Saturday, June 20, 2015

Preview: Lions and Lakes 2015

Brilliant fall colors at Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens
Sure signs of autumn -- Mount Loft Botanic Gardens
Oak trees thrive at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden...
...and the scale of the park is impressive.
Sunset at Clayton Bay
Sunrise over the wetlands at Milang on Lake Alexandrina
Photography meets art: dawn at Milang
Welcome to the Monarto wildlife park, South Australia
Gazelles run free in the big paddocks at Monarto wildlife park --
-- the lions are in a different, and enormous, enclosure. Naturally.
Giraffes might be wondering whatever happened to the grass at Monarto wildlife park...
...but the meerkats are happy as a bucketful of clams!
Meerkats at Monarto. They are so cute! Do they make good pets? Look at those teeth...
Water birds in the morning on one of the jetties on Lake Alexandria at Milang.
The long jetty at Milang, where cargo barges used to unload...
A dramatic morning sky over Lake Alexandrina.
The historic Wellington Courthouse restaurant and B&B. Breakfast!
The iconic tree remnant at Newmans Rusticana.
Lola the Mitsubishi Magna, in the cottage garden at Rusticana Wines...
Bees working the lavender at Newmans (aka Rusticana Wines).
Afternoon sun on the Goolwa Barrage...
...and wild fur seals, basking in the sun on the lock gates.
Black swans abounded, heading into the Coorong National Park --
-- and pelicans were everywhere, fishing right beside the barrages.
For our March, 2015 trip we wanted to do something different but at the same time not spend so long driving that a short vacation would be utterly exhausting. There's not a lot we haven't done in what we call "accessible south Australia," which is the part of the state you can reach in a day or three by road and car, without resorting to a plane to get you there.

So -- how about lions and antelope?! No, not a zoo. We do have a zoo in Adelaide, but we haven't actually been there in decades. There's something about animals kept in enclosures that bothers us, even when the facility is absolutely fantastic, which, it must be said, the Adelaide Zoo is. But we also have the Monarto wildlife park, which is also called a zoo, but in fact is over 2,500 acres of open space devoted to vast paddocks in which something like 500 animals live more or less free.

Right, that'd hit the spot! So ... Aldgate for brekkie on the way out from home, and a lovely morning roaming Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, then on to Milang to check into our favorite motel -- next, off to Clayton Bay to photograph the sunset. Next day -- photograph dawn over the welands, then scoot over to Monarto (near Murray Bridge) by late morning. Lions and giraffes and zebra and rhino, and gazeelles and meerkats! And a whole lot more the next day: fur seals and pelicans, a winery, the barrages and the "bird hide" at Goolwa.

It's amazing what you can pack into a few days, if you go out with a plan; and this time around the weather was with us. We had the sun the whole way, so the pictures are very good indeed. They'll be uploaded in six or seven posts over the next couple of weeks. Hope you can take a look.

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