Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Riverlands 2014, Part Three: Pelican Point, Broken Cliffs and Morgan

This is where we're headed: the River Murray in South Australia...
The trusty Mitsubishi Magna "Lola" takes a breather between Blanchetown and Morgan,
under a spectacular morning sky that, uh, bodes ill for the weather late this afternoon!
Getting close to the deep-water channels where the riverboats ply...

Dave, the intrepid explorer, under those spectacular skies ... "god rays" and all.
Houseboats moored in idyllic conditions on the Murray River at Pelican Point.
Imagine waking at dawn to the sounds of birds  on the river, in one of those houseboats! One of these days...
Pelican Point ... and here's the pelican to prove it!
A place called "Broken Cliffs" ... for obvious reasons. Picturesque scenery -- quite the photo op --
-- a great opportunity to use your telephoto option --
-- and Broken Cliffs is right off the side of the road there, just a short distance from Morgan.
Welcome to the historic river port of Morgan ... and breakfast is on our minds by now. Urgently!
To get to Morgan, you have to cross the Murray River. A bridge? Don't be silly.
It's much better than that. We do love these drive-on, drive-off cable ferries! off again, and you can glimpse Morgan itself right at the top of the slope here.
The Landseer building in Morgan is a cultural museum now, but the signage tells all:
back in the golden age of the paddle steamers, A.H. Landseer Ltd. was a logistics company,
working the river and lakes. There's a Landseer building in Milang, too. 
You're kidding ... the Bank of Adelaide was a cottage?! Yep.
Morgan has a gorgeous view of the river, and whaddaya know? Riverboats.
Looks like more people live on the river than on the bank. Many of these will be tourists, like us.
 Breakfast at last! The Morgan Riverview Cafe -- very good bacon and egg rolls ...
though we could have chosen fish-'n-chips or meat pies. For brekkie. Thanks -- we'll take the bacon and eggs!
A stroll after breakfast took us the old wharf and disused railway station... 

A white faced heron was drying off in a riverside tree, after catching his own breakfast.
Back across on the ferry, we hunted down a photo-op spot, to get pretty shots of the river and cliffs...
Then it's back on the road. Uh, dirt track? Did we just run out of road?
You rejoin the bitumen a few kilometers away, under skies that have begun to brood, and
we'll be in Waikerie before lunch!
Exploring places you never visited before is always a lot of run, and this trip took us almost out of the state, in a region known as the Riverlands.

The Murray River is life's blood to South Australia, but it actually rises in the Australian Alps in NSW and Vic; and some of the most spectacular stretches are in fact over the state line. Well, we'll get there one day -- and the best way to do that is on a riverboat cruise out of Renmark. Save all of that for another trip, because there was so much to do on this one.

From Blanchetown (see the previous post) in the early morning we followed the river north to Morgan, where we stopped from breakfast. Rural cafe food can be overwhelming: you can score fish and chips, meat pies, sausage rolls, deep-fried anything, at 7:00am. Luckily, most places also do a very neat line in bacon and eggs, in some form.

Suitably refueled, we took a stroll, discovered a little about the rich history of the area. Then the river heads east and southeast, curving back on itself, and it's impossible to get lost. The road follows the river, and you follow the road.

From Morgan, it's onward into the richest agricultural country either of us has ever seen on any continent ... places like Waikerie, Cadel, Berri, Loxton ... and some surprises: the proverbial "pub in the scrub," and a lock on the river, and the world-famous Banrock Station, and "the Big Ram," and at last, one of the most amazing sunsets we've ever seen, as we headed back up the Southeastern Freeway, just an hour from home.

More in the next segment of this trip!

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