Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 4 Wednesday 13th Pt 1

It was a grey and drear day.

The night before in absolute frustration at the laptop's Vodafone internet connection I thought I would look at using my phone as a modem. While I had vaguely heard about using your phone as a modem, I recalled the extremely technologically adept Victor mentioning something about it. Oh, it was so easy. I have a 1gb allowance. I could not possibly use that up browsing and checking email. I was quite happy then. I hate being out of touch.

I had printed out a list of what we could do in Mount Gambier. After our breakfast of cereal and toast, we headed to the Blue Lake, a body of water within a volcano crater. We joined a tour of the pumping station, that is where water is pumped from the lake to high water storage tanks to supply water for the town of Mount Gambier.

The tour started off well with a very informative chat, until the lift to go down to edge of the lake and the pumping engines would not work. Phone calls were made and the unapologetic lift mechanic returned to switch it on, which he had forgotten to do when he was working on it earlier. Our tour companions were husbands, wives and kids and everyone was very friendly.

Ok, tick that one off. We headed off to another lake, Leg of Mutton but instead we seemed to do a large circuit of town but got back to the lake area. While we stopped at a car park to see the lake, all we could see below was bush. Apparently you have to walk. Bah!

One more and it was a cracker. Valley Lake is not a water supply lake but a recreational one. It has a native animal enclosed area, board walks and tracks through a fairly open landscape.

We were now laked out and needed lunch and coffee. We found a cafe in town that would be judged very trendy in Melbourne, and it charged accordingly, but it was good.

Oh, I missed something from earlier. There is no sign that informs you that you are entering South Australia. I am not sure where we crossed the border in my memory. The indications that we were in South Australia were a lot of SA number plates and seeing stobie poles. What are they you ask? Wait until we are in Adelaide.

Damn, I was itching to play with the controls on this machine, but it was barricaded off.

This guy was vaguely interesting. He was taking the tour of the pumping station with his wife and kids. Would you believe we ran into them again in a supermarket in Adelaide?

The lift to the top of the crater was at the far end of this tunnel.

I am not sure why the guide turned this water jet on, but it was impressive.

Blue Lake inside the crater of a volcano which last erupted about 5000 years ago. Around November/December the water changes to a brilliant cobalt blue caused it seems by calcium carbonate separating in the water and rising to the top. You can check that out for accuracy and detail. Of course being mid winter, the lake was not blue but you can see the blue tinge at the edges. That is the pumping station and the lift travels down to the works area you can just see to the right.

More lake.

When you can never get enough lake.

Ok, I will desist.

Just from memory, this was built for tourism purposes in the 1920s. The chief organiser and fund raiser? was a local woman and it was built by volunteers. I climbed up into it and then climbed the stairs to a water surge tank above.

You can see some of the original stairs next to the newer ones. The view from the top was great. We were now between two crater lakes, Blue Lake and Leg of Mutton Lake, but it seems the latter was dry.

The only widlife we really saw at Valley Lake was rather a lot of wallabies, although I guess one or two not shown here were kangaroos. The were all relaxed and waiting for the sun to appear and warm them. It did not.

Ah, I'll have Red after me if I get this wrong. I will just say it is a swamp hen of some description. They were very tame. Tame=being fed by humans.

It did not seem to matter where we went, the tower looked over us. It was ten minute walk up a steep hill. My feet were sore, so we did not bother.

Meanwhile, from near where we had lunch, was fine old pile of Victorian architecture.


  1. Some interesting photos - are you sure that "the guy" wasn't following you...thats pretty weird bumping into the same man twice HMMM

  2. I seem to remember the lake being a whole lot bluer when I visited there as a kid.

  3. I didn't do the tour last time I was there, thanks for taking me on it!

    That tower and steps built by a sheila rings a bell, I may have tripped over her in my online travels.

  4. really interesting!!

    I'll probably get to Bali before I get to Adelaide,thogh,so much cheaper.

  5. Oh dreary me, someone has stolen the sign? There used to be one on the Western Highway between Kaniva and Bordertown.

  6. I remember there being signs at the border when we crossed in 1981, we took photos of the kids on both sides of the road with both signs.
    Mt Gambier is on my list of places to visit when I've retired and have more time.

  7. Oh well done! Purple swamphen it is!! Just catching up on my blog reading after a serious case of writers block - I've 'liked' your other posts in my Google Reader and I guess one day I'll find out whether that means anything ...

  8. MC, his wife seemed quite interested in us and she seemed ten years older than him. Make of that what you will.

    AdRad, well, I suppose you went in the summer months when it was blue. Y'now, the calcium carbonate thing.

    Jayne, I thought I took a snap of the information board, but where is it?

    IWBY, yes maybe cheaper, but it is good to have a holiday among your own people at times.

    Fen, at our age we would not have bothered stopping and doing the either leg in each state thing, but it would have been nice to know. Oddly, it was our phones that told us. The time changed.

    River, I did look and there are good tours of the sights of Mt Gambier.

    Thanks Red. You can have writer's block and still read you know :-P. I wasn't aware I had a like feature on my blog, and it is not like I never read it.

  9. I would be disappointed if I went all the way there and the lake wasn't blue. Did you know about the lack of blueness when planning your trip?

    It's silly of me to be so picky about it. If I want blue water, I could just go to the pool.

    Anyway, I love hearing about your trip!

  10. We did know Dina. We had seen the lake before, but even then it wasn't blue. Winter again.

  11. Anonymous12:09 pm

    I didn't realize that it could NOT be blue. We must have visited it in summer, and obviously I didn't appreciate it enough

  12. Yeah, I know. Reading, writing, whatever ... the 'like' feature is on Google Reader where (as you no doubt know) you can read a post without actually going to the blog. So I DID read all your posts, I just didn't comment on them. I just clicked 'like' on Google reader instead. Call me lazy ...

  13. Judge, it is quite interesting to learn the facts about the water colour. But even so, the answers are not conclusive.

    I don't mind being Google read Red. I mostly do that myself, unless I have to do otherwise because there is something not showing, or for other reasons. I never noticed that my posts had a like on them.

  14. '...the extremely technologically adept Victor...'

    If only that were true!