Dell, home of Adam Lindsay Gordon. The house wasn’t open but we enjoyed walking around the well kept garden and reading the informative plaques placed about the property. Fairy Wrens were teasing me all the time.
Old post and rail fence
Adam Lindsay Gordon’s meat safe
Adam Lindsay Gordon’s home
All that physical activity put me in the mood for icecream so I was pleased we found GF ones in Port MaDonnell. From there we continued along the coast thankful we were driving and not in a sailing boat. That particular section of coast is named, “The Shipwreck Coast” and there was a plaque at Cape Northumberland Nature Park listing the names of 28 ships wrecked there and another 5 lost with no wreckage ever found.
Although we intended continuing around the coast to Carpenter’s Rocks we turned back to go to Tantanoola Cave. Again 2D photos don’t do the structures within the cave justice. The cave system was discovered by a young boy out chasing rabbits with his ferret. The ferret disappeared into a crack between rocks and as the boy tried to see where it had gone stones disappeared down the crack and he heard the echo of them landing so knew there was a large hole. Reluctant to lose his ferret the boy went back home for a torch and his brother came back to the spot with him. They wriggled their way through the crack and discovered the cave system below. Within 10 days the system was being visited by enthusiasts, they had to be enthusiasts to crawl down through the rocks to the cave below!
Our last experience for the day was the light show at the Cave Garden which is a sinkhole right in the centre of the city. We watched old movie footage of Mt Gambier and Port MacDonnell projected onto a building behind the garden. The second presentation told the Aboriginal story of the sinkhole.
Depiction of Aboriginal story projected on building
Sunken Garden presentation