Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Meningie - Wellington - Strathalbyn again ... almost home

With the weather changing, it was time to leave the mesmerizing world of the Coorong, headed --
-- into the dairy country around Meningie, where ... ye gods! The UFOs have landed! No, it's just water tanks,
crowned with quite an array of microwave relay aerials. 
Hang a right: we'll be circumnavigating Lake Alexandrina on the way home...
"No Diving," says the sign ... while diving would be a pretty neat trick off Meningie's old jetty -- which ended
long before it reached any water, in 2009! This is Lake Albert, which connects with Lake Alexandrina" We're used to
seeing the lakes from the Milang Side, of course.
Meningie is a popular destination in the region -- a much bigger town than Milang. But we prefer
the peace and quiet of the Milang area.
As you round the lake and approach the Wellington Ferry from the east side, one thing you can count on
is that the weather will be changeable. This shot, and the next, are actually borrowed from our 2011 trip to
Mount Gambier, but they illustrate this point so perfectly, why not borrow them?
Change in the weather (in 2011), waiting for the Wellington Ferry to come back across...
...and here's the exact same place in 2009. Get out of the car, stretch the legs while waiting for the ferry...
A long, long zoom shot of colonial ruins which stand abandoned not far from the river. The region is
full of history drowsing side by side with technology.
There goes the ferry on its way to Wellington. We just missed it. Ten minutes later --
Here it comes, headed for Tailem Bend. Time to get back in the car -- they don't take long to unload.
Halfway across, shooting out of the window -- and already hearing the ruckus! Like Strathalbyn, Wellington
is the home to huge flocks of little corellas ... and when they mill around, they shriek as only wild parrots can.
Little corellas are cousins to sulphur crested cockatoos -- both are common in South Australia.
Invasion of the little corellas! They were everywhere at Wellington on this trip in 2009.
...the trees are full of them, and every ten minutes they'll take off, swirl around in a great cloud,
shriek for the sheer fun of it, and then settle right back down again.
The road back to Stathalbyn takes you through miles and miles of agriculture.
And here we are back at Strathalbyn, where we began --
Ducks graze the parklands, while the Angas River bridge heads across to the bandstand and, beyond, the church.
Wall art ... actually, it's the public rest room beside the park, and -- never miss the chance to
decorate a wall, right?
Detail from the wall art at Strathalbyn ...
-- the work is astonishing, and so beautiful --
-- an unexpected pleasure in the evening light, just before we headed for home.
Evening light o the towers of St. Andrew's church. And now ... time to head home for dinner: we'll
be there in an hour or so.
From the Coorong through to Meningie, all you can do is put your foot down hard, let the Princess Highway zip past at the speed limit, because there's not much there (though it's not as desolate as the area between Milang and Lanhorne Creek, which might as easily be a location on Mars). As you get closer to Lake Albert, on the shore of which Meningie sits, the air becomes, um, shall we say "redolent with the aroma of agriculture." In other words, it's dairy country, with about a thousand times more cows out to pasture than there are people in the region ... your nose will certainly confirm this statistic!

 Meningie itself is a popular holiday spot for folks from far afield; it's quite a large, busy town, though we much prefer the depthless peace and quiet of the Milang-Clayton-Finiss region on the "home side" of Lake Alexandrina. In 2009 the water levels were low (too little rain -- which is becoming way too predictable in South Australia of late; troublingly predictable), and we could only chuckle at the sign stipulating "No Diving!" from a jetty that didn't get anywhere near the lake. Interestingly, "Meningie" is an Australian Aborigine word meaning "mud hole." One imagines the climate used to be a whole lot wetter in the past! (The map to left is a screencap from Google -- see it full sized, if you want to get a grasp on the geography -- it's quite readable.)

Then ... Wellington Ferry again, and the run through to Strathalbyn, where we stopped for a stretch of legs, snack and tea (or coffee, if you prefer; the picnic basket is always well stocked), before we headed home. Wellington had been invaded by little corellas in 2009, very likely the same flocks as gather in Strathalbyn too. They're great to watch, not so great to listen to, since they're LOUD!!

With evening light settling and dinner in mind, we headed straight for home ... which, on the above map, and at the time, was approximated by the "Marion" you see due south of Adelaide. (We've moved since then.)  And "it's a wrap!" That was it for another road trip. Now, where to next?!

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