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.
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.