|The sun rises over Paddlesteamer Drive, Milang, Lake Alexandrina|
|Colonial houses often have satellite dishes on the roof|
|A barge loading crane on the jetty -- it wears a "National Trust" badge these days|
|Lake Alexandrina, pretty in winter sunshine...|
|...and Lake Alexandrina, brooding on a winter's evening|
|Welcome to Milang, established 1854|
The Spotted Grass Frog, the Eastern Banjo Frog (aka the Bullfrog), and the Common Froglet ... the info board quotes a population of "thousands" of them in the wetlands, but in the evening you'd swear you're listening to millions. On one Milang visit, we had dinner at the Pier Hotel, and on the walk back to the van (the Millennium Possum waited patiently) we were stunned by the frog-racket emanating from the wetlands. It was August; there had been flooding in the Lakes area -- some of the shacks on Paddlesteamer Drive were still sandbagged, but to the frogs, it must have been sheer paradise.
|Main street Milang -- that's the Pier Hotel at the end, a country pub with a very good dining room.|
|Paddlesteamer Drive, right above the beach ... winter ...|
|...and Paddlesteamer Drive on a summer evening.|
"Paddlesteamer Diver" is a quaint, or even exotic name for an area the Alexandrina local government wishes would just vanish! The shacks have been there for so long, they're almost heritage listed, but they're still shacks ... somewhat makeshift and far from the modern subdivision Milang might like to see. These were originally holiday homes, but many people are retiring there -- and why wouldn't you, with views like this ... yes, that's a pelican fishing for lunch:
And it's not only about the lake, and the sailing -- or the herons and pelicans. Lake Alexandrina is a low-lying region, which means the wetlands are world class. Migratory birds stop there, for instance, the Japanese Snipe:
But just let the sun shine, and the wetlands are gorgeous, especially in winter:
|A boardwalk-cum-bridge spans part of the wetlands...|
|...connecting Milang proper with Paddlesteamer Drive and Lake Alexandrina itself.|
|The wetlands follow the coast of Lake Alexandrina, a habitat for birds and amphibians...|
|Some of the plants look like they came here from Mars...|
|Follow the walking trails, and you might not see the abundant birdlife, but you'll hear amazing voices.|
|Wildlife on the scale of the very small comes out after the rains.|
Men and women of the Alexandrina region played their part in the wars too, and are remembered at Anzac Park. The memorial there is very special. The warzones in which the local veterans served, and the allies alongside whom they fought and died, are marked out by trees...
|Anzac Park, Milang|
|Milang Soldiers' Memorial Gardens|
|Milang War Memorial|
The area has a long and colorful history, involving riverboats and the coastal trade, the influx of settlers from many parts of Europe, agriculture and, later, tourism. A little of Lake Alexandrina's history is remembered in the wall art:
|"Visions of a Timeless Shore" by Peter McLachlan, assisted by Peter Evans; 1996.|
[The wall art, above, is entitled "Visions of a Timeless Shore." It was launched on March 3, 1996 by Mr. G Davidson, and was painted by Peter McLachlan, assisted by Peter Evans, as a commission from the Milang and Clayton Traders Association, Inc., and with the support of J. Schubert, the S.A. Country and Arts Trust, and the local community. Sorry we can't give you links for the artists, but a Google search turns up almost nothing. If anyone knows either of the Peters, please ask them to get in touch!]
There was a time the railway went to Port Milang, but today all traces of that railway are historic, heritage listed, enduring only as open-air museum exhibits...
|The standing exhibit, seen from the wetlands, looking back towards the Pier Hotel, Milang.|
|The old Milang Station. There's a signboard in there, offering Devonishire Cream Teas --|
alas, that cafe has closed now. And that's an enormous pity.
|End of the line -- literally! A preserved section of track at Milang just ... stops.|
|Leaving Milang. Now, where do we want to go next?!|
Next: photographing dawn over Lake Alexandrina, and -- staying at a B&B there, which turned out to be haunted! Then, we'll take you to Langhorne Creek, and a visit to Bleasdale Winery.